Mini Clubman Über Fun And Electric Bike Cheat Galore Or How I Learned To Love A Car Hitch

Subtitle: This Is Not A Review Of A 2017 Mini Clubman.

Sometimes when I’m riding around on my e-bike I hear these voices. At first I didn’t make much of the voices. But then they grew, they increased, and although they never got louder, they became part of life. After having lived among #Eurowastelanders for so long, especially z’Germans, I’m not unaccustomed to these voices, don’t you know. But I am, every once-a-once, surprised by what these voices say. For example. Most recently these voices made rude comments about the bike I’m riding. “Oh, he’s on an e-bike,” someone smirked. Or. “Look. That doesn’t count. It’s an e-bike.” And then there’s my favourite. “Guido, if you buy me an e-bike I’ll fcuk your brains out,” said the Wessie-schlampe to her half Italian pseudo boyfriend as I roared past them at 25km/h. But let’s not weird out too much worst-writing about living in tax them by the pu$$y Europe.

Although in my first e-bike post I made the claim that we gave up our second car so that we could become a single car household, and now we have two cars (again), I did not lie. Even though we’re once again a two-car household–on account my better half did something useful with her recent work slash compensation bonus–this situation is only temporary. After next September we will once again be a single car household. That’s when we are giving up the scam that is German corporate cars via greed mongering leasing companies. In the meantime, I’ve been given the challenge by my better-half to get used to our new vehicle and, more importantly, get it ready to do what it is we need it to do. I’m referring, of course, to our continuing to be not only a single car household but also to rely on our e-bikes for all of our local transportation needs and even some of our longer distance needs. That is, I use my e-bike for almost all my household chores. Whether I’m grocery shopping, picking up packages, or meeting with people in the city, my transportation of choice is my e-bike. Unless, of course, I have to lug around a few cases of beer, water or large amounts dog food for Beckett, our little killer pug. But that’s neither here nor there. Since I just surpassed my first year of e-bike ownership, I can’t say that I’m disappointed in this source of transport. Now that we’ve added a really, really cool Mini Cooper Clubman to the mix–with a friggin hitch–things have only gotten cooler.

Long worst-writing story short, we bought a Mini that has a factory installed hitch. The hitch, btw, is as cool as the Mini. The hitch fits neatly under the boot floor along with the spare tyre. When needed the hitch clicks neatly underneath the rear bumper and is conveniently locked in place. I bought a bike hitch-rack (Westfalia) via an Amazon warehouse deal; most certainly saved 150,-€ there. Secured to the hitch, the bike rack hangs off the back of the Mini as though it was meant to hang nowhere else. In other words, we’ve tested this bike hitch with more than 2000km so far and all I can say is… f’n cool! Although I can see through the rear view mirror of the Mini how the bikes sometimes wobble and shake while on the autobahn, I’m over all my fears that the whole shebang would just drop off while on our way to Croatia (which we’re gonna do next September).

As you can see in the pics (above), not only are the bikes fully integrated as part of the Mini when on the hitch & rack, but there is also the convenience of being able to access the split doors of the Mini, albeit only one at a time. That is, I’ve since learned that in order to access the boot of the Mini in this configuration, one needs to be prepared. First, make sure you pack stuff in the rear that only needs access if you can’g get to what you need through one of the two rear side doors. Remember that this is a six door vehicle. The issue recently came up when I forgot that I had put my wallet in a bike bag in the rear. At a gas station I had to then drop the bikes (see pic above) to get it. Obviously it was no problem. This wouldn’t be so easy, though, if the Mini was fully packed when traveling longer distances. And so. Heed this. Only one of the rear Mini barn doors is accessible with this hitch & rack, so you should pack the car accordingly.

Another cool aspect of this Mini + e-bike rack layout is that when it’s activated the electronic connector of the rack (for the rear lights, blinkers, etc.) responds accordingly. The rear doors no longer respond to remote activation. The rear parking guide also shuts off and the driver is given a fancy signal inside the car saying, basically, when backing up… you’re on your own. Btw, remote activation of rear doors is kinda waaaaaay Mini-cool. That might sound like a bit of blowhard BS by someone that doesn’t own a friggin Mini, but let me tell you: I’ve already been out and about with this vehicle where I had to park it in tight spaces. If you activate those rear doors with the remote and they swing open, anything in their way will be slammed and, worst, the doors will be damaged. So hats off to BMW/Mini folks for getting the rear doors right when the hitch is activated. Now I have to get it right when there’s no hitch.

