Friday, May 18, 2018

Twitterrant

Place: Arby's
Lunch: Double Beef n Cheddar, Steakhouse onion rings, Orange Cream milkshake

Somebody on a fast food history group I follow recently brought up Arby's onion rings, which are her favorite.  And everybody was like "What?  Arby's has onion rings?"  And sure enough, their website says they do.  "Steakhouse Onion Rings" to be exact.  They're right there on the menu board with the other sides (which are now under the header "FRIENDS OF MEAT").  Now that I think about it, I have a vague memory of these showing up a couple years ago when they had those steakhouse sandwiches or Angus sandwiches or whatever they were.

The website also said "Oh hey we have orange cream shakes right now for a limited time" and that sealed the deal for lunch.

The onion rings are thick and hearty.  So thick and hearty that you get exactly five of them.  They come off as being really premium as onion rings go.  Do I have a new favorite?  No.  Burger King's still reign supreme with me.  Followed by Whataburger.  Followed by Long John Silver's...the ones where they use the fish batter, not the A&W style ones.

The social media platform known as Twitter got everybody in an uproar recently with announced changes designed to hurt third-party Twitter apps.  Specifically, limiting or eliminating access to parts of the platform.  Stuff like notifications.  The world is upset.

The design here is to force people to rely on Twitter's native app.  Why is that such a bad thing?

Twitter was born as a really neat platform.  You followed accounts and got to see their posts in your timeline in the order they were posted.  It was simple and wonderful.  The platform tended to be used more intelligently than Facebook.

Then Twitter started ruining everything.  They started posting tweets out of order ("Show the Best Tweets First"...because somehow they know what's best.  You can turn that "feature" off.)  They they started showing "promoted" tweets (not that bad, they have to make money.)  They added idiotic features like "In case you  missed it", where they force you to review tweets you've either already seen or didn't see because Twitter never showed them to you in the first place.  (You can choose to "See less often" but you can't just shut it off.)  And then there's the most recent feed pollution, "So-and-so liked...", where someone you follow "likes" a post by some rando and Twitter decides you need to see it too.  They do this a LOT.  Like one day I counted four of these in ten posts.

The worst part about that feature is when one of your friends "likes" a post that's lewd but on an unlocked account.  Suddenly, you're looking at boobies or a dick pic or worse.  That can be awkward if you're reading Twitter on your phone in a public place like work or church or in Arby's while eating Julia's favorite onion rings.  Never mind that there are people who are triggered by such photos suddenly seeing this unwelcome intrusion in their feed.

As a result of this nonsense, I use a third-party Twitter app called Tweetbot.  Tweetbot not only gives me my timeline in order, it does so without any "So-and-so liked..." or "In case you missed it..." type nonsense.  No ads either.  It's just my feed again.  Like the old days.  It also doesn't make me hit "Show More Tweets" like 30 times to actually load all the tweets, and it doesn't auto-scroll to the top of the feed if I so much as breathe towards the top of my tablet.

I still have to go back to the native Twitter app for some things not supported though, like if I want to participate in a poll.  Or, you know, I could just not participate in polls.  But overall, waaay better experience.

I wish I didn't have to think the real solution is somebody is going to have to come up with a new social media platform to replace Twitter, but it's starting to look that way.  They're really going out of their way to become the lost cause Facebook is.

You're the ones driving us to third-party apps, Twitter.

Keep this up, and you'll just drive us away completely.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Utopia

Place: Leeann Chin
Lunch: Sesame chicken, fried rice, Pepsi

Leeann Chin is a homegrown Twin Cities version of Panda Express that Chin (1933-2010) founded in 1980.  You order at the counter, the counter help completely ignores what you say and gives you whatever the hell they feel like giving you, you pay, you get your drink, sit down, stare at the food you didn't order, sigh, and eat it.  Don't argue with tradition.  The sesame chicken is spicier than you're expecting.  They have some decent and unusual appetizer items like Oyster Wings.  I don't like their egg rolls at all.

I saw a concert last night I didn't think I'd ever see in my lifetime.  Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton,  Willie Wilcox, and a new keyboardist got together and put on a Utopia reunion tour.  There was no way I wasn't going.  I posted a pic on Facebook and nobody cared because they were all busy posting corny Mother's Day meme's, so I'm punishing you by talking about it here.

It was an amazing 2 1/2 hour show broken up into two acts with an intermission, the first covering mostly the band's progressive era, the second the poppier 80's style.  Even with that amount of time, they didn't cover everything I would have expected.  "Cry Baby" never made an appearance.  Honestly, they could have gone another half hour without scraping the barrel.  The sing-along of the night was their original "Love is the Answer", the same song England Dan and John Ford Coley later covered and made a big hit.  The crowd went nuts for that.  It was the talk of women in the lobby post-show, just raving about it.  They also threw in their version of "Do Ya", Jeff Lynne's song originally released by The Move in 1972 and later recorded by ELO in 1976.  (Utopia recorded it in 1975.)  This confused a guy sitting near me who asked "Did that just come out of nowhere or something?" unsure if Utopia recorded it at all and if so, who recorded it first.

Overall, it was a top notch show.  They just killed it.  To quote the angry old fat guy in the aisle towards the end shouting at whoever, "DO YOU F@%KING SEE THAT?  WELL DO YOU???  THAT'S HOW IT'S F@%KING DONE!"

I hope it gets a video release.

Utopia will be doing dates through early June, so show up already.