Talk to you later.

There are some things that have been hard for me to talk about in the last 2-3 years, which are emotionally painful. I assume many people won’t care to hear about those things, therefor I don’t talk about them. The pain never goes away. Sometimes it gets better. Sometimes it gets worse.

If I talked about those things with someone, maybe those emotions wouldn’t be so painful?

This is why I reached out to a therapist. A professional who has a bag of tools to show me how I can work through my own sets of trauma and pain. Not to banish my feelings, but to give me strength to overcome them and move on.

The Weeknd’s music video saga of “After Hours” is one of the best things I have discovered.

Preface

The Weeknd is a soul/hip-hop artist from Toronto, Canada. He originally got his start by uploading music to YouTube and getting discovered by the very successful rapper “Drake”. After The Weeknd started to become successful, he decided to move to LA.

For the last few albums, The Weekend has been doing a character progression, where with each album, he transforms into a new character, taking place of his previous character – sometimes violently (2 albums ago, he metaphorically kills his other self so that he can move on into his new image).

These videos touch on themes of melancholy, fame, soullessness of people in LA, drugs and alcohol, murder, corruption, and obsessions with plastic surgery. I can’t begin to describe the depth of thought and effort that went into these videos, The Weeknd’s character, and the music he produced and sang.

Each main canonical video has a lot of references to popular or “cult” films, such as:

“Heartless” and “Blinding Lights”
* Casino
* Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

“In Your Eyes”
* The Terminator
* Psycho
* Leatherface

“Save Your Tears”
* Joker/The King of Comedy
* The Dark Knight
* Eyes Wide Shut

“Too Late”
* Frankenstein
* American Psycho

Below I will list the title and description of each video. There are a few videos that are more of an aside (even though they’re canonical) and don’t really flesh out The Weeknd’s main After Hours character, but I still like them.

Note: I highly recommend listening with earbuds. The music is great and there are sounds from the videos that can’t often be heard on laptop speakers. 


Snowchild (animated)

This is what I would call the “prequel” or interlude to his story. This is about The Weeknd growing up in Toronto, facing hardships, finding success, and ultimately telling himself (and the people in his life) that he’s leaving for California. At the end of the video, his former self arrives at a casino in LA and sees what would be the character we transition into the next video (the man in the red jacket with sunglasses and a mustache).

I’d recommend skipping this video and maybe coming back to it, if you like. I really like the song, so I’ve watched this video about 5 times now.


Heartless

At first I wasn’t really into the style of the music on this song, but the choreography and style of the video had me hooked instantly. I was drawn into this character and couldn’t get enough of the style of the video. 


Blinding Lights

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this song. When “After Hours” was released early in 2020, this song was on the top of the charts for a really long time. Very 80s synth pop. Well produced (much like a lot of his songs).


Until I Bleed Out (aside)

You can skip this video. The Weeknd’s character is “coming down” from his all-night bender from the previous 2 videos. He’s in a ballroom having a bad trip. There’s not really much going on, story-wise, but I did appreciate it.


Blinding Lights (Live on Jimmy Kimmel)

The Weeknd performs “Blinding Lights” on Jimmy Kimmel. The production on the set is amazing. The entire video is done in one take, I think. The end of this video goes straight into the next video, which is a short film called “After Hours”


After Hours (short film)

This video begins where the “Live on Jimmy Kimmel” video left off, where The Weeknd leaves the set of the show. The music in the background is the titular song of the album. Near the end of the video, when the people get into the elevator, I’d recommend turning up the volume, as there are subtle sounds in the background.


In Your Eyes

Now we’re getting into some really fun stuff. My kind of stuff. This video has a lot of references to “thriller/killer” movies, like Psycho, Terminator, and Leatherface. There’s only a teeny tiny bit of gore. You’ll probably not even notice it.


Too Late

This video continues our character’s saga (even though I didn’t think could’ve been done given what happened in “In Your Eyes”) by being picked up by a couple of “hot chicks” in Hollywood. This might be the darkest of the video set, as there is a bit of gore, but it’s not on screen for very long, and there are some very dark themes.


American Music Association 2020 Performance: “In Your Eyes” / “Save Your Tears”

This is a live performance done in one take that spans almost the entire length of a bridge in Los Angeles, choreographed with timed fireworks. The Weeknd’s face has now been altered by the women in the last video. It’s a very fun performance and even though it’s an aside, I highly recommend watching this one.


