Is it weird that the world is suffering through a pandemic and one of the brighest sources of comfort for me is a dumb, addictive reality TV show? If so, don’t care. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to watch this first episode of Season 22 – which also happens to be the first All-Stars Season that Big Brother has had since Season 7 way back in 2006. Two thousand SIX. I was in Colorado Springs still and in the Air Force! I hadn’t met Larry yet. I’ve lived an entire life since the last All Stars, and that life has admittedly completely crumbled and withered away in that time too, but hey, this brings me joy, so I’m going to embrace it.
I’m stoked that friends also are obsessed – so we’ve set up a draft for this year. I think I got some good picks, and while some live feeds info makes me wonder if I’ll end up doing good long term with my picks, it’s always way too early to make that kind of call. If you want to peek at what we’re doing, click here to our Google Slides about it.
Anyway, let’s meet our houseguests!
The first 4 houseguests to enter are Nicole F, Daniele, Da’Vonne and Christmas. It’s a surreal thing to see this brand new, gorgeous exterior studio and it’s utterly empty. No studio audiences in the Age of Covid, and as you can see, the HGs have their masks on still. These folks have been quarantined for 2 weeks to ensure that once they go in to the house, they’ll not be spreading anything inside. It’s crazy but necessary. It was a 2 hour episode, so after some chit-chat, Julie had these first 4 go in and compete in a semi-final for HoH. It was a ball maze puzzle and only the first 2 to complete it would go forward and compete for HoH.
Only Christmas made it to the finals in this group. What I seemed to notice was that in these groupings, the girl groups all had to go for the rear part of the puzzle while the guy groups had mid-way targets. Kind of bullshit.
Our second group in was Kevin, Tyler, Ian and Enzo. Kevin and Ian were the ones who made it to the finals.
The next group of four was the last of the girls: Nicole A, Janelle, Bayleigh and Keesha.
This queen is welcome to be on every single season of Big Brother, at least if I have my say. Same for Britney. She, along with Kaysar, are from the earliest season represented in the cast (BB6), and you know she’s still a threat to go super far. I hope she can take it all, but she’s not exactly under the radar. None of these people are tbh, yet Janelle stands tall as a BB MegaStar. Get it Queen! LOL tho, only Nicole A was able to complete the ball puzzle. D’oh!
The last two weeks or so have been more of the same while staying ‘safe at home’. If it’s Monday through Friday, I’ll get up, I’ll get myself going and do yoga with Adriene (as of now, it’s been 56 days straight – go me). Shower, then breakfast, and then I’ll head downstairs (I honestly thought the word ‘downtown’ in my head while typing, lol right – I honestly wonder when I’ll see downtown again) and get to work at my desk. I’m happy that I did make my desk a standing desk via the on-desk Flexispot thing I bought and put on it late last year:
I’m using a webcam to then dial in to any meetings that we have, as that is now basically kind of our default way to do meetings, which is using video. Before this, video calls were never really part of the paradigm and it was just voice and maybe sharing your screen. Anyway, I’ll then continue that until around lunchtime, and by now I’ve kind of gotten into a rhythm of ordering a big family meal of El Pollo Loco, and then spread that out through the week.
Then back to work until 5:30 or so, and then the excitement begins as now I can relax at home. Home, which I haven’t left except for small things for nearly a month. If I’m not ordering food in, I’ll probably make my chicken-rice-beans or broccoli combo, or if I have a particular meat in mind, I might grill that up. It’s good. The image above is how my pork chop turned out – it was spectacular (I even used Larry’s cast iron skillet to do it – intermediate level skills there).
Lately for fun, I’ve been continuing to rewatch Twin Peaks, as I’ve mentioned multiple times previously. I’m right now right at the penultimate episode of Season 2, right before the crazy 2-hour season finale (now season instead of series!). Or I may watch a Marvel movie in my rewatch – I just watched Age of Ultron this morning and that movie still is a slog. Some fun stuff in it, but it’s just a big meh. Or I play video games, and honestly, that’s a huge part of my time lately, as it just lets me get lost in something else besides crying over Larry, whether it’s thinking about missing him, thinking about him dying, thinking about if I’ll ever have another relationship again, thinking about if he loved me, thinking about if he’s watching me somehow (it sometimes feels like it when I dream and he’s there – this morning I dreamt I had come home and while trying to turn the alarm off, realized it was off already because he was there. I didn’t think of him as dead, so I was in a rush and he told he had to talk to me, but I was in the middle of something and that I’d get right back to him in a sec but of course I woke up. Fun.). Anyway, some video games have helped me tune the world out.
