progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
So...I don’t know if anyone has been following my Vlog series on Youtube, but here’s the latest news:

I don’t know, maybe I can only concentrate on one creative project at a time. But I know that Confirmed Bachelors is the way to the future, not more tired internet movie reviews.


Aug. 3rd, 2015 06:33 pm
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from the Parkridge Gate of Chabot Regional Park:

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This week was my Safety Presentation on poison-oak at work. I didn’t have the printed material that I wanted because the printer at FedEx Office was on the fritz (Isn’t it their job to have working printers?). No matter, because I had an effective visual aid: real poison-oak mere steps from the maintenance shop. More than I remembered being there, as co-worker K____ pointed out. Conveniently, there was also some stinging nettle, allowing for a double learning experience. Since the park aides from Portola drove all the way to attend my presentation, it’s good that I got to kill two birds with one stone like that.

Updated the General Miles laptop to Windows 10. Not everything about it I love (like the ability to select which updates I want), but on the whole it’s a vast improvement over 8.1. Much better to have a real Start Menu, rather than the buggy, fake one that came with 8.1. In all, I am quite pleased.

Not a whole lot of news on the Confirmed Bachelors least not yet. I’ll be posting a video with updates about that and my future of making videos soon, including a pretty big bombshell (which some of you will probably have seen coming). More on that later, though...
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait taken at the wondrous Urban Ore. In profile, because my moustache did not feel like coöperating on this good eve. Oh left handlebar, why can’t you be more like right handlebar?

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Exhausting week of work. It was capped off on Sunday, where I wound up needing to clean up a restroom with...well, I won’t go into too much detail, but let’s just say that I’ve never seen that much poop in one place in my life. Wound up throwing away the toilet brush, the mop head and both sponges I used to clean it. It was like a crime scene. Yuck!

Have been gradually adding to my Summer Reading List, though when I’m done with the two Rothfuss books, I fully intend to resume my stab at Game of Thrones. I am determined to get through it. I also want to watch the TV series, but not until I’m done reading the book(s). Also, I do kind of get why the TV series should be called A Song of Ice and Fire, but isn’t (Game of Thrones is snappier and catchier, less wordy).

Still in-mid-retool for the Movie Explorer series. Except for a few commentaries, I’ve ported all the videos over to the Youtube page. Currently I’m in the process of updating my Movie Explorer Blog to reflect this. And believe it or not, costuming issues are also delaying my progress with the show. Crafts projects are in my immediate future. Oh, you’ll see!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from the Berkeley streets, wearing my beloved, stripey “pirate” shirt. Sorry for the low-light graininess:

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Much better week than last week, apart from getting locked out of my unit on Thursday night. I think my boss took pity on me, as he gave me a new shirt. My regular work shirt was encrusted with yuck after two days of leaf blowing. The new one’s a bit tight around the middle, but it tucks in fine. Another co-worker gave me shoes that her son didn’t want. I have to leave them loose round the tops, otherwise they pinch terribly. Other than that, they’re just fine, much nicer than my old fall-apart-y ones.

The Movie Explorer is kind of in limbo right now while I figure out how to proceed. I wound up re-writing part of an episode I hadn’t finished writing anyway on account of my new living situation. And I got canned by Blip in their series of mass...layoffs, I guess you’d call them? I was surprised that some people with some serious followings got the axe, but since Blip is a subsidiary of Disney now, I should have seen this coming. Since I’ve pretty much dismissed the Movie Explorer as a moneymaking venture, I’m rather OK with it; the only problem being migrating the videos I haven’t cross-posted to Youtube over there and the fixing of the links on my blog page. The animated Lost in Space pilot and Windows reviews are already there.

For whatever reason, I’ve become obsessed with this mile marker sign on 236 west of Boulder Creek that reads “UDN CLEANOUT.” I was busting my brain trying to figure out what UDN stood for. I finally realized that it’s not an acronym but an abbreviation. It’s underdrain cleanout! But they had to abbreviate, as they couldn’t fit it all on a sign.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Sobrante Ridge:

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Any business on the Movie Explorer front has been somewhat side-tracked by my current writing project. I have been calling it “a story,” but at now 18 chapters and growing, I think it’s officially a “novel.” Surely, people will be asking me why I didn’t do this for NaNoWriMo, but it was around the New Year when I had the idea...and the inspiration. Now that I feel like writing, I must write!

