PwC View from Spire 73

Today, Monday, was a hell of a Monday.  Meetings starting at 8:30am in DTLA, traveling to Gardena for meetings, then back to DTLA, over to Koreatown for a block of more meetings, then back to DTLA for some fun at Spire 73 atop the Grand Wilshire Intercontinental (or whatever it’s called).  It was kinda crazy.  But I did enjoy the view up top and this time, I got to see the view as it overlooked the PwC building.  Pretty pretty cool.

After this, I walked over to the Ace Hotel and met up with Doug and Sloan, with Doug being one of Larry’s college friends and coworkers.  They’re out in town for work and we were able to meet up for dinner tonight with them and their adorable toddler son, Silas.   Ended up going to Perch and having a great time – very fun to catch up and also get to go to Perch as I’d been wanting to go there for a long time.  Got a pretty cool set of couches to sit on.  Fun times!

A Quiet Place and Not So Quiet Places

We went and saw A Quiet Place yesterday.   Watch the trailer here:

Scary, right?  YES, SCARY.

At just about 90 minutes long, A Quiet Place is quite a thrilling movie and is the right length to keep you on the edge of your seat before.  Too much more than that and you’re gonna kill people.  As you see, this movie is intense.  Set in the near future, we find ourselves with a family surviving in the aftermath of a world in which a kind of creature has overrun the world and decimated the population.  The creatures are attracted by sound and WILL kill you if they hear you.  Because of that, this movie is unrelentingly quiet.  So much so that even when you’re eating snacks in the movie theater, it feels like EVERYONE can hear you.

Needless to say, the movie shows us this family (headed by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) as they do their best to survive without getting slaughtered.  If you’re a fan of monster-ish movies (think, Cloverfield, which apparently was a momentary consideration at Paramount, but they decided to let it stay stand-alone) and can handle some high tension, this movie is for you.  It’s a thrill ride, but definitely keeps you nervous the entire time.  Whenever the sound drops out and no music is playing, you find yourself gripping your chair bracing for some fresh hell to occur.  And it does.  🙂

Anyway, it’s well worth seeing, especially in a theater when you kind of have to keep quiet too.  Go see it!

The Not So Quiet Places from my post headline is that last night we went out.  We hung out with Nicki and Rekha at the Largo Theater again, this time to see a 2-man improv show.   I think we may have hit a threshold of how much improv we want to see.  But it was funny, but $30/ticket funny?  Not so sure about that.  Regardless, I always love seeing friends and getting out of the house.   After the show, we walked from the theater over to West Hollywood, where Carey & Paras were celebrating Paras turning 30.   Ah, 30.  They were set up at Pump, a fun hotspot that is staffed by gorgeous folks, which of course is to be expected.   Had a lot of fun and managed to not get utterly shitfaced.  Yay me!

And now today, we went out and looked at furniture that we’d like to think about getting for the new house.  Went to the Living Spaces in Panorama City, which is a mile or so north of our future home.  It’s a pretty impressive store and we ended up finding a few things we’d certainly consider getting.   They have some interesting outdoor furniture for our roof deck, and we also saw some couches and a new bed frame that would be kinda perfect.  So we’ll see…quite a bit of time left and when we went and visited the GlenLA lot on our way home, one of the sales reps was indicating that our Phase is scheduled for September still but to be flexible as it could be longer.  Here’s hoping it’s not that much longer.

 

Janelle Monáe’s Fireball Island

I wish, right?  I don’t even know what that would be like, but I know I’d LOVE IT.   I figured I’d write a post now because:

  1. I moved my site to another hosting company
  2. I love these two things I mentioned in the title and so a post had to happen

First, I moved off of my Fatcow hosting company when suddenly the cost to host this site basically doubled.   Say what?  I saw that show on my credit card and I was like, I don’t fucking think so. A quick google of ‘best web hosting in 2018’ showed me a CNET article and at the top of the list was inmotion.   Checked out the website, saw the prices, saw they offered hosting on SSD, it was like, yep, I’ll do that.

The interesting part was transferring the site.  I’d actually been fairly good about doing database backups over the last few years, along with doing full downloads of the website content.  When hosting a WordPress site, you do have to take care of two factors:  the database, which actually has all the post information, including all those damn words; then you also have to download all the pictures and graphics and themes separately.

