Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TV Recap: The Great Indoors, S1E11, "Mason Blows Up"

Another above-average episode!  Mason gets a viral scoop by locating a stolen tiger, and Jack feels conflicted about Mason's overnight fame. I like how the show has transitioned to the point where the Millennials are writing their own features--they're no longer just newbs.  I also liked the montage of Jack typing out an article, because that's how real life goes a lot of the time.

Monday, January 30, 2017

TV Recap: The Great Indoors, S1E10, "The Explorers' Club"

Another great episode.  I was worried the show might reveal Roland to be a massive fraud who had never actually explored the wilderness.  Things began heading in that direction, but it turns out Roland really is an experienced adventurer.  Will Roland one day go down as one of TV's iconic characters, on par with Nigel Wick?  It could happen!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Express Observer

Does anyone know who publishes the Express Observer?  The "About" section says: "WE PROVIDE BREAKING NEWS & HEADLINES ON NORTH US."  It doesn't sound like the person in charge is a native English speaker.  Furthermore, their social media links don't direct to anything. Here is the website: http://expressobserver.com/

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Final college grades

Cool, I got straight A's in my final semester.  I haven't taken the GRE or applied to grad school, but I've got a decent GPA in my back pocket, which is nice.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Janice Bond and the fake Maddow tweet

There was a fake screenshot circulating on Twitter recently, showing a tweet supposedly sent by Rachel Maddow asking for the President to be "taken out."  Maddow, on her own Twitter page, acknowledged the hoax and shook her head at the thought anyone might believe it:
One of the accounts responsible for spreading the fake screenshots was @JaniceSBond.  Her bio says: "Democratic elector from the state of Hawaii."  When posting the fake screenshot, she wrote:
I just lost all respect for you @maddow I can't believe you just tweeted this. I'm glad you deleted it, but it's still wrong. #SeanSpicer
By the next day, the message had 1,358 re-tweets and 988 likes (archived here):



When I saw the tweet, I genuinely wondered if this old woman had lost her mind.  Her earlier tweets felt more-or-less normal.  There actually is an elector in Hawaii named Janice Bond, and she led Bernie Sanders's campaign on Kauai.  Earlier tweets from @JaniceSBond's timeline said she was planning to cast her vote for Sanders.  And on December 19th, a Hawaiian elector did cast a dissenting vote for Bernie Sanders.  However, that vote was cast by David Mulinix.  The three other electors, including Janice Bond, all voted for Hillary Clinton.

It wasn't until I found an article from TheGardenIsland.com, which profiled Bond, that the situation became clear.  The article described Bond's thought process leading up to the vote, and included this paragraph:
But it wasn’t over for Bond. Someone later called to tell her a fake Twitter account under Bond’s name was created and it declared she voted for Sanders. Not true. Not at all. She was unaware of it and set a new course to have it taken down.
So @JaniceSBond was under the direction of a troll since December!  It's kind of ingenious, when you think about it.  The troll picked an old lady who wasn't famous, but whose duties carry great political significance.  She didn't have much of a Twitter presence, so she didn't have a large platform from which to debunk the troll.  And he effectively played up the narrative that some electors were overly loyal to Bernie Sanders.  Then he waited a month before striking again.

Another question I had was whether @JaniceSBond originated the hoax.  So I looked for the earliest instances of the image.

1:55 P.M.: @JaniceSBond sent her tweet.

2:00 P.M., @FoxNewsYemen5 re-tweeted Bond, saying "BREAKING NEWS. @maddow from @MSNBC just send out crazy tweet about #PresidentTrump."

2:03 P.M., @CHughes63 tweeted "@JaniceSBond @maddow Another threat sounds like calling for someone to kill the President no other way to take this tweet"

Those were the earliest traces I could find.

