Archive for the ‘Bloggus interruptus’ Category

Double dumbstruck

September 11, 2022

Gassing up for the long commute.

“This heat’s not good for the brain. Turns out nothing much is good for the brain in the 2020s. TV rots it, the Internet turns it to jelly, the miserable climate bakes it, 90 percent of what we call ‘work’ is deliberately designed to actually erase the human brain; this has been proven. Podcasts: Now there’s a guaranteed way to reverse years of book-learning and social skills. There’s online gambling, TikTok … and then Queen Elizabeth II passed away and it was like a Bat-Signal in the sky to make everybody go extra double-dumb. … Only in Ireland did they seem to sort of be enjoying it all.” — Ken Layne, “Like a Hurricane,” Desert Oracle Radio

You said a mouthful, brother.

The news has been so relentlessly grotesque that I found myself double-dumbstruck, which is to say rendered speechless by astonishment while simultaneously catching a puck in the gob from a wildly flailing eejit.

The prospect of commenting on any of our ongoing Dumpster fires felt like pissing into the drinking water in Jackson, Mississippi — an enhancement, to be sure, but not a solution any sane person would swallow.

So I kept it zipped. Averted my eyes. Instead I watched the hummingbirds mobbing our feeders; the little buzzbombs will be leaving us shortly. Played with Miss Mia Sopaipilla, who remains extraordinarily kittenish for a 15-year-old cat. Rode the bike(s) — 130 miles last week, 140 this week.

With “Better Call Saul” in the rear view we branched out a bit in our evening TV-watching. I can recommend “Letterkenny,” (absurdly funny Canadians); “This Fool” (snarky South Central working-class vatos); “Belfast” (The Troubles through a child’s eyes); and “The Sandman,” derived, like “Watchmen,” from a high-gloss DC comic of which I had been ignorant.

• Honorable mention: “Funny Pages,” a bent coming-of-age story about a teenage cartoonist who gets an up-close-and-personal look at the subterranean bits of “underground comics.” Could be straight out of “Zap,” “Bijou,” or pretty much any other comic you read back when weed was still illegal. And yes, Your Humble Narrator recognized more than a few unsavory aspects of himself in this film.

What about literature, you ask? Check out a couple road-trippers on the ragged edge: the cabbie Lou in Lee Durkee’s “The Last Taxi Driver,” and the shaggy mercenary Will Bear in Dan Chaon’s “Sleepwalk.”

• Honorable mentions: “Night of the Living Rez” by Morgan Talty (his first book; dark tales of a Native community in Maine) and “Homesickness” by Colin Barrett (his second; darkly funny tales of the Irish at home and abroad).

If none of these diversions from the daily disaster does the trick for you, find a hummingbird to watch or a cat to play with.

The pause that refreshes

April 3, 2022

No April showers today.

Sure hope y’all didn’t pay no ransom. I wasn’t kidnapped or nothin’ — just decided to check myself out for a little digital detox.

The voices in my head were starting to win most of our arguments, so I swerved the clown car into the breakdown lane and rassled them sumbitches into the trunk, let ’em bounce around in there with the spare tire and all those old whoopie cushions until they remembered who’s driving this rig and shut the fuck up.

I know, poor loser. But my head, my rules.

If it’s been a while since you aimed the leaf blower at the darker corners of your brain-box you might give ’er a whirl. I quit doomscrolling the Innertubes, turned off the TV and NPR, even shelved the magazines and books. All that input had my output by the plums with a downhill pull. When the only channel the palantír gets is Radio Free Mordor it’s time to shut ’er down for maintenance.

Now we’re back on the old Highway to Hell at a safe and sane 666 mph and I don’t feel like I have to flip the bird at every single billboard. Ain’t hearing shit from the trunk, neither.

The old cat meows

December 19, 2021

“Someone flip me over, I’m done on this side.”

Sometimes I feel like an old cat. All I want is a sunny spot and the time to stretch out in it.

But eventually I must arise, if only to hit the litter box, grab a bite to eat, and sharpen the claws on the ol’ blogaroo.

Then comes the popping, snapping, and buzzing as levers and switches are thrown and pressed. Bent tabs lurch into ragged slots; parched bearings thirst for lubrication. Gonna have to use the kick-starter on this sumbitch today, boys. Pass the ether and that big fuckin’ hammer. No, not that one, the big one. Now stand back. Gimme room!

