In Which Dave Winer Doesn't Understand WordPress

I hit the bookmark link to my site (Cmd-4 for no good reason in my Safari tabs). Hover +, Post. I'm in the edit screen.


Write my title, make sure the slugline looks OK, write the post in Markdown (I use Jetpack; YMMV if you're using bare WordPress).

Screenshot or art? I just drag it in, hit OK in media library.

Pick categories & tags (I always duplicate my categories in tags; again your process may vary), hit Publish. Note crosspost to fediverse, Twitter, and Elapsed time: 2 minutes at most?

Black Coffee in Friday Music

What I'm Watching: The Witcher

It is the most magical time of the year, so time to watch the new shitty fantasy series.

The show alternates between two almost totally separate shows; this season is based on prequel short stories, so apparently nobody will meet anyone until the end and the videogame starts.

Moody almost monochrome Witcher scenes where Geralt[sic, Polish can't spell "Gerald"?] broods and delivers Batman lines, refuses to do anything for anyone, but is clearly so desperate for coin he'll fight monsters on spec ("Kikimora" here being a weird swampy spider-ogre thing, rather than the Slavic mythological one which is a pair of good and evil house fairies). He meets a sexy witch in a bar who keeps the locals from murdering him and buys him beer, but he runs off with a little girl who kills rats to get a job with a magician. Who has a fairy fountain full of naked dryads, and wants him to kill the sexy witch from the bar.

Much brighter but still washed-out medieval political shit, battlefields run nothing like a real medieval battlefield (no honor guard for the queen, who leads from the front, lot of Lord of the Rings kind of cgi crowd shit). Tiny tomboy princess is about to be heir to a dead kingdom. The "Nilfgardians" are apparently black-armored psychopaths who don't take prisoners, torture victims.

I played a bit of the first Witcher game, but it doesn't explain much of the background. It's some generic pseudo-Europe called "The Continent" (or whatever that is in Polish). The Nilfgardians there are a more normal Holy Roman Empire pastiche, even leaving subject kings in place.

Why is Geralt[sic] a "mutant"? Allegedly 80 girls born in an eclipse are all mutants and evil, which is either medieval nonsense or factual description of magic world, and I can't tell which. But what's his excuse? Magic seems to be rare and super powerful, but nobody really minds its use, which seems at odds with the "he's different KILL HIM" attitude to Geralt[sic], the girls, monsters, and Elves.

We finally get a real fight scene with the Witcher, and it's pretty good; fight choreography and editing portrays a thing far faster and tougher than Human like a high-level videogame character just murderizing all the normal thugs, and fighting evenly against another mutant.

"They created me just as they created you! We're not so different!"


Now there's another storyline: Hunchback Pig-Girl can teleport to magic fairy-land, and gets bought by a witch for half the price of a pig. No worries, tho, someday she'll become Yennefer[sic] the Witch and make herself pretty, because only poor & non-magic people are ugly in the Witcher. But first she has to go to Shitty Hogwarts, which is a series of caves and stone classrooms with a loading screen showing two towers and a bridge for context; there's no scenes set where you would see the matte painting/loading screen behind anyone. Total set budget: $50 for plaster, scrap wood, and a veritable mountain of plastic skulls & bones.

We finally get back to Geralt[sic], remember the main plot? Hunting "devils" who steal grain for a leather sack of coins, which is suspiciously exactly how much he negotiated for. Zero effort was made to make anything plausible, it's just like the videogame. Ah, I love a good kill/fetch quest. We get a lot of sitting around hearing about Elves and how Humans have massacred them. Which never makes sense to me: If Elves are a superior, magical, immortal race, how are mere trash monkeys able to kill them?

The princess runs away from the Evil Dark Army, and is taken in by stupid refugees who don't realize she's clean and pretty and therefore royalty; they are of course dirty and ugly because they're Working-Class with Ambitions, and therefore doomed. Their Dwarf slave doesn't like the situation, but nobody likes him either. Well, I like him more after [SPOILER]. The princess has zero personality (or the actress simply couldn't even read lines), she's a plot coupon that moves thru scenes on rails.

I'm perplexed by the period this is supposed to be in. The Witcher game is sort of medieval 12th C Poland? But there's post-Renaissance bards with 18th C or so lutes, singing about potions for abortions. I'm shocked I haven't seen more anachronistic technology with the casual disinterest the show takes in period drama.

The currency situation is bugging me, too. In two episodes we've had marks, ducats, orins, and florins? Marks are German and only in Shitty Hogwarts land, but the other three are within a day's ride of the starting forest and are Italian. Why aren't there any zloty, if this is so Polish? Why is any of this historical Europe if it's a completely different fantasy world?!

