Trying the Official Twitter App

(This post is an adaptation of a Twitter thread I wrote on the subject last night.)

A few days ago I decided to try out the official Twitter app for macOS and iOS. Twitter has been slowly cutting back support for third party apps, so I was curious whether their app was any better than what I’m currently using.

For me, the answer is… a little yes, a lot of no.

For a while Twitter had dropped their macOS app entirely, but the Mac Catalyst technology prompted them to port their iOS app to the Mac. I probably wouldn’t have tried this experiment otherwise.

My current Twitter client on both platforms is Tweetbot, which is great, and would probably be even more great if Twitter weren’t slowly crippling it by cutting back on what third party clients can do with their APIs.

Here’s what I thought of the official clients, across both platforms:

The Good

  • Being able to see the count of responses and likes to a tweet (the “ratio”) is nice. Tweetbot shows like count but not retweet count, presumably because Twitter’s API doesn’t provide it.
  • Being able to see polls inline is very nice. I often see tweets where someone asks a question and I just respond, and sometime later realize it’s a poll.

    I believe Tweetbot can’t show polls due to Twitter’s API deficiency. I always have to open a poll in a browser to vote.
  • Pinned lists are very nice, probably the one feature I don’t think Tweetbot really has which I wasn’t expecting and immediately found useful.
  • The bookmarks system looks nice, but I haven’t really used it. I had no idea it exists. Presumably because Twitter’s API doesn’t vend it for third-party clients.

The Odd

  • The iOS client has a sidebar which is just the search field and “what’s happening”. Not very useful. I miss the responses sidebar from Tweetbot.(Which used to also show most notifications until Twitter’s API dropped support for that.)

    So I mostly hid the search bar in my trial. Which was weird because then the timeline doesn’t get any wider, it’s the same width with a whole bunch of whitespace on either side, and no way to adjust it. Seems like poor design.
  • Tweetbot has a nifty muting system where you can choose where people are muted (everywhere, only in lists, etc.). I use this a lot to manage my lists, following people and then muting them in my timeline but not elsewhere. I was concerned the Twitter wouldn’t give me that control, but muting only mutes from the main timeline, so it’s fine, but took some trial and error to figure out. I’m not sure whether more fine-grained control here is something I’d need.
  • It’s annoying that I can’t (AFAICT) mute individual accounts for limited periods of time like in Tweetbot – that functionality only seems to be available for keywords. I use this a fair bit (e.g., if someone is going on about some subject I don’t care about in volume I’ll mute them for a day), so I would probably miss it at some points.
  • Tweetbot seems to have its own separate mute list data, so I had to go through and re-mute dozens of people. I don’t know whether this is because of Tweetbot’s richer muting system, or a deficiency in Twitter’s API. But it was annoying.

The Bad

  • The client doesn’t show me the number of unread tweets for my main timeline or whatever list I’m viewing. I missed this a lot.
  • The client doesn’t keep my reading spot in lists. So at some point when I open a list it will scroll me to the top, no matter how many tweets in the list I haven’t read yet. This is extremely annoying and on its own almost enough to send me back to Tweetbot.
  • It seems my reading spot in lists and the main timeline are not synced among my various devices. This is also extremely annoying, as scrolling down to find where I’d last been reading is not really feasible.
  • Sometimes when I come back to Twitter after a while away (such as overnight), the client shows a “Show more tweets” prompt above my last spot in my timeline, but clicking it almost always shows me the newest tweet in the gap, not the oldest, so I have to scroll back down to get to where I was.
  • The threading in the client is nice in some scenarios, but pretty annoying when scrolling upwards, to see the most recent tweets in a thread first (i.e., at the bottom). This seems like a poorly-thought-out user experience. It would make sense if one scrolled down to get to the latest items in one’s timeline (which, TBH, is kind of what I want anyway, but they’re never going to do that).
  • The notification system is pretty annoying, as it supplies a lot of customizability but most of it I don’t want. I pretty quickly figured it would just be easier to deny it notification privileges at the system level. This needs some user-quality-of-life evaluation to simplify these settings, probably cutting about 75% of them.
  • Holy cow there are a lot of ads, excuse me, “sponsored tweets”. I felt like I saw 2x-5x more ads on Twitter than on Facebook. Tweetbot shows me none of this nonsense (which is presumably why Twitter doesn’t want you using third-party clients).