Which is the scenic route toward saying that the WordPress elves have been monkeying around under the hood again, making “enhancements” that I did not request and revising or disabling tools that I actually use.

And after extended consultation with support it appears that I may be compelled to arise from my sunny spot, stretch myself, and read the updated owner’s manual, even perform some hideous experiments on secondary and tertiary WP blogs long forgotten by the world at large. Don’t tell the killjoys at The Hague.

There seems to be a concerted push on to shift all WordPress users to Gutenberg, the block editor (cursed be its name, yes). The few times I have examined it, like a remnant of squashed turd upon one shoe, I have been dismayed, even appalled. I am a simple fellow, and there is nothing simpler than the original WordPress editor. It is the 22R engine, solid front axle, manual locking hubs, and five-speed stick shift of bloggery.

But time passes and things change, not always for the better (may I refer you to the modern Toyota truck, which has become nearly as preposterous as its American counterparts?).

So, if you notice anything off kilter around here in the coming weeks — which is to say, more off kilter than is usual for this joint— please remember, it’s (a) not my fault, and (2) free of charge.

April Fool’s Day is for the birds

April 2, 2021

Miss Mia is on the lookout for April fools.
Either that or birds building a nest on our roof.

April Fool’s Day has been consigned to the rear-view mirror, so it’s safe to navigate the Innertubes again.

Like St. Patrick’s Day, April Fool’s Day is for amateurs. Pros do their drinking and fooling year-round without regard for the calendar. Some of the marketing ploys soiling my in-box yesterday were weaker than watery green beer filtered through the kidneys.

I had no time for foolery yesterday. There were menus to devise, groceries to be purchased, bread to bake. Also, Herself’s CR-V required some attention from the Honda grease monkeys down on Lomas; this required me to engage with Albuquerque traffic, which is thick with fools year-round.

Why anyone would buy a new car in this burg remains a mystery to me. You might as well haul a sledgehammer down to the dealership and give your new ride a couple stout whacks before you roll off the lot, get used to the idea of driving a dentmobile like everyone else.

While parked at the curb in my own ratty beater I took a squint at this blog and saw that — in the mobile version, anyway — it remained buggered by WordPress and its filthy Gutenberg block editor, foisted upon the unsuspecting customer base by knaves, cutpurses, and coders who cannot be adjusted by sledgehammer, more’s the pity. So once I got back to El Rancho Pendejo I had to dive into the Classic editor and replace the text and image in the “Playing with blocks” post.

And all of this on a beautiful spring day, too. High in the 60s. Instead of a long bike ride I had to content myself with a 45-minute hike-slash-jog, which come to think of it was not half bad.

And that’s no foolin’.

Playing with blocks

March 31, 2021

I came back from a 7-mile hike to find a buggered WordPress interface.

Here’s something I don’t like: Unasked-for, unannounced and unwanted changes to a product I use daily.

WordPress pulled one of these switcheroos on me yesterday, reconfiguring its “navigation experience” to make managing its sites “more intuitive.”

“For many of you, there will be little to no change in how you use WordPress.com,” wrote Austin Lao on the WordPress blog yesterday. The many did not include the one, which is to say this one. Me.

Engineers gotta engineer, I guess. But still, damn.

Tucked into the “enhancements” to the “navigation experience” appears to be a forced shift from the old “Classic” CMS to the Gutenberg block editor, which I have been resisting because I don’t like anything about it.Â

For starters, “intuitive?” Me bollocks. The old “New Post” tool was intuitive. The new one is riddled with perplexing popups and hidden widgets. I’ll find them eventually, I imagine. But it’s gonna be like digging in the back yard for buried treasure. Might be there; might not be.

It’s a small thing to complain about. I mean, out in the real world people are still catching The Bug®, drinking poison water, or getting boned by Matt Gaetz (eeeeeeeyeeewwwwwww).

But still, damn.

I’ve posed the traditional “WTF?” to WordPress. While I await a reply, I’m back in kindergarten, playing with blocks.

Update: One of WP’s “happiness engineers” showed me how to unplug The Great and Powerful Oz. Fuck that guy. Not the happiness engineer, the Wizard. Anyway, with any luck atall atall we’re back on track here.