Save Your Tears

The final video in the series. He metaphorically pisses on the Grammy awards and the rich elite and mocks people who chase fame and the culture of wanting to be accepted and to do whatever it takes to feel accepted and wanted. Enjoy!

Dear Apple: Quicklook support

Hold onto your turtlenecks and jeans, I’ve got a doozy of a complaint and I’m about to employ the most hardened and air-tight argument in the history of the modern technological era:

It’s fucking 2021. Where is .webm and .gif support?

I get it. In the 90s and early 00s GIFs (pronounced “gif”, btw) had comparatively bloated file sizes. In the 10s, iPhones and OS X were increasing their market share. But come on, guys. Why do I need to open a web browser just to view a WebM or GIF that I’ve downloaded?

I just want to watch this loop I have, of a guy defend an attack from a political terrorist, rear his fist, and absolutely clean his clock. Like, I could watch this almost all day.

Funny bit: I can’t upload the webm I talked about to this blog software (WordPress). Maybe I need to change the title to “Dear Apple/Wordpress”?

Dear Firefox: Clickable Recommended Plugins

Dear Firefox,

After reading this article (TheHackerNews.com) about over a dozen Firefox and Google Chrome plugins that have been sending data about their users, I decided to make sure I didn’t have any of these plugins installed on my browser.

At the bottom of the plugins page, your browser had recommended a few plugins to me. I didn’t want to add them right away, so I thought I’d click on each plugin to see what the reviews said and to learn more without adding them to my browser.

But I can’t click on them.

What kind of campaign is this, to only give me the option to install these plugins first before being able to learn more about them?

I can’t click the title or the icon. But I can click the author? Sure, that means instead of one step, I might have to take 2 to 4 steps to find the intended plugin page. But seriously? In this era of UI design, no one chimed up and said “Hey, why don’t we make the titles and icons linked to the plugins?” Did that person get run over by a train that day? Because corralling users to add plugins without verifying them is another cherry on top of your recent scandal.

The Bystander Effect

It would’ve been my dad’s 71st birthday.

His old best friend Paul reached out to me today to tell me (for the 100th time) “He was my best friend. I loved him very much” but he never asks how me or my brothers are doing. What the fuck?

I wanted to reply “Yeah, I’m glad you ‘hope we’re doing well’, but how about, I dunno, write all of his sons and maybe try to be a part of our lives? If my dad was so fucking important to you, don’t you think you might want to keep the people, that were the closest biological ties to your friend, in your fucking life?”

It’s odd to me, how this guy, who supposedly can’t take a sip of water without mentioning his love for my poor father, can go over 1,000 days and not think to ask my father’s sons how the fuck they’re doing.

Well, I’m kind of having a fucking shit day, Paul. Where the fuck were you when my dad was abusing alcohol and not talking to his kids? I don’t recall you ever saying “I’m so sorry your dad treated his body like shit. I tried to help him turn that shit around.”

Nah. You just sat there and watched. Then, when he was dying on that hospital bed, you and your other god damn friends came down, saw him for a few minutes, went out and got shit-faced, and then fucked off back to California. Then you just sat by while his sons grieved and suffered. You fucking idiot.

My last breath.

Today I was thinking about my lastlast on Earth. I was walking around my condo saying things like:

Someday, you will have your last cup of coffee. Someday, you will wake up and make your last plans for the day. Someday, you will say your last word to someone. What will it be? Will it be a good word? Memorable?

I went into a whole existential rabbit hole of thoughts on how, on a long enough timeline, my entire existence will be forgotten, just as countless other people’s entire history is forgotten every minute of every day. I wondered how long it would take for my history to be erased from existence.

These are the types of things I think about when I’m trying to motivate myself to do the little things in life; to be productive.

So I started work on organizing my office/studio better. I’ve always been somewhat dissatisfied with the layout. But I think I’m getting closer to a better place. I hope it will be more relaxing when I’m done with it. Currently, when I try to write music, all I can think about is all the things I ought to be doing, instead of just doing.

So I did.

Why does Apple’s LaunchPad still suck?

