Dandy Cat

Going out to Los Angeles may not be my favorite activity, but it’s nice when the trip is for a family birthday celebration.

And when the place we’re eating at is next to a fancy ice cream shop. 🍦🤤

First power outage of the summer season and it’s not even the hottest day of the last few months. Surely, things aren’t being overloaded.

How does that make any sense?

‘For All Mankind’ Renewed for Season 4 at Apple

“For All Mankind” has been renewed for Season 4 at Apple.

The announcement was made Friday as part of the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Production on the new season is scheduled to begin in August.

Apple has spent a lot of time and money pushing shows like The Morning Show, Severance, and Ted Lasso on their streaming service. For good reason, no doubt—they’re spectacular (especially the last two). However, For All Mankind, for my money, is their sleeper hit.1

It may not ever develop the same sort of fervent fanbase or be an “of the moment” experience that Ted Lasso has enjoyed. For All Mankind is not a feel-good, inspirational comedy. It’s dramatic sci-fi, which may turn people away. But what it lacks in laughs, it equals in quality and storytelling.

I’m looking forward to traveling the cosmos with this show for another season.


  1. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention See in the same breath. Stuff like Game of Thrones and The Witcher wish they could be as consistently unique and good. ↩︎

One Billion: Letterboxd Hits Major Movie Milestone

One of the two social networks I actually care about1 just hit a major milestone. A billion films were watched and logged in a little over a decade. That’s an average of 100,000,000 films a year. 273,973 films a day. 11,416 films every hour.

Impressive as hell. Here’s to a billion more!


  1. The other obviously being Micro.blog↩︎

Netflix Admits Some Shows Won’t Make It To Ad Tier, In Talks With Studios Over Licensing Deals

By Peter White for Deadline:

Netflix plans to launch its advertising tier in early 2023, but not all of the shows that are currently streaming on the service will make the cut.

Obviously, they’ll still be offering all of their original content, as confirmed by the article, but this is a peculiar licensing issue. Either these studios don’t want their shows played with ads or there needs to be a new deal struck anytime the status quo changes. I’m betting on the second one. Rarely are things simple when media companies are involved.

Or there’s some mystery third reason. Your guess is as good as mine there; I’m no industry insider.

I’m certain this ad-supported tier will actually be a boon for Netflix—their pricing is exceptionally high and this new tier should be far more affordable. It’ll be great for people who can stand ads playing during their shows and movies.

I’m not one of those people.

Limiting the number of available shows probably isn’t going to make someone interested in this new tier think twice about signing up. It’s not going to convince me to downgrade, though. Fewer content options and unskippable ads? That sounds like a nightmare. No thank you, sir!

On top of all this, Netflix has been losing subscribers (albeit at a slower rate than predicted), so I’ll be curious to see how this new shake-up shakes out.

I can’t recall the last time I binged a show as quickly as I did The Bear.

I don’t know what it was about that barely surviving, dysfunctional as hell restaurant and its cooks, but I was invested. And what a moving final episode of the season!

I would happily trade my tinnitus for hearing the world as if everything was recorded for an independent French film from the 1960s.

In the unending war against visual wire clutter on my desk, I’ve just lobbed a volley of under-desk clamp-on cord organizers.

It is unknown what the wires will do in response to this advancement.

I remain steadfast and committed to being victorious in this regard.

On one hand, becoming Dr. Manhattan sounds like it would be a great and terrible burden.

On the other hand, think of all the quiet rest I could enjoy! Just me hanging out in the happy face crater on Mars without a care or stitch of clothing in the universe.

Setting off a bunch of fireworks in a neighborhood that borders a national park in the middle of an ongoing Southern California drought seems… Let’s say irresponsible at best.

The people in my area are doing nothing to decrease the anxiety I feel on this holiday.

If my terrible neighbors are any indication, riding a dirt bike is 1% actually riding the thing and 99% revving it in place for hours like some sort of drunk, deaf monster.