Odd experience at a café this weekend: coffee and cookies on the honour system. In Oakland! I went to pay before I left and the barista said, “I can’t believe you remembered!” Do I look that rogue-ish?
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Another self portrait from the streets of Berkeley. Enjoy it, it’s your last of 2013:

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Haven’t done too much with the upcoming Movie Explorer episode. Well, when I was waiting for a taping opportunity for the last episode, I wrote a large part of a long and protracted intro, but I haven’t worked on it since then. In the meantime, I did post Myra, finally. Unsurprisingly, it’s a popular one (for me).

In other news, look what [ profile] albadger got me for [insert name of wintertime holiday here]:

What could it be? )
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Myra Breckinridge (1970)

Finally through with Gay Shame Month 2013. I think I’ll skip it next year!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait on time this week! At Beanery in Berkeley:

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Sorry I have not been more diligent in my video editing. I promised to have the new Movie Explorer episode up by this weekend, now it’s looking more like it’s bound to be your Christmas present, slightly belated. I sincerely hope the next one won’t be so terribly delayed.

Slightly depressing holiday crap )
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Sorry for the outstanding delay on this week’s self-portrait. As before, it’s from Boring Old Wildcat™. Though this time, from the northern entrance via the end of Clark Rd. As before, no “product” in my facial hair, just letting it walrus out:

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The new Movie Explorer episode is pending. Looks to be a biggie. I’m midway through the editing phase. In related news, I prettified my Movie Explorer blog with widgets, links and whatnot.

Money issues, slightly personal )

Money I won in the Mega Millions jackpot: $1. [makes little sarcastic circles with index finger]
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
This week’s self-portrait from [say it with me, folks] Boring Old Wildcat™:

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The sudden late fall chill this past week inspired me to rummage through piles of clothes to find my union suit. It was all about the layering this weekend. I know lots of folks like them, so over the next couple of weeks I need to get a self-portrait of me wearing it.

Of late, I’ve grown quite fond of Cartoon Network’s latest offering, Steven Universe. As has been pointed out elsewhere, this is their first series created by a woman, Rebecca Sugar, who was a head writer and storyboard artist on Adventure Time. It almost feels like the Zen mirror image of AT, with young Steven gradually discovering his powers, offering plenty of time for character development. The character design is cute, suggesting 70s-vintage anime like Lupin III, Cutey Honey or even Doraemon. The backgrounds are frequently stunning, most notably in the episode where they visit the crumbling aquatic temple. The show has lots of promise and I really like where it’s going, it charmed me from the very start.

[ profile] albadger invited me out on Friday to go see a drag stage revue of old episodes of The Golden Girls. As an extremely casual GG viewer, I wasn’t terribly familiar with the material but this is one of those cases where familiarity isn’t really an issue. It was lots of fun and all (they threw in audio from vintage 80s/90s commercials in the scene changes) but...did the writing on The Golden Girls strike anyone else as...kind of formulaic? Sorry folks, I call ’em like I see ’em.

I apologize for the new Movie Explorer review’s outstanding delay but things are starting to come together. If I buckle down and write, write, write, I could have it ready for taping by Friday. We’ll see... In the near future, there may be a live Q&A session and perhaps even a Fans Pick the Next Theme Month votey...thingy. Again, we’ll see.

I’m also preparing my Prog 2013 review series after flaking out on it for the past couple of years, so watch this space!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Berserkeley’s Half-Price Books:

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Had a couple of setbacks in the completing of the script to the new Movie Explorer review, not least of which is the critical failure of the shift key on my crappy MSI laptop. Caps weren’t too big of an issue, just briefly toggle Caps Lock and everything’s peachy. But having to a) use the character map and cut-paste or b) cycle through ALT+keypad codes any time I wanted to type something as simple as a parenthesis or exclamation point got very old very fast. My immediate solution was to borrow the Dell USB keyboard from my desktop PC to plug into it (my only “spare” had one of those old-timey connectors no one uses anymore). I have since gone to Urban Ore and bought the only USB keyboard they had...which turned out to be an old Macintosh keyboard. It works fine on the lappy for the most part but it does have...quirks. Not least the fact that there is no obvious way to take a screenshot. That’s not too big an issue, since except for the shift keys, the main lappy chiclet keyboard still does function, so I can just press the PrtScr key there. For whatever reason, the use of an Apple product on my Win7 machine amuses me to no end. It’s definitely a stylish keyboard. Unfortunately, it won’t let me use the USB ports in the back of the keyboard, it just says “USB Hub Power Exceeded,” meaning I need to unplug the keyboard if I want to charge/sync the MP3 player.

