Monday, November 28, 2016

Lenka

When Lenka enters a room, does she carry a sledgehammer with her?  And does she start smashing stuff while shouting: "It's Lenka time!"  I hope so.  I hope that's exactly what she does.

Share your theories about Lenka in the comments!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thank you, Wells Fargo?

I went into Wells Fargo last week and asked one of the bankers to close my superfluous checking account.  The guy typed on his keyboard and said the account was closed, and furthermore he refunded my last three monthly service fees.

But how do I know the checking account is really closed?  It still shows up on the "overview" page for my accounts.  It refuses to disappear.  Am I going to have to wait a month to see if I get charged yet another service fee?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wisconsin recount

Wisconsin is going to hold a recount of the votes cast in the Presidential election.  According to www.elections.wi.gov, the current voting breakdown (as of November 25) for the top candidates is:

Total Votes Cast

2,975,313

Donald J. Trump

1,404,000

Hillary Clinton

1,381,823

Darrell L. Castle

12,156

Gary Johnson

106,585

Jill Stein

31,006

This is different from what news sites like Politico and the New York Times currently show on their own results pages.  Here is the NYTimes breakdown, which was last updated on November 21:

CANDIDATEPARTYVOTESPCT.E.V.
Donald J. TrumpRepublican1,409,46747.9%10
Hillary ClintonDemocrat1,382,21046.9
Gary JohnsonLibertarian106,4423.6
Jill SteinGreen30,9801.1

So we've already seen a swing of 5,000 votes before the official recount has even begun, and the original margin was only ~27,000 votes.  That seems significant.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Viper visits the World Trade Centre

 This is the conclusion of my "tour guide" effort.  And, hey, we managed to locate Times Square.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

TV Review: Stark Trek: TNG, episodes 4 and 5

Episode 4: "The Last Outpost"
The crew meets the Ferengi, and everyone almost freezes to death.  I enjoyed this episode because there was no Wil Wheaton in it.  He's tied with Tasha Yar as the worst character.  Also, the episode had Riker acting like a badass in the face of death.

Episode 5:  "Where No One Has Gone Before"
A couple engineers come aboard to fix the Enterprise's warp drive, and they wind up accidentally traveling to the outer rim of the universe.  I liked the premise of this episode but not the execution--mainly because it focused a ton on Wil Wheaton.  Were the producers hoping to make Wil Wheaton a breakout character of this show?  He's presented like some idiot savant who can intuitively grasp concepts around warp drive and engineering.  Actually, "idiot savant" might be the incorrect term.  Is he supposed to be a regular savant?  It's difficult to tell with Wil Wheaton.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pageview counter

I can't figure out how to make this blog stop counting my own visits as pageviews.

About two month ago I switched the URL to www.jeremymassler.com.  And now when I click "Manage tracking your own pageviews" on the stats page, I get an error message.  Many other people have run into the same problem.  There's a thread from 2015 on productforums.google.com, and someone suggests visiting "www.yourdomain.com/b/statsBlockingCookie?action=SET&callback=__gwt_jsonp__.P2.onSuccess," however that URL also shows an error message.

I like to edit my posts, and after I'm done editing I'll usually open my blog in a new tab to see how it looks.  So 90% of the pageviews are coming from me alone.  It makes the pageview counter rather deceptive.      

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Participatory Budgeting

Back in the spring, I went into library and they were handing out voting forms for Participatory Budgeting.  You could cast up to five votes for projects that you wanted to get funding.   A few of the proposals were for renovating libraries--such as fixing the air conditioning at the Muhlenberg Branch--and I remember thinking that they were stacking the deck a bit by giving out the ballots in a library.  Then again...where else can you realistically hand out ballots?  At a laundromat?

I looked up the results, and wouldn't you know it...two of the five winners were "Cool Muhlenberg Library. Renovate HVAC System" and "A New Library for City Knoll School." Take that, Chelsea basketball courts!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Homeless and the City

The New York Daily News had an article on Thursday about the rising homeless population in NYC, and provided a few snapshots of the numbers, courtesy of HUD.