    Ads might be more bearable if I could assign them a different background color or something.
  • There’s no way in the app that I can find to set a show/hide keyboard shortcut on macOS, which I use all the time in Tweetbot. Maybe I could do it through a macOS system pref, though I did a short search and couldn’t figure it out. It would be a much more useful app pref than all the notification stuff.

I could probably live with a lot of the Twitter app deficiencies if it remembered my reading spot in all lists and synced across devices. But overall it needs a lot of polish, so I’m likely heading back to Tweetbot.

I’m not sorry I tried it out, but I am kind of surprised that the app – on both macOS and iOS – feels like it has a lot of maturing to do.

Quar Wars Day

Debbi’s birthday falls on Star Wars Day, which is convenient since she loves Star Wars, especially the original trilogy. In these days of shelter-in-place with no vacation plans for the foreseeable future, we decided to both take the day off.

The night before we re-watched Knives Out, which we saw in the theater in January and enjoyed tremendously. It holds up very well on re-watching, partly because it’s funny and lively, and partly because knowing what’s coming throws a different shade on some of the earlier scenes.

Debbi made pancakes for breakfast before our current set of eggs expired, and we turned on the original film, as some TV station was showing episodes 1-8. And, well, watching them is most of what we did for the day. We’d talked about driving to a nearby park or trail to go for a walk somewhere other than the neighborhood, but neither of us felt like it. So we each went for a local walk instead, and otherwise had a lot of couch time.

I picked up lunch from our local Hobee’s, which reopened for take-out a week or so ago, and for dinner we picked up from QBB. I puttered around doing a few chores, and Debbi got calls from friends and family, but otherwise we watched five Star Wars movies: The original trilogy, The Force Awakens, and The Rise of Skywalker, which other than Rogue One are the five best films in the series. (It’s ironic that we watched and enjoyed Knives Out, because its writer/director Rian Johnson also did The Last Jedi which is as joyless and glum as Knives Out is otherwise. Some people think it’s because it was produced by committee, but I also think it’s much worse than the two Abrams films. I’m perfectly happy to not see it again, as with the prequel trilogy.)

So, it was a low-key but pleasant day. If nothing else, we’re grateful that COVID-19 waited until this year to strike, so we still have the fond memories of Debbi’s awesome 50th birthday weekend from last year (which somehow I never did an entry about). Small favors, etc.

Anyway, happy birthday to Debbi! Hopefully we can do something more exciting for it next year.

Coffee Maker Follies

Yesterday morning we discovered our coffee maker had died. Which was annoying since we had bought this one just last summer. Doubly annoying because, you know, we’re in the middle of a global crisis and often it’s hard to get moving without coffee. Yesterday morning was a big rough. Plus it was Monday.

We’d had an 8-cup Black & Decker coffee maker with an insulated carafe for, oh, 8 years or maybe more before it started showing signs of the end last summer in that the coffee was not hot enough after brewing. I think it was the second of that model we’d owned, and they no longer made it anymore. But they did have a 12-cup model which looked very similar (this one seems to be its current iteration), so we bought that.

We liked the thermal carafe because it made it simpler not to have a heating element under it, and this model seemed to work well. But yesterday when we turned it on, the light for the button came on but nothing happened. There was no indication it was trying to push water through, or heat it, or anything. It could be that the water intake was blocked, but it felt more like some electronic problem so that the button just wasn’t triggering anything to happen. No help in the manual, of course, and Debbi said it had a bunch of negative reviews on Amazon.

