I Know You’re A Phone, But…

Hi there, Apple. Me again. I know you haven’t fixed that speakerphone thing for me yet, but I’m going to lay another longstanding gripe on you if that’s alright.

Can we please have a feature that makes the phone treat the phone part of itself as a background app instead of always taking focus from other things?

If you need a use case for this, here’s an easy one.

When I’m listening to or recording something in another app, I don’t want to be bulldozed by a call from some computerized asshole telling me I’m going to get arrested for not paying taxes. And I especially don’t want to have what I’ve recorded erased when that call comes in. If you can’t auto detect what I’m doing, can we at least have a toggle that allows me to choose that mode? When it’s on, a simple notification would pop up letting me know I had a call coming in, and I could choose whether to take it or dismiss it like I can with call waiting. Then I could finish what I’m doing in peace, plus it would have the side benefit of me not resenting the person who just derailed my train of thought through no fault of his own.

I don’t build phones, so as always, maybe there’s something I’m missing here. but I don’t feel like this is too much to ask for or that it should be all that difficult for offices full of bright people with a gazillion dollars at their disposal to implement.

Thanks for your time, guys. Looking forward to you pleasantly surprising me one day.

Why Do They Do That?

Maybe someone smarter than me can answer this.

On every New Japan show I’ve been watching, they take a break part way through to disinfect the ring. I realize that it’s supposed to be a COVID measure, but what good is it doing if they aren’t doing it at the end of each match? Every show would probably be like 17 hours long if they did, but right now it comes off more like theatre than anything useful.

Speaking of New Japan, right now I’m working my way through last year’s G1. I have to say that so far I like it without all of the extra tag matches and I don’t think it would hurt my feelings too much if they didn’t bring them back whenever life is normal again. I get that they’re a way to build interest for the next night’s tournament matches, but a good tournament in a well booked company builds itself, and since NJPW is a well booked company that does good tournaments, they’ve always felt mostly like unnecessary filler. The one young lions match and then straight down to business format is working for me. The shows fly by, which is nice when they expect you to watch 19 of them in a month.

Today In Things I’m About Sick Of

Just a couple of unrelated things I’m annoyed by right now.

  1. If I’m paying to subscribe to your website, why is it still absolutely caked in ads? Short of trying to force harmful software onto my system or hitting my very modern computer with so many things to load that it falls over and dies, you can do what you’d like with your free site as long as I can still conveniently access the information there. But if I think enough of whatever it is you’re doing to shell out for a subscription to it, you should think enough of me to knock that off. Maybe you can’t go 100% ad-free. Sometimes the economics for that just don’t work. That’s fine. But there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to survive on subscription money and a few simple banners or text ads to support your paid area. I should not have to put up with my screen reader bouncing around because shit keeps refreshing, nor should I need to stop every paragraph or two in order to scroll through seven miles of advertising. If you honestly feel it necessary to treat paid users like free users in this regard, it’s time to consider being less greedy, figure out how you can improve revenue without running people off or sort out who might be embezzling from the company.
  2. People who constantly complain about how terrible lockdowns are but won’t lift a finger to help get us out of them. Yes. The start and stop we’ve all gone through hasn’t been easy. I feel for all of the businesses that have no idea what they’re allowed to do from one day to the next. And I worry about the kids. They’re missing out on so much important life stuff. It’s hard to learn how to build relationships and sort out the ins and outs of social interactions when you’re stuck at home behind a screen all the time. You can’t experience the world if you’re not allowed to experience the world. All of those things are true, and I’ve heard them repeatedly from people who spend the rest of their time telling everyone that they’re not going to get vaccinated. Listen, partner. If you really care about the youngins and the shopkeeps, you would drop whatever you’re doing and march your happy ass down to the nearest clinic and do literally the one thing we can all do to help put things right. If you’re not willing to do that, your words are empty and meaningless, and you and them can feel free to fuck off in the direction of your choice. Everyone with sense stopped listening long ago anyway.

