Oh, That’s Just Silly

We saw Alien Covenent tonight.

It wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t a good one, either.

I had hoped for so much more.

My initial thought as the credits were rolling was that this franchise has become the M. Night Shamalan of the genre; something that started out great and rapidly deteriorated to predictable, meaningless, crap.

Predictable is the key word here. There is nothing left to shock or surprise any more. You already know that by the end of the film everyone except one or two humans and the Synthetic will have been dispatched in the most gruesome ways possible.

The monster alien drips acid. The alien has a double steel jaw and likes to tunnel through your skull with it. The alien will burst out of your body somewhere. And most importantly, if you’re separated from your comrades and your attention is focused somewhere else, you will die.

Viewed strictly as horror cinema (which is what the Alien franchise is), it was much more effective when you didn’t know every anatomical detail of what was lurking in the shadows. What we don’t know is far scarier than what we do.

I remember how I felt after leaving the theater back in 1979 at the original Alien premiere. It scared the bejeebus out of me. I kept looking over my shoulder as I walked back to my car, and then kept one eye on my rearview mirror all the way home.

In 1986, after screening Aliens (IMHO probably the best film of the series), I came home and promptly turned on every light in the apartment.

But no more. Now the whole thing now just strikes me as silly.

To its credit, Covenant isn’t chock full of stupid scientists the way  Prometheus was. It also answers most—if not all—of the outstanding questions posed by its predecessor. But it was so damned predictable. Ben whispered the final “gotcha” moment to me a good fifteen minutes before the end of the film; something I’d also already figured out on my own.

And Ridley Scott says he wants to do five more? Please, for the love of the gods, NO. Let it DIE.

 

Back to “Normal”

They weren’t the circumstances under which I wanted this to happen, but since it did, I’m going to make the best of it—even if it means #backindebt again.

Say hello to my new Mac.

I’ve had it less than 24 hours, but I have to say that everything I’ve read online about this machine is true. It’s beautiful. It’s responsive. The display is awesome. But what do I like the most?

The keyboard.

I’d been a little worried about how it would “feel” in relation to all previous iterations of the Apple keyboard because of all the negative press the redesign initially received, but at least for me, it’s an absolute joy to use. The keyboard illumination is uniform and has no light leak at all.

You know what I like second most? The fact that encountering a page full of animated gifs online or using Adobe Bridge no longer sends the fans into overdrive. That is wonderful!

Yeah, I kind of miss the glowing Apple logo on the case, and I still think the Touch Bar is more gimmick than anything else, but there’s no denying it’s a cool gimmick, and maybe some day I’ll actually use it for more than just changing screen brightness or playback volume…

Since this time I was able to restore from my last Time Machine backup in full—in comparison to having to pick and choose what to leave out because Ben’s old MacBook couldn’t hold it all—bringing this machine online and have everything work from the get go was a breeze.

And now there’s a new rule in this house: NO LIQUIDS ANYWHERE NEAR OUR TECH!

First World Problem

Conundrum

Since it doesn’t make fiscal sense to have my Mac repaired—the estimate being only a couple hundred dollars less than the cost of a new machine—I am now faced with finding a replacement.

At the time I bought it four years ago, my machine was the top of the line: 3 GHz i7, 8GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD…so obviously I’m going to want something similar.

Apple is still offering all models of the 2015 MacBook Pro (MagSafe, multiple ports, retina display), but with a refresh imminent, it’s hard to say for how long they’ll be available. With Ben’s education discount, I can get a 2.7 GHz i5/8/512 for $1559. If I want to bump that up to a 3.1 GHz i7, the price jumps to $1829. Both of these are custom orders, so I can’t just walk into an Apple Store and go home with one.

And this is where the conundrum comes in.

I can get the 2016 non-Touchbar model (2.4 GHz i7/8/512) for $1899. This would also be a custom order.  For the same price I can get the Touchbar model with a faster processor (2.9 GHz i5/8/512)…and it’s in stock.

When the Touchbar Macs came out last year I was immediately enthralled, but despite the “cool” factor, I still do question the ultimate usefulness of the feature. And then there’s the whole loss-of-ports thing. How much of a problem that would ultimately be for me is probably overblown since the only items I connect via USB A/B are my Time Machine and occasionally my phone—and USB C to USB A/B adapters are readily available.

It’s all kind of academic at this point since I can’t do anything about this for a couple weeks. Let’s just call it a birthday present to myself.

Thankfully I have Ben’s old 2010 MacBook to use in the meantime. After several extremely frustrating hours I think I’ve finally beaten it into enough submission that it’s now properly syncing messages with the phone and only occasionally prompting me to enter my Apple password to validate a piece of purchased software.

Best Case/Worst Case

At Ben’s recommendation, instead of taking it to Apple, I took the Mac into a local, highly-recommended shop today.

Worst case scenario is the system board. $900 including labor. (Better than what I was reading about Apple.)

Best case, $50 to simply clean the thing out.

The tech told me it might also be a simple matter of the power button being hosed. If that’s the case, it’s an upper case/keyboard replacement (because both items are apparently sealed to each other) at around $300, including labor. (The fact the charging light came on was a good indication the system board wasn’t fried.)

Should hear something from them within 24 hours.

Fingers crossed.

UPDATE: Worse than Worst Case. Pretty much everything except the display is shot and needs replacement. Time to buy a new Mac.

At least Gazelle is giving me $185 to offset the cost of a new one a bit…

I Knew It Had To Happen Sooner Or Later

Angry Mac is angry.

I’m going to blame Sonic and their goddamned thin-as-fuck Route 44 styrofoam cups.

Last night I went to pick my drink up. As has happened a dozen times before, the top came loose, my thumb went through the side of the cup, and 44 ounces of iced tea exploded. Unfortunately this time, it exploded over my open and powered on Macbook.

I suppose I’ve been lucky. I’ve been a laptop user going on nearly ten years now and have never had an accident like this.

I immediately powered it down, drained the liquid out and removed the back.I propped it up in front of a desk fan overnight, hoping against all odds that I got it turned off quickly enough. Apparently I didn’t. This morning it’s completely dead.

So tomorrow night it’s off to the Apple store and probably a thousand dollar repair, since I can’t afford to buy a new one.

In the meantime I thankfully have Ben’s old 2010 Macbook to use. It has no battery, it’s got half the RAM and hard drive capacity of my machine, but at least it will get me through until mine is repaired. I was amazed that when I went to do Internet Recovery it actually loaded (and is running) Sierra. My most recent Time Machine backup was yesterday morning, so I really didn’t lose much of anything, but I wasn’t able to restore iTunes (too big for the size of this hard drive), and I’m belatedly discovering that not all settings get transferred when doing anything other than a complete restore.

 

Absolutely Beautiful

A lot has been written the past few days about the very passionate and graphic gay love scene—between two Middle Eastern men, no less—in the most recent episode of American Gods. Indeed, it was wonderful and in many ways groundbreaking and left me applauding the writers and actors, but what really got me about this all-around awesome episode was the opening.

If there is an afterlife, this is the afterlife I want to experience.