After downloading all my content from my previous host, I canceled the account and for a few days, if you tried to visit this here URL, you got NADA.  Because my site exists mainly for me at this point, that is not a problem.  I did slowly but surely figure out how to get my database uploaded and restored on the new site, while Filezilla connection to my new host made it pretty easy to upload the tons of content that exists from my site in all its incarnations.

And here we are!  It’s actually been a fairly straightforward process with one really annoying problem:  the character set I guess that the exported database used, when then used in the restoration, decided that some of the characters were weird ass Å characters.   Tech support here, which has been pretty great and helpful, doesn’t know how to fix it.  So I see this being a manual cleanup process that will take some time to fix, slowly but surely.  I also have to fix up pages where I used the Envira gallery plugin as I no longer do and the move to the new site TOTALLY hosed that up.  I ended up only using it for a year or so?  So the impact isn’t total, but annoying nonetheless.

You’re now caught up on the behind the scenes drama!!!!

In the other point of this post:  Janelle Monáe!

She’s been releasing more and more videos from her new album, Dirty Computer, and I am fucking stoked.   Her first song, “Make Me Feel,” is ridiculously awesome and the new Prince song we all need:

The other 2 songs released after are all also amazing, and very very lesbian and/or bi.  It’s fantastic.  Yay, 2018, as there’s so much to fret over, that there is still a boldness in art that isn’t being tamped out.

I still love that we got to see her perform at the Hollywood Bowl:

Janelle Monáe at the Hollywood Bowl

And in the final point of this post:  Fireball Island!

Man, there is just one game from my youth that I freakin’ flipped out over and harassed my mom to get me endlessly until she gave in and got it for me:  Fireball Island.

I brought that thing with me to Cambridge probably every day.  Okay, I probably didn’t bring it every day, but when I could I did.  For some stupid reason I got rid of the damn thing – probably “growing up” or “maturing”.  P’ssh.  When I would look occasionally online to eBay I’d see original versions going for hundreds of bucks and it’s like, nostalgia is one thing but paying that much for it is a little much.

Color me surprised when I’m scrolling through Kotaku one fine morning and see a post indicating a Kickstarter for a brand new version of the game is out.  It might have taken me maaaayyyybe 5 minutes to get my pledge in for the $145.  I’m a sucker.  But I can NOT wait for that game to come out this fall.  What do you think we’ll be playing up on the roofdeck of our new house??? FIREBALL ISLAND, bitches.

Kinda sick?

Breaking news alert – I’ve got a scratchy and slightly phlegmy throat and it’s the end of the world.  Alright, it’s not really and I hope I’m close to being better soon.  Larry has had a cough for like the last 4 weeks and I think it’s finally going away too.  NOW THAT YOU’RE ALL CAUGHT UP, what should I write about?

Black Mirror?

I’d say I’ve enjoyed the few episodes I’ve seen of this season.  I liked “USS McAllister” a lot, and we just watched “Crocodile” last night and that was some fucked-up shit.  The “Hang the DJ” episode was actually very enjoyable and had a surprising twist, although I read some takes online that indicated that the very end kind of is a bleak way to see things.

Ancient Wonders of the World?

I listened to a 2-part podcast yesterday that was about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and it was pretty fascinating.  I’ve known about many of these especially because of the Civilization and Rise of Nations games, in which you get to build Wonders.  The Assassins Creed games have been sometimes useful to see these wonders – especially in Origins, which has not only the Great Pyramid of Giza but also the Lighthouse at Alexandria.  I hadn’t remembered this, but Larry & I had actually seen some of the remnants of The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus when we were there for our 2011 cruise:

I still can’t believe how unbearably hot it was in Turkey when we were there.   And look at how ridiculously crowded it was!!!!!  Still worth it to have visited these places.  Hearing about some of the other Wonders does make you think on what some of them actually looked like – as we only have some written accounts for some of them, like the Colossus of Rhodes and the Status of Zeus in Olympia.  Okay, I digress.

I’ve got not much else to say today and am ready to eat some delicious pot roast.