My other big achievement was ripping up a flowerbed that was choked with Agapanthus. I have never liked them and the way they formed big, unruly clumps just made it look that much more unsightly. They’ll promptly be replaced with something more suitable. Meanwhile, my neighbour expressed disappointment that I got rid of them, she thought they were “pretty.” She’s more than welcome to rummage through the green waste bin to retrieve and replant them if she wishes to do so. Get those ugly South African weeds out of my garden, though, please!

Oh, and the Movie Explorer now has a Facebook page! Like and tell your friends!

Sha Ba Wah

Nov. 21st, 2013 02:25 pm
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Sorry for the much-delayed self-portrait this week:

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Not a whole lot new to report. The Movie Explorer now has a Facebook page, so like it if you want. The new episode will be somewhat delayed as I need a voice-over from [ profile] albadger...just as well, as I’ve been really flaky on writing the body of said review. This is the longest Gay Shame Month ever! The good news is, I finally got my first payout from Blip. I put it back into the show by buying more videos! The first one came in the mail just yesterday!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
This week’s self-portrait from Alamere Falls, right on the Pacific Ocean, located in Point Reyes National Seashore:

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I had been wanting to take this trip for a long time. All this talk about Alamere Falls and how spectacular it was and I’d never seen it. Now I’m glad I took the trip, and I’m glad I got to experience it firsthand...and I’m glad I never need to take the trip again! Because the trail down to the beach is terrifying! I knew it was not a park-maintained trail and that it would be a bit overgrown. I was prepared for dodging poison-oak. What I was not prepared for was the bit just before the beach when suddenly the trail drops down at a 90° angle! It was at that point I was thinking, “This might have been a mistake. I was not informed that this hike involved rock climbing!” Fortunately, it was a well-attended hike, and there were people to help out with the bit that involved climbing.

That said, I’m very glad I went. I’m even gladder that I did not go alone, as I definitely would have chickened out before getting to the beach otherwise.

Not much else to report. Still don’t have a replacement job. I didn’t do as much work on the upcoming Movie Explorer review as I wanted to. I did finally receive my first Blip payout, which meant I could delete some old, embarrassing videos. No more me stumbling over my lines in that awful Flesh Feast review! No more lame V-logs of me imitating Lucille Benson shot on that horrible Colorpix camera!


Nov. 6th, 2013 01:03 am
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait taken from the top of Mt. Livermore, on my next-to-last day of work:

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My last three days comprised a sort of banner week for my time at Angel Island. At least my last two did. It largely consisted of trail work. As you can see, Wednesday took me to the top of Mt. Livermore to clear brush and dead branches. Thursday we did the same along the Sunset Trail, looping back via the fire road and the North Ridge Trail. These hikes were made way harder by me carrying heavy bottles of bar oil and gasoline. And clearly they were strengthening me. Monday I hiked in Boring Old Wildcat, the six mile loop up San Pablo Ridge and back via the Mezue Trail. Ordinarily, I’d be feeling it in my feet and joints, but even six miles up a steep hill and back down and I barely felt it the next day.

So...yeah, really bittersweet about leaving the island. I already miss my co-workers (two of whom will not be back next season), the gorgeous sights, the dozens of semi-tame deer, even the Zaptruck, which I mainly complained about. Of course, I’ll also miss getting paid. I dutifully filed for unemployment (online, because you can apparently do that now), but who knows if my claim is valid. According to the page I did earn enough...I think, the rules are so byzantine who can tell really. If I don’t hear back from them in ten five days I’m supposed to call. In the meantime, I better add the A.I. job to the résumé.

My new free time has not totally gone to you can see, I’ve used it for more adventuresome hikes, and I also got the Staircase review finally finished. Hopefully the next review won’t take two months to complete. And [ profile] bigjohnsf invited me out to see Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s four-hour science fiction epic World on a Wire. I need to write out some more detailed thoughts on that later, but I liked it!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)

A pre-Stonewall film about a gay male couple, portrayed by two of Hollywood’s straightest arrows...with all the sensitivity you’d imagine they’d bring to the parts. And Stanley Donen chose THIS to follow up Bedazzled?