The latest game is Final Fantasy VII Remake. It’s a thrilling remake (I know, I know, that’s in the title) of the classic 1997 Playstation game that got everyone in the US excited over RPGs – Final Fantasy VII. Indeed, I was amongst that group of folks who had our minds blown when playing this game – my UCLA roommates Ryan and Rolondo and I played this that year, and it was a blast. I’ve replayed it throughout the years, but I don’t think I ever finished the whole thing again as well, it’s a lot. But since 1997, there’s been talk of getting a remaster or a graphical update of this classic game whenever new video game hardware emerges, and every time, it’s always a no-show. But in 2015, it was formally announced, and by golly, in 2020, we got it. And hot damn, it’s amazing. The early news back in 2018/2019 was the game would be episodic, and the first game is set only in Midgar. That riled up a lot of people as episodic games can sometimes leave a lot to be desired. And Midgar’s opening 5-6 hours in the original game are literally just an intro, as the whole world opens up to you after it. And now this whole first game in the Remake is only there? Potential concern – but the final product has shut my whore mouth. It’s fantastic – the graphics are spectacular, there’s voice acting now, and the city of Midgar is immense. A whole lot has been added to the game and it’s all been entertaining. My first few hours though were spent gawking at the completely stunning and HAWT side-character named Biggs who is just….dayum…..
I didn’t make this image but it captures my feelings completely – thanks, Reddit. Biggs’ looks and his voice performance are all so damn sexy, and honestly, this whole game is overtly horny and honestly, I’m here for it. But yeah, Biggs. Nice.
Anyway, I’m loving playing this game for just the fun of it and for the escapism. I’ve continued getting through the end-game-ish stuff of The Division 2 as well. I’m done with the main campaign (although they keep re-invading Washington DC and it’s annoying) so I now am playing the add-on episode content (National Zoo, Pentagon, Coney Island) and I’ll then get to the New York City expansion (which is where The Division 1 was set). After that, I think I’ll be content to move on to other games. Anno 2205 is also a background play for me when I need to zone out (you get to build on the moon, ffs!) as is No Man’s Sky (in VR this game truly is just spectacular; in non-VR it’s another addictive, zen game).
So yeah, that’s my life. I chat with my friends over text and WhatsApp, we have occasional video calls, and it’s just who knows where this all goes. I’m tired of it, but the alternative isn’t that great without treatment or a vaccine. So yeah, great year 2020 is. We manage to have birthday celebrations via Zoom video chat – earlier in April was Paras’ birthday, and it was fun, but it sucks that 2020 will be a do-over year.
I bought a new Dyson vacuum as I wanted a cordless one so that I didn’t have to schlep the canister one I also have up and down the staircases. I went all out on it and got the latest, nicest one, and I gotta say it’s pretty fantastic:
It even came with its own stand and a couple of attachments. I also bought a film negative scanner that I will use to go through a lot of my old pictures as what else do I have to do? And while I do love the Google Photo Scan app for a quick way to effectively take a picture of a picture, actual scanning of the negative will get really good quality. That should come this week.
Some fun stuff is coming up – wine.com has virtual video wine tastings and the first one I signed up for (along with some coworkers and friends who I sent the invite to) is Tuesday – to taste a French Pinot Noir and a California Pinot Noir. Wine is also what gets me through the day. So there we are. Other than that, no pictures I took are worth showing as it’s just sunsets and looking outside. I look like hell, and what’s the point anyway.
Ah, Twitter. Especially Gay Twitter. Some days Twitter can be an awful awful place and serve to make you feel utterly hopeless and despair about the world. And then? Some days Twitter provides you this:
Holy hell. Suddenly I’m going to be much more interested in the Winter Olympics.
These fine-ass specimens also help to reinforce my goal to get into better shape. I’ve actually been really good about being a morning workout person. I LOVE that I have the workout room here in this complex and I am a huge fan of the Fitbit Coach app – it’s always an interesting iteration of bodyweight exercises which keeps me from being bored. But yeah, now being 41 means that it’s even harder to avoid being overweight as just it’s so easy to eat and enjoy oneself. Anyway, just hope to be healthy and avoid bad things. And in the interim, gaze upon some hot athletes. 🙂
I may have stopped recapping these for a while as life gets in the way as does motivation, but I never stopped watching the show. And with a Cody & Jessica from Big Brother on this season, it was certainly going to get viewing rotation!
