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April 28th, 2023

The I Am Retired Why Am I Still Up To My Neck In This Sh*t Chronicles.

…part the upteeth.

A few days ago I tried syncing my local website copy with the copy on my web host server and the sync failed. Digging into it I discover that the people who made my favorite sync software found a way to deactivate all the older versions that don’t require rent (they like to call it a “subscription”), which I refuse to pay and kept using the older version because it kept working. Hahahahaha…silly me. So I looked around for alternatives and I found what I thought was a good one in FreeFileSync, which is open source and runs on all my platforms.

But I almost instantly ran into a problem syncing my art room Mac files with the NAS copies. (NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. Mine is a box with two drives in it that pretends to be a single drive on my network. The two drives are mirrored so if one fails the other should still have good copies and I can just replace the failed drive.) Nothing I expected would sync because the software was reporting the files on the NAS were timestamped five hours in the future ahead of those on the Mac. I checked the NAS settings and it was applying the correct GMT offset, so I thought it might be a flaw in the software, and not having time to track it down, I manually copied the files that I knew had changed.

Under the hood all modern operating systems sync to Greenwich Mean Time and apply an offset depending on where you actually are. This allows people to move files across time zones and still retain the actual time the file was created or modified. That can be important if you are tossing time critical files across time zones.

So I figured I had a GMT offset problem with FreeFileSync and put it aside until I had time to debug the problem, and maybe file a bug report.

Then the other day I tried backing up the NAS. I have two USB backup drives that I’ve formatted to ext4 because that’s what the NAS uses. I use rsync and I have a preformatted rsync command that does the trick for me. Right away I noticed it was trying to copy everything off the NAS so I stopped it and took a look and finally saw that all the timestamps on the NAS were off by 5 hours ahead. So again I dug into the NAS settings and looked and yes, the NAS was applying the right offset. But then I noticed it’s value for GMT was off. By five hours ahead.

So I checked the setting for the time server and I discover that the time server it had been using was no longer available.  I’ve no idea why, but the main problem was the NAS didn’t throw an error message when it lost its time server, it just simply failed silently and continued. Probably the last time I shut it down when I went on vacation, when I turned it back on and it came back up it looked for its time server, couldn’t communicate with it, and just happily fell back to assuming everything on it was timestamped local time.

It caused me a lot of problems getting timestamps out of sync moving them between the NAS and the art room Mac as I worked.

G*damn silent fail…

So I set the NAS to talk to a different time server that it could still reach and everything is good again. So now at least I know that there isn’t anything wrong with FreeFileSync.

Also, that I will be debugging computer software systems for the rest of my life, retired or not…

Posted In: Life

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The I Am Retired Why Am I Still Up To My Neck In This Sh*t Chronicles.
April 20th, 2023


It’s just…amazing…to twitter watch the massive dogpile (of which I was a part) on the Disney website to buy annual passes…some of which are Very Expensive…sprinkled with all the go woke go broke tweets from pudding boy’s fans. Disney sure didn’t go broke today.

And here’s the thing: you buy a pass that means you are going to Disney World at some point. Wherein you will Spend Money. All those new annual passes are ringing the cash registers. Well…or whatever passes for cash registers these days.

I wrote this back in July 2018 as I was renewing my annual pass…

I was having a conversation with a fellow guest at Walt Disney World a few years ago. He was a middle aged man there with his wife and kids and we were sitting at the Tune-In Lounge bar. I must have mentioned something about ticket prices, and how I keep renewing my annual pass simply because the cost of Disney without one is even more hugely expensive. He told me a joke that keeps coming to mind.

“They always talk about magic here,” he said. “You want to know how the magic works? It’s like this. You walk into the park with a hundred dollars in your pocket and maybe you walk back out with five. The magic is they make you want to do it again the next day.”

Universal is running some ads promoting their theme park with the slogan, “It’s more than magic, it’s real.” I’m guessing it’s a sideways slam at their biggest competitor down there, but it has a sad truth to it. Let me say I’ve been to Universal and for a while given my issues with Disney’s handling of tickets and that god awful park reservation system, I was tempted to buy one of their annual passes. Universal is a very good, very entertaining theme park (and it has a Margaritaville!). But the Disney parks still have enough of Walt Disney’s DNA in them that this new slogan of Universal’s kinda works against them by reminding visitors where the magic is. 

That said, be sure to bring money. You will need it. I just saw this morning hundreds if not thousands of people telling Disney to shut up and take their money.