Letterboxd Diaries—June 2022

Total movies watched: 26.

Favorite movie of the month: Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Worst movie of the month: Llamageddon.

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥

Delete TikTok from app stores, says FCC commissioner to Apple and Google

From Ben Lovejoy at 9to5Mac:

An FCC commissioner has called on both Apple and Google to delete TikTok from their respective app stores, giving the companies until July 8 to respond. […]

The lengthy four-page letter says that TikTok is not a video-sharing app, but a “sophisticated surveillance tool” for the Chinese government …

That’s a pretty damning but unsurprising development in the continuing U.S. vs. TikTok skirmish. Where it concerns this issue, the next week and a half is going to be interesting. I imagine it’s relatively rare that the U.S. government passes such a weighty edict to companies like Apple and Google (although that’s undoubtedly going to become more frequent).

These days, it also feels rare for the federal government to do much of anything beneficial. I’ll admit that recent events have left me feeling bitter about the whole organization. One need also only look back at the previous administration, and its FCC chairman,1 to form a clear understanding of my disillusionment and that of many others.

However, considering what was detailed in the the BuzzFeed News report that the FCC letter references, this feels like a positive step.

By Emily Baker-White:

For years, TikTok has responded to data privacy concerns by promising that information gathered about users in the United States is stored in the United States, rather than China, where ByteDance, the video platform’s parent company, is located. But according to leaked audio from more than 80 internal TikTok meetings, China-based employees of ByteDance have repeatedly accessed nonpublic data about US TikTok users. […]

Despite a TikTok executive’s sworn testimony in an October 2021 Senate hearing that a “world-renowned, US-based security team” decides who gets access to this data, nine statements by eight different employees describe situations where US employees had to turn to their colleagues in China to determine how US user data was flowing. US staff did not have permission or knowledge of how to access the data on their own, according to the tapes.

I’ve never been so proud and relieved to have not downloaded and given my personal information to an app. Call me a Luddite or out of touch, but at least the dire issue presented in the BuzzFeed report and this subsequent FCC letter has never been a concern for me.

Count me among the people who believe the world would be better off if social media services of the size and scope of TikTok weren’t so easily accessible.


  1. As always, fuck Ajit Pai. ↩︎

My Vasectomy (and Why It Continues to Be the Right Choice)

i.

In November 2019, I got a vasectomy because my wife and I didn’t want to have children.

More than ever now, we’re certain that this was the right choice.

We both don’t want her to ever deal with any government or man who erroneously thinks they have a say in what she does with her body.

This was the responsible thing for us to do then, and it sure as hell is now. It can be for you, too. If you have a penis, then you can do something to help carry the weight of reproductive health issues. For yourself and for any partner you may have now or in the future, this is a safe and effective way to step up.

ii.

By the time the day came, the entire procedure was done in about an hour. I took a pill to help me with some of the anxiety I was feeling. In the room, I undressed, put on a gown, and got comfortable on the padded table. They sterilized the area and got to it.

The first numbing injection they gave me at the site of the operation was the only major discomfort. After that, I could hardly feel a thing. Smelling my vas deferens being cauterized wasn’t pleasant, but whatever. That was never going to be a great thing. They snipped, clipped, and sealed those tubes shut. They did both sides and stitched me up.

The doctor was efficient, completely capable, and happy to talk through the whole procedure with me.

I felt discomfort in the area for a few days after, but it was nowhere near what any tv show, movie, or uninformed gossip might lead you to believe. I took a couple of Tylenol about three or four times a day for the next few days and was fine. In fact, it was great to have an excuse to do nothing for a weekend but watch fun movies.

A few months later, a lab told me there was no more sperm in a semen sample I gave them, and that was that. A couple of years later and I can’t even tell where the scrotal incision was made.

This was all 100% covered by my insurance. All I paid for was the athletic supporter I had to wear for a couple of weeks.

Planned Parenthood has a great and more thorough explanation of what a vasectomy is and what you can expect from the procedure.

iii.

