Another COVID booster, another day laid out on the couch and moaning occasionally because of all the aches I’m feeling.

It probably didn’t help that I got a flu shot at the same time. Both of my arms feel dead.

Letterboxd Diaries—September 2023

Total movies watched: 24.

Favorite movie of the month: Boyz n the Hood.

Least liked movie of the month: Evil Dead.

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥

Finished reading: Election by Tom Perrotta 📚

As usual from Perrotta, this was a stellar story. The excellent film adaptation hews very close to the novel, but I enjoyed the film’s ending much more.

A Tiny Announcement. ↗

From Letterboxd co-founder, Matthew Buchanan, on the Letterboxd Journal:

[W]e have accepted an offer for Tiny to acquire a 60 percent stake in Letterboxd, securing the platform’s future as an independently run company and part of the Tiny stable.

Aside from the ownership change, and in line with Tiny’s core operating values, very little else will change. [Co-founder] Karl and I are still leading the team, which remains the same, but now has the additional support of a company with vast experience in helping founders through periods of growth, which Letterboxd continues to enjoy. It means we can bring you more of the features you love and deserve, at a sustainable pace.

If Letterboxd had to be acquired, then I’m glad it was by Tiny—as acquisition firms go, they have a general track record of not being godawful leeches.

There’s always a shiver of fear that runs down my spine whenever a company I like is bought up by something else. That rarely ends well for the users (see Twitter), most of whom are die-hard fans of the service into which they’ve poured a lot of time and love.1

I wish the best for Letterboxd and the people who run it; I’m not going to stop using it anytime soon. Anyway, what are the alternatives? A massive spreadsheet? Not likely at this point. But I am going to keep a more watchful eye on how its user experience develops from here on. I’ve never hoped that something will avoid the Process of Enshittification more than I have with Letterboxd.

  1. Hey there! 👋 ↩︎

Finished reading: Fairy Tale by Stephen King 📚

This one took me longer than I would have liked, but I think that’s just because I wanted to spend all my time in the world of Empis.

We’re quickly approaching shop-around-for-and-wear-warm-and-comfy-clothes season. I, for one, couldn’t be happier about this inevitable progression. I could use some nice clothes, and summer can go suck it.

That’s another iPhone pre-order day in the bag! This one felt a little shaky on Apple’s end—my app didn’t load for several long minutes—but I was able to nab launch day delivery for a 256GB White Titanium iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Time to go back to sleep. 5:00 a.m. is no fun.

A screenshot of my iPhone 15 Pro Max pre-order confirmation.

I can’t wait for the day when AirTags become so small and slim that they can be attached or built into my glasses. Trying to find those suckers when you’re as blind as I am makes me feel like a bumbling Mr. Magoo.

Carbon neutral is the new 5G!

But at least this venture actually means something.

I’ve checked the science and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing better than napping on the couch while a cat is napping on top of you.

I came up with a new get-rich-quick scheme that’s sure to work! While browsing the spices at my local Sprouts, I noticed a remarkable price tag. Per ounce, saffron threads work out to be $1,299.

  1. Start growing my own saffron.
  2. ???
  3. Major profits!

Warner Bros. Discovery Says Ongoing Strikes Will Mean $300M-$500M Hit to 2023 Earnings ↗

By Georg Szalai at The Hollywood Reporter:

Warner Bros. Discovery has lowered its 2023 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) forecast to $10.5 billion-$11.0 billion, a hit of $300 million-$500 million, “predominantly due to the impact of the strikes,” compared with the previously targeted low end of the $11.0 billion-$11.5 billion range.

Let me get this straight: it’s unreasonable for writers to justifiably demand a relatively modest pay increase, but it’s the height of business savvy for Warner Bros. Discovery to lose $300–500 million in a year?

What I’m hearing is, “I’m really upset with my face right now, so let me cut off my nose!”

To be clear, it would cost WBD far less to pay writers a fair wage than they’ll lose this year. According to IndieWire, of the $429 million a year it would cost the AMPTP to meet the demands of the WGA, WBD would be on the hook for about $47 million. On the low end, that’s a $253 million difference in 2023 and $453 million on the high end.