Posted In: Life
Tags: ,

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

Once A Passholder, Always A Passholder. Sort of.

Back to being an Annual Pass member. Since I sold my DVC points I’d have lost all the perks I used to enjoy without the pass…which I stupidly allowed to expire when they switched to the “Magic Key” thing. The perks being free parking everywhere and discounts on everything including in park hotels. Since I usually drive down the free parking thing is especially valuable to me. So on days when I can’t afford to stay in park I can still get parking.

I never want to wait in a ticket queue like the one I just did ever again! Maybe I’ll tell that story some other day.

The park reservation system is still a hangup, but annual pass holders can make a reservation at any park and then (provided you have park hopper) go to a different one after 2PM. Trick is you Have to go to the one you made a reservation for no later than 11am. But it’s close enough to how it all used to work for me that I can handle it.

Plus I get both water parks and they don’t need reservations.

I’m on retirement income so I probably can’t afford staying in a Disney resort more than once a year. At least not in the nice middle tier resorts like my favorite, Port Orleans Riverside. But there are plenty of nice third party hotels on “hotel row” inside the park that have excellent rates, and with the annual pass parking perk I’m still good. And with the passholder discount their economy resorts might actually look better price wise than hotel row. It’s what I used to do before I became DVC.

DVC was nice for a while, but I’m glad to have it off my back. It just didn’t make enough sense for my income level. And I’m not doing badly at all. And it limited my flexibility in going which was something I was looking forward to in retirement. You just can’t make DVC reservations on a whim. 

Wherever I stay, I am Not spending one thin dime outside of Disney World if I can help it! But I might make an exception to go see classmate Reverend Billy if he’s playing nearby. And a classmate I know who’s living further south, and who must be going nuts with all the bellicose religiosity going on down there.

Definitely doing Disneyland, finally, sometime during my next California trip. There are good hotels in walking distance to the park that aren’t pricey, and a three day park hopper ticket isn’t all that expensive.

Wish they could just expand Disneyland into another Disney World out there, but not being able to expand there is why Walt Disney gobbled up so much of Florida.

Posted In: Life

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Once A Passholder, Always A Passholder. Sort of.
April 11th, 2023

Hello Mr DeSantis, I’m Here For Gay Days.

…and so are hundreds of us. It’s a small world after all!

I saw a few moments ago on Twitter another gay activist (self described) writing that nobody should spend any money at Disney World or in Florida, and that corporate gay allies actually harm progress. I made my case against that claptrap, at least regards Disney, in this blogpost. Pay attention to the last 2 paragraphs. The joy of acceptance and inclusion in those two teenage girls when they saw those Mickey pins Is Progress. As much progress as any of us managed to make for all our activism back in the day. The kids are the future of this country, that great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day, and at that moment those two saw themselves in it. 

They saw themselves accepted and included in the Disney family. And it doesn’t get more all American wholesome than that.

That is how progress is made. That is what Disney is doing for us. That is what DeSantis and the republicans want desperately to put a stop to. That is why they passed Don’t Say Gay.

I can see not spending money elsewhere in Florida, but I will continue to support Disney. The republicans blew a fuse when Disney objected to Don’t Say Gay and after that it was a torrent of hate mongering, directed at Disney, but mostly directed at us. Every filthy lie you ever heard about gay people suddenly came rushing out like a reservoir of bile that had been bottled up just waiting for an excuse to roar out and flood the democratic conversation. Yes, they hate us. Yes, we know. But as I said previously, they can turn Florida into a ghetto of hate but there is a world outside its borders, and it’s a small world after all. And there really is a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day. And we will not be shamed into silence anymore. And neither will our families, our friends, and the companies run by men and women who think progress on human rights isn’t just good for business, but good for the country, good for civilization.

I was regretting I might miss Gay Days again because I thought I really should go and document the goings on especially this year into the DeSantis/republican war on Disney and all things LGBT. Especially Disney since the homophobic rhetoric is that familiar Anita Bryant Save Our Children claptrap and never mind that Walt Disney wanted his parks to be for all ages. I’ve been documenting our struggle with my cameras since I was drafted into it when I came out to myself back in 1971. I felt I should be there in Disney World this year to document whatever the kooks were up to while we were enjoying the parks. But I had plans to spend the summer out in California with my brother, which would have put me on the other side of the country. Then some helpful complications arose.