Apple, it’s been what, almost 8 years since you implemented LaunchPad on OS X Lion. Almost 8 years and you still haven’t fixed it’s core usability in how a user is supposed to organize their applications. See the video below:

As you can see, any folder stack on the right-most column will not let me drop an application onto it because LaunchPad is assuming that I want the folder stack to move out of the way. It’s like this on the latest version of iOS, and one of the reasons I left Apple’s iPhone for Razer’s Razer Phone (seriously, it’s awesome and I’m probably never going back).

Another problem I’ve seen with LaunchPad is that it takes ages to organize applications in the first place, especially if you are starting out with a lot of apps. You have to spend so much time dragging apps back and forth between “pages” of virtual space, wherein LaunchPad correctly recognizes what you’re trying to do about 60% of the time – such as dragging an ap to the edge of the window.

What about readability on a brand new iMac with a gigantic screen? The folders are small and the text is tiny. Where is my customization? Why can’t I arrange folder stacks exactly however I want? Why can’t I resize them? Why can’t Dashboard widgets live right next to the folder stacks? (probably because of a software patent, I know)

All in all, LaunchPad is an alright application that can help with productivity – that is, if you’re often looking to launch different applications like I do. I bounce from Photoshop, to Coda (web development), to Motion (motion graphics), Final Cut Pro (video editing), to Logic Pro (music production). But if you’re like most Mac users, who use maybe Safari, Messages, Mail, and iTunes; then chances are you will never use LaunchPad or you will get quickly frustrated by it.

Agree? Disagree? Please leave a comment below.

Rant: Political xenophobia on the bus

This morning I got a dose of “assholism” on the bus, on my way to work. After I sat down, I noticed a much older man talking to a woman who was across from him toward the front of the bus. He is White, she is Black. He was saying something along the lines of “I am an [unintelligible] and I’m from America” and the woman responding, in a very, very thick accent said “I am from America too!”

He went on a mini-rant talking about America and “Obama” but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. She was yelling back at him to leave her alone. He then tried to point out that she had dropped something on the floor. I think at that point all she expected was more harassment because her responses were “Stop talking to me. Leave me alone!” but then she realized when he said “Shut the fuck up, god dammit. You dropped your [unintelligible] on the fucking floor!”. She picked up the item and didn’t say anything to him.

He then cocked his head back, eyes widened, and said something along the context of her not appreciating his “kindness”. She responded and said “You are drunk! You are not well!” while she got up to exit the bus. He started slapping himself and said “Hit me again. HIT ME AGAIN!” and then started mumbling to himself.

A moment before this point, I was teetering on my chair about to stand up and tell him to shut up. Initially I thought this guy was harassing her for being Black, but I couldn’t tell exactly what he was saying to say with 100% certainty. But my gut says he was being xenophobic. He was 100% an asshole, for sure. When the next stop came up, she got off the bus. Then he departed a few stops later, but not before rambling to the people around him. He looked like he was searching for some kind of approval, like “You see? These foreigners have no appreciation for people like me! You get me, right?”

No, man. I don’t get you.

After he got off the bus, I let out a big audible sigh and said out loud “Boy, what an asshole!” No one looked up. No one said anything. The passengers were just as still as they were when the man and woman were arguing. I almost wondered why no one closer to the couple said anything. Maybe the same thought that was going through my head was going through theirs: “Don’t escalate the situation. Sure, this guy is being a prick, but what will confronting him solve if he’s drunk or deranged?”

I certainly didn’t want to escalate the situation. When things like this happen I always try to remember an old police story in which the lesson is similar to “the best situations, the ones you can walk away from, are the ones you can deescalate”. I felt like any outside stimulation would agitate this man, and as long as he wasn’t touching anyone or acting threatening, then it wasn’t my place to intervene.

Still though, fuck him for being a prick to that lady.

Death at Every Size

I saw a post about “Fat, but fit” in a fitness community I follow and I wanted to write up a summary on how the “Healthy at Every Size” community (from which the “Fat, but fit” myth likely spawned from) and why it presents a danger to the fitness community, and the public at large.

No, you fat. Stop eating so much.