As far as driving 2000+km with this bike/rack system on a friggin Mini Cooper? At first I was nervous. How can that little hitch hold all this–especially when driving 100+km/h on the German (drive with your brakes) autobahn? The answer: no problem. The hitch is rated at being able to carry much more than two e-bikes. Of course, I remove all excess weight from the bikes before putting them on. The battery is removed. The computers of the bikes are removed. The Abus lock on my R&M Charger GX is also removed. If on longer drives, especially where rain is expected, I also remove the seats and cover any open orifices with God’s tape. I mean, duck-tape. All in all, when emptied, each bike is around 20 kilos. The (Westfalia) rack is rated at being able to carry 60 kilos. Yeah. This is a pretty cool way to carry bikes around–even if they’re e-bikes (that might not deserve to be carried around; but that’s another worst-post).

Rant (and ride safe) on.

-T

When Your Tickle Goes Bling Bling And Your Ears Say Ahhh

It took me a while. And it also took one of my micro-SD cards along with various installs, network wiring configs, a new fancy case and fun, fun, pure listening/audio fun. But before any of that, first things first. I’m finally NAS ready and my R-PI with Hifiberry Amp2 is the bomb! The initial install of OpenMediaVault, which I’m using as my NAS/Share source for my audio library, didn’t actually go all that well. Continuing my tech confusion streak, I made the mistake of tossing the first OMV install on account I found it too complicated. At the least, I wasn’t ready for the OMV interface. So while I proceeded to learn from OMVs website, you know, to get a bit informed about their software and how it works, I re-flashed the SD card back to RasPlex and suddenly the card was broke. At least I think it was broke. It was a 16GB card and after re-flashing it a utility tool informed me it had only 500MB of space. I tried everything. Erase. Partition. Erase and re-format in x-Fat and then in MS-DOS (or what ever’s available via Mac Disk Utility) and nothing happened. There was always only 500MB of space on what was supposed to be a 16GB card. Whaaa? Nomatter. I don’t have time for this. Plus I spent a few hours studying-up on the OMV site and after about two weeks (of casual reading of their doc pages), I was finally ready to give it another go. But then, out of the blue, I decided to support local retailers (as opposed to ordering from you-know-who online retailer from hell!) and jumped on my bike and road off to a local electronic store to buy a new micro-SD card. And get this, dear worst-reader. Would you believe that one of Germania’s largest tech stores doesn’t even carry a micro-SD card smaller than 32GB? Are you serious, I asked one of the store clerks. He informed me that I might have a problem getting such a small card anywhere. Ok. Fine. So I broke down and paid 16,-€ for a 32GB card–4x more capacity than I need for a OMV instal. I biked home, fought with the stupid mass produced packaging to free the card, slid it in the side of my 2015 MacBook Air (i7) and flash, flash, flash. I then proceeded to install the card in the R-PI 3B board. I hooked up ethernet cable and then the 5V 3amp dedicated micro USB power cable. According to OMV one is supposed to be patient as the software goes through the initial install. The readme.txt says I should give it at least forty minutes depending on speed of SD card and internet connection. So I set a timer and went off to be productive elsewhere. After about 36 minutes exactly, I woke up my MacBook Air, searched my network for a new IP address titled “raspberrypi” and… Boom! Long story short. I then hooked up an external 700GB Samsung HDD (which has got to be ten years old; which is also housed in a Icy-Box ext powered case) that has a copy of all my audio files (FLAC and MP3). I set up the network share with Samba and then opened Volumio. Again. Boom! Volumio immediately recognised the share and began indexing my music library. Oddly, Volumio seems to perform better with my music library using a network share. Previously I had the Icy-Box USB drive connected directly to the R-PI’s USB. Although Volumio worked fine with it, there were always hick-ups and duds. My guess is that Volumio wasn’t able to index the directly connected HDD as well as it can when connected by a network share. But that’s just a guess. The thing to remember is that when you have a house full of R-Pi’s, put them to good use. Btw, I’m really digging the R-PI3B+ as my new NAS device. Will be testing it by adding another HDD soon to see how it works as a backup system. And for those interested in how the Hifiberry Amp2 sounds? I’m tickled to-death with it. Together with the R-PI3B it is a fantastic low-cost audio device that delivers incredible audio, especially on high-sounding low-cost speakers like a pair of Pioneer BS22. And btw, even though I have rough beginning with some of this tech-krapp, the end result I’m experiencing is what tech should be all about.