I am 69, going on 70. I had my last colonoscopy 11 years ago, which gave me a clean bill of health, but now I’m due for another. My GP recommended I use the new Cologuard test but it isn’t perfect. If you pass you still would need one every three years. If you fail maybe you have cancer maybe you don’t but now you need the full up colonoscopy. I failed mine. So I had to schedule one. But nobody could get me scheduled any time before July it seemed. And there was another complication: I am a heart patient. I needed my cardiologist to sign off on my stopping the blood thinners he has me on for the two or three days leading up to the procedure. 

So I had to delay my California trip. eventually I got everything scheduled between my cardiologist and the gastroenterologist, and lo and behold I have a window of opportunity between the two to go back to Disney for Gay Days after all.

I just made reservations to go during Gay Days. I’m staying inside the park again this trip. I have my tickets and park reservations. It’s all set. First thing is I am going to enjoy the parks, enjoy Gay Days (I haven’t been in years and years) and document a lot of happy LGBT folk enjoying the parks and generally having fun. So people can see we are as human as anyone else. Because some people need reminding of that fact. But also, second thing is I am going to keep an eye out for any protests and craziness and document that too with my cameras.

When I get back home I’ll put my photos up here in the gallery. 

Posted In: Life

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Hello Mr DeSantis, I’m Here For Gay Days.

Wherein Bruce Gets Suddenly And Inexplicably Creeped Out

Ever take a sudden instant disliking to someone? You take one look at them and you feel your hackles rise and revulsion hits you in waves? Some total stranger whose only crime was crossing paths with you while minding their own business and suddenly an involuntary reflex of absolute hate hits you? Spain Rodriguez’ character Trashman had a random alert factor that would break into his thoughts with warnings about impending danger. I sometimes wonder if we all have something like that going on just below the level of conscious thought. Some background brain process that is adding it all up while we go about our day and suddenly makes us feel nervous about someone nearby, or imparts an instant dislike that makes us keep our distance. They say animals can tell almost instantly whether a particular human can be trusted or not, and I can easily see how evolution would have given that to us.

This one was crowding me at the bar at Texas Roadhouse the other day…which I can normally shrug off since restaurants these days like to put more seats at a bar than reasonably allow customers some personal space. But there were other places this guy could have sat and had space all to himself and instead he sits right next to me and starts taking up the counter space between me and him instead of the space on the side of him that was empty. And what made it worse was it didn’t seem to me just then to be deliberate. He wasn’t ignoring me, he knew I was there, he even asked me if the chair was taken and I told him politely that it wasn’t. And from that moment on he was simply oblivious. Or so it looked. And I wanted him to please go away.

Something about him just completely creeped me out. The instant he sat sat down next to me I just…loathed him. And then I thought…why? He isn’t doing anything to me. But my hackles were up and to concentrate on what was happening inside of me just then was difficult. His interactions with the bartender only made it worse. He wasn’t rude to her. Something about his voice, something about how he used language, how he strung words together, just completely irritated me. Blunt but not rude. Simple but not stupid. Not an empty head, but a head full of nothing. I tried to analyze it but I couldn’t see why just loathed this guy every second I had to sit next to him, I just did. I asked for my check quickly with my plate only half eaten, just to get some distance.

Maybe it was the delicate smell of some gruesome cleaning solvent, like something you’d expect to smell in an autopsy room. Maybe it was that frozen blank expression. It was a face out of a police sketch. A deer in the headlights but just staring back unsurprised. The face a blank wall might have if walls had faces. Maybe it was the toneless voice. Not toneless in a Jack Webb Sergeant Friday way, just empty. But with a certain undertone that speaks of a kind of runt locker room dive bar internet basement troll masculinity that creeps me out. But it wasn’t an aggressive tone, what I heard was an oddly passive kind of toxic masculinity. Every time he spoke something inside me cringed with loathing. And…a weird kind of unfocused alarm. I could not for the life of me pinpoint why he was making me feel the way I did, but I just badly wanted either him or me to be somewhere else.

He wore a quilted overcoat that should have been way too warm for outside then, let alone inside, that he never took off. I’d have taken him for a street guy but everything about him was clean and neat and tidy. And yet not just drab but ostentatiously bland. Extreme ordinariness. I thought maybe he was wearing his work clothes but it just looked like he picked out whatever looked colorless and ordinary off the rack. He struck the sort of figure that sucks all the color and life out of wherever he was. In his clothing, but especially in his empty unfocused yet not at all stupid face.

