We All Survived. Again.

Well, we all survived another Xtianist “End of the World.” This is obviously a good thing, because I’ve never known what proper attire is for an Apocalypse.

Why I Don’t Use Apple Pay

About a week ago, for some reason 90% of the album art for the songs on my iPhone disappeared. I tried removing all the songs and then adding them back in with no success. Nothing worked, so I finally chose the nuclear option and did a complete reset on the phone.

It fixed the album art problem, but it also wiped out all the cards I’d so meticulously put into Apple Pay.

I can’t say I’ve ever used Apple Pay because the credit union where I have my checking account still does not support it, but I think the concept is awesome and someday I’m sure it will be the norm, rather than the exception, for making purchases.

That being said, I did have my credit cards loaded into the system, and considering what a pain some of them had been to add, I did not look forward to adding them again.

But I did.

And Apple fucked me over again.

For the past few days, mail has not been syncing between my phone and Mac. A message will show up on one or the other, but not both. Additionally, I’ve been unable to delete emails, getting only a cryptic message that iCloud was unable to move the selected items to the trash folder.

So this morning, after finding a recommended solution from the Google, I logged out of iCloud on my phone.

BIG mistake.

When I logged back in, the mail was working again, but I also immediately got a message from Discover, telling me that I’d removed my card from Apple Pay.


I opened up Apple Pay—excuse me, Wallet—on my phone, and to my horror saw that not only had the Discover card disappeared, but all the cards.


Y’know, it would’ve been nice if Apple actually warned you that this was going to happen as part of the notification that that pops up when you’re about to log out of iCloud. But no.


At this point I’m not going to bother putting the cards back in again because in all likelihood, I’ll have to sign out of iCloud or reset the phone again to fix one of Apple’s other issues sooner rather than later, and they’d all just be wiped out. It’s not worth the hassle.

It doesn’t help that there’s no uniform method among the banks to actually add their cards to Apple Pay. Some just automatically add the them. Others send you a verification text. By far the most annoying are the ones that require you to call in, navigate a labyrinthine phone tree and then wait on hold for ten minutes in order to speak to a human being because there’s no option to just activate the card with Apple Pay. (I have two different cards from a single bank; one sends a text to activate, but the other one requires a phone call. ABSOLUTELY INSANE.)

I swear—and being a fanboy I hate to admit this, but—Apple seems to slowly be turning into everything I hated about Microsoft. They are in such a hurry to do a yearly refresh of everything that the multitude of things that get broken with each “upgrade” are never addressed and just carry forward into the next iteration (see: Windows, Office).

Here’s a thought for the brain trust at Apple: you don’t HAVE to upgrade everything every year! You’re not going to lose market share for not putting a new coat of paint on OS X or iOS every twelve months. Your long-time fans would much rather appreciate that you take the time to kill the damn bugs that are infesting your software and fix what’s obviously broken before putting out a new release! There is no shame in admitting that you screwed up and put something out before it was finished cooking!


I Miss Blogging

I know that’s kind of an odd title for a blog post, but it’s true. I miss being able to sit down and actually write, instead of posting a photo of some half naked man or regurgitating some internet meme I’ve run across. I miss being able to properly express myself in regards to current events without sounding like old news. And most of all I miss the sense of community those early years of blogging afforded.

The loss of community became abundantly clear a few days ago when I realized I hadn’t uploaded any photos to my Flickr account since our trip to Atlanta last spring. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to upload; it’s just that Flickr had dropped off my radar, supplanted by the ease of uploading and the instant gratification of Instagram. (I’m convinced that if Instagram let you post photos directly from your desktop device Flickr would close up shop because of the ungodly mess it has become.)

But I digress.

For shits-n-giggles, I started looking at the list of Flickr members I followed. A disturbing (although not surprising—based on my Instagram observation) trend I noticed was that a majority of the people I followed had not uploaded anything to Flickr not just in months, but in years. Names and faces I used to converse with regularly and counted as friends came flooding back—along with the realization that we had totally lost contact with each other in the years that have transpired.

I fear the malaise that seems to be overtaking a once-vibrant blogging community actually comes from the internet itself. Through the availability of instant gratification and equally instant dismissal of anything that doesn’t pique my interest, I seem to have developed the attention span of a gnat. Getting me to sit and read anything that spans more than one or two pages is a major undertaking. Click, swipe, click, swipe. I can’t stay focused long enough to read 1000 words; how do you expect me to write that many?