So I headed to The Wirecutter to look at their recommendation for best drip coffee maker. But, not wanting to spend $200 on a coffee maker, I went instead to their recommendation for best cheap coffee maker. They recommend a Mister Coffee Easy Measure, but rather than waiting a few days to get it delivered from Amazon or Target, I instead drove over to Target (wearing a bandana) to buy one myself (along with a couple of other things I’ve built up on a list, including Neosporin for a nasty scrape I gave myself on Sunday). Their web site said they had two items in stock.

Target was pretty dead on a Monday morning in the middle of a pandemic, which was nice since it meant I could be in-and-out. Or, rather, I could have been except that I couldn’t find a model that looked just like the one on the web, nor did I see any models with 2 items in stock. Very puzzling! They did have plenty of Mister Coffee models available, so after looking at them for a bit I chose one that looked like basically the same thing – but of course I can’t find it on Amazon to link to it. Weird!

So I brought it home and set it up, and it seems… acceptable, if not great. A few observations:

  • The reusable filter seems nice in theory, but it’s one more item that needs to be washed. It appears to support using normal disposable filters, so which is better, using disposable filters, or using water to clean the reusable filter? Probably I’ll opt for the disposable.
  • The clock doesn’t work. It had lost almost an hour of time after sitting for about 12 hours. That’s not great. Fortunately we don’t need to program it while we’re home all the time.
  • The first pot of coffee tasted strong to me. The sparse manual says that it considers a cup to be 5 ounces, but I think our previous maker considered it to be 6 ounces? But its manual doesn’t say. But if so, then I am using a little more coffee than normal. I guess I can adjust that, but you’d think this would be a standard measurement! It also means this coffee maker is 16% smaller than expected (60 oz rather than 72 oz). Sheesh!

So anyway, first impression is three stars, probably fine if you need a coffee maker but don’t go crazy over it. I expect we’ll replace it again in the next year, and maybe actually spend more than $50 this time. I’m sure all my friends who are more coffee connoisseurs than I am are aghast that we didn’t do that in the first place.

Quarantine Days

Today is the start of my eighth week of shelter-in-place, and Debbi’s seventh. This entry might be a bit repetitive, but it’s helpful to write it out sometimes.

I realize that we’re both incredibly fortunate. Both of us have jobs, and we’re both able to work from home. We live in a nice neighborhood where we can get outside and enjoy the weather (which has been excellent lately, maybe even a little too warm). It’s not really “quarantine”, though that’s what we’ve been calling it, but we can still go out when we need to. We cook at home most of the time, but we’ve been getting take-out two or three times per week. I mostly run errands during the week when there are fewer people in the stores (yes, I wear a mask), but of course we order a lot through the mail, too.

Most of my friends seem to be in a similar fortunate place. I worry that as quarantine continues that this will change. Heck, it could change for us. But I try not to think about that much. I do have a few friends who are having a hard time of it, one in particular who’s been writing about his family’s struggles, and it can be pretty hard to read.

Working full time at home has been weird since I have typically tried to keep my work life and my home life very separate, and this blurring of the two has been a bit uncomfortable. On the other hand, it does keep every day from feeling the same, and it still makes weekends feel different since I have a chance to relax.

Or, I can get a bunch of stuff done. This past weekend, I plowed through a bunch of bills and other work in the study, then did a whole bunch of yard work. Pretty productive! But in reality I’ve been alternating productive weekends with lazy ones.

We’re rather bummed that our anniversary restaurant, Don Giovanni, is closed for quarantine, so we want to find something else to do for it. We have a few ideas, but it won’t really be the same.

Anyway.

We’ve also been watching a lot of TV and movies (Star Trek: Discovery! Mary Poppins! Lots of Harry Potter and Star Wars and a little James Bond!), and reading (John Scalzi‘s latest, The Last Emperox). I text with several friends as well as my sister, and I’ve been trying to call my dad every other weekend or so.

