Dandy Cat

Oscars 2023 Will Include All 23 Categories Presented Live on Air

From Variety:

Bill Kramer, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, announced the news exclusively to Variety Tuesday morning. “I can confirm that all categories will be included in the live telecast,” he said.

This is welcome news after the utter nonsense from last year’s ceremony. It was clear from the outset that there had to be better ways of increasing interest in the Oscars show than stripping the winners and nominees of eight categories of their rightful time in the spotlight.

Who knows if the Academy will ever be able to figure out how to win back their awards show viewers,1 but I do know that slighting hard-working artists of the filmmaking industry was not the way to do it.

  1. Although I’m betting that 2023’s broadcast will be well-watched by people hoping for another train wreck after the bullshit from 2022’s show↩︎

My first bout of post-Thanksgiving food exercise this year was… Well, let’s just say there was a lot of sweating and huffing involved.

The urge to join the crowd and sign up for an alternative social network was weirdly strong for a moment. What’s more important is reminding myself that any social media is an exhausting thing for me.

I don’t need another place on which to waste my time. I’d rather read a book!

I just finished my twenty-fifth book of this year. It was the incredible Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. For some, that may a small drop in a large bucket. For others, a towering amount.

For me, it’s the most I’ve read in a single year in a long time. I think my younger self would be proud.

One of the worst things about Musk, an increasingly despicable person, buying Twitter, an already terrible place, is the amount of news stories that pop up whenever anything related to either happens. Anecdotally, I’d give a conservative estimate of a 1,000% increase in them.

Letterboxd Diaries—October 2022

Total movies watched: 31.

Favorite movie of the month: Booksmart. Business Proposal was also amazing, but it’s not a movie. Honorable mention, though.

Worst movie of the month: Jurassic World Dominion.

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥

The location-based alerts in Reminders are, I think, going to be what finally gets me to stop using Things for good.

A lapse of memory made me miss something on a recent shopping trip. Reminders would have prevented it; the long-stagnating Things did not.

In addition to my previous post, the brilliant theme song for Succession may be one of the most invigorating and eminently listenable pieces of music I’ve ever heard.

Composer Nicholas Britell should be better known than they already are.

Every time I see it I’m reminded that the opening credits for Star Trek: Lower Decks may be the best opening credits for not just a Star Trek show, but any show I’ve ever seen.

It’s a perfect fit and clever as hell.

I get an email when my voting ballot has been sent out. I can drop it off at any of several different locations at my leisure. I get another email informing me that my vote has been counted.

I love how easy and supportive it is to vote in California.

My brain is pushing back hard against Stage Manager at the moment, but I’ll give it the ol' college try, as they say.

For myself, what would help are keyboard shortcuts to move between stages and a way to keep the stages in the same order at all times.

Like the offspring of lustful bunnies, my Netflix watch list has quickly filled up with a startling number of admittedly cheesy, but fun as hell Korean romantic comedy dramas.

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha and Business Proposal have been particular standouts.

Letterboxd Diaries—September 2022

Total movies watched: 31.

Favorite movie of the month: Down with Love.

Worst movie of the month: Brightburn, although Pitch Perfect 3 was a close second. The unrealized promise of the former was what clinched this dreaded spot for the film.

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥

Regal Closes 12 U.S. Cinemas As Parent Cineworld Grapples With Bankruptcy

I’m extremely sad to see the Anaheim Hills 14 location listed among the places that’ll be closing soon. It was one of a small but dearly loved selection of theaters in which I’ve spent a significant amount of my life (and money). My dad used to take me there all the time when I was younger. I eventually started bringing friends there with me, turning them into diehard fans of the location in turn.

I’m not super surprised by this news, though. That place was always stuck in the past, decor- and technology-wise. But I saw that as part of its charm. It still had the carpet, upholstery, and pink-blue neon of old, back when all of the Regal cinemas around here were known as Edwards. Take a look at this blast from the past. Curiously, this location retained its “Edwards Cinemas” sign on the outside of the building.