Considering the very invasive surgery needed to sterilize someone with a uterus, this was a relatively insignificant process, both in the procedure and the effect on my body.

The benefits have been enormous. Removing the ever-present background concern of failing contraception was enough to make it worth getting a vasectomy. It has not negatively impacted my body or my marriage in any way. There has only been positivity surrounding this choice.

If you’re ready and able to support a child for their entire life, then this probably isn’t for you right now. If you’re done having children or if you don’t want to raise a child for any reason, then a vasectomy is a simple procedure that I highly encourage. If you’ve already gotten one, hello sterile friend! 👋

Remember: This is about stepping up, being supportive, and taking responsibility for your part in the reproductive process. And now it’s especially important.

It’s days like these that I wish with all my heart to have been born in a country that cares about its citizens, or that it was immensely easier to become part of one.

I continue to hope that love and good will prevail here, but hate-filled people are making it so tough.

It’s clear now that this week is the start of my “I just have to be okay with sweating through my clothes and feeling gross all day” time of the year.

Bring it on, Sun. Bring it on…

I have finally finished my somewhat masochistic viewing of the entire Fast & Furious franchise, as it currently is.

My takeaway: if you’re going to make a film series full of empty calories, you might as well go as crazy as possible. And they did.

  1. Buy a new ceiling fan.
  2. Notice a few of the fan blades are damaged.
  3. Call customer support for new blades.
  4. Get new blades a week later.
  5. Install fan for an annoyingly long and sweaty time.
  6. After finishing, notice that the replacement blades are shorter than they should be.
  7. Collapse into a sad, defeated heap on the floor.

Title Card: Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

The title card for the film, Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Brussels.

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles was written and directed by Chantal Akerman. It was released in 1975.

The film was produced by Guy Cavagnac, Alain Dahan, Liliane de Kermadec, Corrine Jénart, Evelyne Paul, and Paul Vecchiali along with Paradise Films and Unité Trois. 🎞

Because the issue regarding Stage Manager continues to be contentious for many people, myself included, I’ve wondered what could be a way out of this whole mess.

At this point, allowing external display support without pillarboxing would be enough to make me very happy.

Tales of Castro Woe

Castro, the podcast player app, is the third-party iPhone app I use the most. Podcasts are a major part of my life, and Castro presents them in a way I find most pleasant. I’ve played around with the others,1 but this one has stuck the longest.

Unfortunately, over the last year, Castro has become one of the buggiest apps on my phone.

The quality of the app, its relentless pace of innovation and keeping up with modern iOS technology, and the communication from the development team have become lackluster. I was disappointed to find myself casually looking for replacement apps and just as disappointed to discover that none of them manage podcasts in quite the same way.

I have a few glaring issues with the app. I’m sure I’m not the only one with issues, so this list isn’t exhaustive and may not be typical.

Lack of developer communication

On the company’s Twitter page, which had long been a reliable source of information, you’ll find that their last communication was on March 29. Well over a month ago, as of this writing. Their support account is similar.

Their last app update was released four months ago, according to the version history of their App Store page. It was a small bug fix update (which is, of course, always welcome).

I understand that app development is inherently complex, time-consuming, and challenging. Their lack of communication is surely attributable to the upcoming iPad app and sync service. I imagine (and hope) that they’re hunkered down and making it happen.

However, to allow the currently released app to quietly degrade and not manage the growing number of issues is disheartening. To stop communicating with their users borders on unacceptable. It makes me feel like I’m paying a subscription for an app that’s been abandoned.

This is an unfortunate turn and makes talking with them feel like shouting into a void.

Missing podcast artwork bug

Over the last several months, the main artwork for a growing handful of the podcasts I subscribe to has disappeared. What started with a single show has now infected three. I counted seventeen podcasts with missing artwork while browsing through my History page in the app.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a free show or if I’m paying for it. There was no warning, and there appears to be no way to fix it. I’ve tried power cycling my phone. I’ve tried unsubscribing and re-subscribing to the shows. I’ve tried deleting the app and downloading it again. All that greets me from some shows is missing artwork.