The “Healthy at Every Size” (or “HAES”) community has all the elements of a movement that has good intentions: Promoting awareness that people have feelings and some people don’t like feeling ashamed for being obese, short, deformed, or tall, etc. But what’s wrong with this movement is that it was hijacked by the Identity Politics movement. Some people refer to them as “Social Justice Warriors”. Some call them “special snowflakes”. But no matter what you call them, at the root of the activism has become a circus of mental gymnastics, identity politics, and a victimhood state.

Mental Gymnastics

What these people have done, is taken the HAES movement to include a militant style of *”if you disagree with me, you’re a \*-phobic person. Therefor you’re disgusting and it gives me the right to verbally abuse you.”* The philosophy of the movement has now morphed itself into it’s own self-fullfilling prophecy, where if a person is morbidly obese, the world must accept them and conform to their own perceptions of health and beauty – and if the world does not, it only proves to them that their paradigm is correct: “People are inherently bigoted against [obese] people, therefor I need to remain diligent.”

Identity politics

It’s probably safe to assume that most of you are well aware of the in-fighting that happens within modern political activism groups. If you aren’t of a certain social status, race, or religion, for example, then you aren’t allowed to have an opinion about a socio-polital issue, or you aren’t awarded the same respect that another person might have. This has the same effect on the HAES community, where if you don’t list dozens of other afflictions, or identify a certain way, then you won’t be taken as seriously, or people might view you as a fraud. IMO this causes people to branch out as far as they can to become as unique as possible. Think “Level 5 Vegan”: https://youtu.be/RtuMIaOGRy8?t=14

Victimhood state

It’s also safe to assume that most of you are aware of the meme about how “kids these days” are handed participation trophies and are coddled to avoid having any hurt feelings. There’s some truth to be found in these skin-deep perceptions about today’s youth. Some elements are found in these political activist groups, where as long as you cry victim, other people will listen to you. So if crying victim guarantees to yield an audience, then you’ll find fraudulent victims within activist groups to promote their political agenda. This might be the worst and most harmful elements of these kinds of activist groups, because the victimhood state creates a danger in delegitimizing *real* victims in the eyes of the public, causing real victims (e.g. people who suffer from depression or have an eating disorder, etc) to lose their audience, or causing real victims to feel like they aren’t worthy to seek help because they don’t have dozens of other afflictions or don’t identify a certain way.

I’d say, the best way to combat the “Fat, but fit” myth, is to stay diligent in showing people that will, exercise, and diet, are some of the best tools a person can use to get into a more healthy lifestyle, to link to peer-reviewed studies, and to show kindness and respect.

Do you even Google, bruh?

“John” from an IT department in another city had a pressing question that required him to go through multiple channels of esteemed IT professionals, only to fall into my lap so that my immense experience could thrust into action and help this poor soul.

John:

Hi, [Name of person who’s responsible for Mac IT in another city] gave your name to me as someone who might be able to help. I have a [VIP] who wants a Mac but needs Project and Visio. Do you have any suggestions?

Me:
Hi John. If a user needs Project and Visio they need to run Microsoft Windows, as I’m sure you know these pieces of software have not been ported to the Mac. A remote Virtual Machine would solve this problem.

I then go to Google and start searching for “MS Project Mac alternatives” and see a list of software that might help this person. Eh, there’s some software that might help, but whoever is requesting this Mac probably has no business owning one.

It’s common for a VIP at my work to want a Mac because, well, they look pretty and “important” people just love having a Mac with them.

John:
Thanks.  I understand that, but a VM won’t work for this Officer and I know there are project and visio alternatives out there, just need to find the right ones that can export into Project and Visio themselves.

OK asshole. If your VIP needs to have this software, and you know it’s not available for the Mac, and if you know there are alternatives, what the fuck are you doing asking me? Do all IT managers have their abilities to do Google searches revoked?

Me:
I’m sorry, I thought you said they need Project and Visio.

Which is correct. I was so irritated with him I couldn’t help but splash this back at him. As in “Dude, you just told me your customer needs this software. I went and did a Google search for you, and now you’re shifting the goal posts.”

Me:
I’m unaware of any alternatives at this time.

A few minutes go by. He’s probably bitching to his coworkers about me not being helpful. I want to help this guy about as much as I want to help an ex-prostitute get hooked back on heroin. I can’t stand it when lazy people reach out to me for questions they could easily research themselves, in about a fraction of the time it takes me to have this conversation.