Finger…On…The Button…

I am so tempted to delete every Raw, Smackdown and main roster WWE PPV from my never ending wrestling watchlist.

What in the actual hell is this retribution shit?

For weeks these goobers have been running around like a lame version of the Nexus, messing with the broadcast feed, menacing employees and misclassified independent contractors, destroying property. Management and security are at a loss. We just can’t keep them out of here. What ever shall we do?

Well, according to the Raw I just watched, the answer is sign them all to contracts and then have the announcers beat into our heads that now they can do whatever they want.

The fuck?

Guys, they were already doing whatever they wanted. What is paying them to do it going to solve? And why would you pay someone to destroy your show? That’s just dumb. Besides, you already have Vince.

You might have a sniff of a good story if you had been hinting that there was some discontent among management and it turned out that someone had formed a crew and unleashed it on the company in an attempt to destroy it. Or maybe, since their direction seems to be feuding with the Hurt Business, you could have had them absolutely brutalize them, maybe even writing at least one of them out for a while, and then have the rest of the Hurt Business come out and beg for WWE to let these fuckers in so we can kill them.

But that’s not what we’re getting. What we’re getting is thrown together shit that struggles to stay coherent from segment to segment.

All this on top of nearly every damn match having some sort of dumb ass disqualification or distraction finish, nobody advancing anywhere and doing the same matches over and over again, and somehow managing to make Keith Lee of all people boring.

I’m on the verge of losing my mind again. There’s so much good wrestling out there. Who needs this shit anymore?

The Coat May Not Be Fleeced, But You Will Be

I realize I’ve asked this a thousand times, but why does everything need technology in it? Why, for instance, do jackets now require batteries to power their built-in heating systems? Isn’t the coat combined with your own body supposed to be the heating system?

I just get so furious when I read things like this.

I typically turned the jacket on two or three minutes before I left my home because it takes a couple of minutes to heat up.

Made in China, designed in Canada, the Wyne’s heaters cover your back and shoulders. I thought the jacket would need more heating pads, but I found that the amount and their placement was sufficient.
I typically charge the jacket overnight so that I’ll have enough battery during the day when I need it. It sports a 10,000mAh Anker portable USB battery that the company promises lasts for six hours of operation at the cool setting. I only use the jacket at its hottest setting, and after about two hours, it loses more than half its battery.
I often forget to turn off the jacket, which leaves me with a dead coat, but that’s user error. That said, it would be nice if it could somehow tell I wasn’t in it and turn off automatically.
To charge it you have to remove the battery from the jacket and plug it in with a micro USB cable. The removable battery seemed weird at first, but it allows you to use other portable batteries to extend the jacket’s battery life in the future.
Using the jacket without the heat will keep you warm if it’s above minus 5 degrees Celcius, but anything below that, you’re going to be chilly.

Dude. Seriously. Just buy a decent fucking coat. Like one of the zillion that will keep you warm when it’s winter in Canada without you having to deal with all that ridiculous goddamn rigmarole.

In all my years, no matter how rich or how poor I have been, I have not once owned a winter coat that didn’t keep the parts of me it covered sufficiently warm. Whether I spent 50 bucks or a couple hundred, it was always fine. Why in hell would anyone want to spend $430 on something that’s going to shit out after an hour or two and render itself incompetent at its one job if the weather decides to dip below freezing?

This is a solution in search of a problem. It can feel free to piss right off.

Don’t Forget The Dolly. I Want To Bring The Portable TV Along

For the low low price of $250 in 1959 money (around $2200 today) plus another $5.25 ($47 now) for the rechargeable battery, you too can own your very own battery powered television. Imagine being able to watch your favourite programs on a plane or train. It’s as handy as a camera. It only weighs 15 and a half pounds.

Yes, the Philco Safari was a real thing. I’m sure it was pretty cool in its time, but portable? It’s only portable in the same way that a piano is portable if you can find enough people.

