* Silly Con Valley has become a vast engine for the laundering of unearned wealth. If you don’t believe it, look at the meteoric rise of the Non-Fungible Token. You don’t actually own anything, don’t actually have the exclusivity of anything, but you can say you do, for a fee – and in the meantime you have all the same eco-nightmare of Bitcoin mining. Meanwhile, the entire world of cryptocurrency remains in the field of “speculative investment bordering on gambling” rather than “stable medium of exchange” – and it’s hard not to get the sense that we’re in last call for the get rich quick schemes before the Biden administration brings in a tax regime that basically says that if you have enough money to spend on NFTs, you have enough to pay Uncle Sam the cost of covering the COVID-19 recovery plan.
* It turns out that for all the talk by Phony Stark and his amen corner of anime-wanking Snyder Cut supplicants, the mass exodus from San Francisco is actually to…the rest of the Bay Area. And the exodus from the Bay Area is to…the rest of California. Which makes sense, if you think about it, because places like Austin and Miami and Nashville are located in red states with climate-change issues and anything-goes governments. A lot of techies might not want to pay taxes, but they might also have qualms about bringing their kids to places with open carry of unlicensed firearms and textbooks vetted by Baptist Tabernacle. I’m pretty sure that the only way you’ll see me establishing residence outside the West Coast for the rest of my life would be if I were tragically widowed and had to have a permanent address somewhere else for tax purposes while aimlessly wandering the country in my A-Team van and slowly bleeding my retirement savings dry. Other than that? California, California, the hills send back the cry, we’re out to do or die…
* Places aren’t real anymore. After a year on lockdown, mostly, things like Disneyland or London seem to be figments of imagination, something I see on the Watched Walker feed on YouTube. Then again, when you’ve spent most of your life as a person without a place, it’s kind of a wash. I am happier than I ever thought I could be living in a small bubble where I can walk out to the deli, the taqueria, the 7-Eleven, the coffee shop, and color-code permitting, the barber. There are trips to dinner at my mother-in-law’s, occasional runs out to collect medicine or get a shot or go through a drive-thru – but after a full year, I am genuinely starting to wonder if I’ll ever feel the need to fight a crowd again when I can go up to the office, plug in the string lights, put some background media on the iMac and read while sipping my pint.
* Speaking of which, this is the Lent in which I finally gave up alcohol. I have been subsisting on the products of Athletic Brewing, a maker of non-alcoholic craft beer whose products have turned out to be mostly acceptable substitutes on pub night. I bought their extra-dark stout, which despite a slightly-too-strong licorice note is very passable, and then ramped up to a case of their dark sampler, which includes a cherry-chocolate stout (good), a maple brown (also good) and a coffee porter (absolutely delightful). And then added a six-pack of their Irish red ale so I would be okay for St Patrick’s Day. It turns out you can get through a lot of this stuff if you don’t have to pace yourself.
* WandaVision was very good, I thought, even if the ending was a little weak. I do hope they run with the “buy the ticket take the ride” approach and let the consequences of actions spin out to their conclusion, especially given the post-Blip world and what a mess things would obviously be at this point. The avalanche of new Marvel content this year should go a long way to answering what happens after you mostly roll back the end of the world, although I doubt they’ll go as far in depth as they should. After all, given how crazy things got with a pandemic, you can’t realistically think that disappearing half the world – and then bringing it back five years on – wouldn’t make a Hell of a dent in what we think of as civilization.
* They’ll be catching back up to real time pretty soon, though, given that most of Endgame and WandaVision and Far From Home all seem to take place in 2023. Which makes me think that we’ll need some hard and fast answers about how Shang-Chi or the Eternals fit into the timeline.
* And speaking of timeline, I know the posting here has decelerated substantially. I don’t know when or whether it will ramp up again. The pleasantly boring nature of having Biden in the White House and quiet competence from most of the government means there’s a lot less to worry about, and I’m trying to luxuriate in that rather than fretting about how it’ll all be shot to Hell in the 2022 elections (and that date still sounds like the far future rather than next year, just because every month has had 300 days for a while now).
* Spring weather makes me think of when we had meat and peppers on the grill, longneck beers on the table, and My Buddy Vince working his magic with the Weber outside a building at work. It pains me to think those days were now officially a third of my life ago. I don’t know where the time has gone, but all I can say is that in retrospect, my 40s were not well spent.