On Tesla

Got to thinking about Tesla's announcement of their 10% reduction in workforce. For years they gained a foothold because they were early to market and their cars just had something about them. They were cool, the company was cool, Elon was cool (I know, I know, stay with me) . I've admired the Model S and Model X from afar for years.

In 2024 all major car manufacturers make electric vehicles. The competition well and truly caught up. Now if you want a fancy lad electric vehicle you have other options. Those made by Volvo, Audi, Jaguar, BMW, and Mercedes are compelling. Tesla no longer the only game in luxury EV town.

But there's also a pretty big elephant in the room.

When it comes to me even thinking about a Tesla, that particular ship couldn't have sailed further if I'd pushed it out of the docks myself. Musk's toxic behavior has ensured I will never give a cent to anything he's involved in. I'm sure I'm not alone.

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Blurchella

On the one hand I thought it was great Blur were headlining Coachella. But on the other hand, it's a bit of an odd choice. Blur were never that big here in the US to begin with. A lot of Americans my age would know Song 2, but 1997 was a long time ago.

And lo, the crowd wasn't very receptive. Perhaps Blur's management should have known this festival in 2024 really wouldn't have their target audience 🤷🏻‍♂️

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last.fm Price Increase

last.fm are raising the price of their pro accounts. Which to be fair, has them join the club of lots of other services I pay for. There was much lamenting in r/lastfm on Reddit. And I get it, people will complain, as is their right.

I don't mind paying for services I get a lot of value out of. And last.fm is certainly one of those. I mean, I'm 18 years into it at this point, it's not like I'm suddenly going to have a change of heart. It's a coffee a month for something I enjoy. So yeah I'll continue paying to keep the lights on.

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WordPress Quirk

WordPress still has some odd little quirks for a mature product. For example, they still have their own code inside /wp-includes/theme-compat/comments.php to alter the look and feel of your comment section.

It can be edited of course, in fact they have a comment inside that code encouraging you to do just that <!-- You can start editing here. -->. But upon each WP update, that file is clobbered with the default and all your changes are gone. So that's fun.

I don't want to have to remember to copy my version back so I just have a cronjob check if the file has changed and it all gets fixed up 🤷🏻‍♂️

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Recent Media April 2024 Edition

A few things that found their way in front of my eyeballs of late.

Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters. Apple TV+. I'm as surprised as you are that this was actually rather good as Godzilla things go. Kurt Russell was great in it, Wyatt Russell was also great doing a pretty good impression of his Dad.

Gravity. Yeah, the George Clooney Sandra Bullock movie. First re-watch since I saw it at the movie theater when it first came out. Made all the more entertaining because of a group of young kids shouting profanity down the front (I remember my first beer as well) who got kicked out to rapturous applause. Anyway, yeah this holds up extremely well. Fantastic movie. Perhaps the most George Clooney that ever George Clooney'd? That would probably be Oceans 13 mind.

Life. Because why watch one sci-fi thing, when you could watch two? Hiroyuki Sanada is great, Rebecca Ferguson is great. Ryan Reynolds and Jake Whatshisface were also present. But this movie dear reader, while not getting great reviews, is excellent. I would watch it again right now.

Constellation. Apple TV+. Because why watch two sci-fi things, when… well, you get the idea. Apple TV+, while not having the catalogue of Netflix, has had some fantastic tv shows of late. This one is no exception. An accident on the ISS forces (some/all) of the astronauts to return to Earth. Sort of. Great cinematography, this show looks like a million dollars. I'd love to live in their house in Hamburg. Noomi Rapace is great in this. And grumpy Jonathan Banks is grumpy. "Mamma"…"Alice" when you get to that episode you'll know what I'm talking about. Would like to see a second season.

Stephen King – Billy Summers. This book was a delight. An assassin out for one last job. A coming of age story. And two novels in one cleverly handled. I've been a fan of King's since I was a teenager and always forget what a great story teller he can be.

3 Body Problem. Netflix. What happened was, I'd learned people who read the books weren't impressed by the TV adaptation? And yet the premise sounded great, and the trailer sucked me in. So I went in cold. And it was glorious. To the point where I've now bought the first book in the trilogy and I'm a quarter through it. Fantastic story.

This Is Us. Netflix. My wife and I started watching this on live terrestrial TV when it first came out and kinda forgot about it somewhere around season two ish. So we watched it from the beginning to the end. It gets a lot of flack for being trauma porn & needing to teach a life lesson every episode. But I dunno, as guilty pleasures go, this was pretty good.

Röyksopp – Profound Mysteries III. I've become somewhat obsessed with this album and have played it to death this week. It's playing right now in fact. Give it a listen if you haven't already.

