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What I'm Watching: 12 Monkeys (1995)

Haven't seen this since the theatre when it came out.

So, 1995. Bruce Willis was familiar from Moonlighting, and Die Hard, and his mediocre blues album The Return of Bruno, but hadn't become quite the caricature and one-note joke he is now. Brad Pitt had just come off True Romance and Se7en, whining and crying "What's in the box? What's in the box?!" Madeleine Stowe was the A-list femme fatale from China Moon, Revenge, and The Two Jakes. Plenty of smaller familiar actors, like Chris Meloni (most punchable face in the world) as the asshole cop, years before Law & Order: Formulaic Rape Is Bad Unit.

This film's a massively extended (too much so) Hollywoodization of the French experimental… it's not quite a movie, except in the way Ken Burns' documentaries are… sequence of moving pictures, La Jetée. Which in some ways is very effective, but it's dry as hell, lacks any characterization, it's an idea without implementation. Hollywooding it up was inevitable.

The style of the future, the police station, the mental institution, the shitty New York corner they keep going back to, just every set except the outdoors and the mansion, are basically Terry Gilliam going crazy with his brutalism and industrial post-war England anti-aesthetic. Visually impressive sometimes, but good grief, Terry, not everyplace looks like the concrete cell you were apparently raised and beaten in. The man needs a psychiatrist, not a director of photography.

The closed time loop of James Cole's life is pretty obvious from the first flashback, if you have any science fiction background; I'd well forgotten the details, and immediately realized it. The people of the future can't find anyone honest and sane who's tough enough to survive time travel, so they send a stir-crazy prisoner; but everyone seems to be a prisoner or a guard, there's no indication of normal life in the future. Cole's inability to calm down, act normal, like he remembers people being from childhood, is what causes all of his own problems.

The Army of the 12 Monkeys are well-cast, I've known a few people in extreme environmental causes and they're… not well-adjusted. When you're "the only people who know the truth!!!", you can either work sanely to raise awareness; or wait for it to be a giant mess so finally people act at the last minute, which is what normally happens, see global warming; or scream like a maniac and discredit everything you stand for, which is how these groups usually work. Pitt's a convincing lunatic, he's always had that twitchy look and when he gets screaming & whining & making weird hand gestures, nobody can stop him. Is there a film where Pitt doesn't flip out?

There's a nice tight 60-90 minute story trapped in a flabby, repetitive 2 hours 10 minutes of film. There's no reason for the second or third trips back, or the side-jaunt to the more distant past. A tighter version: Cole goes back, gets nabbed, stays in the asylum a few years, escapes, goes on a road trip with the shrink, the finale happens. Nobody else from the future ever needs to show up, the shrink picks up the last clue in the airport.

I so want this to be better than it is. The premise is great. It's better to watch than La Jetée. Madeleine Stowe is very nice. But I had to take a few breaks and got out my phone during the long repeat acts. The slo-mo death scene with swelling music at the end should've been cut, it shits on the tone of the rest of it.

★★★½☆

Dead Wednesdays Music

Behold the sparkle of champagne
The crime rate's gone
Feel free again
Oh, life's a dream with you, Miss Lily White
Jane Fonda on the screen today
Convinced the liberals it's okay
So let's get dressed to dance away the night
While they
Kill kill kill kill kill the poor

What I'm Playing: Atari Flashback X Deluxe

Modern videogames suck. Let's go back to the '70s & '80s forever!

Ordered this for my birthday last month, I got screwed (but not charged) by a phony 'zon seller, then reordered. When it got here I discovered it doesn't have an HDMI cable in the box(!!! Some choice language was used that day, I assure you), and I only have micro-HDMI spares, so I had to order one (didn't feel like disassembling my existing systems). So weeks later, I can now set it up!

The "console" is hand-sized (joysticks on the box cover are to scale!), but looks just like the classic VCS, classic fake woodgrain on black plastic, very nice chunky silver switches that feel great when you flick them to set difficulty or choose game mode, smooth plastic where the cartridge slot would be; I think they missed an opportunity to put an SD card slot there. The previous Atari Flashbacks had a less authentic looking case, and goofy yellow plastic buttons.