He had some sort of iPhone but I couldn’t tell its version, other than the case it was in seemed to be one of those they sell that give iPhones a look of a faux military hardened device. Reflexively I turned off my Bluetooth in case he had an app for hacking into smartphones. His eyes fixed on whatever he needed to pay attention to at that moment, and then looked at nothing in particular. He seemed completely aware and yet totally disengaged with the world around him. 

You took one look at him and you just knew his living space had nothing on its walls but paint. No books. No music. No interests. Just the daily routine of life for no other reason than it’s what adults do. Neither joy nor despair. The eternal gray overcast of the uncurious mind.

Every time I moved slightly away from him (I was seated at one end of the bar) he extended his counter space into where I’d left it. But it didn’t strike me just then as deliberate. Just an off handed use of the space where I was and wasn’t now. I wanted to put some space between us and he just kept maintaining the same distance simply I was certain just because it was there now. 

On the drive home I kept chewing on it and finally realized what he reminded me of. This is one of the shorts from The Fantastic Animation Festival that I first saw back in the 70s. The video quality is very Very poor, slightly and annoyingly out of focus, but there isn’t another copy of this out there I can find. It’s called “Oiseau de nuit” which translates into “Nightbird”, and it’s by director Bernard Palacios. It is hauntingly grim. The artwork is pitch perfect for the story it’s telling, 

Warning: this is a Very Dark, Very Grim short.

I think I just sat next to this guy. Maybe there was something up about his needing to sit next to me out of every other seat at the bar, and keep ever so slightly invading my space at that bar. Maybe my subconscious added him up and gave the alert for a reason.


Posted In: Life

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Wherein Bruce Gets Suddenly And Inexplicably Creeped Out

Another Edition Of Bruce Gets His Stomach Tied In Knots…

A few days ago I noticed the calico was having trouble urinating. She would make repeated trips to the litter box I’ve provided and make an attempt but I could tell nothing was coming out. Afterward she would lick her genital area as if there was some irritation going on there. Then I noticed bleeding. So it was time for a trip to the vet, and since she’s a street cat who only comes into my house when it’s cold or she just wants a safe place to hang out for a while, that meant trapping her.

I had to do that once before when she had a wound of some sort on the side of her face that became badly infected, but that was done with the help of animal rescue folks who knew what they were doing, and kept me out of it. Even so, when she finally came back from the vet and they released her into my front yard she instantly darted off and I didn’t see her again for several nerve wracking days. This time it would have to be me, or so I thought. But my new next door neighbor does animal rescue and fostering and she got madam calico into a carrier for me. But then it was where do I take her? She’s feral. No shots since way back when the city caught her and tipped her ear as a notice to animal control that she’d been fixed and leave her alone.

One animal hospital in Cockeysville that was recommended refused to take her, which surprised the rescue people. But one in Towson did. Getting her there meant listening to her cry the entire time and I felt horrible. But it needed doing. Something like that could eventually kill her if it isn’t treated.

They all loved her at the animal hospital. And let it be said she’s a beautiful cat. Everyone remarks on it. One nurse in particular came into the holding room with us with oohs and ahhs…and how much she loved taking care of elderly cats. I had told them he was at least 17, if not 18 years old by now. I have digital photos of her when she first started hunting around my bird feeders from back in 2005. Back then she wouldn’t let me come near. It took me about 16 years to gain enough trust with her that she lets me pet her now, and comes inside when it gets cold, rather than use the shelter I made for her. So when the nurse referred to her as being a geriatric patient, I was a bit stunned to hear that word, but it made sense. I’d noticed her becoming more frail this year. But she was still very active up to then.

I got her back home and all was reasonably well. If the cat was having trouble urinating here at home base she had absolutely none on the doctor’s table, which was good because they were able to get a sample to send to the lab. They examined her as best they could and saw nothing that needed urgent attention. I’m assuming the bleeding I saw that morning was due to her constantly cleaning her genital area. There was none present at the examination and there has been none since. Her vitals were normal for a cat her age. They gave her an injection of antibiotics which is good for a couple weeks and told me to keep an eye on her. They discharged her (us) without need of any further medication. Though they would like a follow up visit in a couple weeks. I don’t know if either one of us is up for that, but one thing at a time.

She went down into my basement and stayed there overnight. I went out for a drink. Self medicating. It didn’t help. She was so listless and wobbly after I got her back that all night long my stomach was in knots worrying about her. I stressed about it so much I began to worry about my heart. I felt my right arm going numb and wondered if it was time to call 911. But it was just the awkward position I’d tossed and turned myself into.