Rant on.

-T

Does History Repeat Slowly, Panickly Or Trumply? Predicting Your Great Depression v2.0

crumpled currency

What is it that makes #Americant? I mean, what is the thing or things that enable and facilitate the race to the bottom empire that is my beloved and missed United Mistakes? Probably at the top of the list is war mongering. And not just any war mongering. The fact that perpetual war is being waged and not paid for should say everything about the dysfunction-junction that history’s greatest consume-to-survivors live (with)in. But that ain’t all.

The next thing that makes #Americant has to be the banking system. More importantly, it is a banking system that in its essence has become feudal. You know, as in neo-feudal. Or is it neo-liberal? Difference? Nomatter. Since the 1970s the reliance on credit as enabler of consumption is über-obvious. To hide this reality, though, at least two generations of #Americants have absolved themselves from resisting the grand delusion-illusion that is debt. Hence, it’s really not difficult understanding why/how words/concepts like fake-news, deep-state and Trump is President get their meaning via the mindset that says/believes them (has fallen for them).

Of course, this level of delusion-illusion has been faced before. You know, there was a time when spending candy-money had a payday. It is called The Great Depression. Obviously, worst-writer is no economist so there’s not much I can say about those times. But something has disturbed me over the past 30 or so years as I too consume-to-survive and superficially read about things that have already happened and are obviously destined to happen again, albeit with a different ugly wig atop its orange, disfigured mullet.

For example. The way money flows these days is fcuking scary. You would think, in a so-called free-market, something would be able to counter the blatant display of greed and hoarding that is taking place before (y)our very eyes. Yet there is nothing to counter what is going on. Or is there?

From a Wiki page here is a list of the causes of the The Great Depression.

  1. Debt liquidation and distress selling
  2. Contraction of the money supply as bank loans are paid off
  3. A fall in the level of asset prices
  4. A still greater fall in the net worths of business, precipitating bankruptcies
  5. A fall in profits
  6. A reduction in output, in trade and in employment
  7. Pessimism and loss of confidence
  8. Hoarding of money
  9. A fall in nominal interest rates and a rise in deflation adjusted interest rates

Now. Most of the list above says very little to me. With that in mind, it does say this: If the list is true and in anyway applicable to today, then there is one thing that connects the past to what is about to happen in the now. And so. Allow me to redo the list as only worst-writer (the über non-economist) can.

  1. Debt liquidation and distress selling – who owns all the debt and how does owner and seller of that debt mesh? (China v. #Americant; Petro-Dollar v. world, etc.)
  2. Contraction of the money supply as bank loans are paid off – consider current repeal of Dodd-Frank (see links below) and then ask: why would any valid economy need subprime mortgages in the first place? And if that is totally besides the point, why the hell, for the past few years, can I only withdraw 200,-€ in cash from an ATM?
  3. A fall in the level of asset prices – since the US economy is dependent on war-mongering and a rentier (feudal) system (based mostly real-estate manipulation), i.e. it’s manufacturing base has been decimated since the 1980s which means there’s nothing else to make money with/on, which of the two will fail first and where can the money come from to pay for the aftermath? Answer: the only people with money are the same people that caused all these economic problems in the first place!
  4. A still greater fall in the net worths of business, precipitating bankruptcies – considering how companies are valued these days, especially via a delusional if not artificially maintained stock market, this confuses the hell out of me; can you say stock-buy-back?
  5. A fall in profits – how many huuuuuge corporations in #Americant are in a perpetual state of bankruptcy in order to stay in business? Think: airlines, automobile maker bailouts, etc.
  6. A reduction in output, in trade and in employment – manufacturing base decimation, gig-economy, un and under-employment, nuff said.
  7. Pessimism and loss of confidence – #MAGA again again; election of President Stupid by an even stupider voting constituency.
  8. Hoarding of money – yeah, just try to get some cash (see #2 above); who and how is money supply manipulated?
  9. A fall in nominal interest rates and a rise in deflation adjusted interest rates – I have no idear what the fcuk this means but $hit is fcuking expensive.