The cats seem to have adjusted to the new normal. Roulette, our old lady, hasn’t really changed her routine much, although she’s discovered the sunbeam in the guest bedroom has returned. Sadie mostly loves when one of us goes up to the library for a conference call, especially my morning meeting when the sun is coming in through the window. Jackson has learned that I have a ribbon by my computer in the dining room and comes in between 2 and 3 and agitates for play time. Once I tire him out he often curls up on the dining table and sleeps. Sadie also sleeps in the dining room, on the chair with the seating pad on it, which was my attempt to make those chairs more comfortable to work at. (It didn’t work, and I brought the chair down from the study instead.)

I’ve mostly been ahead of the curve in picking things up for quarantine (for example, we have flour and yeast that we haven’t even opened yet). But the one boat I missed was getting hair cutting supplies. I have an item on order which should arrive in about 2 weeks, by which time my hair should be about 2 feet long. Or maybe just feel that way.

So, life marches on. Shelter-in-place for our county has been extended through the end of May, and I think it will be mid-June at the very earliest before restrictions get significantly relaxed.

It’s of course a bummer that our vacation aspirations for the year are almost certainly washed out. No trip back east, no Hawaii or Portland, or Vegas trips. I’m glad we went to Disneyland when we did. My hope at this point is that there will be some occasional loosening so that we can go to the coast, and maybe even spend a long weekend in Half Moon Bay or Monterey, or even San Francisco. Just getting away from home for a little while would be nice.

But I don’t know. Until we have widespread testing available – and the Impeached President Trump administration seems to be in no hurry to arrange for that, and realistically there’s no one else who can – I think we’re all going to be stuck here for a long time.

Doctor Who, Season Twelve

Jodie Whittaker’s second season as the Doctor was an incremental improvement over her first, and while it introduced a big mystery into the Time Lord’s existence, the show seemed reluctant to go all in on that to craft a full story out of it, opting instead to have pieces at the beginning, middle, and end, and otherwise make the season another set of standalone episodes. Much like last season, the stories were enjoyable enough but kind of nondescript and thus forgettable.

And as for that big mystery, well, some of it was carried off quite well, and some of it was not so great. I enjoyed it overall, but it really should have been a lot more than it was, and ultimately while it sets up some interesting stuff for future seasons, if the series continues in this vein I think it’s going to feel more like an afterthought, possibly one thrown away by the next showrunner.

Anyway, if the last five seasons of Doctor Who are the kind of thing you like, then you probably liked this one too.

Spoilers after the cut:

Continue reading “Doctor Who, Season Twelve”

Keeping Occupied

It’s been four weeks since I started working from home due to physical distancing restrictions to mitigate COVID-19. It’s been three weeks for Debbi. This past week was a little easier for me, but I think Debbi’s still working through it.

I’ve hit our two nearby grocery stores since my last entry about the virus, and they’ve had most things in stock. I didn’t check cleaning supplies, but one of them did have toilet paper and paper towels. The only thing we’ve been interested in and unable to find are eggs, which is weird since many other friends in the valley say they can find eggs. It must just be a random fluctuation in our neighborhood.

We’ve done take-out from a few restaurants, especially QBB which is a favorite of ours. Last Saturday we did take out from Chef Chu’s House, which is a valley institution (and the son of the owner directed Crazy Rich Asians), and their parking lot was nuts. Debbi says some elderly customers would drive up and demand service immediately even though there were a dozen other cars ahead of them. Sheesh! I think they’re pretty good, but not amazing; certainly they don’t compare to the late, lamented Su Hong in Menlo Park. This experience convinced us to start targeting our take-out nights to less busy nights of the week.

Sadly, another favorite, Clarke’s Charcoal Broiler, is the first of our regular restaurants to announce permanent closure due to the virus. It seems they were – as best anyone could tell – Mountain View’s oldest restaurant.

I’ve continued to run 3-4 days per week, and walked 2-3 times per day on top of that – which is more walking than I did before, but I basically replaced my drive to work with a walk. Which is good since I’m horribly behind on listening to podcasts as it is.

Fortunately we’ve been having really nice weather here most of the time, and spring is my favorite time of year in California, with everything turning green, lots of things flowering, and everything smells wonderful. On the other hand it’s been raining most weekends. Why weekends? Because the weather gods hate me and want my lawn to be 9″ high. Good thing I love rain on principle.