Next morning she came back upstairs. She was drinking plenty of water and now she was urinating without any apparent problem. The outgo was matching the intake. But her aim wasn’t hitting the litter box. She’d put her front paws into the box but left her butt hanging out and my carpet was getting hit. I figured her genital area was still sore and she didn’t want to sit right down on the litter. My neighbor told me that wasn’t uncommon. So I got out the pet stain remover and the carpet shampooer and the Kirby and cleaned up after her. Then I cut a mat out of one of the contractor grade trash bags I have in stock (I use them for yard work) that extends a foot and a half around the litter box. That’s doing the trick.

She stayed inside all that day. Next morning she was still a bit wobbly but she wanted out. She’s a feral. I have a set of bargains I made with her and it’s all about maintaining trust. She has complete freedom to come and go, whether I think it’s wise or not. She’s not my pet, she’s a wild animal I made friends with. So I let her out. I hoped some fresh air, sunshine and at least a little activity would start perking her up. Thankfully she didn’t go far. I kept fresh water and food out there for her. She didn’t touch her food but drank lots of water. She came back in for the night as it started getting dark and I was glad she did because Maryland had a cold snap and the temperature was in the low 30s when I got up the next day.

When it got warmer, she went out again, then came back in again for the night. She’s downstairs now in the cat bed I’ve provided and I expect she’ll want to be let out again when it warms up later today. I’ve been trying to get her appetite functional again with various wet cat foods, some with gravy, but it seems the off the shelf tuna has the best chance. At least she’s been expressing interest. Still isn’t eating though. I’m thinking that’s the antibiotics they gave her. I’ve had a round or two of those myself and I know how they knock you down and kill your appetite. As long as she’s still consuming lots of water I’ll leave her be.

But it’s still stressing me out. I’m going to try to get some more work around the house done, and work on finishing off episode #36 of A Coming Out Story, and just try to chill as best I can. I don’t mind being childless. I never have. But in retrospect I don’t think I could have handled having kids very well. On the other hand you can talk to human children, educate them, teach them to look both ways when crossing the street, ask them where it hurts, call them back home for supper. You have to intuit Everything with a pet and there is just no teaching them to look both ways. And that reputation cats have of not coming when they’re called. It’s True. They’ll just listen to it and not move and you don’t know where they are and you wonder if they’ve suddenly taken a turn for the worse.

Posted In: Life

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Another Edition Of Bruce Gets His Stomach Tied In Knots…
April 5th, 2023

Crossing The Line…

I’m doing episode #36 of A Coming Out Story in a different style from the rest of the series…kinda like how I did it with the “Conversation With God” story arc, where I used a lot of grey tones instead of my usual cross-hatching.

There’s a panel I finished this morning of me walking across the railroad tracks behind what was the old Radio Shack building, and I did a bunch of stuff with it I’d never done before, and made up a lot of new tricks for accomplishing certain textures and such. The lighting is harsh because I’m walking into the setting sun, low on the horizon, and it really pops out in a way nothing else I’ve done on the story does. I wasn’t sure why I was spending so much time and effort on it other than the tracks were an important part of my life there and that was a shortcut to Congressional Plaza that I walked often that doesn’t exist anymore. I wanted to do a piece of my history justice.

But looking at the finished panel I think I see how it works in the story. There was a meaning there that must have been working on me subconsciously and it’s about what this episode is about, and actually the entire story. This is me stepping across a boundary that cut between my neighborhood and that of almost all my friends back then. The old kid from the other side of the tracks stereotype. I’m a gay teenager walking from one world into another. From denial to…I dunno…something else…something much Much better…but still pretty iffy given it was 1971.

Posted In: Life
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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Crossing The Line…

The First Person You Come Out To Is Yourself

Some of my best work on A Coming Out Story is in the episode I’m going to post here soon. I’ve just one more panel to finish and I can put a link up.

Posted In: Life

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The First Person You Come Out To Is Yourself
March 25th, 2023

Why I Am Not (totally) Boycotting Florida

Once upon a time not all that long ago, you could not find any merchandise anywhere in any of the Disney parks with anything like the gay pride rainbow on it, let alone the older lambda gay activists used to used as their symbol. Gay Days began in Disneyland back in the 70s as a response to same sex couples being thrown out of the park for dancing along with the rest of the couples. We did a “zap” and hit the dance floor en masse, everyone in on it wearing red shirts so we would know who was there for the zap. It worked, and after that it became a yearly thing that eventually spread to all the parks.