As someone who may (or may not) inherit something someday, I’m often wondering about how the idear of value and how it has been slowly but surely manipulated–like everything else in our greed $hit show. I mean. Come on. Considering how this world turns, any rational person can tell you that there is basically no intrinsic value left in the system–unless you’re already rich. Reason? Everything is either outright owned, financed/indebted to the hilt, or in some kind of moneyed limbo that can only reflect a purgatory run by a Greed God–or two generations of greed-mongering middle-class morons. Or is it God of Greed? Nomatter.

With all that in mind, here’s the thing I’m really worried about and probably should be added to the/my (2nd) list above. I believe that President Stupid was elected for a reason. That reason is simple. The conservative wing of my beloved #Americant has seen the light regarding what they’ve done for the past (insert number post WW2 here) years. In fact, #Americant is so invested in the irrationality of what conservatives have done, that there literally is no turning back. That also means it’s full speed ahead in the realm of President Stupid.

What better shill could there be to cover up for what Conservatives have done than to elect the perfect numb-nut to head the $hit show as they let what they’ve done (naturally) burn down? And that’s the ticket, dear worst-reader. That’s what’s ahead right now as history repeats itself. Republicans, the arm of the old, greed-mongering white men that is #Americant, will burn the fcuking house down before they come clean regarding what they’ve done. Trump and those who voted for him are the trump-card to pull off the great burn down–i.e. The Great Depression v2.0.

Good luck suckers.

Link that motivated this post:

Rant on.

-T

The Wrong Of Success In The Land Of Free To Be Stupid Because Rest Of World Is Even Stupider

three dollar bill apple logo (low res)

Here’s the latest greed-mongering-magazine’s list of top corporations in the world ranked by whatever-$$$ (I guess). I came across this list because, as an Apple pseudo-fan-boy, my favourite company-to-hate was recently downgraded. How can that be–especially after I just took advantage of a battery replacement program for my ageing phone that was probably the best deal ever? Seriously. If you have an iPhone 6s and an extra thirty-bucks, get the battery replaced. It works great.

Here’s the newest list of really, really great corporations that are doing so much greatness in/for the world–in order of $$$-significance. I guess.

  1. Walmart
  2. Exxon
  3. Berkshire Hathaway
  4. Apple
  5. UnitedHealth Group
  6. Mckeeson
  7. CVS
  8. Amazon
  9. AT&T
  10. General Motors
    (Source: Forbes 2018)

I’m actually surprised by the first company on this list. I had no idear that the rural, redneck family business of Sam Walton was back at the top of the greed $hit-show. But then again, considering the cesspool that Walmart’s nearest rival also operates (with)in, Amazon is close enough. So let’s run down the list, shall we–as only worst-writer can.

First. Nuff said about Walmart. Unless, of course, one wishes to see yet another of the family kill itself by some ridiculous means. Yeah, über-rich people and their toys. Watching the whole damn family fall out of the sky in a cheap airplane and crushed on the ground would be cool. Or maybe not.

Second. There is no surprise with an oil extraction and distribution company being number 2 on this list. Or is there? In fact, as worst-surprised as I am about Walmart being number one, I’m really surprised Exxon ain’t a whole bunch further ahead than the rest. I mean, come on. Exxon wouldn’t be where it is today if there weren’t enough poor, young #Americants trying to achieve a living-standard based on an overly outdated past and an dinosaur old-economy that could care less about them, by joining the military and, of course, fighting wars-of-choice for… You guessed it: oil. Am I wrong?

The owner, founder of Berkshire Hathaway, the infamous filthy rich grandpa that likes simple ice cream cones, Warren Buffet, has said that he wouldn’t invest in Amazon because it was a miracle company–and he doesn’t invest in miracles. When I first heard Mr. Buffet say that I was taken aback. So there are a few wise men in this greed-mongering world of greed-$hit? Nevertheless, Berkshire Hathaway makes all its money in the stock market. And for those not in the know but wish to worst-know: the NYSE is propped up by lies, lies and more lies–baked and cooked with a whole bunch of sugar-cherries on top. Go figure, eh. The only reason the stock market doesn’t crash right now is because there is no alternative to what my beloved #Americant has put forth in the world: unabated and unhindered greed. And on that note, I digress.