On January 6, 2017, Kim LaCapria of Snopes.com wrote about a similar hoax in which a Twitter account called @Fox_News_Yemen was spreading screenshots of fake tweets supposedly made by DeRay Mckesson and Shaun King:
Both tweets were seemingly intended to stoke racial tensions by suggesting well-known civil rights advocates tacitly approved of the Chicago incident. A common ploy to pass fake tweets off as real ones involves (falsely) claiming a given tweet was briefly published and then rapidly removed, preventing users from viewing the tweet directly and verifying its authenticity. Donald Trump is the frequent target of such falsehoods, and Mckesson has also previously been the subject of fabricated messaging screenshots.
@Fox_News_Yemen was suspended at some point, and @FoxNewsYemen5 was suspended about the same time that @JuliaSBond was suspended.  Is there a connection between JaniceSBond, FoxNewsYemen5, and Fox_News_Yemen?  If so, what could that connection be?  I'm going to need a cork board, push pins and some red string to solve this.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pence profile is gone

It looks like Facebook removed the @VPMikePence page.  But why would they do that?  It had great zingers like:

The only way to plan a parenthood is to ask Jesus when it's time.
#PlannedParenthood #Jesus #MAGA #DJT

R.I.P., imposter:  http://archive.is/QYwFg.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pomodoro

Lately I've been utilizing the Pomodoro Technique, with a small twist, to focus on my work.  The twist is that instead of setting a 25-minute timer, I set a 3-minute timer.  It's a lot easier to focus for 3 minutes than for 25 minutes.  #Productivity

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Great Indoors got robbed!

The Great Indoors did not win the People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy.  Instead, the honor went to another CBS show, Man With A Plan.  Clearly, people still love Matt LeBlanc.

Still, it wasn't a total wash for The Great Indoors, because the whole cast got to participate in a self-aware pre-taped opening.  Check it out!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

C-Siccness is sick!

I was watching Jimmy Kimmel the other night, and he was joking about the San Diego-based rapper C-Siccness, who, like all San Diego residents, was despondent about the Chargers leaving town.  So of course I had to check out C-Siccness's videos to see if he's any good.


Those are some nice beats!  They should invite C-Siccness to perform at Trump's inauguration.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Updating the news

I've got to stop checking the news throughout the day, because I wind up getting fixated on updates and interpretations.

For example, there was a story today about the Giants trashing their plane after their loss to the Packers.  (Sidenote: Fuck the Packers.)  The New York Post originally ran the headline: "Giants trash airplane following embarrassing playoff blowout."  The writers based a large chunk of the story on some tweets from passengers whose flight had been delayed.  I archived the old headline, since I knew it was probably going to change:  http://archive.is/0rGRB

Later, the headline changed to: "Giants blamed for trashing airplane after playoff blowout."  A Giants spokesman denied the story, and United Airlines said there had been a mechanical problem with the original plane set to depart from Newark, necessitating a swap: http://nypost.com/2017/01/09/giants-trash-airplane-following-embarrassing-playoff-blowout/

So I still have no fucking idea what the truth of the matter is.  Maybe the plane the Giants took was kind of dirty, and had to go through a routine clean-up?  And then people assumed that was the cause for the delay?  It's pretty significant that the headline changed from 'This thing happened' to 'People say this thing happened.'

And that's just a harmless story about whether some football players made a mess.  Imagine all the updates and interpretations that occur with political stories.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Seattle has no news!

The Stranger reports that 23 people are going to leave the Seattle Times.  That includes the book editor, Mary Ann Gwins, and Matt Pentz, who covers the Sounders.  (I think they play soccer, or maybe baseball, or maybe lacrosse?)  Meanwhile, the KOMO television station just went through layoffs that included their investigative reporting team.  And Northwest Cable News is going off the air.  That's a lot of layoffs in a short amount of time.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bye-bye viewcounter

I got rid of the pageviews widget, since it was essentially useless.  I can still check the stats on my blog's dashboard, though.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Official election numbers

Last month, I tried to keep track of how the Presidential vote counts would change as a result of recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.  I should probably check how the numbers ended.