A certain someone who used to work here at Disney World once told me that gay days was one of their biggest yearly money makers. But there was no official recognition. Whenever culture warriors bellyached about it Disney’s response was that they’re in the hospitality business and everyone was welcome.

Back then the closest thing to a pride rainbow you could find around here was a specific Mickey pin with the peace rainbow on it that was close enough that gay visitors would wear it.

That was all there was for us. But in every other way the parks and the cast members made us feel welcome here during gay days. We had private parties at Typhoon Lagoon. We had hotel chains all around the parks vying for our business. Gay Days itself became a business. But coming out and actually acknowledging us was a step too far for corporate.

Then the massacre at the Pulse nightclub happened. It shocked the entire city, and especially the park workers and management. It seemed like everyone here either knew someone who was there that night, or knew someone who knew someone. I’d had a vacation planned for the month after and I saw the lingering shock on everyone’s faces here. And I heard stories. Horrible stories.

That changed things. The very next year they retired the peace rainbow mickey, and actual Pride rainbow merchandise appeared. And it seems that every year they add something new to what they’re calling here the Pride Collection. I especially like my coffee mug at home that says, “Belong, Believe, Be Proud.”


It’s a slogan they’re putting on other items now too.

Disney has taken a lot of grief for speaking out against DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay law, and it looks very much to me like they are Not backing down and I am not going to walk away from the Parks simply because they are in Florida. And I’m pretty sure the DeSantis crowd remembers the day Pulse happened a little differently than the rest of us do, if at all. I remember some pulpit thumper yapping that he was sorry more of us weren’t killed that day. Given all the vitriol that’s been vented toward us since Disney spoke out I am certain it’ll be lots worse this coming June. There will be demands that the Pride merchandise go away. There will be demands to keep LGBT guests out of the park, or at least toss any of them out for something as simple as holding hands in public. Given the blood thirsty rhetoric coming out of the Florida GOP there could easily be violence. I am tempted to delay my California trip until after Pride just to come down here and document the goings on with my cameras.

So. I can appreciate the position that I shouldn’t be contributing to the Florida economy while the governor and the statehouse are so nail spittingly hostile toward us. But I am standing with Disney, because Disney stood with us, and still is. And if that bothers anyone I am not in the least bit sorry.

Here’s what I saw yesterday while strolling in Hollywood Studio.

A couple teenage girls, vaguely goth-ish, saw this and one of them remarked on how amazing it all felt to her. I saw the look of joy and wonder on her face. She looked like she’d been lifted up like she never had before. I remember how it was for me.

They can turn Florida into a ghetto of hate, but there is a world outside its borders and it’s a small world after all. And there really is a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day. And we will not be shamed into silence anymore.

Belong, Believe, Be Proud.

Posted In: Life Thumping My Pulpit
Tags: , ,

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)
March 23rd, 2023

Work In Progress Progressing…

…even while on vacation. Sort-of. What does “vacation” even mean when you’re retired? It means you needed a change of scenery. And I badly needed one. So here I am.

Garrett family of one, all checked in to Port Orleans Riverside. New Orleans slow jazz playing on the room TV.

I could get very used to going back to this way of staying here. This was how I stayed before I bought into DVC. The mid grade resorts are very nice, and being retired I can go whenever the rates go down. I’m only missing the kitchen, but I’ve ways of dealing with that.

Still working on ACOS #36 while here at Disney World. I’ve done this sort of thing many times before and I know exactly what to bring. Here’s the setup I had while I was staying at B.


Got another ACOS #36 strip done just now and posted to my website. That’s three done and three more to go.

I’m not posting a live link to the new episode until it’s all finished and I’m good with what’s out there. But those of you handy with all this Internet Web stuff can figure out what the link will be from how all the others in this project are constructed and see the work in progress as I post new ones if you want.

Think I might take a stroll around the resort now and decompress. Port Orleans Riverside is pretty nice. Going to Epcot later.

I had dinner at the Riviera with some friends from Space Telescope a couple days ago. The restaurant is on the top floor of a really nice DVC hotel and the view from the terrace is spectacular.

I had their signature fish dinner. No photo because I was too busy digging in. It was Wonderful. They took me to the steakhouse at the Yacht Club yesterday.

Not a lot of Pride merchandise here now, but it’s there if you look.

I’m guessing it’s because a lot of space is being taken up by the park celebration of Women’s History Month. And they’re really going all in on it with displays and (of course) merchandise celebrating the women who’ve contributed over the decades to Disney films and park designs. I stop to read all of it and it’s just stunning how much of it there is in Disney history that’s been behind the curtains all these years.