Additionally, I’ve reached the point where I don’t seem to have anything unique to add to the ongoing conversations regarding events in our world. So many others have already voiced my opinions more eloquently and succinctly than I could ever have hoped, and cutting and pasting their quotes seems so much easier than attempting to say the same thing in a slightly different way.

I am very thankful to those of you who still come around and occasionally drop comments, but even if my readership dropped to zero I doubt I could ever close down Voenix Rising and give up blogging altogether like so many others have done. After all, it was through this blogging thing that I met Ben—and even though I feel I don’t have much to add to the conversation right now, when I do, I still want a place available where I can.


Entire generations will never know the joy of the “big iron” era of audio equipment. Pictured: Sony TAE-5450 preamp and TAN-8550 power amp. $1000 and $1300 respectively, in 1975 dollars.

Even now, finding people who have the requisite knowledge to keep this tech working are getting harder and harder to find.

Quote of the Day

These Christian-slime sociopaths who bray so loudly about nonexistent infringement of their religious freedoms are hair-trigger quick to try to actually abuse other people’s religious freedoms. Muslims, for example. If you really believe in the most basic American principles, then you have no choice but to believe in the religious freedom of all believers. You know, kind of the way the IRS does. (The exception being when, on extremely rare occasions, they actually dare to investiate flagrant abusers of the tax code by pastors who are knowingly pushing their abuses as far as they can to see just how much they can get away with. Then the lying-slimebag Christian scum screech about—you guessed it!—abuses of their religious freedoms, despite the reality that they’re the ones who deliberately, systematically seek to abuse their own freedoms in the direction of limitless expansion.

Because the real goal of the lying Christian slimebags is precisely that: to impose their sociopathic prejudices and hates on everyone else, including the legitimately God-fearing. And in the process, they’re doing what they can to destroy what America stands for.


No. Just No.

I am not a fan per se of the YA Dystopia genre, but I love both the Hunger Games as well as the original Maze Runner films. I’ve actually only read the Maze Runner books, however, so I was very excited to hear that they were going to film the entire series.

HOWEVER, after seeing Scorch Trials yesterday, I am sadly disappointed. It’s been over a year since I last read the book, so I was questioning my own memory of it, but I kept scratching my head throughout the screening saying to Ben on several occasions, “I don’t remember this being in the book.”

In fact, going back and looking at its Wikipedia page to refresh my memory after we got home, I realized how very little of The Scorch Trials book was actually in the film. Yeah, they followed the basic structure of the story, but beyond that it was a mess. I know all movies adapted from books have to make changes, either to condense the story to fit in the allotted running time or to increase dramatic effect, but this seemed to be a wholesale reaming of the source material, only to be replaced with “let’s pull some shit out of our ass and see if this works instead.”

It didn’t.

Just as an example, the characters’ breakout of the WICKED dormitory in the first act wasn’t prompted by an attack of Cranks (aggressive, zombie-like people who have been infected with a virus known as “the flare” for those of you unfamiliar with the books) on the suddenly-deserted facility as it was in the book, but rather their snooping around the heavily armed and populated installation itself and learning the reason they were brought there. There was none of the feeling of mystery and bewilderment of the book (and previous film) in this movie that involved you in the story and made you want to know what was going on.

In the book, they find one remaining scientist in the facility who tells them they’ve all been infected with the virus and have two weeks to get through “the scorch” and to a safe haven to get the cure. None of that was in the movie. The main reason prompting the characters to get through the scorch was REMOVED from the film.

And it only goes downhill from there.

I want to go back and read the book again to clear my mental palate.

Why the filmmakers chose to discard—wholesale—the main storyline of the book is beyond me, and this does not bode well for the final film, The Death Cure, scheduled to be released in February 2017.

I count the original Maze Runner film among my favorites, but if you’re a fan of the series my advice would be to save your money on this one and wait for it to show up on cable—and even then, prepare to say, “WTF?!”

Whenever I Hear…

Kim Davis or Mat Staver or any of those yahoos flapping their jaws about how “Christians” are being “persecuted” in this country.

Honey, when they start dragging “Christians” from their homes in the dead of night and stringing them up in trees (or tying them to fence posts, beating them and leaving them to freeze to death), come see me. Until such time, SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Visiting an Old Friend

I stumbled across Trick on television tonight. I used to count this among my top ten favorite movies, but for some reason I found it difficult to watch tonight, and ended up turning it off after only about twenty minutes.