Although I have a lot of negative to say about Apple–especially it being ONLY the best of the worst in technology–I’m kind of relieved that its on this list. I mean, at least one company among these greed-mongering monsters actually produces something worthwhile in this day & age of worthlessness. Say what you will about smartphones, the Internet, social media, etc., Apple is the only company out of all tech companies that has managed to hold together, although not perfectly, the exploitable nature of hardware and software via the human interface. Among the many things I will never forget about Steve Jobs, the one thing that stands out the most right now is his contempt for Mark Zuckerberg and the willingness of a new generation of so-called entrepreneurs who will get rich quick by transgressing achievement and success with the simplemindedness of exploiting the vulnerable, the naive, The Stupid, i.e. Facebook. Go Apple!

The next three companies on the list are all about healthcare. There is only one word that comes to my worst-mind when I think of my beloved and missed dysfunctional #Americant and it’s ludicrous healthcare system: scam. Indeed. So many have been scammed for so long that there is probably no way to get out of the scam. Live by the scam, you become the scam. Only in the land of scam can you also elect #Trump to the highest office–and what a scammer President Stupid is, eh. On that worst-note, I’m way off subject.

For a long while now I’ve been trying to put myself in Jeff Bezos shoes. I remember vividly checking out Amazon on my CRT screen connected by RGB cables to my second (or was it third) used pizza box Macintosh computer back in the mid 90s. Wow, I thought. I could read about books. I could read what other people thought of those books. I could then order a book and… bam! It’s suddenly delivered in… a week? Nomatter. And then I thought: what a stupid idear this is. Why does the world need a retail middleman based on software and an internet connection? Why can’t products be sold directly form maker to buyer? Amazon is indeed a unique company on this list. It is unique because very few can see it for what it really is. Amazon is a scavenger business. It is the result of there being nothing left to exploit and all creativity (in business) being dried up. It is the same with companies like Über and Facebook. These businesses are bottom of the barrel scrappers. But because one of them makes a list like the one above, few people can see through to what they really are all about. Except Warren Buffet, of course.

The last two companies on the list deserve to be combined because they are old economy $hitbag companies. Indeed. AT&T and GM are the remnants of dinosaurs that refuse to be fossilised. That is their only achievement. I suppose that’s good enough for most, at least most of the privileged old economy that partake in their exploitation. Yet I’m reminded of how it was supposed to be a good thing to break up monopolies in the 70s and 80s only to see that exact monopoly return twenty or thirty years later in the form of At&T. The fact that GM received a huge bailout from the government in 2007/8 should disqualify it from being on any list. In fact, GM should be owned by the government and all profit it makes should be used to repay taxpayers for bailing it out. But what am I saying? These dinosaurs can live and prosper, as so many other companies beyond and below this list, only in the land of greed, where free to be stupid reigns supreme and where the likes of an old man like Warren Buffet exemplifies living death–with lots of money, money, money.

Rant on.

-T

Pseudo-Review: Pennies From Heaven Where Cents Make Great Audio

First. The newest Raspberry Pi was kinda hard to get till I happened across it. I’m worst-guessing this is due to limited supply, heavy demand. Some online shops were taking orders of the Pi but then not indicating delivery dates. Second. I bow humbly to #Hifiberry and their new Amp2 and the fact that I just happened to see they had new Pi’s available when I was gawking at maybe getting another of their audio boards–on account I’ve been so tickled with their DAC+ Pro board. Btw, I wasn’t interested in the RPI3B+ to even go with the new Amp2. I was ordering the Amp2 to put on my RPi3–which would give me two potential audio sources in my house. The RPi3B+ was a just because purchase. Here’s a rundown of my current Pi setup:

  • RPi2B – with Hifiberry Dac+ Pro (more on that here); currently being used as a Plex Client (RasPlex)
  • RPi3B – this one I’m now using with the Hifiberry Amp2 (more on that below)
  • RPi3B+ – just because–and to test if the newest Pi is finally a viable desktop alternative (it’s not quite there yet); also testing for NAS use (so far so good but I’m not ready to replace my old MacPro with it yet)

Now on to a pseudo-review of Hifiberry’s Amp2.

Wow! I was blown away with the first sound that came out of the Amp2. Using Volumio, I’ve been testing this little audio miracle on three different speakers (see pic above). The great news is, it doesn’t matter what speaker I was using. The Amp2 drives them all till a smile rolls off my geezer and curls back ’round into my ears. Of the three speakers I own, my favourites are the Pioneer BS-22–which I lugged across the Atlantic (on account I couldn’t buy them in Germany) in early March. And although my B&W 305s are currently being stored in my basement, I hooked them up just see if the Amp2 could power my ageing low-end towers. It powered them with gusto! Of course, the smallest speakers I own are the Audioengine P4s–which were, I thought at the time, the best deal I had ever made on speakers–but then I got the BS-22s. Nomatter. I’m a cheap-o pseudo-audiophile and I don’t mind admitting to it–especially considering the cost of some of those fancy speakers from Apple, Sonos, etc., which also limit your listening experience through stupid transcoding. So let’s move on.