The new Magic Band+ is really something. It pairs with your smartphone and is rechargeable. You can check the battery level and update the software on your smartphone. So it’s not just a simple short range RF device that dispenses a serial number attached to your Disney account anymore, it’s yet another smart device.

Battery charge only lasts three days and they say to keep it on its recharger overnight while in the parks. The original Magic Bands lasted several years but they didn’t do much except dispense a serial number.

Of course making a big display for Women’s History Month isn’t going to make the MAGA morons any happier with Disney and that’s good (we’ve all read about how they’re blaming the failure of Silicon Valley Bank on its “woke” board of directors…right?). I expect the Pride stuff will come back out in June. We’ll see how DeSantis responds. It’s not generally understood how much he backed down from his threat last year to take away Disney’s special improvement district.

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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Work In Progress Progressing…
March 17th, 2023

Episode #36 Still In Progress

This is a hard one to get out, largely because I am so emotionally invested in it and I want it to be exactly right. So each panel of it is a Lot of work. And adding to that is I can’t use any of my usual time saving copy and paste tricks. Nearly everything in each panel is unique from all the others. The only exceptions are the backgrounds of three of them, one of which I’ll show you here. This is the second from the last strip up in GIMP, which I’ve been using ever since Adobe stuck an eight-hundred and fifty dollar knife in my back…



I’m breaking a rule I had when I started this cartoon story, that I would always use cross-hatching for shading and textures and such. I wanted the story to be a visual nod to the black & white underground comix back in the day. The printing they used wasn’t always the best, but they made it work, sometimes with zipatone, but more often just by painstakingly (really Really painstakingly) cross-hatching.

But for this one episode I’m using the paintbrush and grey tones here and there, to make some of it snap out, but also to create a distinctive change in mood. I used to do a lot of that in Photoshop, but you can’t depend on anything from Adobe, nobody can, so I switched to GIMP and other open source artist tools, and this is the first time I’ve done something like this with a gradient in GIMP. It worked perfectly.

This episode is forming up almost Exactly as I’d visualized it back in 2005, when I set out to do this story. It’s been a long road and I’ve rewritten many parts of the story as I’ve gone along, but not this part. This is, as The Doctor would say, a fixed point in time. This, and one other, which I hope to also get to soon. I’ve said the story I’m telling is one third what actually happened, one third artistic license, and one third pure imagination (as in the parts involving my libido and left/right brains as imaginary figures). This is the part that really happened just this way.

I was having a lot of trouble and frustration with one of the panels I was working on the other day, and when that happens it helps to work for a while on a different part. Some classmates might recognise the place I’m looking at into the sunset there. There, at the moment of truth.


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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Episode #36 Still In Progress
March 15th, 2023

Never Change Baltimore

Things I see whilst walking in my neighborhood…

Friend of mine says this place has Edgar Allan Poe’s autograph. I wouldn’t doubt you could hear the beating of a heart under its floorboards.

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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Never Change Baltimore

Mr Fixit Does Not Give Up Easily

I can be stubborn. And especially when it comes to something like this. A few years ago at the Marketplace Co-op in Disney Springs I saw a display selling customized protective cases for your smartphone. You could get one with all sorts of Disney artwork on it, and you could buy it with your name printed on it. They had a machine that printed them up to order right there. In the display was one of their Disney Pride examples.

You have to appreciate how Disney’s marketing to gay folk makes a kid that came of age when I did feel. Sure it’s commercial, but I was there the month after the Pulse shootings and I saw how shocked everyone down there was. All that down low wink, wink unspoken acceptance of their LGBT guests changed almost overnight. It’s a small world after all.

So the moment I laid eyes on that smartphone case I had to have one.

It’s been on my iPhone Xs for years, but suddenly last December its plastic frame started breaking apart. I was in California and my brother did his best to glue it back together for me. When I got it home the frame simply started breaking apart in other places. I’ve had this experience before with other things made of this hard plastic, and I knew it would only get worse.

Many years ago I bought what was then a very expensive Minolta dImage 7hi. At the time the first affordable digital cameras were coming out and that Minolta had excellent specs. It was a great little camera, I took it with me on a bunch of road trips. But it was made of this same sort of hard plastic that just starts falling apart all of a sudden.

So there was no fixing that smartphone case and I started looking for a replacement. Disney sells a bunch of Pride merchandise including smartphone covers, but the iPhone Xs is so out of date now I couldn’t find another one. I tried looking for something like it from a third party but ran into the same problem.