Let’s All Dance The Three-Step

Because apparently we have no use for the two-step around here.

Waterloo Region’s top public health doctor says the area is on track to move into Step 3 of Ontario’s reopening framework along with the rest of the province next Friday.
“That’s the plan,” medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said during a weekly COVID-19 briefing. “The plan is to move along with the province going forward.
“We are not out of the woods yet, but we have a path to get there.”

Friday morning, provincial officials announced Ontario would move into the third stage of its reopening plan on July 16 – five days ahead of schedule.
But Waterloo Region is the lone health unit jurisdiction across the province that has not yet even moved to Step 2.
Only yesterday did health officials in Waterloo Region announce the area would move into Step 2 on Monday.
Should Waterloo Region follow suit and enter Step 3 at the end of next week, there would be less than five days between Step 2 and Step 3.

It’s been hammered home all pandemic long that doctors, scientists and the like know best. And while that’s largely true, it’s also true that every rule has its exception, and I think we’ve found one here. Maybe everything will work out fine because we have vaccines now, but as someone who has watched us repeatedly get ahead of ourselves in the rush to get back to normal only to wind up worse off than before, this decision is nonsense.

Holding the region back at the end of June was absolutely the right thing to do. Our daily case numbers were among the highest in the province, our hospitals were stuffed with COVID to the point that we were sending people out of town, and we really didn’t know how much havoc Delta was going to cause. Here we are a couple weeks later and while our daily case numbers still aren’t great, other indicators appear to be going the right way. So sure, move us along to step two if you’d like. But for only four days? What are we hoping to accomplish with that? If the answer is anything other than nothing, I respectfully suggest that you all may be out of your minds.

I thought, perhaps foolishly, that the reason we were doing this in stages that were all a few weeks long was so that we could be reasonably certain that each move wouldn’t lead to trouble. We would take our time, look at the data, and then make a well thought out decision about how to proceed. But how can that happen in less than a week? Quite simply, it can’t.

If this is a genuine decision made by the health unit, then I humbly ask that you all take a nice vacation and a long nap. You don’t seem to be thinking so clearly at the moment. But if these choices are being made as a result of pressure from government and the public, can you please tell them all to shove off and let you do your jobs? Yes, we all want our old lives back. But rash, feel good decisions aren’t going to get us there. Those will only get us right back where we were…again.

Why Is Everyone But WWE Good At Empty Arena Shows

I’ll never be caught up on wrestling again. That’s just the way it is, and I’m ok with that. It’s not a bad way to watch, actually. When there’s so many things you want to see, it’s nice not to feel the pressure to try to keep up. There’s just too much out there anymore for that to be reasonable if you still want to have some sort of life.

Right now I’m watching things from last September. that means that I’m a few weeks in to the WWE ThunderDome era. So far, I like it…mostly. The upgraded presentation helps, but there’s only so much it can do. The piped in crowd noise (which I usually hate with a passion) and the arena feel make things seem more like a usual WWE show. It lets them cover over some of the flaws in the product that were especially evident during the Performance Centre days. Those distractions are invaluable when your show doesn’t rely on the wrestling as much as it does everything surrounding the wrestling. With a few exceptions, nobody in WWE ever figured out or was ever allowed to figure out how to wrestle in front of no fans in a silent building, and it made for an awkward presentation that never really worked.

The problem they still have, of course, is that no matter what bells and whistles you add, you still have to present a good product, and that’s not happening. We’re still stuck with the same nonsensical storytelling and awful WWE speak that we’ve been getting for years now, and nothing on the horizon is going to change that, not even crowds coming back which they’re about to in the world everyone else lives in.

But there is another problem, and I think it’s the answer to the question I asked in the title. WWE is the only company in the whole damn wrestling business that hasn’t ever made it out of the pandemic denial phase. If they acknowledged COVID at all, they don’t call it COVID or Coronavirus or the pandemic, they say that whatever is happening is due to “prevailing circumstances.” Short of running in empty buildings or spending money on a new set, they’re still pretending like all of this is business as usual and the shows (even the ones that aren’t that bad) have suffered for it.