Gay Shame Month 2 of 3.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from this week from Berkeley’s Moe’s Books:

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All good things must come to an end, and so it is with my time at Angel Island this season. This coming Thursday is my last day. I’m really going to miss coming out here; the cool people, the pretty sights, the fresh air... It wasn’t all rosy. This week we did trail work, which I actually first. “They’re paying me to go hiking? That’s what I do on my day off anyway!” But we wound up replacing downed split-rail fencing, and I way overdid the post-hole digging. My back was killing me so bad on Friday I couldn’t even make it to work. So much for perfect attendance...

On the plus side, [ profile] albadger and [ profile] bigjohnsf came out to have lunch with me on Thursday. And doing work on Saturday actually seemed to help my back more than sitting at home did. There seem to be an inordinate number of campers this weekend, probably getting their last ditch camping in before the end of the season.

Good-ish news on the Movie Explorer front, I actually got some work in editing the next episode and it looks like it will be up within the week. In the meantime, check out my latest episode commentary. I wanted to do more editing today, but today was a day for going up to Vacaville to visit my sister. It was nice, we went out for lunch.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Because you guys deserve an image of me at work, a photo taken at the bench next to the service dock at Ayala Cove:

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All good things must come to an end and so it is also with my seasonal work on Angel Island. I knew it was coming, just not so soon: the 31st is my last day. I can reapply in February for the next season (and even check out what other State Parks have positions open then) but in the meantime I need to find interim work. I do have unemployment to fall back on but I don’t want to get too used to not working; as history has proven, that’s dangerous for me. I should probably call M_____ at Manpower™, who called me twice for job offers while I was working. Hopefully she won’t think I’m like the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

So sorry for the outstanding gap in Movie Explorer reviews but on top of work fatigue, internet has been down at home for over a week now. It should be back up within the week so I’ll at least be able to upload it...assuming it will be ready this week. Progress has been glacial. Each night, I think, “Tonight, I’m going to really buckle down and get some serious editing d—Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....” And right after the Blipocalypse; my show was saved when so many others lost theirs. Ben Minotte, the talented creator of The Oddity Archive, got the chop. I’m feeling serious survivor’s guilt, as I think his show is a lot more unique and imformative than mine. He’s still going on Youtube, though, check out his channel. I highly recommend it.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Berserkeley. Transitioning to my autumn look:

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So, they gave me an electric truck to drive around the island last week. One of these. It’s actually a “loaner,” it’s the one my co-worker E____ was driving, but he went on vacation last week. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with this thing, which is essentially a glorified golf cart (again, my work begins to remind me of Regular Show). On the plus side, it’s super fun to drive, is very easy to maneuver even on narrow fire roads and its very open nature makes visibility extremely easy. On the minus side it’s very temperamental. It was not really designed to handle the up-and-down terrain of Angel Island and driving it too long makes the batteries overheat. Also, once the batteries get below half-charge, it has trouble climbing hills. I got stranded over by the Immigration Station one day (where one of the steepest hills in the park is located) and another day, I was unable to ascend the hill up to Campsites 4, 5 and 6, so I had to just park my vehicle at the highest point where it would go and walk around the rest of the sites cleaning up and such. Fortunately, the trash was not full, as I was in no mood to lug trash bags down the hill. Unfortunately, I had to back down the fire road, which was kind of scary. Also had to skip Camp Reynolds until after lunch, as I would have definitely been stranded down there! And woe be to anyone who forgets to plug it in! We’ll see how it goes this week, when they give me “the Zaptruck,” a different, larger electric truck.

I finally seem to be making progress on the latest Movie Explorer episode, which I hope to have up within the week. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from one of the restrooms at the Tiburon Ferry Terminal. I apologize for the photo quality and I generally disapprove of bathroom mirror “look at my cell phone” photos, but others requested a look at me in uniform, and I didn’t know another way to shoot this photo and have it still be a self-portrait:

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I only had the uniform for four days and already, there’s a hole in the pocket. Time for a date with a needle and thread.