Perhaps it’s because so much has happened in my life—and the world in general—since it came out sixteen years ago. If there was ever an indication that I am not the same man I was in 1999, it’s my quite unexpected reaction to this seeing this movie again after all that time.

I—like undoubtedly hundreds (if not thousands) of other gay men—had a huge crush on JP Pitoc at the time, fantasizing that at some point I’d have my very own sweet and sexy go-go boy wanting me for all the right reasons. Not surprisingly, I could never have predicted at the time that I would have a sweet and sexy man arrive in my life only a few short years later; someone far more real and amazing than the fictitious Mark could ever be.

And a quick Google search shows that Mr. Pitoc has not aged well. And that’s sad.

Too Much STUFF

I came to the realization this morning that I am a digital hoarder—and I suspect so are a great many other people.

The only reason there aren’t intervention shows about it is because the hoarding is virtual and hidden. There are no horrific physical piles of stuff for camera crews to step over; you won’t ever be found dead in your home, buried under a pile of roach-infested garbage, but I suspect the problem is just as real.

Why else would companies now regularly be shipping terabyte drives with their new systems?

I came to this realization this morning while trying to clear out my downloads folder. This is where I throw everything from software installers to cat memes and nekkid menz. When I started there were over a thousand items. I’m down to about two hundred and at the point where I just want to do the equivalent of shoving it all in a closet; moving it all into my equally unruly “to be sorted” folder just to get “downloads” cleared out. The irony is that nothing in the “to be sorted” folder ever gets sorted and currently stands at over a thousand items itself.

And don’t even get me started on my meticulously curated “Menz” folder. I remember back in 2002 a friend dubbed me “The Porn King of Phoenix” when I had something like 10,000 pictures. Now I’ve got six times as many and frankly I don’t even know why any more. Years ago when I was living in San Francisco I stopped going to the pride parades because I thought, “How many pictures of pretty men do I really need to take?”

I know some of this hoarding comes from blogging. I run across a handsome face or other interesting picture and think, “I’ll repost that.” Most of the time it happens, but there’s a higher probability that it will simply get filed away and forgotten. I fear that if you compare what I’ve actually posted to what I’ll culled off the internet with the intention of reposting we’d both be shocked.

Dare I say it’s the same thing as my late father’s habit of keeping stuff—and by stuff I mean junk—because as he used to say, “I’ll need it someday.”

I know without even looking that hundreds of images in my collection that are 800 x 600 pixels in size or smaller could easily be classified as junk now, simply because the resolution is so poor and need to be discarded—regardless of their content.

Time to start weeding.

Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.

I’m not going to just throw all the stuff in a closet; I’m going to do the equivalent of buying a storage shed and transfer everything onto an external hard drive. Out of sight, out of mind, but still accessible if I “need it someday.”

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, y’know.

Quote of the Day

Sometimes I wonder how an alien race would feel about people if they came down here and the first shit they saw was this crazy lady telling a cheering crowd of supporters that God says she doesn’t have to marry gay people.

They travel billions of miles through the cosmos and their first contact ever with human beings is this odd, odd scene of this somewhat rotund, bespectacled woman standing on a raised platform, screaming into a voice amplifier that the invisible man who created everything doesn’t allow two men to sign a love contract. She says it, and the huge group of people that agree with her let out what seems to be a war cry and smash their hands together in approval.

She informs the crowd, and all the people watching the digitally broadcast feed around the world that their invisible friend has rules. He created everything from storm clouds to billy goats to subatomic particles—he’s all knowing, and all powerful, but he gets really hung up on two dudes sucking on each other’s genitals. He hates it. For some reason he REALLY hates it when those two dudes get married. For that, he reserves a special place in the fiery oven at the center of the planet where he will torture them until the end of time itself.

There would probably be that one alien that was encouraging the others to gather more data—that they should consider the entire spectrum of human thinking before they dismiss the species as dangerously insane. Then there would be the alien that thinks like me, who says, ‘Dude, they have nuclear bombs. Seriously, fuck this place. Let’s get out of here before one of these crazy assholes blows us all up because their imaginary friend told them we have the wrong underwear on or something.'” ~ Joe Rogan, posting on Facebook