Well, so far this is about on par with Uwe Boll's Bloodrayne, but lacks the star power (Michael Madsen, Ben Kingsley, Meat Loaf, and a dozen Romanian whores!). All this has is Henry Cavill (the doughy, vapid, murderous Zack Snyder Superman) who does fine standing around growling, and he can fight well, but he's barely even present for "acting", he just hits his marks and says his lines. Lars Mikkelsen (Mads' wuss brother, who we last saw in the original Danish The Killing 13 years ago) is sort of amusing and cuddly as the magician Slartibartfast or whatever; but I think they wanted menacing and mystical, which he is not.

★★☆☆☆ script, production, and acting quality, ★★★½☆ for fight scenes and entertaining stupidity. Totally going to keep watching, this is a nice fun trainwreck show.

Year of Commercial Crew

"Liftoff! The rise of Starliner and a new era of human spaceflight!"
—Josh Barrett, Boeing launch commentator

"I’d say we’re in the 85-90% range of our test objectives."
—Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing’s Space and Launch Division

This is why Boeing is so terrible: They can't even acknowledge their failures and address them. Starliner isn't a new era of anything, and didn't make it to the station. If there had been crew on board, they'd sit in orbit, possibly for days depending on how far off orbit they are and the ground weather, then risk reentry for no purpose, and the station wouldn't get resupplied. Best case is nobody dies but the mission's still a failure.

And for this they're taking $300M? And a couple billion wasted on SLS which may never fly. This is just pork. Politicians giving money to a company, who cares if anything works. Everyone involved is committing fraud.

I think NASA should cancel all of Boeing's contracts. Let them try to qualify again, submit bids like anyone else, without political bullshit. Maybe Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic can launch better and faster.

SpaceX has been supplying the ISS since checks Falcon launches 2012-05-22. They were supposed to get Crew Dragon to the ISS in 2015, but didn't finish it until 2019-03-02 with flight 69 (nice), and still aren't crew-rated until an abort test next year; but they're taking half as much per flight and are far less likely to blow up or fail.

Roscosmos are still the only ones capable of getting a crew safely to and from orbit. Foust's article doesn't go into how Roscosmos is run by thieves and plunderers while trash overflows, but they don't seem like they'll be long for the world Solar System.

What I'm Watching: Nightflyers

I'm much more a fan of George R.R. Martin's SF than his fantasy/"English history for C-average history students" aka "A Song of Ice and Fire". "Nightflyers" is a good novella, but it has maybe an hour or two of content, so the show at 10 hours is ridiculously expanded and bears only the slightest resemblance to the story.

Royd Eris in the book is enfeebled, a pasty white slug in an acceleration couch, has no immune system, has never touched a living Human, has no crew, and runs the ship by advanced automation. In the show, he becomes Roy, big black dude, and while he hides in his deck for a while, he's fit and strong and can totally come out and fuck the passengers when he wants. I had a theory about how they reconciled this, which was later revealed to be (mostly?) correct. I would have preferred the original cameras & holograms version.

In the show there's an angry mob of crew and a bald Picardian asshole XO so you can get reactions, and as victims.

The big reveal of the book was the force on the captain's side of the ship, and the horrible logic of how you survive it. In the show, that's introduced early and it doesn't have any of the original powers, personality, or origin. It's the least of your problems.

Telepathy and telekinesis are big drivers of the book, and while there's a telepath on the show, he's irrelevant, a walkie-talkie would be just as useful but they don't seem to have any. The second teep was changed in the show, probably so they could film more psychic sex scenes. Later they talk about "teke" as some kind of magical psychic powerup energy, not "telekinesis".

In the book, Humans have FTL and know (and have warred with) many alien races, thousands of years after leaving Earth, the volcryn are a legend of a slow-moving STL fleet in the void between the stars, where no FTL race goes; a mystery but not Humanity's one big chance. In the show, Humans have only recently reached space and have STL, and the volcryn are the only hope of getting FTL before using up the Solar System or some such nonsense.

So, as opposite as you can get.

First few episodes are setup and world-building, and here it's pretty good. It's Actual Science Fiction (that is, fiction about science, and not contradicting reality) in most parts. The ship looks pretty good, a big spinning ring with habitat pods on the ends, and the "ship" in the middle. Gravity is never really addressed; they have artificial gravity in the book, so I don't know why there's a ring here. We rarely see any pod interior except the "terraform" pod with a forest and bees, and a cargo pod full of crates and the telepath's shipping container.