I really do like working here, every day is an adventure. Even when it’s something really difficult and back-breaking, like clearing away debris from culverts in the pouring rain on Saturday, it’s very rewarding. Saturday was a very interesting day, when cleaning campsites 4-6, Stephen and I came across a couple who had just dismantled and packed their tent and camping equipment. Understandably, they were not looking forward to hiking the mile-and-a-half back to the dock in a downpour, so we just had them pile in the service truck’s cab with us and drove them back to the cove. They just made the ferry.

Really, the only downside to this job, apart from the low pay, is the commute. Thursday, when I was going out to Hayward for Pizza Night, was particularly stressful, with all of the freeways and alternates jammed with non-moving cars. It was a nightmare. I also promised to pick up [ profile] albadger from BART, in exchange for using his shower. On top of all that, I had to stop off in Oakland to get gas. It was on the leg from Oakland to San Leandro that my brakes started scraping against the rotors. ARRGHH!

Fortunately, my brakes lasted the weekend. That was today’s task: take the car down to the repair shop. While it was a big expense (particularly with me not having been delivered my first paycheck yet), you can’t put too high a price on peace of mind. While I had Carol to shuttle me to and from the repair shop, the mechanic was very obliging, and even offered to drive me the next time I came in for repairs. The glowing reviews for this place on Yelp were not wrong.

Currently uploading a commentary video to the Movie Explorer Blip channel to stop the gap between review videos. I wished I had got more editing done this weekend, but life (and car troubles) kind of got in the way.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
From the Tiburon Ferry Terminal, waiting for my boat to take me out to the island for my second day of work:

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That’s actually the Movie Explorer shirt I’m wearing in this photo. It might actually be one of the approved items in the uniform handbook, which means I could get State Park patches sewn on the sleeves and wear it as my proper uniform. Incidentally, I do actually wax before going over on the boat, as when I don’t people start expecting me to make them laugh by narrating the folksy misadventures of Huckleberry Finn, and that’s really more of a Calaveras Big Trees sort of thing.

What can I say about working out on the island. It’s rough, back-breaking work, but I absolutely love it. The people are great and even the most mundane of tasks is made enjoyable by those views. As my work-mate Stephen and I make our daily rounds checking trash cans and bathrooms, we get views of three Bay Area bridges, the Berkeley Hills, San Francisco, the Marin Headlands, Mt. Tamalpais and various other, smaller islands. Plus wildlife (mostly deer and various kinds of birds), trees and lots of happy hikers and campers. On Saturday, when raking debris under the Norfolk Island Pine out in front of the old immigration office, I got to help elementary school students with a class assignment by answering their questions. uniform is still not ready yet. The Movie Explorer shirt was actually fairly decent in that it’s similar to the uniform shirt, and I got a Flying Cross shirt (hugely discounted!) from the military surplus shop in Berkeley which I’m going to get patched so I’ll have a spare work shirt. But the regular uniform won’t be ready until Tuesday. And I’ll be at work during business hours, so I have to have Carol make the trek up to Santa Rosa to pick it up. So...hooray! Only one more uniform-less day before I start looking official/professional.

In other news, [ profile] albadger invited [ profile] bigjohnsf and I into the city to watch the Free Shakespeare at the Presidio. I now have the answer to the question, “What is the worst production of Macbeth you have ever seen?” Note to play directors everywhere, you have to engage your audience! Especially for an old, frequently-seen warhorse like Macbeth. From the sloppy sound mixing to the uninspired set design to the costumes that looked like they were left over from other, better productions (it’s like they couldn’t decide whether to go for period or modern dress, so they went for something indefinite in-between), there was a certain air of “just didn’t care” about the whole thing. At times, I found myself just closing my eyes and concentrating on the rhythm of the blank verse, as I really had no problem with the acting (save for the porter, who seemed to be channeling Fat Bastard). And it did finally start to become engaging in the final fourth, when it went from merely tediously bad to hilariously bad. There was a bit where the witches seemed to be electrocuting Macbeth, which was silliness personified, and it’s a wonder any scenery survived to the end what with Lady Macbeth sinking her teeth into all of it. And finally a theme sort of arose, what with dead people talking, it seemed they were attempting to tap into the current fad of [groan] “zombie chic.”

With regards to Movie Explorer stuff, I have definitely been derelict in my editing duties. Hoping to get some editing done here at the café today, though it looks like Gay Shame Month is going to go into extra innings this year. I also flaked on The Weekly Puck, which means two this week (I’ll probably wind up just posting both of them today, it is my day off, after all).

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