John:
thanks!

Fucking idiot.

My email is my passport, verified.

“Sally” over in Finance wanted to know if I’m still receiving a monthly stipend for my work using my personal phone as their virtual leash to my life.

“Zan,

I am trying to make sure my records are updated. Are you still receiving a monthly stipend of $20 for number 666-420-6969.”

 

“Hi Sally,

Rest assured, your records are correct. However, I’ve upgraded to an Apple iPhone 9,001 and I’ll be needing 5x the stipend for this new phone, as it’s gas-operated and the maintenance costs on it alone are over $100 a month for its immense thirst for power. Please let me know what my options are, as I have about 1 gallon of gas left and I have to choose between calling my mother, or eating.
-Zan”

I hovered over the “Send” button on this email, but decided not to fire it off, because I don’t know her that well, and in the back of my mind I felt like she wouldn’t understand either a) a wisecrack, or b) the fact that it’s April 1st tomorrow, and today is a Friday; which means I only have today to be professionally silly.

Jake’s got a gun.

Sometimes I get a little playful at work. The corporate environment can sometimes beg for a break in the monotony of politeness in emails, etc. Today I invited my friend Jake to take on some silliness.

From: Me
To: Jake
Hey Jake. Were you able to test those scripts last week?

 

From: Jake
To: Me
I meant to tell you about my progress the other day but then the other team hasn’t yet responded. I’ll prod them a little bit and let you know how it goes.

 

From: Me
To: Jake
Aren’t there tests you can conduct from your end? Do you have a gun you can use to persuade them?

 

From: Jake
To: Me
well, I actually ran the modified versions of the scripts and it sorta worked but there were discrepancies between what the new script and the old script were pulling when it ran on schedule. I’m hoping someone from the other group can tell me why

 

From: Me
To: Jake
Would you please expand on what you mean by “sorta”?
 
I’m also going to need an answer on the gun issue.

 

From: Jake
To: Me
I was trying to send you zip files of the new scripts and the report results of both old and new scripts so you could see for yourself but my email client keeps crashing when I try.  The short version is that the new script is only pulling a very small subset of the data.

And yes but that would violate my parole.

Then Jake decided to IM me.

Jake: you want me to bring over copies of the data?
Me: No. Just give me the gun. I know what to do.
Jake: that would also violate my parole
Me: Jake, you gotta stop getting in trouble man.
Me: You're killing me here.
Me: FIGURATIVELY.
Jake: with a gun?
Me: The data can wait. Let's take a look at it tomorrow.
Jake: sounds good
Jake: I'll be remote tomorrow
Jake: but we can figure something out
Me: There's always a way.
Me: Especially with a gun.
Me: Unless your name is Jake.

 

 

 

Nostalgia Entertainment System

NES Classic then and now

Welcome to the era of nostalgia! Kids born in the late 70s to the mid-80s are now reliving their childhood with the help of Nintendo. Now you too can earn mythical internet points for spending money on a console and taking a picture with said console, when you can download NES ROMs and an emulator for free.

I’m not the gatekeeper to fun. If this dude wants to spend his money on a NES Classic to re-live some old games, more power to him (Nintendo power?). However, there feels like there’s a sheen of pretentiousness to the Nintendo Classic. No one gave a fuck about old NES games for the last 10-15 years, except vintage gaming enthusiasts. There have always been NES consoles available to the public. So what’s up with the hype?

Well, I’ve got a theory.

We are in full swing into a nostalgia era. Think about it, we’ve been bombarded by nostalgia in the movie theaters in the last 5-10 years. Pixels, Jurassic World, Star Wars: A New Hope II: The Franchise Awakens, The Karate Kid, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Total Recall, RoboCop, X-Men First Class (sort of), Star Trek, Star Trek II: Into Fartness, etc. It was only a matter of time before video game manufacturers got an idea in their head to reap the benefits of people’s nostalgia. I hear SEGA also released a “classic” version, but it’s been reported that their re-release wasn’t really well thought through (no HDMI output, etc).

I can’t wait for this era to be over. It’s so fucking boring. Thank goodness I’ve got my video games. If you need me I’ll be playing Call of Duty 16: Space Ghost Recon Warriors and Battlefield 10: 1776.