My only gripe with the Amp2 right now is software, specifically Volumio. I run a Mac home network and Volumio cannot access Mac shares. Nor can it access Mac SMB shares. I’ve been reading forums, posting questions to support sites, reading more krapp, and to save my life I cannot get Volumio to access my 2010 headless MacPro which is a iTunes server, a Plex Media Server and, of course, a file server for a small household of multiple Macs and iOS devices. I’ve given up on networking with Volumio since I have a few old spinning 3.5″ HDDs lying around. So I bought a UBS external powered case and let the RPi/Amp2 access music files that way. Works great.

The Amp2 is nothing short of a little miracle audio board. It’s rated at 60w of power and I can say that it easily produces sound as good as my TEAC A-H01 amp. In fact, it’s better than my TEAC in that, when used with Volumio, I no longer have to get up to change the volume. Another gripe I have with the Amp2 is that when controlling it with Rasplex or Volumio, neither has an output/driver setting specifically for it. According to the Hifiberry website, you’re supposed to choose the Hifberry DAC+ driver because “the Amp2 is basically a DAC+ with an integrated power stage.” After fiddling with the DAC+Pro (on my RPi2) for a while, I realised that the biggest issue with this type of audio device is definitely the power source. I’ve since purchased two 5v 3amp micro USB power source/cables for my other Pis. Fortunately Hifiberry sells a small power brick separately so I went ahead and bought that for this setup. So far, the brick is the best way to power the RPi and Hifiberry. In fact, considering the flimsy-ness of the micro-USB in the RPi, I’m really digging the Amp2’s way of powering things.

After a few weeks of testing, the Amp2 works so well that I’ve actually replaced my living-room Rasplex client with it. My living-room TV now only serves as a monitor for my ageing AppleTV3, which we rarely use. In fact, the only time we use our TV is as a screen/monitor for Apple Photos slideshows via the AppleTV3. We’re no longer TV gawkers so we don’t miss NOT having a TV as part of music play. And to be honest, I’m really digging controlling all our audio needs with my iPhone. Besides, when my better-half watches her German TV stuff she does on her iPad. And so… why the hell am I worst-writing about how we watch/use a TV? Nomatter. I listen to music when cooking, when worst-blogging, and especially when I’m cuddling with Beckett the killer pug on the couch. If you can get through the minor hassle of the Amp2 not having a decent case (yet) or having to fix speaker wires to it, this is one heck of a purest audio device that can be easily hid in a shrank, book shelf, or even under a couch, etc. All you need to control it is a home network, a smartphone and a bunch audio files.

Brilliant cheap audio!

Rant on.

-T

Pseudo-Review: The Film Collossal Or That Thing In My Substance Abuse That Is Serious Childhood Drama

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 10.02.58

Warning: spoiler alert! This movie is totally worst-explained.

Things I wish I could have written? Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Thornton Wilder’s The Ides of March. The movie Collossal. Etc., etc. And by-the-buy, I watched Colossal last night via some stupid streaming service and I was pleasantly surprised. On that note, streaming itself isn’t stupid but the greedy nature of how all these streaming services work is stupid. Indeed. Consume to survive: everything is stupid. But I digress.

Although Collossal has a somewhat slow and peculiar start, the first thing I said after the opening scene of a young Korean girl initialising the audience to the Collossal monster, is this: this is movie about woman scorned! Oh how wrong/right I would eventually be. Once the odd, platonic relationship of the two main characters gets going, I even briskly forgot about all my worst-predictions. In fact, this movie is as pleasantly different as The Shape of Water. And to think both these great movies are made by Spaniards. Cool.

The movie:

In short, Gloria is a young drunk down on her luck living in NYC. After her boyfriend throws her out, she decides to return to her childhood home where she immediately encounters Oscar, supposedly a childhood friend. One of the best parts of writing in this movie is how these two characters are in a relationship but that relationship has nothing to do with romance. What a relief that is, I thought to myself. A film about a man and a woman and it has nothing to do with how/if/when they get it on. Fresh worthwhile movie story telling trick, indeed.