There's two Atari-style joysticks with it, they have the usual one trigger button, and Home, Start, Select, Rewind buttons on the front base. I'm not in love with the joystick feel, it's much looser than a new Atari joystick which was a real struggle to move more than a few millimeters, these are closer in feel to 3rd party sticks, not as mushy and unresistant as Apple or CoCo joysticks. The device uses a standard Atari 9-pin joystick port, so I'm thinking about either getting old Atari sticks, or if I can find one in good condition the Spectravideo QuickShot which was my weapon of choice in the Atari 8-bit days.

The main screen has menus Favorites, Recently Played, Alphabetical, Atari, Paddle, Settings, About; everything's in Alphabetical, the Atari one is just 1st-party so you miss all the best games. Paddle games are extremely hard to control. Settings are limited to setting a "bezel" design, or wiping your saves. I do wish you could un-favorite games so they don't appear in a normal list, because I have no use for Atari's awful sports games.

So I hit up Yar's Revenge, obviously, and play that first. The first screen has an ugly and inadequate text summary of the manual, it doesn't have scans of the manuals or the comics, so you're going to need to find those; the game variations are not explained beyond 1 or 2 player versions. So on difficulty B (easy in this case; some games used A for easy), game 0 which the actual manual says "the simplest version, a good choice for young children to play. It features a slow Destroyer Missile", I got destroyed the first time, even shot myself with the Zorlon Cannon once, which is maybe the dumbest death I've ever had in a videogame. Second run I killed the first Qotile but got demolished fighting the scrolling shield; in theory it's easier because you can nibble the top or bottom and flee across the top/bottom border to avoid the missile, but timing the gap with the cannon is too much for my distracted old brain. I think some practice will get me back up to speed where I can actually get a decent score.

The Code Mystics iPhone ports of these games do include the manuals, but not all the peripheral material either, and playing on the phone is difficult; I have an "8-bitty" bluetooth joystick that talks to the phone, but BT has perceptible lag, and it's not a big chunky joystick, and then how do you prop up a teeny little phone so you can play a game? No, it's impossible except for the simplest games.

Of course the Swordquest games are unusable without the manuals and comics. I desperately need to find an archive with, say, PDFs of all 2600 game manuals, comics, Atari Force comics, etc. Some of that is in gamesdatabase.org, but not organized for one-click download.

Went thru a bunch more games, and generally they look and play great; as fast as the originals without noticeable lag, tho I haven't done high-speed video recording to verify it's not dropping frames…

Most games have an inset screen with the above-mentioned bezel around it, tho some of Taito's and Activision's games are full-screen. There's no setting for this, and I'm displeased but it's on a 46" or something screen, as opposed to the 17" or smaller CRT of my yout'. There is a fake-scanline setting, which I don't understand the point of. CRTs looked fuzzy so you couldn't really see the scanline, and the pixels were soft and curved into each other, and had color artifacting. On a big LCD, a fake scanline isn't going to make the pixels look softer or change their harsh colors. It's just a completely different appearance. I do have a CRT TV, but only a DVI-to-RGB adapter, I'd have to find an HDMI-to-RGB to drive this.

The paddle games are unplayable with the joysticks; they work, but you can't move fast enough. I killed a bunch of clowns trying to do Circus Atari, and scored no points. I need to order some classic paddles.

Many of my favorite games are in this, but there are some obvious missing ones: Battlezone, Berzerk, Casino, Defender, The Empire Strikes Back, Pac-Man, Pitfall II, Raiders of the Lost Ark. The licensed ones are probably hard to get back; nobody misses E.T.

Several keypad-based games are missing; I'd happily pay for an optional keypad that enabled these: Basic Programming, Brain Games, Star Raiders.

But it does have the Sears Stellar Track which is BASIC Super Star Trek that runs on a dinky little 2600! I have no idea how that was technically possible in 128 bytes of RAM.