I bought a new humidifier a few weeks ago, because I’d read that if we do get sick then it might help. It turns out we’ve been using it every night for the last week to help with run-of-the-mill throat issues we sometimes have at night.

We also put up a few of our holiday lights outside out house, to make things a little cheerier in the neighborhood. “Corona lights” I quipped. Debbi wanted to avoid Christmas colors, so we did light blue, pink and yellow, and then I added a strand of green along the base of the porch to look like grass. We leave them on overnight, and occasionally I see someone walk by in the dark and notice them. They make me happy when they come on, anyway. And I noticed another house in a cross street put up some lights too.

I worry about actually catching the virus, of course. I mean, it’s a lottery: 80% of the time it will be a pretty bad cold or maybe less than that. But one time in five maybe it’s a really serious illness, and maybe you end up in the hospital, on a ventilator, or… well, dead. For all I know maybe we’ve already had it – but there’s no way to know, right now. Because the federal government is run the incompetent crybaby and his inept cronies and so it’s months behind on rolling out testing. I’ve been doing my best to observe physical distancing when I go anywhere, which is pretty easy when exercising, but harder in stores – although there are some people who clearly don’t care or don’t think about it, so at least I’m doing better than those people.

(The Bay Area, by the way, seems to be doing pretty well overall. Despite a few gaffes, the number of new cases day-over-day has been approximately flat for about week. Even “approximately” flat is way better than exponential growth.)

I’ve stopped reading social media during the work day because it gave me too much anxiety. I also stopped listening to NPR as my wake-up alarm for the same reason – it’s all virus, all the time. I created a Twitter list for the few people I want to catch up on at the end of the day, and I skip everyone else. I’ve also been muting people on both Twitter and Facebook who are posting too much about the virus for my mental health. It’s helped – a lot. I think it’s a big part of why this last week was better than the one before.

Yesterday a friend of of mine organized an online poker tournament on PokerStars.net which was a lot of fun, with an audio channel for us to chat during the game. We had 14 people, and I managed to fold my way into the money, finishing third (top three paid). I felt card dead for long stretches of time, and then I got bailed out by some timely all-ins that went my way. Late in the tournament I doubled up on three consecutive hands. So, you know, plenty of luck. I coulda played better, but I coulda played worse. But it was great to do something with a group of friends.

So, you know, it’s been a week. Since we’re both working full time (and I’m keenly aware that there are lots of people who not working at all, and not at all by choice) I don’t find the days run together, and I appreciate the weekends as a time not to be ‘on the clock’ at work. But it’s still something of a struggle. Probably for everyone, to some degree or another.

Star Trek: Picard: Emotional Resonance

“Et in Arcadia Ego” part 2 brought the first season of Picard to a close, and overall I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I think the final episode was a little overstuffed so that not everything was as smooth as I’d hoped. In some cases I think they should have restructured the last three episodes a bit to have some threads get resolved earlier, and in others I think they made some poor storytelling decisions. But the most important thing is that I think they got the emotional resonance of the story right, as there was a lot to cheer about.

For convenience here are links to my earlier reviews of the season:

  1. Remembrance (episode 1)
  2. The End is the Beginning (episodes 2 & 3)
  3. Absolute Candor (episodes 4 & 5)
  4. The Impossible Box (episodes 6, 7 & 8)
  5. Et in Arcadia Ego (episode 9)

Now, on to the spoilers!

Continue reading “Star Trek: Picard: Emotional Resonance”

The Last Comic Book Night (for now)

A week ago my comics shop, Comics Conspiracy, was setting up to do curbside pickup of comic books during the COVID-19 shutdown (or “The Pause” as a few people have been calling it), but a wrench was thrown into their plans with the announcement that the main comics distributor, Diamond, was shutting down for the duration, and apparently the major printers have shut down too. As a result, yesterday was the last regular Wednesday for new comic books for the foreseeable future.