This particular location had a fun layout. From the edges of its expansive foyer, with a large concession area smack dab in the middle, branched off two hallways. These led to all of the screens, seven on each side. The hallway walls were covered in mirrors extending from waist level to the ceiling. Each hallway ended in a smaller room (tiny foyers?) that was filled with tables and the sort of ill-advised candy machines that go KA-CHUNK-CHUNK when fed quarters. Each of these smaller rooms had an additional screen-spotted hallway that ran along the outside walls of the building. It felt like traversing through a fun and easy maze to get to your movie.

Despite my reluctance to go to a theater these days, I’m still very sad to see this one go. It’s an important piece of my history that will live only in my sweet memories.

Here’s to you, Anaheim Hills 14!

The lining of my pizza box is printed with a MOD Pizza slogan:

This is not a pizza place.
(It’s a people place.)

How am I not supposed to assume that this is a Soylent Green type of problematic situation?1

  1. And the movie is set in 2022? Come on! ↩︎

How long will it take for cereal boxes to shrink in size so much that we’re stuck paying normal box size prices for individually wrapped flakes and O’s?

A Quick Castro Update

On June 14, I wrote an entry that discussed several issues with my preferred podcast player app. It seems so long ago now; so many things have changed. We’ve all grown a little older and, I hope, a little wiser. To the second point, I’ve decided to cease an activity that’s proving itself to be a waste of my time.

I don’t want to bury the lede any further: I’ve stopped using Castro entirely and have returned to Overcast.

I’ve also canceled my long-held subscription with Castro because I no longer feel that my money is being used to support the development of this app. Instead, it appears that my money is being taken from me with nothing given in return.

Since writing the initial entry, I’ve followed up every subsequent month with a short update on Twitter. Normally, I wouldn’t care to use that place for anything, but it’s historically been where Castro’s developers have been most available. I figured that a mention there could make its way to their eyes. So far, I’ve been proven 100% wrong.

Not only has there been no communication with me, but there’s been no communication from them with anybody. By all appearances, the Castro podcast app has been abandoned. There’s been no official announcement about this, so take what I’m saying with a grain of salt, but the app hasn’t been updated in over half a year. Additionally, it’s been nearly two years since there was any mention of their iPad app and sync service. What else should I conclude from this behavior?

I acknowledged in my original entry that software development is an inherently time-consuming and difficult process. I would never demand that any developer finish large projects in an unreasonable amount of time; we all have personal lives to live. What irks me is the complete lack of communication from a company that provides a product to the public. Castro’s developers used to update and communicate regularly, and now they do not. I don’t find that acceptable when other people’s money is involved.

I’m saying goodbye to Castro and hello again to Overcast. Its developer, Marco Arment, has not only proven himself to be capable of regular app updates, but more importantly, he’s open to communication in several different places. I feel confident that if anything were to ever happen to Overcast, then he would tell everybody.

I see more commitment to and progress made on Overcast than I’ve seen on Castro in a long time. More importantly, I don’t feel like my subscription to his app is being taken advantage of.

This is a damn shame. Not because I don’t like Overcast—I do—but because I really liked what Castro did for listening to podcasts. The episode triage system worked especially well with my listening behavior and it was a well-made app. Unfortunately, it’s become riddled with bugs, the developers have fallen off the planet, and it’s completely missed the boat with the recent iOS 16 launch. Even if they came out with an update tomorrow and renewed their interest in communicating online, I wouldn’t use Castro again. What assurance would I have that they wouldn’t fall back into their bad behaviors sometime in the future?

There comes a time when a person should stop foolish endeavors and accept what’s already there for them. Expecting an untrustworthy company to completely change forever is like expecting chocolate chip cookies to not be delicious. It’s just not going to happen.1

I expect to be done with these entries forever unless a Castro update magically appears, and even then, don’t bet on it. In the meantime, I’ll be busy listening to podcasts on Overcast.

  1. I mean, look at these things! My mouth is watering already. ↩︎

Roger Federer to retire after Laver Cup in September

From BBC Sport:

Roger Federer, one of the greatest players of all time, will retire from top-level tennis after the Laver Cup in London this month.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not played since Wimbledon 2021, after which he had a third knee operation.