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The Darkness Before The Light

It rained almost all day yesterday, dark and overcast with the temps barely getting above needing-a-jacket level. More rain overnight with a thunderstorm that woke me from a bizarre dream about toothbrushes. The dark clouds have rolled in again. Dark enough that we need the lights on in the house at lunchtime.

Previously I'd worry about the rain. We bought an old house a few years ago and had some bad luck with water damage after a particularly bad monsoon season. Now we have a new roof, new upstairs balcony, fancy patio door. Rain all you want Phoenix, now I couldn't care less.

Desert dwellers love days like these, for we know what's coming soon enough. This time Thursday it will be 20 degrees warmer. And the inevitable test of whether we can make it through April without having the air conditioning on in the house.

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Friday

Spent a bit of time hacking on lastweekly today to rip out Twitter integration. It's been busted since Elon broke the API last year; that and I'm not really that interested in Twitter these days. Slowly replacing all that with WordPress integration so the weekly cron job will now post last.fm stats here automagically instead.

It's that time of the year where we get our Olive trees sprayed to prevent the fruit from growing. Dear reader, why would anyone ever do that? The trees look pretty, but the actual olives themselves are a bit of a pain in the ass. They fall on the driveway and if you step on them they stain the concrete and then you walk that lovely olive splatter into the house. Plus they're a Pigeon magnet and no one wants to host a Pigeon party.

Because there are more TV shows to watch than hours left in my life, I decided to add yet one more watching project to the list. As you do. Last night was the start of the big X-Files re-watch extravaganza. All 11 seasons of it. One episode down, 217 left to go!

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On Just Missing Gary Numan

You know how there are artists from your youth that, for one reason or another, you just haven't seen live? Gary Numan is one such artist.

I played his records to death in my bedroom as a kid. He released a live box set called Living Ornaments '79 and '80 that I played over and over and over. I still listen to it, albeit on Spotify these days, in fact it's in my top five most listened to albums.

Because I live in a cave I didn't really pay attention to his 2024 tour schedule that closely. I think I saw he was playing with Ministry and there was some talk of separate break away solo shows? Or something.

Last week I REALLY paid attention because I saw he was playing at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix in April. That's next month, but really, how popular could he be in Phoenix eh? Could it be after all these years?

No. No it couldn't. For the show is completely sold out. Snooze you most certainly lose. I just have to hope that 2024 is not the year he retires. Boo.

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Recent Media March 2024 Edition

A few things that found their way in front of my eyeballs of late.

Maggie Moore(s). You know how you're sitting on a plane and being nosy looking at what the bloke in front of you is watching on his screen? I see this movie playing with Tina Fey, John Hamm as a Police Chief, and Nate from Ted Lasso! So I find it and watch it. And it's just a fun black comedy that I loved. Don't be put off by the lukewarm reviews.

Wonka. This was an absolute delight. Timothée Chalamet an excellent choice to play the title character. Fun songs, visually impressive, an all round good time.

Peaky Blinders season one. I might be one of the few left on the planet who hadn't watched this. The Peaky Blinders were a street gang based in Birmingham, England, operating in the early 1900s. Cillian Murphy excellent as head of the family Tommy Shelby. And you can inject Sam Neill's Northern Irish accent into my veins. Six seasons all told, I can't wait to get started on season two.

Beastie Boys Story. Mike D and Ad-Rock on stage in Brooklyn telling the story of the Beastie Boys. As a huge fan I loved every second of this. I learned a lot about their early years as a hardcore band before taking a chance with rap. How the band evolved from the Fight For Your Right years is an impressive tale. They're both so engaging, I could have listened to them all night. Of course it prompted a Beastie Boys listen fest.

Poor Things. I don't remember ever walking out of a theater going what the hell did we just watch?, but in a very good way. Give all the awards to Emma Stone who is truly excellent in this movie. A visual masterpiece, the cinematography is breathtaking. If you kinda squint it's a retelling of Frankenstein's Monster maybe. Every scene has something to make you feel just a little uncomfortable. 10/10 bravo.

The Creator. Set in a future with AI and robots. Except the robots are kinda human and drink tea and smoke, and stuff. AI is outlawed in the US after a nuclear bomb drops on LA. So all the AI'ing happens in Asia. Where the US is just allowed to bomb all the time because AI bad. The locations are superb, and the special effects are second to none. It's a fun ride if at times it doesn't make lot of sense.

Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster. I'd watched A Year And A Half In The Life… back in the early 90s on VHS documenting the making of the Black album. Completely missed their second foray into similar territory in 2004. Fascinating look behind the scenes of Jason Newstead leaving, James Hetfield going into rehab for almost a year, and their subsequent hiring of Robert Trujillo. I've had an on and off relationship with Metallica over the years, but I'm a sucker for any and all behind the scenes documentaries about bands in general. This one is great.

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