  1. 3D Tic-Tac-Toe
  2. Adventure
  3. Adventure II
  4. Air-Sea Battle
  5. Amidar
  6. Aquaventure
  7. Asteroids
  8. Asteroids Deluxe
  9. Atari Climber
  10. Basketball
  11. Beamrider
  12. Blackjack
  13. Bowling
  14. Breakout
  15. Burger Time
  16. Burnin Rubber
  17. Canyon Bomber
  18. Centipede
  19. Championship Soccer
  20. Chopper Command
  21. Circus Atari
  22. Combat
  23. Combat Two
  24. Cosmic Commuter
  25. Crackpots
  26. Crystal Castles
  27. Decathlon
  28. Demons to Diamonds
  29. Desert Falcon
  30. Dodge Em
  31. Double Dunk
  32. Dragster
  33. Enduro
  34. Fatal Run
  35. Fishing Derby
  36. Flag Capture
  37. Football
  38. Frogger
  39. Front Line
  40. Frostbite
  41. Golf
  42. Gravitar
  43. Gyruss
  44. H.E.R.O.
  45. Hangman
  46. Haunted House
  47. Home Run
  48. Human Cannonball
  49. Indy 500
  50. Jungle Hunt
  51. Kaboom
  52. Keystone Kapers
  53. Lock n Chase
  54. Maze Craze
  55. Megamania
  56. Millipede
  57. Miniature Golf
  58. Missile Command
  59. MotoRodeo
  60. Night Driver
  61. Off-the-Wall
  62. Oink
  63. Outlaw
  64. Pitfall
  65. Polaris
  66. Pong (Video Olympics)
  67. Pooyan
  68. Pressure Cooker
  69. Radar Lock
  70. Realsports Baseball
  71. Realsports Basketball
  72. Realsports Soccer
  73. Realsports Volleyball
  74. Return to Haunted House
  75. River Raid
  76. Saboteur
  77. Save Mary
  78. Seaquest
  79. Secret Quest
  80. Sky Diver
  81. Slot Racers
  82. Solaris
  83. Space Invaders
  84. Space Raid
  85. Space War
  86. Sprintmaster
  87. Stampede
  88. Star Ship
  89. Starmaster
  90. Steeplechase
  91. Stellar Track
  92. Street Racer
  93. Submarine Commander
  94. Super Baseball
  95. Super Breakout
  96. Super Cobra
  97. Super Football
  98. Surround
  99. Swordquest: Earthworld
  100. Swordquest: Fireworld
  101. Swordquest: Waterworld
  102. Tempest
  103. Tutankham
  104. Video Checkers
  105. Video Chess
  106. Video Pinball
  107. Warlords
  108. Wizard
  109. Yars Return
  110. Yars Revenge

Deluxe bonus games:

  1. Backgammon
  2. Chase It
  3. Escape It
  4. Frog Pond
  5. Fun with Numbers
  6. Marine Wars
  7. Miss It
  8. Shield Shifter
  9. Slot Machine
  10. Strategy X

Wizards Address the Orc Problem

Nice to see this directly addressed. Obviously I still prefer my solution which was just to replace Orcs with a more sympathetic species, but WotC is a business with tight margins so they'll just do the minimum necessary to not be running a minstrel show.

I've never really used "Drow" except in the GDQ modules (Giants went great, never got a party to finish Drow, let alone Queen of the Demonweb Pits), I preferred the Sidhe from Celtic myth making all "Elves" pretty, alien, and sociopathic (interesting point, there's a subworld of Queen, "Caer Sidi", which inspired me to get into Elves-as-Sidhe!), and later the Gazetteer Shadow Elves created underground Elves with a grudge, but they're not Drow. Having the black-skinned, white-haired Elves be "evil" and relentlessly, cartoonishly cruel torturers, poisoners, perverts, and backstabbers wasn't one of TSR's better takes. And then R.A. Salvatore, the third-worst writer in the world (I've read two of his books, part-way, and they're so bad it's impossible to finish them), made his Mary Sue character Drizzle-doo-wah-Diddy who's the One Good Drow, which became TSR canon. I'd flush the entire archetype, I don't think it's fixable.

The Vistani thing is also pretty hard to fix. They're stereotype "Gypsies". You can pull elements out to make carny folk, maybe, but if you have a tribe of thieves and soothsayers in a caravan it's obvious what you're doing. There's also Romani-based caricatures in Greyhawk, and who knows where else, it was a very popular trope with the '80s-'90s TSR writers, because "a Gypsy tells you your fortune" is a super easy plot hook, if you're unaware/unconcerned about your racism.

Changing ability score modifiers is weird. Now, there's no modifiers in Original D&D, everyone has the same 3d6 scores down the line, and fairly simple species special abilities and some harsh class limits. AD&D 1st Ed added the racist & sexist race vs stat & class tables, and each following edition dug in further. Hm, looking at my AD&D PDF (bought back when Paizo had the rights), I could swear in the original print back in '79 there was a Human column up front there, that's been redacted, where Human females got 3/17 Strength and probably Constitution & Charisma (being used more for leadership in AD&D, and women leaders were Not A Thing to those guys). Was this changed in a later printing? And the Half-Orcs got seriously shafted here.