“My body’s message to me lately has been clear,” Swiss Federer, 41, said.

“I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Now I must recognise when it is time to end my competitive career.”

I’m generally not a fan of sports, but for reasons I can’t figure out, I love watching tennis. I think the blame for this appreciation can rest entirely on the shoulders of one Swiss person: Roger Federer.1

Watching him play in Wimbledon over a decade ago was a defining moment for me. It felt like I was watching someone excel at something in a way that no other person was, and that’s because he was doing exactly that. It’s something special to witness true mastery at play.

But now he’s forty-one years old; it’s no surprise that he’s going to retire. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t do it sooner, but I’m glad I got to see my fair share of his matches. Along with Serena’s recent retirement, I expect that we’re going to see many of “the greats” stepping away from competition in the next few years. So it goes.

Knowing that there are so many up-and-coming stars to watch takes the sting off this announcement. The next generation of superb tennis athletes is beginning to pick up steam; it’s going to be exciting to watch as they come into their own. There’s something just as moving about that prospect as was watching Federer become one of the best ever.

  1. Rafael Nadal then went and cemented that love for me. ↩︎

Jean-Luc Godard, Enfant Terrible of Modern French Cinema, Dies at 91

I’ve been trying to make this website a generally more upbeat and happier place these days to combat the cesspool of several other internet destinations, i.e., social media sites, but I feel this deserves a mention.

By Jordan Mintzer:

Jean-Luc Godard, the brilliant and polemical Franco-Swiss filmmaker whose work revolutionized cinema, has died. He was 91.

Godard resorted to assisted suicide Tuesday in Switzerland, a family spokesperson told Agence France-Presse.

“Jean-Luc Godard died peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones,” his wife, filmmaker Anne-Marie Mieville, and producers said in a statement. He will be cremated and there will be no official ceremony, they said.

I saw his revolutionary and still exciting film, Breathless,1 when I was in my 20s—a great age for a film lover to experience it. I was awestruck by the brash confidence and who-gives-a-damn attitude with which it was made. Decades after it was released, I still found myself thinking, Wait, you can do that in a movie?

And he made it when he was only 29! By that age, I’d finished film school but could only dream of being that good.

I’ve yet to see enough of his other work, but I’ll be rectifying that soon.

As sad as this news is, it did inspire this amazing Onion headline: “Jean-Luc Godard Dies At End Of Life In Uncharacteristically Linear Narrative Choice”.

  1. Or À bout de souffle, as it was originally titled. ↩︎

Having to delete and redownload my apps to get their Lock Screen widgets to become available is not a great first experience with iOS 16.

It’s all working well now, but that was a confusing and a little frustrating.

According to many news sources, Hurricane Kay was a real deal weather event. Even in my area of the state, we were told to prepare for flooding and extreme winds.

While it was a considerable problem south of here, particularly in the Baja Peninsula, the forecasted inches of rain turned out to be little more than a warm sprinkle.

I’m grateful that it wasn’t so bad where I live, but after the godawful heat wave we had I would have appreciated more than a misting of water.

Writing this at around 4:42 in the morning makes me miss the days of midnight iPhone preordering with a great and drowsy passion. I’m glad that the rest of the world gets to enjoy a more reasonable order time, but 5:00 am in the pacific time zone isn’t that.

One of the greatest aspects about being enrolled in the iPhone Upgrade Program is being able to get pre-approved for a new phone and have the checkout experience greatly expedited every year.

It makes the whole fraught process much easier and more enjoyable. Also, I’m super psyched about the new phone!

Second COVID booster finally received!

If it’s anything like the others, I’m expecting to feel pretty damn sickly tomorrow. Worth it!

I got harassed for wearing a mask for the first time today by exactly the sort of science-denying, flag-based-propaganda-on-a-shirt-wearing jerk that you may be picturing in your head.

“You can take that thing off. It’s over!” he said as if I had asked for his opinion.