2016:  73,523 homeless in New York City
2015:  75,323 homeless in New York City

Since 2007, the homeless population has risen about 38%.

The article also mentions there were more than 60,000 New Yorkers living in homeless shelters earlier this year.  I don't know how that 60,000 number is supposed to overlap with the 73,523 number.  Maybe it means there were ~13,000 homeless people who didn't bother staying in shelters. In any case, it's good to have a reference point.  I've seen several articles during the past year with statistics about the homeless population in New York, but the number is always fuzzy in my mind.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Viewer #1

I was checking Raw clips on YouTube, and clicked a video of Goldberg and Brock Lesnar immediately after it had been uploaded.  I noticed the viewcounter was at 1.  Just 1 single view.  Several seconds later it had shot up to 23 views.

I wonder if I actually was the first (or second) person to click the link, or whether YouTube has a very slight lag whenever a video is uploaded? Today, the same video has 4,226,327 views.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

TV Review: The Great Indoors

The Great Indoors is the best new show on television.  That's not an opinion, it's a fact!

It stars Joel McHale as Jack Gordon, an adventurer/writer who returns to his magazine's Chicago office to guide the Millennials working there. The show has gotten a lot of "meh" reviews from critics, which isn't surprising since the show has a clichéd, sitcom-y feel.  There's a laugh track. There's a bartender whose sole purpose is to make quips.  And often the supporting characters don't have any meaningful storylines of their own during an episode.

I remember a "behind the scenes" article about the writing process for New Girl, and the writers were trying to to figure out the "B" and "C" storylines for every character, like they were solving some complex trigonometry problem.  The Great Indoors doesn't stress out over stuff like character arcs.

It actually reminds me of an essay about the comic book industry, titled "A Modest Proposal: More Crap Is What We Need."  The gist is that comics shouldn't aim to be high art all of the time.  What you really need is a lot of unpretentious, enjoyable crap to sustain the marketplace.  Otherwise you wind up with comics that are only high art or only low art, and there's no middle ground.  The Great Indoors falls right into that middle ground territory.  That said, some of the dialogue is pretty good.  As someone with a blog, I thought this exchange was hilarious:

From episode 1:
Jack:   What are you doing?
Clark:  Oh, I'm listening.  I'm just setting up for my podcast.
Jack:    You've got a podcast?  About what?
Clark:  I interview people.
Jack:    And who are you interviewing today?
Clark:  Mason.
Jack:   And what are you interviewing Mason about?
Clark:  His podcast.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Viper takes on the UN

My friend Francis was visiting from Ireland and I agreed to give him and the cameraman a tour of the city.  Unfortunately I got sort of sidetracked with my iPhone and Pokemon Go.  😕


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Polarize.com

I said on Monday that I would write to "Kyle" and inquire about his website.  Well, I did send Kyle the e-mail, offering $10 for the domain Polarize.com.  He told me my offer was off by a couple 0's.  That's some cold cheese.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Book Review: The Filter Bubble

This book was alright, although it probably could have fit into one long cover story for The Atlantic.  It's about how the internet limits our exposure to new topics and new ways of thinking.  There are some chapters that begin with long discursions, like one chapter that starts with a recap of when the CIA was interrogating a Soviet defector named Yuri Nosenko, and you're like, 'Wait, how does this relate to the internet again?'

Eli Pariser, the author, respects how papers like the New York Times will often put "important" stories about foreign conflicts on their front page. That way, even if we don't read the front page, we're at least aware of those conflicts.  I noticed this on Monday when the New York Times had a front page story about Yemen.  I think we bombed them, or maybe they bombed someone else?  Or maybe they were in conflict with Saudi Arabia? I don't fucking know.