Note this is the AD&D 1st ed text on Half-Orcs. "Orcs are fecund", "player characters which are of the half-orc race are within the superior 10%". What the fuck, Gary?

I don't really have any use for D&D 5th Ed, it's a cartoony game with 10-100x as many rules as it needs, and they've dug themselves into this hole by pushing out old content which was noted as being problematic 20 years ago, but at least WotC's a little self-aware of the things they're publishing now.

What I'm Watching: Doom Patrol

So back in 1989, Grant Morrison took over Doom Patrol, which had been around in various forms since 1963, the original genius in a wheelchair, deranged freak "students", fighting weird enemies and society, months before the X-Men. Except instead of having white kids (and later token Storm & Jubilee) stand in for racism with a trite ending every time; Doom Patrol had broken people stand up for themselves, insane, crippled, or just weird as they are. Grant took a weird thing and made it weirder, with increasingly postmodern, deranged plots and villains that just make no sense, cut-up stories and art. Great comic, everyone should read it. Don't bother with anything Grant didn't write.

The show on HoboMax does a decent job of making a core Doom Patrol team: Larry/Negative Being (but not gender-changed Rebis yet?), Cliff/Robotman (voice-acted by Brendan Fraser), Jane/Crazy Jane, Rita/Elasti-Girl, Niles/Chief, and Vic/Cyborg. Larry's easy, a body-wrap of gauze and a shitty ball lightning effect; he whines about his wife and boyfriend a lot, nobody cares. Cliff has a fairly good whole-body suit, and we see a few flashbacks to frumpy Fraser when he had a body. Jane gets a bunch of additional voice actresses for the alternates, her powers are mostly shitty jump-cut teleports and such, the only impressive power is speaking words into steel floating in the air, which become knives. Rita's a pretty good special effect, instead of growing and stretching, she just turns into The Blob but made of fat tissue, oozes into or over everything, and her character trying to fight what a horrible thing she is, is well-portrayed.

Chief, I haven't seen a lot of yet, he's a pompous, secret-filled, treacherous jackass who'll do anything to "put things right" but also to work on his Human experiments; it's Timothy Dalton, so he may be able to pull it off. Mr Nobody, the main villain, is Alan Tudyk, and he gets some CGI erasure to be half-there, which is fine, he mostly just chews scenery and taunts people, nothing actually happens.

The problem here is Vic, fucking Cyborg. In the old Teen Titans comics, Cyborg was the joyless stick-up-his-ass bureaucrat part of the team, but he was opposed by the far more competent Robin/Nightwing, and Beast Boy and every other crazy vigilante to shout him down. Put in with the Doom Patrol, they're no more respectful of Vic the Dick, but he's the least crazy and so kind of runs roughshod over them. Someone please dump him in a recycling bin. Every scene Vic is in is just a drag.

I'm kind of impressed they mostly stuck with '80s-style practical effects and lowest of low-budget surface CGI/painting on the film effects. There's nothing here they couldn't have done back in the '80s.

Speaking of, there's a… setting trick. So, Doom Patrol is deeply tied up in WWII mad scientists, and it's written, set in the '80s. But this show is set in the present. They just skip 30 years, assert that everyone stayed in the mansion and didn't age. I don't know if this will ever be addressed for how dumb it is, but whatever, it lets them have the original crew & villains somehow in 2020. Don't think about it too hard, I guess.

The plots are gibberish. There's a hole in the ground that eats a lame town, and then they travel into a donkey, in order to spit the town back out. They travel to Paraguay and watch a puppet show, put on by living puppets. They're certainly trying to be as weird as Doom Patrol, it's fairly pointless so far, but I'm amused for the most part. It could use some editing to get the pacing up (easy: Just delete every scene Vic is in), these 44-minute episodes feel 2 hours long.

★★★½☆

What I'm Playing: Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe (Saga RS)

Yet another gachapon game based on a classic GameBoy and later Square Enix franchise (SaGa Frontier, etc). To a large extent, this is as basic, standard, zero innovation of a gacha phone game as I've ever seen.

The characters are very pretty, there's some great character art, and then it goes into 16-bit sprite art for the game. Nice retro tone. Repetitive music's getting a little annoying, but it has sliders for BGM, SFX, and voice, unlike so many other games.