I’ve been buying comics regularly since, oh, the late 1970s. I think I used to go more-or-less monthly to The Million Year Picnic in Cambridge, MA when my Dad and I would go to Harvard Square for haircuts. But sometime – probably around 1983 – we discovered New England Comics, which had a store on Allston Street in Brighton. NEC was less bohemian than MYP and other stores of the previous decade, brightly lit and well-organized. It became my regular comics shop, and through most of high school I went there for new comics every Friday. I became friendly with a bunch of the staff, first a couple of women (girls? I honestly am not sure how old they were, but older than I was) named Jen and Delana, and later a couple of guys named Vijay and Matt. (Those two ended up founding Comicopia in Kenmore Square, which Matt still owns. It’s been at least a decade since I’ve visited, though.) A few of my high school friends would sometimes come with me for the train ride in and back to pick up the week’s haul.

During college I bought comics via mail order from Westfield Comics because there was not a good, accessible comics shop for much of my time in New Orleans. But when I lived in Madison, WI I went to Capital City Comics. During this time, new comics day got moved back to Thursday, and then to Wednesday, where it’s been ever since. Rather than moving even earlier, recent changes to the distribution system have made Wednesdays a much more reliable day, never getting pushed back for holidays on the Monday or Tuesday before.

Since I started going to NEC, I’ve had a subscription (or saver, or pull box, or whatever each store called it), which usually came with a discount, often 20%. The realities of the market have pushed discounts into history (unless your shop owner happens to grandfather you in), but they’ve also made it desirable to have a pull box and to pre-order comics because it’s the best way to ensure the store will get a book in at all.

Since we moved into our current house in 2011, comic book night has entailed coming home and sitting on the living room couch. Our cat Roulette would almost always sit with me, at first because she really liked the couch we had in that room, and later just because she liked some quiet time with me. The other two cats come in sometimes, especially if the fireplace is on, but mostly it’s just been some quiet reading time.

So last night I paid for my order online, then drove down and saw Brock, one of the owner Ryan’s employees, who was carrying the books out to people. Physical distancing! We chatted for about ten minutes, but of course no one knows what’s going to happen next. Maybe the comics companies will distribute online and provide a portal for retail stores to sell to their customers. We’ll see. But for now, the weekly trips to the comics shop have come to an end.

Ironically, my haul last night included the last issue of one mini-series, and the next-to-last issues of two others. Even more ironically, it included the new monthly catalog for upcoming releases.

So I’ll place my order from the catalog this weekend as I always do. And hope that in a few weeks or months there will be some new books for me to go pick up.

I hope, I hope.

Home can be Strange

I’ve wrapped up my second week of working from home, and my first with Debbi also home. We’ve both been struggling a bit, adjusting to being at home all the time, working at home, and of course the anxiety that the state of the world induces.

Monday came the announcement that the six Bay Area counties were going to shelter-in-place starting Tuesday. My work gave us a lot of slack to get things lined up to work from home for the duration, making sure we had appropriate resources at home. Debbi meanwhile went into her office and picked up a bunch of stuff, including her plants and those of some of her cow-orkers which we are now fostering. (I’m taking it as a special challenge to revive a sad-looking succulent she brought home.)

Tuesday was, for me, the hardest day. I’ve been keeping my regular running routine, and also going for at least one walk around our neighborhood. The stories of hoarding were very concerning, though I had been a couple of days ahead of the curve on most things. The biggest thing we’re missing at home right now is an oral thermometer, in case one of us does get sick. By mid-afternoon I was really struggling to focus.

Wednesday was new comic book day. It turned out my store provided pick-up for some of its subscribers (and since then they’ve gotten the county’s approval for curb-side pickup of online orders). Honestly it felt great just to get in the car and drive somewhere, and I picked up dinner on the way home.