The truth is, if I see a slip-in advert from Domino's offering a 3-topping large pizza for $7.99, that's more relevant to me than knowing what's happening in Yemen.  We need food to live, after all, plus other things like water and shelter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Passport photos

I went to a local shop today to get new passport photos.  (My passport expired in 2013.)  As the photos were printing out, another dude came in to get his passport photos as well.  I asked the clerk if he had seen an increase in requests since the election.  He said he had, and that more people were getting photos for work visas, too.

Monday, November 14, 2016

One-word websites

There's a whole slew of one-word websites that all feel similar.  Heavy.com.  Inverse.com.  Thrillist.com.  They're so hard to distinguish.  It's like when I watched Friends for the first time and couldn't tell Joey from Chandler.  There's also Complex.com, however I know that that one is geared towards sneaker-culture.  Apparently sneakers are a big deal to some people.

What other one-word websites are taken?
Inside.com?  Yep.
Maximum.com?  Yep.
Threshold.com?  Yep, but it just shows a static landing page.
Polarize.com?  Um...apparently this one is for sale, and I would have to contact Kyle at IAmKyle.com to buy it.

Screw it, I'm going to contact Kyle and get that domain!  I'm willing to offer $10, because in this day and age it pays to have a one-word website.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Star Trek, "Code of Honor" review

I finally finished watching episode 3.  Holy cow it was boring.  And where was Worf?  There was a fight-to-the-death between Tasha Yar and another woman, but unfortunately this wasn't the episode where Tasha Yar gets killed off.  It's going to take me far longer to get through this series than I originally anticipated.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Crosswalk signs

I feel bad for the crosswalk signs that don't get to spend a lot of time in "Walk" mode.

There's a stretch on Park Avenue where, if you're trying to cross east or west, the crosswalk will display the white "Walk" signal for 3 seconds.  But then it spends 31 seconds displaying the "Flashing Red Hand" signal.  What type of existence in that?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Morning Win

The woman in that belVita "Morning Win" commercial has her act together.  She has a house.  She has a dog. She exercises. She has a job, and she doesn't seem too stressed out by it.  People always say that commercials set unrealistic standards of beauty.  But that's not what I think.  I think commercials set unrealistic standards for how easy it is to retain office jobs.
 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

But I like my shoes...

Apparently people are burning, flushing, and throwing away their New Balance shoes after the company voiced its approval for Donald Trump:
https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/11/10/new-balance-burned-for-praising-trump-trade-stance/DHHWtLflI0Wxl9rtk4ZvGM/story.html. I wear New Balance sneakers.  They're pretty comfortable, and they're my everyday shoes, too.  A replacement pair would cost around $40.  So I'm going to pass on this boycott.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

David Rouben, you just made the list!

I love when websites answer questions that I type into Google.  I don't consider this a form of clickbait.  I consider it a service.  I wrote a blog post last year praising www.nj.com for answering my question about the Yankees.  Another great example is www.isabevigodadead.com.

Simple question.  Simple answer.

However, there's a dark side.  Sometimes you'll ask a question on google and click an article, only to discover the writer is a hack who refuses to provide a straightforward answer.

Last Wednesday, I googled: "Is South Park new tonight?"  I wound up clicking on a FanSided article titled "Is South Park new tonight, November 2nd?"  It was written by David Rouben, and his only job was to answer a yes-or-no question.  Instead, Rouben rambled on for six fucking paragraphs, and he actually wrote a recap of the season.  Seriously, this was the first paragraph:
If there’s any show that has proven to be a model of consistency, it’s South Park. A lot of shows don’t last half as long as South Park does, and when they do, their quality tends to drop well before then. But ever since South Park switched to a season-long arc model of storytelling, they have gone through something of a renaissance.
Just answer the question, you retard!