Gameplay has a 5-character party, with various formations possible, and turn-based combat, with increasingly powerful skills, multi-character combos, and passives; it's not a real "FIGHT CAST ITEM DODGE FLEE" menu, so all your tactical choices really are in party setup. Right now my main party only has a few melee fighters and one caster, and I just summoned an S rank healer, just need a better AOE caster. I keep trying to use Sif as a main DPS, her stats & damage are amazing… and she dies in every hard fight despite having high HP, I don't know why. I've tried moving her position, giving her best armor, nothing works.

There's a weird distinction in this between characters and "styles" who are the specific instances by rank (A, S, SS, like Lake Woebegone everyone's children are above average, there's no N or lower ranks, no trash chars but A's aren't really useful). You don't gain experience instantly, you have to return to town, hit Dojo, and level up. And increasing level cap/rank is possible, but it costs a lot of gold and "character parts".

There's a shop with random gear and character parts, and will be a forge but I haven't unlocked it yet.

This could be any gacha game—if I really cared, I'd play more Another Eden, Last Cloudia, or get back into DanMachi now there's been new episodes—but it's competently done, I'm having fun grinding these chars up for the moment, and advancing a quest where some Robin-like waif is looking for his sister in "Graves", giant dungeon towers that appear across the land every 300 years.

I don't know if Squenix is going to make any money out of me, there's so far been no paywall where I needed more gems, so it's just a free game.

What I'm Watching: Adventure Time: Distant Lands: BMO

Available on the HoboMax.

BMO, especially delusional BMO being a hero, is generally my favorite character of AT, even tho I skip all those awful Grables eps. So I was looking forward to this. Not happy about the result.

No way to talk about this without spoilers:












BMO and their potatoes are going to Mars. But then they're redirected to an ancient space station made of little environment pods, like blown-up Xandar (in the comics, not the boring planet in the Guardians movies), or Robert Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky, and BMO sets off to save everyone!

Unfortunately everyone in the station sucks. The bunny kid sidekick is useless, spineless, and nigh-treacherous (but too spineless to be an effective traitor), the repair drone is just a follower, the adults are all villains or parasites who should be broken down for scrap. The character designs, other than a few sight gag characters in street scenes, are very plain, either blobs, the laziest-drawn humanoid bunnies ever, or a few alien/elf hybrids. Literally the only sympathetic characters in the entire show, besides BMO, are two thieving bugs, and a scrap robot (voiced by Simone Giertz! So there's like one good thing about this!)

There's an amazing environment, a setup perfect for a long series, which is wasted on a very stupid plot and a trite non-Adventure Time ending. Brute force or reason shouldn't get you out of trouble in AT, only insanity, lateral thinking, or coincidence should. Pen Ward hasn't written or directed since S8, everyone still involved is like 3rd-hand hires from when it was good, so tone drifting towards Hollywood garbage writing is inevitable, but tragic.

Well. That was, I guess not surprising after S10, but disappointing. Will any further eps be better?

★★☆☆☆

What I'm Watching: Adventure Time

HoboMax has Adventure Time, and soon to have some spinoff specials "Distant Lands", so I watched seasons 8-10 which I hadn't previously seen, and I'm now rewatching 6-7 which I apparently don't remember at all. Who needs linear time?

  • Season 8: Mostly episodic, often great adventure episodes. This is what I liked the show for originally. "I Am a Sword" seems to be adventure, but then introduces a real tragedy, which turns into the Fern sub-plot for the next 2 seasons. "Preboot" and "Reboot" activate Susan's origin story, and "The Invitation" starts a very long 8-part story about the last of the Humans; individual parts of this were good, but continuity is annoying in a show like this. 11-minute episodes are perfect for delivering the science-fantasy parody, 2-parters are a little long, 8 is (if you'll forgive the '80s sitcom reference) enough.

  • Season 9: Immediately starts with another 8-part quest about elemental (Candy, Slime, Ice, Fire) corruption. While I like Ice King/Simon and Weird Lady/Betty in small doses, an entire series about two amnesiac obsessives is excruciating. Since all the elemental princesses and inhabitants are reduced to insanity, there's really only Jake & Finn to have any sane dialog, and Jake's just a dog. The last few eps resolve Finn & his weird grass clone.