Other podcast players don’t have this issue. Overcast, for instance, shows the artwork in all its glory; Castro only shows a dark square.

A side by side image of the player windows in Castro and Overcast.

Disappearing episode/settings toggle bug

At the top of the playing screen, there’s a toggle to switch between the playback controls and playback settings for the current episode. It’s an easy way to travel between those two screens.

While a podcast is playing, slowly pulling down the shade to show the Queue/Inbox/Library/Discover pages will cause that toggle to shift itself upwards, hiding and making it difficult to interact with.

Pulling the shade all the way down and then moving it back up to show the playing screen again will put the toggle back in its place.

Spacing issue with icons in the top bar of the Inbox screen

At the top of the Inbox screen, there’s a handy row of shows that have episodes awaiting triage. Several of those shows have shifted themselves to the left, obscuring a portion of the small artwork icon. It’s as if the margin between those items isn’t being respected.

This also happens, and more egregiously, in the History screen of the app.

This has been a long-standing issue with the app, or at least my downloads of it, and has followed me over several new devices. I’m beginning to lose hope that it’ll ever be remedied.

A pair of images of an icon margin issue in the Castro app.

Slowing development pace

I mentioned earlier that app development is a complex and time-consuming process. I don’t expect large-scale updates or even small issues to be completed in an unreasonable amount of time.

I want the developers of Castro to live full lives outside of their app work. They shouldn’t be tied to their computers all day, every day.

However, it’s hard to look at an app like Overcast, which received a major redesign a couple of months ago, and not feel a bit envious. While the developer, Marco Arment, has made major improvements and continued fixing bugs, the team behind Castro has done neither and not talked about it.

According to the Credits page in Castro, the development team currently has three people working on the app. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to imagine that three people should be able to accomplish things faster than a single person.


I wouldn’t think of demanding anything from the developers of the apps I use. They’re human beings and deserve time and respect in their work and personal lives. They will never owe me service, coddling, or even a development timeline, even if I am paying for their app.

What I’m ultimately asking for is better communication from the developers of Castro. If it’s slow going with the sync service, fine. Let us know. If the iPad app is proving troublesome, fine. Let us know. If there are bug fixes on the way, fine. Let us know.2 If you’ve got a cool idea for the app or everything is going swimmingly, great! Please tease us with some scant details.

A vaguely passive-aggressive tweet shouldn’t be sufficient. A company that deals with the public shouldn’t be averse to sharing with the public.

I love Castro and I want to continue using it, especially on all of my devices. In the meantime, I feel that many of its users, myself included, would appreciate, at the very least, bug fixes and some sort of indication that it’s not going to be left to wallow in the Museum of Once-Amazing iPhone Apps.


  1. Special shout out to Overcast, the app that got me loving podcasts for their potential. ↩︎

  2. Receiving only an auto-reply email and then silence after reporting a bug is discouraging and unsatisfactory. ↩︎

Can I just delete the phone app from my iPhone?

I mean, I know I can’t, but I happily would given the opportunity. I can’t name a lesser-used app than that one.

Title Card: Hot Fuzz (2007)

The title card for the film, Hot Fuzz.

Hot Fuzz was written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg and directed by Edgar Wright. It was released in 2007.

The titles were designed by Oscar Wright and done by VooDooDog.

The film was produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Nira Park, along with StudioCanal, Working Title Films, and Big Talk Productions. 🎞

Now that the fun of yesterday is over, I’m wondering which new feature in any of Apple’s OS updates won’t be ready for their release date in, I’m assuming, September.

Just like there are always new iPhones every year, there are always missing features.

Words cannot express how bummed out I am that I won’t be able to use the new and exceptionally cool window resizing and external display support with my iPad Pro.

According to the iPadOS 16 preview page, my iPad is a single generation too old.

😭