Amazing Race 30 – Leg 1: New York, NY to Reykjavik, Iceland
So this season’s gimmick for casting is that every team is super competitive in whatever arena it is they do. So there’s competitive eaters, Big Brother contestants, Indy 500 winners, etc. I am not nearly motivated enough to care about all of the teams yet, but there are some standouts…including the cute Indy 500 winner and then these hotties:
I’m assuming they’re gay from their outfits, speaking voices, and hotness, and apparently they’re hip classical musicians too. Please let them stay in this race for awhile, and let’s have a Turkish mud bath challenge please?
Anyway, we start this season at Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village area of NYC, get introduced to the teams, and then they’re off to get their clues in the fountain and then over to JFK to fly to Reykjavik, Iceland. No drama in getting tickets on a quicker flight, but we all know that shit’s coming in a later episode. The early frontrunners are the Yale Debate Team (Henry & Evan) and surprisingly Big Brother (Cody & Jessica).
I say surprisingly as Cody & Jessica didn’t really make it that far in this past season of Big Brother, and managed to actively turn the entire house against them. It was pretty astounding. Jessica’s game was definitely hurt by Cody’s stubbornness and terrible gameplay instincts, as she had a serious chance, at one point, to do well in BB. But she, along with many of us with eyes, got swept up by Cody’s looks and body and managed to utterly ignore the damage to her game he was causing. But they’re still together so I guess maybe she’s not too unhappy with the results. But based on their ending leg stumble which completely hinged on Cody’s stubbornness on where they were supposed to go, I’m predicting yet again that Cody hasn’t learned anything and will cause them to lose the $1MM grand prize at the end. Guess we’ll see.
Once in Iceland, each team had to drive to this big ass waterfall that a steel-line had been strung across – with one of the team having to climb out and get an Icelandic flag and the other having to pull them back in. I honestly think this challenge would be one I’d be able to do as most of the time, you have no chance to look down and see how high up you were. Who knows, I could be full of shit. Larry & I watch this and try to figure out who would do each Detour/Roadblock and there are some clearly suited for one or the other. He immediately said he’d not be doing this particular one.
This detour is where things go all sorts of jumbled as the damnable Attention To Detail snared up nearly EVERY team…except surprisingly Cody. To this twist of fate, I’ll only say that I think he got lucky, as while most figured out that while riding around in the little dune buggy and looking for letters, the small number associated with the letter indicated its position, it was the fact that there were two types of Os present that caused chaos. If you luckily put your O with an accent in the right place, yay you! And I KNOW that’s what Cody lucked into. The poor basketball players though got super screwed by this challenge as he just did NOT see that there were differences in the Os. Here’s where the typical Amazing Race errors are seared into teams’ brains, as if it’s not “Read the Fucking Clue” then it’s “Pay Attention to the Details” that will always get you. Also, “Learn to Drive a Fucking Stick Shift” and “Figure out how to read a FUCKING MAP.” I digress. This Detour definitely allowed some people to make up some time while others like the Cute Indy 500 guy lost a few places.
There was another challenge where you had to find out some Icelandic beverages from clues that some super-weightlifters gave them, but it proved not to be all that big a deal except for some footage of some really shitty parking attempts.
What we did get though was a pretty epic Leg Finish. Miss Iceland and Phil were there and greeted the Pro Lady Skiers (Kristi & Jen) as the winners of Leg 1 as stupid-ass Cody lost he & Jessica the lead getting lost wandering around Reykjavik. I was so impressed that Cody & Jessica were about to win this leg and then OF COURSE he gets them lost. Ridiculous. But anyway, that’s not really the best part of this leg’s end, as in the end, it literally ended up a photo finish as the final two teams were having a foot race to the mat and I don’t think either realized they were in that position.
It really was like they stumbled into there and honestly, if the girl with the backpack in the picture above had dropped that damn bag LIKE SHE SHOULD HAVE AS SHE’S RACING FOR A MILLION DOLLARS, she probably could have outrun Yoga Goat Girls and beat the blonde woman to the mat. But hey, if I had just studied European Flags some more or not bet like a dumbass in my one chance at Jeopardy, I could have possibly had at least ONE WIN on my belt. So we all have our regrets.