I'll use the New York Times elections page for the official results.  (At least, I hope they're official):
http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president

In Wisconsin:
Trump has 1,405,284 votes.
Clinton has 1,382,536 votes.

In Michigan:
Trump has 2,279,543 votes.
Clinton has 2,268,839 votes.

In Pennsylvania:
Trump has 2,970,733 votes.
Clinton has 2,926,441 votes.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission posted their official results on November 25, showing Trump with a lead of 22,177 votes.  After the recount, Trump had a lead of 22,748 votes.  So his lead increased by several hundred votes.

The Michigan recounted was halted, and the certified results are the same as were reported back on November 28.

The Pennsylvania results tightened a little, but the recount bid itself wound up getting rejected.  I wrote on December 3 that Trump had a lead of roughly 49,000 votes.  (In the days after the election, it was reported Trump had won Pennsylvania by a little over 70,000 votes.)  The final margin was 44,292 votes.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Cone Zone not shrinking yet, says TBS boss

Contrary to what was reported in The Wrap, TBS boss Kevin Reilly says there are no plans at the moment to make Conan a weekly show.  This was the statement he gave to the Hollywood Reporter:
"As the media landscape continues to evolve, Conan will continue to lead the evolution of what a talk show will be in the digital age. At this time, we have no plans to change the format or frequency of his popular TBS show. In addition to Conan's daily responsibilities to his talk show, we continue to have very ambitious plans that will further broaden and evolve our relationship with Conan."
It all sounds vague.  When asked directly if Conan would shift to a weekly format, he said: "No, but it will shift."  So...maybe Conan will wind up doing the Howard Stern schedule of working three days a week?  The original statement about the shift was made by John Martin, the CEO of Turner.  Maybe the two execs just have different opinions.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Cone Zone Shrinking!

According to The Wrap, Conan will be switching from airing four nights a week to airing just once a week:  http://www.thewrap.com/conan-obrien-weekly-tbs/

It might improve things!  A lot of the comedy sketches on Conan are really dumb nowadays, and it doesn't help that Conan usually sits there with a fatigued expression on his face, like he can't believe he's been reduced to this material.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

HitFix

I used to regularly visit this website called "In-Contention."  It was run by Kristopher Tapley and Guy Lodge.  They covered the Oscar race in-depth, and they had a sidebar listing of the major awards categories and the movies or actors they predicted would get nominations in each category.  In 2012, In-Contention.com was acquired by HitFix.com.  From that point, you would have to visit www.hitfix.com/in-contention.

A few years later, the writers of In-Contention were hired by Variety.  Now, you have to visit www.variety.com/in-contention.  Guy Lodge and Kristopher Tapley still write for In-Contention, but it's missing the convenient sidebar.

Last April, HitFix itself got acquired by Woven Digital.  According to a report from Variety, HitFix's 17 employees would be joining Woven Digital.  (Good for them!)  But six months later, Woven Digital laid off 20 employees, most of whom came from HitFix.

At some point, the standalone HitFix website was absorbed by UpRoxx.  So if you want to read anything from HitFix, you have to visit www.uproxx.com/hitfix.

I liked how HitFix would actually go to movie premieres and tape sit-down interviews with the actors.  The interviews weren't really that insightful, but it was cool to see examples of "press tour" interviews.  Those seem like they would be fun to conduct.  Without actual material, you just wind up with lots of aggregated news and press releases.

Monday, January 2, 2017

So many TV shows...

I barely know the plots of TV shows nowadays.  The Great Indoors is an exception, but after that there are about 100 other shows.

From what I can tell, The Magicians is about college-aged people who go off to magician school.  It's like Harry Potter, but not really.  I thought The Librarians was also about magicians, but apparently it's about librarians who investigate the supernatural.  And Supernatural is a show about....supernatural people, I guess?

Then there's The Crown and Royals.
There's Stranger Things and Better Things.
There's Preacher and Rectify.
There's The Mick and The Knick.
They just don't stop.