Recent movies and TV

Unicorn Store is hilarious! It is literally about a Unicorn Store. I assume Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson made this on a weekend in the middle of Captain Marvel. That means, canonically, Nick Fury owns a unicorn store. Seriously, I choose to believe that this movie is set shortly after the events of Captain Marvel where a slightly memory-defective, concussed Carol goes back to live on her parents' couch for a while.

The OA: The first season was brilliantly bizarre. I had no idea where it was going and it was full of deeply weird twists. Season 2 is even crazier. It reminds me of the best parts of Legion and Legend of Hill House (but is better than either). I was not expecting an octopus and The Parliament of Trees!

The Dark: A smart zombie girl befriends a blind boy. Soon they learn that the real monster was in their hearts the whole time. Actually it was pretty good.

Love Death and Robots: Almost all of these were great! It's very nice that they are so short. It's an under appreciated form. This is the opposite of Into The Dark, that recent horror anthology where every story was just so, so padded.

Then Came You: Arya Stark, manic dream cancer pixie. Formulaic, but it had its moments.

Miss Bala: Jane the Virgin becomes a drug mule, kills mobsters. Simple and unsurprising but not bad.

Someone Great: Jane the Virgin does Sex and the City. Parts of it were cute, parts of it were as despicable as Sex and the City.

The Order: I never saw Teen Wolf but I assume that it was this. It's garbage and everyone is a fratboy douche. And a sociopath. I mean this is super extra "Crime World" -- literally every person in this series is a serial killer. A vacuous, slack-jawed serial killer.

Daddy Issues: Until about 30 minutes in, I thought this was going to be another movie on the theme of, "Instagram is terrible, and used only by monstrous narcissists and/or stalkers", (a la the far superior Ingrid Goes West) and it was that, but it took a better turn. All the characters were terrible, selfish people making terrible decisions, and it had one of the creepiest relationship triangles you could imagine, but somehow at least 2 of the 5 despicable people in this movie got some sympathy from me. I will say that the drug/hallucination sequences were well done. Those were front-loaded and I would have been happy with much more of that.

Man of Tai-Chi: I was worried that this would be some kind of "Tom Cruise playing a samurai" nonsense but it wasn't that at all. Keanu is the End Boss but it's actually a straightforward 70s style Street Fighter movie. It's a showcase for Tiger Chen's fighting. The master says meditate more! But Tiger wants to prove himself! And now he needs money to save the temple! So he must join an underground tournament! And there's a lady cop who knows what's going on but The Chief told her to drop it! So yeah, it hits all the plot markers, but the fighting is great.

John Wick 3: Oh. Chef fingers. This was everything that I hoped it would be. There is horse fu! Horse fu!

I've noticed that when talk turns to Bill and Ted, what with the new movie coming out soon, that nobody seems to remember Alex Winters' The Idiot Box. So I watched it again and uh.... it's not nearly as funny as I remembered. Also it's very short. Lockjaw the Cop still makes me laugh though.

Doom Patrol: I was pleasantly surprised by this in the first part of the season, but it has completely ratcheted up the insanity recently. Cyborg and The Chief are awful and boring as shit, but all the other characters are great. Anyway, by about halfway through the season it goes completely off the rails in a fantastic way. I cannot believe I am seeing Flex Mentallo on TV. This, like so many things, must be because of that weasel that fell into the Large Hadron Collider in early 2016.

American Gods: I nearly boycotted season 2 after they fired Bryan Fuller -- it was so his show, very much a continuation of Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me, far better than the book, and in every way in which it was better, it was in a Fuller-esque way. But even without Fuller, Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth, this season is... not bad. "Dead Wife and Leprechaun Road Trip" remains wholesome entertainment.

Blood & Treasure: This just started but it might fill the hole left by Leverage and Burn Notice. Money laundering! Nazi artifacts! That little graphic of a plane traveling across a map! And it takes place in "Crime World", where Miami blows up twice a week and Interpol is actually S.H.I.E.L.D.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: This show is cuter and funnier than it has any right to be, for a remake of a commercial for a series of action figures. It's like a chibi-eyed glittery Venture Bros, with mommy issues instead of daddy issues, but less cynical and super gay. There's a horse whose first desire after learning to talk is to smash the state. The landscapes have kind of a Mobius feel to them. And they literally... hack the planet:


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Let's Encrypt

Dear Lazyweb:

Why is Let's Encrypt emailing me saying "Your certificates will expire in 10 days" about As far as I can tell it doesn't expire until August.

The email lists every domain in that cert except for mta-sts, which was added recently.

"certbot renew" says "Cert not yet due for renewal" for every domain. Version 0.31.0.

Previously, previously.

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"The Uber of Live Music"

Sofar Sounds house concerts raises $25M, but bands get just $100:

Tired of noisy music venues where you can hardly see the stage? Sofar Sounds puts on concerts in people's living rooms where fans pay $15 to $30 to sit silently on the floor and truly listen.

I mean... nooooo? That sounds dreadful. But go on...

Nearly 1 million guests have attended Sofar's more than 20,000 gigs. Having attended a half dozen of the shows, I can say they're blissful...unless you're a musician to pay a living. In some cases, Sofar pays just $100 per band for a 25 minute set, which can work out to just $8 per musician per hour or less. Hosts get nothing, and Sofar keeps the rest, which can range from $1100 to $1600 or more per gig -- many times what each performer takes home. The argument was that bands got exposure, and it was a tiny startup far from profitability.

Today, Sofar Sounds announced it's raised a $25 million round led by Battery Ventures and Union Square Ventures, building on the previous $6 million it'd scored from Octopus Ventures and Virgin Group. The goal is expansion -- to become the de facto way emerging artists play outside of traditional venues. [...]

The startup has enriched culture by offering an alternative to late night, dark and dirty club shows that don't appeal to hard-working professionals or older listeners.

How shall I put this...

You and me, we are never going to be friends.

By comparison, Sofar makes Uber look downright generous. A source who's worked with Sofar tells me the company keeps a lean team of full-time employees who focus on reserving venues, booking artists, and promotion. All the volunteers who actually put on the shows aren't paid, and neither are the venue hosts.

Ok, first of all... The author trying really hard to compute the "hourly rate" of the tambourine player* in an 8-person band playing in someone's living room is, let's say, off the mark.

If you're in a nobody band, and you get a slot as first of 3 on a bill, $100 is actually generous. That's the sort of guarantee an opener is only likely to get at a show that is already predicted to go pretty well.

There are several common ways that live show contracts work. Sometimes it's just a flat fee. But for small shows with up-and-coming acts, a typical structure would be: $X guarantee (the bands get that no matter what), then if the door takes in more than $X, the house gets the rest up to $Y (to cover costs: rent, insurance, sound tech, light tech, security, cashier, manager, and oh yeah promoting the show) and anything above $Y, the bands and the house split 80/20. For a really small show, $X is probably 0. For a big show, it might be $20k. Then the bands split their take probably 60/30/10. So for the opener to have a guarantee of $100, that means X=1000, which suggests a high degree of confidence of 100+ paid on a $10 ticket. Now it's not so small a show any more.


This company is doing the typical "gig economy" trick of externalizing all of their costs onto the contractors volunteers rubes. They have some small administration costs (shared across multiple cities and probably highly automated), but no room costs, no staff costs.

If I didn't have to pay the 5 to 30 people it takes to put on a show each night (not counting the artists!), and the room itself was free, those shows would be a lot more profitable. Oh yeah, and all of my friends would be unemployed.

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