  • Season 10: Almost all of these were terrible. "The First Investigation" was good, a nice self-contained story. "Jake the Starchild" and "Temple of Mars" are decent science-fantasy stories, but almost not Adventure Time. "Gumbaldia" and "Come Along With Me" (44-minute finale story) set up a final Ooo War between PBub and her insane Uncle/offspring, and halfway delivers on it. But then they ran out of plot, and were unwilling to go all the way and let the Candy Kingdoms nuke each other, so just added a new dumb monster for them to half-ass their way out of. BMO at the end of time with an almost empty world was interesting, and they failed utterly to deliver on it.

I loved classic Adventure Time, but the writers really got wound up too much in continuity and making sense of a senseless idea later on. It's Thundarr on E, Mad Max with candy characters. That's fun. A little "oh living in this vale of tears is kinda hard yo" goes a very long ways. Long plots ruin it.

★★★★★ for the single adventures, ★★★★☆ for the first serial, ★★★☆☆ for the second serial, ★★☆☆☆ for the finale.

WWDC 2020 Liveblogging

As posted on appdot.net:

Apparently I'm watching all of WWDC on my phone, because it's the only current OS version device in my house, and of course a course table and video player only works with the absolute latest updates! F'shaw, like last year's OS could handle a scrolling table?! Or video streams?!

Brings up George Floyd… but not . Some kind of fund for black developers is a good idea, but no details yet.

COVID, but nothing about the contact tracer or anything productive.

So now Craig.

"App Library" is like my page of folders auto-filled. With Apple Quality AI®, I'm sure. Probably not.

Widgets, OTOH, is a "finally!", move usable widgets from the dashboard to pages.

PiP, great. Had that on my TV 40 years ago. Everyone except me hated me using it to channel-surf while waiting for ads to end.

Siri: 25 billion requests per month. 3B of those are me "set a timer for 3 minutes".

Universal translator! That's actually pretty cool. I was gonna snark, but if it's even 75% accurate it'll make phrasebooks obsolete.

Oh god Memoji. The hideous ingrown noses are super goddamned offensive to those of us with a real beak.

Ha ha maps and travel. As if. Just cancel this section until next year, guys. And by then, the Eugenics Wars or Terminator Uprising will have started. Won't be no Paris to visit.

Car stuff, I don't care. I replace a car every decade if that, I'm still using a tape adapter to play from my phone. And if I was getting a new car, I'm not a big enough asshole to get a Beemer.

OK, App Clips is like the Watch app-lets, but virally distributed by NFC or QR code. Not web tech or anything convenient.

Apple Pencil, remaking the Palm Pilot or Newton UI from the '90s… today!

AirPods are not "magic". They are bluetooth devices which can make me nauseous and vomit when the audio delay gets high or out of sync. I loathe this whole idea of wireless audio.

I've worn an Watch since launch, and it's a great watch… All the stuff past time, calendar, timer, talking to Siri, kind of irrelevant to me.

Sleep tracking's maybe a little judgy for me, I know I have erratic sleep and a machine's not going to make it better.

"self-report" privacy report. So it'll all be complete lies. You can't trust marketing scum.

Home. Yeah, no, never letting a machine control my house. I barely trust light switches or the garage door remote.

What is this "Foundation" show? There's a woman in it. There's no women in Asimov's Foundation! (OK, there's 2 or 3 in the later books)

Why is it all dark and grim, cyan/orange tinted? It's a book of conference room meetings.

Oh, fuck. "Entirely new design". Big Sur? Seriously? I still think Weed was the best California name they should've used. Maybe Barstow if they wanted to go more Fear & Loathing.

"Buttons appear when you need them" = invisible mystery meat icons. Just what I never wanted.

They did the translucent menu bar back in Leopard? It was unusable.

And yeah, great, more shit moving into my menu bar, or a fake-Dashboard in Notifications. I liked the old Dashboard, one F-key or hot corner. 10+ years ago!

If I thought it'd be as reliable as Leopard, I'd be less wary.

Advanced new controls in Catalyst like checkboxes: Just like 2005!

Safari: Hey, the one mostly good product Apple ships. Let's not fuck it up too much, guys! Kick Chrome for being a slow fat-ass while it's down, that's smart. I like that.

I just want my adblockers to block all the ads, guys. I don't need fucking Yahoo! home page in Safari, I need the NY Times paywall to go fuck itself.

Recipe filter? What. Be serious.

Do I love tabs?
% safariCountTabs.applescript
Window #95 = 31 tabs - Window #99 = 5 tabs - Window #98 = 23 tabs - Window #97 = 26 tabs - Window #102 = 15 tabs - Window #103 = 14 tabs -

How's your update gonna work with this madness? And I cleaned up last week! It was twice as much!