Halfway thru, something goes very wrong with the writers.

S1E6, the show introduces a derelict ship, and this suddenly becomes a terrible episode of Space:1999. I'll just say this: Human cloning requires a food source. You can't make food from nothing by jerking guys off and cloning people; it's so fucking stupid. At least in Rick & Morty's Froopyland (S3E9, "The ABC's of Beth") there's an entire world of biological matter, and breeding hybrid babies just makes edible food out of them.

S1E7, the telepath wanders around being a plaything for the crew, who again shouldn't exist. The cyberneticist has her fantasy world of a 1950s diner shattered by a little black girl being there. Karl goes more crazy about his dead daughter.

S1E8 is the terrible Michael Crichton bio-horror ep with bad mushrooms. The show's really coming apart, no semblance of main story arc, just disconnected events.

S1E9 finally remembers the mission exists, the telepath makes contact with the volcryn in a way that greatly contradicts the book, the annoying xenobiologist goes crazy and there are deaths, but not the ones of the book.

S1E10 has everyone else go crazy, "Mom"/cyberneticist gets dumbass Picard to sabotage the drives which we know only genetic superwoman can fix, Karl goes out to meet the volcryn/hallucination of his dead daughter. Show comes to a confusing, incomplete end.

Happily this mess has been cancelled.

If they'd kept the tone of E1-E5 and just finished up the original volcryn story, "Mom" killing almost everyone, and genetic superwoman and what's left of Royd flying off forever, this could've been salvaged. I don't know what happened to the writers at S1E6, but that should never have happened.

★★★☆☆ at the start, ★☆☆☆☆ by the end.

What I'm Watching: The Dunwich Horror

I found a cheap Bluray two-pack of The Dunwich Horror (1970), and Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971), great classic weird horror movies. I'll see Murders later.

The Dunwich Horror looks great, that vibrant '70s color, sets with disorienting angles and weird lighting. Sound's not fantastic, music has a few repeated stingers but not a long soundtrack. Long stretches are silent, waiting for someone to speak.

Dean Stockwell's a charming but weird motherfucker at any time, but here as Wilbur Whateley (the presentable Whateley brother) he was at his peak. He's smooth but kind of square, with raving weirdo shit a millimeter beneath the surface. Just perfect casting and acting for the role. I don't care for his corduroy jacket style, but it was the '70s.

Sandra Dee as the naïve Nancy is certainly vapid enough, but maybe a little plump and matronly at 28 to be a college girl. She wears maybe the weirdest slit overcoat/cape thing I've ever seen, not explicable even by the '70s. Later when she's drugged out and just writhing around in a nightgown, there's no "acting" but she's a useful prop, and her vag doubles as a bookrest. The film does not pass the Bechdel Test, either with her or her girlfriend.

Ed Begley as Professor Armitage, mortal enemy of the Whateleys, uncomprehending owner of the Necronomicon, is as stuffy, closed-minded, and foolish as he should be. What I don't know is what kind of lecture he could possibly give; he doesn't understand the Mythos, and the book would destroy all of his precious Christian delusions.

It's an age-old story, boy looks for the Necronomicon, meets girl, seduces girl, steals Necronomicon, summons Yog-Sothoth with girl as sacrifice.

Unfortunately there's a very long stretch of no Wilbur and Nancy, just Armitage questioning people in his slow, "let me put it like this" "you may find this hard to believe" fussing around, with equally old, doddering fools who waste a scene filling a pipe. The girlfriend who wanders around is pointless. Unbearable and most of his scenes should have been cut completely.

The "good Christian folk" of Dunwich are the same bigoted, murderous mob that killed Wilbur's great-grandfather; justified perhaps but no less loathesome. They really do make you sympathize with Wilbur's desire to bring back the Old Ones and replace Humanity.

The Old Ones here are not Cthulhu and kin, but mere body-painted pagans who dance and orgy in the meadows, but Yog-Sothoth and the other Whateley brother are Lovecraftian enough. Most scenes of him are just weird camera angles, light & sound effects, and a wind machine, but a couple good shots of the being.

And then the shittiest rap battle in history ends with the sanctimonious idiots winning. But there is another…

There's a lot of room for improvement, and the middle stretch is dull, but it's a good film that's also a good Lovecraft adaptation, rarest of things.


Apple's Bug Bounty

Yo I'm'a be a bounty hunter like Boba Fett when he was still cool, yo!

"It sounds like you don’t get paid until (and unless) Apple fixes the bug."




Oh, you're never getting paid.