WordPress-ganged

March 30, 2021

Don’t touch that dial.

Well. It seems WordPress has inflicted some more “improvements” upon its users. So, ’ray for us, right?

Eh, not so much.

I’m not certain but it seems that the sonsabitches have used their latest enhancement to the “navigation experience” to pry us out of the old-school CMS and into the Gutenberg block editor. I’ll have to root around under the hood a bit before I know for certain.

In the meantime, we may suffer from bloggus interruptus for a spell while I bang on a few things with this here ball-peen hammer.

Preview of coming attractions

November 13, 2019

The impeachment inquiry has gone public, but I plan to resist the temptation to follow it extensively here, like a starveling coyote trailing a garbage truck.

My reasoning is that we’ll all read, watch, and hear a lot more than we care to elsewhere. Charlie Pierce is on the case, and I urge anyone who wants the bird’s-eye lowdown on this caper, whatever that means, to become a card-carrying member of his Shebeen.

Also, I imagine that we’re all mostly on the same page here — that the White House has become the Shite House, and that it’s turds all the way down. So I plan to preach to the choir only when I have some fresh take on the revelations.

Housekeeping notice

December 5, 2018

Here’s your head, there’s the keyboard, what’s your hurry?

The Wizards of WordPress are preparing a switch to “a new, modern publishing experience” called Gutenberg.

Having been through a number of new, modern publishing experiences during my association with WordPress in self-hosted, custom, and WP-hosted iterations, I anticipate a few hitches in the ol’ gitalong here at the Duke City Chuckle Hut.

I’ve been pretending this is not happening, the way a cat does with anything it deems out of order, but the guys at DrunkCyclist tell me that the bomb could drop this week. If you’re so inclined you can read more about the grand-do and foofaraw at MarTech Today (thanks and a tip of the Mad Dog propeller beanie to Nick W. for the head’s-up).

The bigshots are supposed to have access to a plug-in that lets them revert to the classic editor, but I’m not sure that option will be available to those of us slumped in the cheap seats.

So if for some reason you can’t find me here, look for me at my old Blogger bunker, which I’ve dusted off for this oh-so-special occasion.

Bug music

July 15, 2017

Climb in the back with your head in the clouds and you’re gone.

Blogging is like riding a bike. You don’t forget how to do it, even after an extended break, but the longer you give it a miss, the less inclined you are to get back after it.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, there’s been plenty of bad noise out there lately, and I’ve had to direct a fair amount of my own in other directions, so the bloggery has suffered. Appy polly loggies, droogies.

We watched Ron Howard’s 2016 Beatles documentary on Hulu the past two evenings (made a miniseries of it, we did) and while no new ground was broken, it was a fresh reminder of how quickly the lads got tired of being The Beatles.

I can dig it, as I occasionally get tired of being me, and without nearly the amount of pressure The Beatles endured. There’s a lot less screaming when I get down to work, is what I’m saying. Unless you count the racket coming from Your ‘Umble Narrator, that is.

Anyway, today I have declared a Beatlethon. We kicked off with “Abbey Road,” followed by “Revolver,” and at the moment “Rubber Soul” is blasting out of the stereo. On deck: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” followed by “The Beatles,” a.k.a. The White Album.

We may or may not get to “Let It Be.” I may just let it be.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

September 30, 2015

The sharp-eyed among you may have noticed a hitch in the virtual gitalong here over the past 24 hours or so.

My website/email hosting provider, Hostcentric, must have been starving the hamsters again, because my main email account went away for the umpteenth time, and I finally got pissed.

My first move was upgrading this free WordPress.com blog to a paid item and redirecting my DNS signposts here. The original, a self-hosted WordPress.org deal parked for years at Hostcentric, had become an archaeological curiosity, a sentimental attachment and something of a pain in the ass.

That rearranging of my digital furniture took a while to draw the attention of Teh Innertubez, but now you can get here via the old URL (maddogmedia.wordpress.com) or the new one (maddogmedia.com).

Resolving the email problem will take a little longer, but I hope to get started on that bright and early tomorrow morning. I’m thinking Google Apps. Anyone have any experience with it? Holler in comments or send me a note via Gmail.