All right. The thing that matters.

"Transitioning to our own custom silicon".

I guess "Fat Binary" is politically incorrect for fat-shaming, all-dancing, exercising Apple. So it's "Universal Binary 2".

And yes, of course they used the new hardware for the demos, that's a good old Apple stunt.

Seems like it's working full-speed. Which if it's compiled for the device, it should be.

I'm more concerned with what happens to non-native apps? OK, "Rosetta 2".

All right, what devices, how much, and how soon, Craigy?

Yes, yes, I played this shitty Tomb Raider reboot on the PS3. I care about code, not Lara's pixelated ass. Nor about running iOS apps, I have a phone.

Hm. Dev kit? I'm still very negative on Swift, but maybe I'll live (or find practical ways around that). If they're gonna make good new hardware, and I do like many of the things in Big Sur. They just went from "no plan, last year's tech, no future" to having a future.

Might be time to revise my plan, move my current iMac to Windows for games, use an ARM Mac for work and get back to shipping Mac/iOS stuff?

What I'm Watching: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964): Both UFO cultists and cops agree, heat wave in winter and meteor showers are weird. A cop is assigned to bodyguard a princess from a small island under civil war. Said princess is contacted by an alien voice and told to jump from the plane, and she never even got her drink! Scientists hike into the mountains to investigate a meteor landing.

I must say, Japan's wilderness looks fantastic. The cinematography on this one, in color!, is head and shoulders above previous films. Even when they go into matte paintings and sets, it looks good. They do interesting cuts, like using a subway car as a wipe. It's almost hard to believe this is Honda Ishiro still, not doing locked-down cameras and super simple cuts or wipes; earlier he was more a director of people and cool events, not using the camera well. Even the rear projections are now fairly close to seamless.

Naoko the journalist and the Princess are both cute as hell. Naoko's cop brother is kind of a doofus, and utterly extraneous to the plot. The bodyguard cop has no personality except brooding and shooting (not very well, he never kills anyone with at least 30 shots), and there's no love between him and the Princess in the first half; all he has is a picture, and she's not herself. Has Honda learned cinematography, but forgotten about romance as the main driver of Human-scale plots?! What a terrible bargain.

The Mothra twins appear on TV, and summon a vision of the Mothra larva. This is a Japan that just lives with the regular existence of giant monsters and magic on TV, I don't see how anyone can mock UFO cultists or prophets from Venus in that world.

"Stay out of Mount Aso, Rodan will emerge!" "Shut up prophet! … OH NO IT'S RODAN AAAIEEE!" Incredibly predictable scene, but perfect "fools die of their folly" scene. Rodan's costume & flying puppet are much improved over the first movie, but it's a little odd being more of a Pteranodon/Roc hybrid now.

"Don't get on the ship!" And at least the important characters pay attention, but the poor sailors are going to meet… well, who else would be in the ocean? Big G's moving eyes look really weird. The suit's otherwise fine, but definitely reaching the end of this first design.

Fools stand far too close to Ghidorah's… egg? Meteor? Spaceship? But someone must witness the birth of a death god. The Princess tells the protagonists the Earth is doomed, and sells it for once. We start to get a real kaiju cosmology here, with planets preyed on or defended by monsters.

Finally we have all the world's monsters assembled, rampaging begins.

The assassins chasing the Princess thru the entire film have been unstoppable, but not very competent, and kind of a waste of time. The plot as it is would happen without them.

Possibly too much of the monster scenes are them arguing with Mothra, rather than fighting, there's only a few minutes of King Ghidorah vs the three defending kaiju. There is a bit of destruction in Tokyo, but mostly it's a beloved peasant village or wilderness at the foot of Mt Fuji. Mothra's very slow and annoying power, Godzilla throwing rocks, Rodan standing around waving its wings, are enough to drive off the dragon. FOR NOW.

★★★½☆ - Needs about 15 minutes less Human time, replaced with monster fighting time.

This is a major influence on my favorite kaiju movie, GMK: Godzilla Mothra King Ghidorah Giant Monster All-Out Attack, but there Godzilla and Ghidorah switch places, and the subplots are wiped away so it's just reporter, crazy old man as "prophet", and monsters. And on the latest Hollywood Godzilla King of the Monsters, but there everything is 100x larger than life.