Amazing Race 30 – 2 Head 2 Furious

Maybe delayed, but I’m still posting, dammit!  This latest leg on Amazing Race was fairly brutal, as the introduction of a new challenge type, Head to Head, guaranteed a dramatic finish.  And boy oh boy, did we get some drama.  I’ve not really had a reason to complain about the previous 29 seasons and how if you got to the Pit Stop last, after having had conquered a Roadblock, Detour, and other challenges, you’d have to confront the fact that your poor performance is leading to your likely elimination.  The Head to Head challenge acted as a gate before the Pit Stop – which is a glorious save for a team that is trailing the group.   Is it entirely fair?  I’m not so sure I think it is, but that chance to stay in the game is somewhat sporting.  Anyway, I don’t hate the new challenge, and I look forward to if it continues to show up and how often.  Is this like a U-Turn where it is an occasional thing, or will it be on every leg?  So many questions!

Amazing Race 30 – Leg 2:  Reykjavik, Iceland to Antwerp, Belgium

We left Iceland and again there was no competition about getting a better flight.   Making it so easy for these teams nowadays!  In my day, you had to spread misinformation and plead with ticketing agents to not issue tickets to others, dammit!  Anyway, everyone gets to Antwerp via Amsterdam, and taking an early lead are Cedric & Shaun, massively casting off their Leg 1 standings, and getting to the Roadblock first:

Roadblock:  Climb a Long-ass Ladder up to a Clue Hanging from a Crane

Oof.  I don’t know how well I would have done on that challenge.  The nervousness from climbing those heights on a rickety rope ladder as well as the physical fatigue is pretty harsh.  It does seem everyone managed it fairly well though, so maybe the support rope acted as a belay and helped pull you up too.

Once a team finished the Roadblock, they got their Detour clue with the choice being Diamonds or Fonts:

Detour:  Diamonds

I was kind of surprised that this was a challenge.  Not only are the teams handling actual diamonds worth tens of thousands of dollars, they also have to do MATH.  A calculator was blessedly provided as otherwise, I’ve no doubt some of the teams would still be there.  And based on the performance of some who chose this, even the calculator wasn’t that much help, as they had to pay attention to clarity and with all the fingerprints they left on the stones, it was throwing them off.

Detour: Fonts

This Detour option also required paying attention to detail, but the detail was to make sure you understood one major detail in that the type was reversed and upside down.  And if you were clever like some and used the shadows from the window, you could rip right through this.  Alas, some of the teams got massively hung up on this.  The Twin Firefighters were the key examples of this – they started on Fonts and could NOT figure it out, eventually switching to the Diamonds challenge.  That switch led them to be the last team in the standings…but fret not, Head to Head is here!

The First Head to Head

In this first instance of Head to Head, the first two teams to arrive would compete against each other in an obstacle course that required you to dress up as Belgian Fries and schlep a dolly of frozen fries around it.  Whoever wins that match wins the Leg!  The loser has to then race the next team to arrive, and so on.  The last race will be between whoever has just lost a match and that last team to arrive.  And if that last team can manage to win the match, voila, they stay in!

Cody & Jessica managed to arrive second after Cedric & Shaun, but Cody destroyed and got Team Big Brother their first (of many?) wins.  So as the teams kept rolling in, the major story of Head to Head was the awful feeling everyone had while watching Henry & Evan roll in around fourth…but then get utterly destroyed in the competition for like 7 straight competitions.  It was brutal to watch.  They were exhausted.  They got lucky, if you can call it that, by finally getting to race against a not so great team, the Goat Yoga ladies.  Exhausted and with plenty of experience under their belt by now, Henry felt got a win.  But it was very very close.  In the end, the Goat Yoga ladies didn’t have enough legs to figure it out as the Firefighters showed up last and due to pure strength, were able to power their way past Goat Yoga.

I’m of the mind that I understand this is a competition show, and if a new tweak is added, then you have to play and win.  The Firefighters won their way to stay, but their abysmal performance this leg definitely earned them an elimination.  Their elimination is likely coming soon as it doesn’t seem they’re a strong team yet.  And Goat Yoga was falling apart from Leg 1, so their elimination here isn’t a travesty by any means.  I guess I’m saying, a last place team always has a chance now…and I’m not sure I like that.

The Current Standings:

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