While WWE sticks its head in the sand and then orders everyone to keep shoveling, literally every other promotion I’ve watched has been figuring out how to adapt to reality. Some have had more success than others, but what they all have in common is that they’ve changed their presentations in order to play even more to whatever their strengths are.

AEW hasn’t changed much, but they did figure out almost right away that if you test everyone regularly, you can put people outside the ring and have them make a lot of noise without having to worry quite so much about outbreaks. It worked for the gym shows they did in Georgia, and then they were fortunate enough to have access to the outdoor amphitheater in Jacksonville once WWE called in whatever favours they called in with the government and got wrestling considered an essential business in Florida.

Impact mixed their usual solid wrestling and storytelling with even more of their wacky outside the ring mini movie stuff. WRESTLE HOUSE, The North taking on all of the “best” tag teams in Canada while they were stuck there, Cody Deaner’s “Kwaranteen” isolation videos. They all helped to keep people on TV and in our minds. And I’m sure they were extra handy when the company suddenly had to recut a bunch of shows when at least five people including the world champion and a top contender all left or got fired at the same time.

I haven’t seen much of New Japan proper, but what I have seen is still quite enjoyable. Hearing whatever crowd is allowed in constantly clap but never cheer is odd, but it works.

New Japan Strong is quickly becoming one of my favourite things of the week. It’s only an hour long, which is a major selling point in this day and age. But it’s also very simple. You take a mix of New Japan regulars who are in America, some other American independent guys and a few of the standouts from the NJPW Los Angeles Dojo, come up with some matches and some easy stories and then let the wrestling do the rest. There are moments when you miss the fans (some of the super quick, high flying matches lose something without the reactions), but for the most part it doesn’t really matter.

And then there’s Ring of Honor. I just watched the first episode of their restart, which consisted of the first two matches in the Pure Title tournament. I think I’m in love. That show was so awesome…and so different. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to wrestling being presented as a real sport in North America since probably the 1980s. And it’s not rocket science. They explain the pure wrestling rules, they tell you what the match is, they do a very good three or so minute profile of each guy, and then the match happens. And even when you’re pretty sure you know who’s going to win, you aren’t totally sure because everyone is so convincing in their interviews and their work. You just know there will be a winner and a loser, no bullshit. You almost don’t notice the lack of fans, even though it’s pointed out now and then that they aren’t there. You’re just watching a competition between people who are very good at this, and there’s a prize at the end. What else do you need?

All of the different things that the companies I’ve mentioned and many I haven’t are doing to keep themselves going have really exposed just how irrelevant and behind the times WWE has become. Not even NXT is immune. It’s better since it’s more wrestling heavy, but it hasn’t been quite the same since it moved to national television. And at the end of the day it’s still a WWE presentation, even if different people are making a bunch of the decisions. WWE has a certain way of doing things, and that’s not an advantage. They would do well to remember that despite what they say, they don’t live in their own universe. You’re out here with the rest of us, guys. We’re all having to be flexible. You’re no different.

Who Wants To Be As Broke As They Were When They Got Here?

I almost want to feel bad for this poor guy. He’s got his big moment on national television. Brimming with confidence, he tells a nice story about how the show inspired him to embrace being a smart nerd and to go to medical school. And then he blows the first question that whoever it is that hosts Millionaire throws at him. Oof.

Snapping selfies in kitchens you can’t afford and taking “a meatball break” are two things BuzzFeed says every twentysomething does on their first trip where?
• A: To Paris
• B: To London
• C: To Rome
• D: To Ikea

IF he’s a better doctor than he is a game show contestant ( hopefully a low bar), he’ll find a way to pay for that trip to Rome soon enough.

By the way, when did the $100 question become a $500 question?