For the record,  the answer was "no."  It turns out you can visit www.cc.com/tv-schedule, and the table there will indicate whether an episode is new or not.  Rouben eventually provided that information in a roundabout manner at the end of the fourth paragraph.  I could give him credit for that, but I won't, because the information was buried and I still had to hunt around for it. This pissed me off so much that I've decided to start a list.  It will be a list of hack writers.  And David Rouben is the first name on that list:





List of hack writers:
David Rouben of Fansided.com, for his annoying and rambling clickbait.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Election odds

According to the NYTimes Upshot column, Hillary Clinton has an 84% chance of winning the election tomorrow.  To put that in sporting terms, the author says: "Mrs. Clinton’s chance of losing is about the same as the probability that an N.F.L. kicker misses a 38-yard field goal."  That seems like pretty safe odds for Hillary.

Unless, of course, the kicker you use for the simulation is somebody like...










Oh no...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cancelling Hulu

I cancelled my Hulu subscription and wrote the following in the feedback form:

No Chopped?  No Drugs Inc?  No Big Fix Alaska?  No Ice Road Truckers?  Boooo!!!!!!  At least you've got the wrestling shows.

I had recently started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, but then I tried out a free Netflix trial and say that they have the entire series, too.  And what's the point of paying for two simultaneous services when I intend to just use one at a time?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

PinOut master

I downloaded PinOut for my iPhone, and I've managed to get to the overtime stage about five times in a row.  That's without paying the $1.99 for the ability to save my progress.  PinOut, you are no longer a challenge.  You have been mastered.  I've been able finish the main stages with 150 seconds left on the clock!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Review of iPhone apps

I got a new iPhone recently.  So, with nothing better to do, I'll review some of the apps.  This is the only app-review guide you'll ever need!

IHeartRadio:  This is the best app.  You can listen to local radio stations like Z100 or 106.7 Lite FM.

CBS News:  Pretty cool.  I can livestream the news without having to enter my cable subscription account information.  (I do not have a cable account.)

Police Scanner+:  I listened for 15 minutes and nobody spotted Sandman.

Facebook and YouTube:  Nah.  I'd rather just browse these on my laptop.

Numbers, Keynote and Pages:  I don't know what these even are....

Watch:  I don't own an Apple Watch.

Dictionary.com:  This has an annoying-to-read layout.

Oxford dictionary:  This has a better layout than Dictionary.com.  Congrats Oxford, you've made the lineup!

DuoLingo:  Screw this app.  Am I really supposed to learn a language by matching up words?  Le Chat = The cat?   I feel dumber for trying out the first three lessons.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Late Night and elections

I don't think Donald Trump would have much of a chance in this upcoming election if Jon Stewart were still hosting The Daily Show: http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/02/media/jon-stewart-donald-trump-stand-up-for-heroes/index.html.

John Oliver is okay, I guess.  But what was his main contribution to the whole anti-Trump campaign?  Calling Donald Trump "Donald Drumpf"?  I assume it's supposed to make people think of Hitler (cause not many words end in "mpf.")   Seth Meyers and Samantha Bee are very partisan, too.

With Jon Stewart, you could watch him and think, "Yeah, he's partisan, but he's also the smartest guy in the room."  Also, you have to remember that Donald Trump and Jon Stewart are both WWE fans.  Donald Trump participated in the battle of the billionaires at Wrestlemania, and Jon Stewart cost John Cena the title at SummerSlam.  They're cut from the same cloth.  I feel like there's something which Jon Stewart "gets" that most other people don't.  Does Stephen Colbert, for instance, know anything about WWE?  He's probably been too busy reading Lord of the Rings for the 10th time.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pointless TV love triangle

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a weird show.  There was supposed be a "love triangle" in Season 1 between three of the characters--Rebecca, Josh, and Greg.  However, the guy who plays Greg is an infinitely better actor and singer than the guy who plays Josh.  It's not even close!  He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2013; he won a Drama Desk Award; and he voiced a character in Frozen.  He's Disney royalty!

The guy who plays Josh once had an ensemble role at The Paper Mill Playhouse.

All of Greg's songs are good songs.  Even the bad ones.