In the end, I’m loving this season already and can’t wait for there to be a ‘who looks best in a speedo’ Detour that the Gay Orchestrators win in a landslide.
It’s been a rough month or so for me in terms of work. Basically been nonstop in order to try to stay ahead or keep up (it changes, depending on the day), and for quite a few weekends, I would take Saturday off for my sanity but be working from home on Sunday to keep getting shit done. What have I been doing? Making myself invaluable in the world of COBOL apparently:
Take a gander at that article. That’s been my life, getting to know the client’s COBOL programs and decipher them into readable pseudocode. What’s amusing to me is that I honestly might be learning this skill that keeps me gainfully employed; it’s not sexy by any means, but so much still runs on a COBOL backbone and industry is just not really ready to ignore the ol’ adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Anyway, the 3-4 weeks of intensity has managed to finally get lessened due to that hard work. So that’s been great. It’s still busy during the week of course, but I have been able to take a full weekend both this one and the last. Yay!
So, what else has been going on? Let’s go through some of the pictures, shall we?
OH MAN. So much excitement with Season 3 coming up in like a month. I have to keep expectations in check, but it’s so exciting to realize we’ll get some answers one way or another so soon.
A few weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly released 3 covers that all had to do with Twin Peaks. If you lined them all together, you could see they all formed one “last supper”-ish picture of major components of the cast. When I realized this was happening, I managed to finally get to Barnes & Noble and snag 2 of the 3 covers, but of course the ‘good’ cover was the one I couldn’t find, which was the one with David Lynch, Cooper, Laura and Audrey. Of course. I held out one piece of hope though – that Larry’s subscription issue would come with that cover, and happily enough, that turned out to be the case. All 3 covers were MINE.
I am so freakin’ excited for this.
Here are some more official photos of the covers in their full glory:
In the midst of all my geekery, I went back to Welcome To Twin Peaks and looked at their video links. One of them was to what has been thus far an amazing analysis series that covers the entirety of the show, and while it leaves a lot of the charming and esoteric details for when watching the show, you can watch this analysis and get a pretty great sense of what has happened in advance of Season 3:
I’d just managed to finish watching through to the recap of winding down from solving the Laura Palmer mystery, and am interested in how it deals with the Windom Earle plot as well as Miss Twin Peaks and the dive into the Black Lodge. And of course, the frustrating then-“series” finale which is no longer the bane of the show’s existence. “How’s Annie?”, indeed.
Fun @ WeHo’s Flaming Saddles
Yeah, so when you make it to one of WeHo’s very festive gay bars, you can rest assured eventually some hot mofo will be dancing around for you to ogle. And sure enough, a weekend ago, Larry & I got to enjoy that pastime. Greta was celebrating her birthday and her girlfriend Stacey invited us out to Flaming Saddles, a WeHo outpost of a place we’d also visited in NYC many years back. Anyway, we had a blast. After a few pitchers of beer, how could you not have fun? Drag queens, gays, hot guys dancing around….yeah, you tell me how you can’t have fun. Well, I can actually tell you the best way to fuck it all up: add shots. Larry & I had been drinking $13 pitchers of beer for a while, but of course when it’s a birthday party, people always think you need to add shots. OOF. Larry wisely and by necessity passed, but I was like SURE. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! Yeah, I entered the zone of blackout drunk and a 36-hour hangover period. Day drinking is a fun thing, but it’s not a right. And you can easily fuck that up if you’re not careful. Anyway, still a blast, and something I’d love to do again. Just don’t mix.
If you get the chance to visit some place like Flaming Saddles or the Abbey, I highly recommend it. What’s not to love?
Work Goes to the Standard Rooftop in DTLA
The new partner overseeing the national practice that I work in came to visit our humble Los Angeles office and meet us. It was a good day and all of us were in the area so why not have an after-work happy hour atop the Standard Rooftop? It’s just a block away from where we work, the weather was stunning, and the view was great.
See for yourself!
So that brings us to this weekend. I’m obviously skipping a lot, but I’ll have to make up that differential with some more posts, like movies we’ve seen, etc. In the meantime, it’s getting close to bed time and today has been a long one, with our Griffith Park run kicking it off and then a lot of work doing laundry, ironing, watching TV, and well, getting mentally prepared for another week. Le sigh.
Hope all is going well out there for everyone else in this nutso time we live in.