Apparently the Xs is already vintage. It’s even hard to find generic cases for it, but I figured I’d try one of those and simply move the custom printed back panel to a new case. It took a lot of searching but I finally found a case that had a transparent back cover that I thought would do the trick. But…no. When the case came I discovered that it was so tightly fitted to the phone I couldn’t put the Disney Pride insert into it and close the case around the phone again. It was too thick. And…being made of that same hard plastic, it was also beginning to come apart at the edges.

So I went though the usual period of being distraught and then getting all stubborn. Okay, thinks I…maybe I can scan in the artwork and print it out on a piece of photo inkjet paper.

A little scanning and GIMP-ing and printing, a little X-Acto work (all those years spent as an architectural model maker still come in handy…) I had my new Pride insert. It fit…barely. And what I ended up with was artwork that was actually more vibrant than the plastic insert I got at the Marketplace Co-op.

I ever get a new iPhone I can probably copy the artwork to a new sheet of photo paper and put it into whatever generic transparent case I can find for it. I’m set. Yes, there are other newer designs out there for the new iPhones, but I like this one.


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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Mr Fixit Does Not Give Up Easily
March 11th, 2023

Yet In A Way They Really Are Made For Each Other

This is bouncing around on the schadenfreude channel…

Go read it Here. You wouldn’t need to have Mentor of Arisia’s visualization of The Cosmic All to know this was going to happen eventually. But you would have had to know where Dreher was getting his money from. Now we do. We can adjust our visualizations accordingly.

Seriously…what’s really significant about this article is something the public really needs to be more aware of. A good many of these high profile right wing republican pundits are funded entirely by a single hyper rich benefactor. Usually those benefactors stay behind the curtains and the pudit is seen to be paid for their work by the publications their columns appear in. But…no, and Dreher’s case is instructive. Most if not all of the right wing swamp publications operate at a loss. They get funding in various discrete ways from those same hyper extreme, hyper rich benefactors. Now we know those same benefactors also pay the columnists they love outright as well. Dreher’s columns appeared in The American Conservative, but his paycheck came exclusively from the hyper rich and hyper extreme Howard Ahmanson.

Ahmanson came across my radar long ago as a source of funding for anti-gay and religious extremist politicians and political action groups. Back then he was a supporter of R.J. Rushdoony’s “Christian Reconstructionism” movement, an offshoot of Calvinism, which holds that the second coming doesn’t happen until after God’s kingdom is established here on earth, neatly reversing what evangelicals believe the end times timeline to be. Reconstructionists intend the world to be governed by Mosaic law wherein blasphemers, adulterers, homosexuals and disobedient children, among others, would be stoned to death. Ahmanson almost never gives interviews…apparently he suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome…but as I recall, in one he averred he had moved on from Rushdoony. But who really knows?

That Ahmanson found joy in Dreher’s writing is highly unsurprising. That the breakup came when Dreher couldn’t stop himself from talking about black men’s dicks is also in its way unsurprising, given the rumors surrounding Dreher which I won’t repeat here. It You could say it was preordained.

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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Yet In A Way They Really Are Made For Each Other
March 5th, 2023

Read Your (Programmer’s) Bible!

This is making the rounds. I’m pretty sure what her religious reasons are for not wanting to use Windows and Apple computers. I used to joke that Leviticus forbids operating systems that support multiple threads, but this is about the LGBT friendliness of these companies, and perhaps to a degree the progressive/democratic politics of their boardrooms.

Employee claims she can’t use Microsoft Windows for “Religious Reasons”

I recently hired a new employee for my team. Everyone thinks she is a great addition, and she is clearly very talented as demonstrated in her interviews.

The problem came up during on-boarding when we supplied her with her company laptop. She said she would need it configured in a Linux based operating system because her religion does not allow use of Apple or Microsoft owned operating systems. We only currently have hardware configurations for MacOs/Windows and our expectation was that she will use Windows along with the rest of our team.

She says that she can fulfill all job duties without Windows and I am inclined to believe her but corporate policy dictates WINDOWS and my management is not on board with her request for Linux.

What actions can either (1) I take as a manager to protect her rights and get upper management onboard with her religion or (2) I take against her with management for failing to fulfill her job duties?

I’ve never come across any situation like this and am completely confounded as to how I should handle this.

Tell her your transgender IT support person will set her up with the computer of her choice. Then see what happens.

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by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Read Your (Programmer’s) Bible!
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