Meanwhile, Lee’s Comics here in Mountain View abruptly announced on Wednesday that they’d be going out of business. Lee’s is one of the oldest comics shops in the Bay Area (maybe there’s an older one, but I can’t think of it), and their San Mateo store closed a few years ago. Some wonder if they were in worse financial shape than anyone knew, but my guess is that Lee was not really into the retail experience anymore – he’s always seems more into selling valuable back issues, which is much more of a niche market these days – and decided this was a good time to just pursue his passion.

Anyway, apparently a bunch of his regulars have been setting up subscriptions with my regular store. Hopefully this will help him get through this tough time.

Many restaurants around us have moved to a take-out only model. A few have just closed for the duration. I imagine the take-out model will stave off the end for some restaurants, but once the quarantine is lifted I think the restaurant landscape will look very different than it did last month. Think of your favorite restaurants, and I bet half of them will never come back. We’ve ordered take-out from a few of our favorites, and at least one of them seems to be doing okay so far.

We also made a run to the two Safeway restaurants near us on Thursday. Both were pretty quiet, as you’d expect. Chicken and prepackaged bread were in short supply, as I assume were toilet paper and cleaning products, though we didn’t check. Baked-in-house good were plentiful, though, as were other meats. Produce was hit-or-miss. But it’s clear that they are getting restocked. My guess is that first we have to get over the hump of panic buying, and then the supply chain needs to catch up to the increased demand.

I also called my Dad, which both of us enjoyed. I worry about him. There’s not much I can do if something happens to him, as it’s a 6-hour plane flight to get out to him.

On the bright side, Friday night we had virtual happy hour with some friends in Portland, over FaceTime. We had a good hour chatting with each other – not even entirely about the pandemic! Then on Saturday we ordered from our favorite BBQ place, QBB, which is now able to provide their yummy cocktails to call-in pick-up orders. And we ran into a friend while picking up. It sounds like they’re doing okay, all things considered.

We’ve both had a lot of anxiety about everything. Social media mostly doesn’t help, and the number of people who have just been sharing widely-available articles or doing their own analysis really doesn’t help. Maybe one post in a hundred is actually useful, and the rest just increase anxiety. I’m thinking I should start muting my friends who are mostly sharing stuff like this. I’ve been trying to do less of it myself, sharing more entertaining things – though I still blast Impeached President Trump and the Repugnicans for fucking everything up with their greed and incompetence. We’ve both had some trouble sleeping, though I think Debbi’s been worse than me.

Anyway, we had a quiet weekend. Yesterday we watched Doctor Who “The Day of the Doctor” and the original Star Wars trilogy. Today we lay on the couch together for a long time, and then put up a few of our Christmas lights on the front porch to hopefully bring a little more happiness to the neighborhood. And tonight I tried making Thai chicken yellow curry, which turned out really well, if a bit spicier than I’d intended. So it was a nice stretch of downtime.

But tomorrow it’s back to work. Hopefully this week will be better, both being able to focus at work, and being less stressed about how things are going. I’m not sanguine about the latter, but we can hope. I have read a few cautiously optimistic things, but I think there’s a long way to go.

I’m trying to decide what the cats think about all this. I think they’re kind of tired of us being around all the time. Well, get used to it, kids!

Star Trek: Picard: “Et in Arcadia Ego”

Wo-ow, “Et in Arcadia Ego” part one, the first half of the conclusion to this first season of Star Trek: Picard, was one great hour of television. Past Star Trek series had plenty of visits to idyllic worlds with a dark underbelly, but here we’ve had a season of build-up to visiting the planet of the synthetics, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Google Translate tells me that “Et in Arcadia Ego” means “And in Arcadia I am”, where Arcadia is a poetic term for a utopia, which is certainly appropriate here.

One thing to watch for in this episodes is the spectacular acting by much of the cast; I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a virtuoso ensemble performance in any episode of Star Trek, where Patrick Stewart might not be delivering the best or even the second-best performance.

I’d originally planned to review the last two episodes together, but this one had enough stuff in it that I decided to cover it separately.

Onwards to the spoilers!

Continue reading “Star Trek: Picard: “Et in Arcadia Ego””