But yeah, it’s the writers who are the real problem. 🙄

It must be nice to lose that much money and not have to worry about also losing your job. I don’t know what WBD CEO David “I’m Super Good at Business” Zaslav has done to make his position so secure, but if anyone else in the world lost their company that much money, they’d never work in their industry again. Instead, these overpaid ghouls keep failing upward while the writers are increasingly unsure if they’ll have homes and food to rely on soon.

Make no mistake—it’s not “Hollywood” that’s the issue here. The blame for these strikes rests 100% on the shoulders of inept executives like Zaslav.

Introducing Hammy! He’s a mostly three-legged goof of a love bug who’s quickly made himself at home. We got him at our local shelter and couldn’t be happier with our new family member. 🐱

A small and utterly adorable gray and white cat lying on carpet and probably planning some sort of mischief.

I’ve gotten a college degree, I’m one half of a successful marriage, and heck, I’ve even earned a black belt, but none of that has been as challenging as trying to come up with meals to eat every dang week.

Letterboxd Diaries—August 2023

Total movies watched: 26.

Favorite movie of the month: Barbie.

Least favorite movie of the month: No Hard Feelings.

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥

After an extensive amount of dental work (thanks, past me 🙄), I just finished with a biannual check-up. It turned out to be my first dentist visit without any bad news that I can recall!

Turns out that flossing, brushing, and going to the dentist regularly are good for a person. Who knew?

As of today, I’ve read as many books as I did in all of 2022. Thirty-two books so far, and there’s still a whole third of the year left! I don’t know how many I’ll complete by year’s end, but right now I’m giving myself a pat on the back.

Finished reading: The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa. 📚

A surprisingly touching book with an opinionated cat narrator and gut-punch of an ending.

Another Box Office Milestone: ‘Barbie’ Becomes Top-Grossing Movie of 2023 Domestically, Global to Soon Follow ↗

By Pamela McClintock at The Hollywood Reporter:

On Wednesday — its 34th day in release — Greta Gerwig’s movie passed up runaway blockbuster The Super Mario Bros. Movie at the domestic box office to become the top-grossing title of 2023 after finishing the day with a North American total of $575.4 million.

Couldn’t have happened to a better film and director. Barbie was probably the best time I had at the movies so far this year.

Backblaze, a company of which I’m quite fond, just sent out an email notice of a price increase to their computer backup service.1 Starting October 3, the new pricing for the Backblaze Computer Backup service is:

  • $9 a month, or
  • $99 a year, or
  • $189 for two years

I’ve been a Backblaze user since they were charging $5 a month or $60 a year to back up a computer. In the years since, I’ve seen that number slowly tick up. $5 became $6 became $7. The price has now nearly doubled since I first subscribed.

In addition to the price increase, they’re also making their one-year extended version history feature available to all users for “free.” Previously, it was an additional $2 a month add-on. I’ve never used more than their 30-day version history, so this ridiculously long extra safety buffer is nice, but in my case, unnecessary. It feels like a way to boost revenue without actually spending anything.

This email, taken in its entirety, can also be read a different way: Backblaze subscribers will be receiving a feature that they may not need, and cannot refuse in exchange for a lower subscription price, while incurring a 29% price increase for monthly subscribers or a 41% increase for annual subscribers.

It’s an understandable bummer for the consumer. On one hand, data storage isn’t free,2 and they have other operating costs to consider. I’ll never begrudge anyone that reality. On the other hand, Backblaze launched its initial public offering (IPO) in November 2021. This means that people can buy and sell shares of the company, but also that there is now massive and relentless motivation for Backblaze to increase its value. It’ll allow the company to grow, but will also necessitate price increases like this one if it’s not growing enough or in the right way (according to the inscrutable stock market gods). Capitalism, baby!

It should go without saying, but I consider Backblaze an essential service; there’s nothing quite like it. I’ll still recommend it to everyone I know. There are few things in this world I value more than knowing my important data is reliably backed up and able to be restored. I’ll accept this most recent price increase with a well-earned grimace for that reason.

  1. Thankfully, I just re-upped for another year a few days ago, so this won’t be a big issue for me for several months. ↩︎

  2. Although it is getting cheaper all the time—another reason why this increase is irksome. ↩︎