Enter the monster(s) as a literal blast from the past starts to wake up these two from a serious drunken stupor. The whole story evolves around a flashback of what these two people were caught up in as school children. Although Gloria seems to have overcome the majority of that trauma, once she re-enters that old life as a drunk, the past appears out of thin air in the form of Collossal, a Godzilla-like monster. Why the fcuk this monster is destroying a city half a world away as these two #Americant dyfunctionals can’t get their $hit together, is the brief and tantalising mystery the story rides on. It eventually becomes obvious that the monster is some kind a manifestation of Gloria. And just when you figure that out–or are actually shown that she is the monster–it turns out Oscar has one, too. And that’s the gist of what’s really going on between these two. Oscar simply can’t stand being one-upped by Gloria.

The revealing flashback of the movie comes fairly late. Unlike a lot of flashbacks, though, this one doesn’t just reveal the twist of the movie. While walking home from elementary school Gloria and Oscar are carrying school projects. They had to build a model of a city they would like to visit in life. Gloria picked the city of Seoul, South Korea. I didn’t pick up on the city Oscar built–but it’s probably the hometown he’s still stuck in. During their walk home it’s obvious that Gloria won the contest from her class of best built model. When a storm suddenly emerges a gust of win whips Gloria’s Seoul away (pun intended). Oscar jumps a fence to fetch it for her. Thinking that she doesn’t see what’s he doing, Gloria watches Oscar destroy her prized model Seoul replication (more pun?) by stomping on it–like a monster. But then something really weird happens. This is where the twist takes another twist. They are struck by lightening in the storm. Through out the movie Gloria is constantly itching a part of the top of her head where she was struck.

Although it’s not very clear in the writing, worst-writer’s guess is the lightening strike probably ingrained this event into their psyche. Because of it, Oscar grew up hating himself (which she actually claims of him when they have a final confrontation) for the cruelty that has been part of him since that stormy day. Gloria is just a hurt child drowning her sorrows in drink. Gloria then realises to end their conflict all she has to do is continue going forward in life–like she did by leaving this small town and going to NYC. She also realises that she has to stop being a drunk–which brought her back to this mess in the first place. Oh. And to finally deal with Oscar, she also has to get rid of his monster. In order to do that, she comes-of-age, stops drinking and gets on a plane and travels to Seoul. Although Oscar has threatened her that this time she won’t leave him and his cruelty, when she does leave he continues to ravage (her) Seoul. In the actual city of Seoul, South Korea, Gloria finally confront Oscar by proving that at least she can leave that krappy town, stop drinking, move on. She one-ups Oscar one last time. End.

All in all, a great film. It’s a smart film, too. What a relief a movie like this is in these days of blockbuster boredom and moronic comic book characters galore. Although at times it has some odd, indecisive scenes, especially in the beginning and while the relationships are being developed among Oscars friends in her hometown, Hathaway and her character are brilliant. There is a bit of heavy-handed misogyny in the form of serious boy on girl ass-whipping during the last fight scene between the two, but it fit their relationship and it didn’t go over-board–which I’m sure would have been the case if Harvey Weinstein had produced this film. On the other hand, I’m not sure this movie could be part of the #metoo movement. Ok. Maybe that’s not applicable at all. Nomatter. In the end this is a movie about a woman, the consequence of her actions and the sometimes brutal nature of human behaviour–especially male behaviour. The way she deals with it all sometimes took my breath away. At the least I’m not a Hathaway skeptic like I used to be. She can act her way around my screen any day–as long as she does a smart movie like this. Well done!

Rant on.

-T

Baldies Of The World Unite. Time To Be Proud. Maybe.

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Screenshot from the Interwebnets

Never thought it would come to this, dear worst-reader. But I am indeed über proud to be bald. I mean, come on. Check out these hair-dos of dudes who are… in charge of a world? Ok. Ok. I guess I’m glad that my beloved #Americant is setting something straight that it/we made real cock-eyed in the recent past. #Korea. But does it have to be done by these guys? I was actually hoping that Kim blah-blah would try to figure out this whole ordeal without US influence. I mean, why not? But then again. I bet there’s a whole bunch of numb-nuts on this planet that just don’t get the ill-politics that #MAGA again again. Indeed. #Trump needs some distracting faux newz and this is how it’s done.

Rant on.

-T