About Les

I'm the guy that runs this place. You can contact me at: les@stupidevilbastard.com

Memorial

Hey everyone, it’s SEB Jr. again.

There will be a memorial honoring my father on:

Sunday, March 20, 2022

1:30-4:30 PM EST

If you would like to share anything – memories, thoughts, feelings, etc. – please feel free to comment here and we’ll try to share them the day of, either by reading them or by presenting them using a projector.

Thank you all,

Courtney (SEB Jr.)

Rest in Peace

I’ve been a long time reader, sometimes topic, and even longer know-er of SEB. I had the first hand treatment of his jokes, his thoughts, his everything, because I grew up with him. And, perhaps for the first time, I’m the one behind the keyboard on this blog that has been as much apart of my life as it has everyone else’s here.

Honestly, I never thought we’d be here, not for another few decades. We argued about this day, some years back, about when he might pass and how he might go. I told him I’d drag him through his eighties kicking and screaming if I had to. In the end, he won that argument, in perhaps the worst way. Cheater.

I want to write a big, essay-long story, but I just don’t have the heart for it. He passed early this morning, before I was even really awake enough to realize what was happening. I’m kind of mad at him for that, kind of amused by him, too. That’s a large part of who he was for me, maddening, amusing and as wonderful as he could be a ‘Bastard’. I’m gonna miss him, so god damned much, and I think all of you are too.

So here’s to my Dad, Les Jenkins (SEB).

I am approaching the end of my life.

As you have probably noticed, I haven’t posted since the end of October and I apologize for that. But I have a good reason: I’ve been diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer that has metastasized to my Liver.

I’d been having issues with fatigue and a minor pain around my lower abdomen for awhile and had been working with my primary care to try and figure out what was going on. Went through the process of a colonoscopy which showed no issues with my intestines. Eventually PC told me to head to the ER on December 20th where I was run through a gauntlet of tests where they eventually found the mass on my pancreas and spots on my liver. A biopsy confirmed it was cancer.

I was discharged on the 22nd so I could spend Christmas with the family. And by the 27th I was back in the hospital until January 12th. This was a the start of a roller coaster ride of tests, scans, and treatments. My hemoglobin levels were dangerously low which indicated there was some internal bleeding. Normally it should range between 10 and 12 and I was at 5. I needed to be at a 7 before I could get a port in my chest and start chemo treatments.

To make a long story short, after several blood transfusions to get my hemoglobin up, they find a vein in stomach that was bleeding me out. A clamp on that and then a splenic embolization to reduce blood flowing back into my stomach, I was finally at a point to start chemo treatments.I got through two chemo treatments and another visit to the hospital for low hemoglobin and discovering that I had blood clots in my legs that necessitated putting me on a blood thinner.

In the end, it was clear the chemo treatments weren’t having any effect and the blood thinner was causing issues as well so the decision was made to stop all treatment and enter into hospice. Cancer doc estimates I’ve got weeks left so we’re scrambling to take care of all the stuff that needs to be done to try ensure my wife is taken care of once I’m gone.

The outpouring of love and support from friends and family has been overwhelming. They’ve been helping out as much as they can and have set up a GoFundMe and a silent auction on Facebook to help raise money to pay the medical bills that I’ve run up, which is substantial. If you would like to help out, I’ll post a link to both below.

I don’t know if I’ll have the strength to post again before the end so consider this a farewell post unless it isn’t. Stupid Evil Bastard has been around for 20 years and has enjoyed a lot of voices contributing to it. I’m not sure what will happen to blog once I’m gone, but it might carry on as several people have asked if they could maintain it. I am humbled and flattered that so many people have dropped by over the years to see what nonsense I’ve posted. Thank you for being one of them.

Link to GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-les-beat-this-mess

Link to Silent Auction: https://www.facebook.com/groups/391460392744387/

If you can help it would be greatly appreciated, but if you can’t then feel free to spread the word. Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Also, if you want to follow me on Facebook (all my posts are public) as that’s where I’ve been posting updates on my progress through this whole thing you can do so here: https://www.facebook.com/lesley.t.jenkins

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Rush delivery to Heaven edition.

In Phoenix, Arizona 24-year-old mother of two Esther Callejas decided the world was too wicked for her kids and took matters into her own hands to guarantee their safety:

Phoenix mother gunned down her 2-year-old daughter and critically wounded her 6-year-old son in hopes they could “go to heaven,” police said Thursday.

Esther Callejas, 24, called her husband and other family members on Monday to say she had shot the children, Phoenix police Sgt. Ann Justus said in a statement.

Source: NBC NEws

Mom admitted to shooting the kids because, and I quote, “she wanted them to go to heaven. She told detectives she planned on killing herself after, but she was unable to reload the gun.” The two-year-old daughter didn’t survive the shooting.

Honestly, with as much as Christian leaders like to carry on about how horrible a place the Earth is and how amazingly wonderfully amazing Heaven is, I’m surprised this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often among the True Believers™. We won’t bother to mention the fact that the father of the children suspected his wife was having issues back on September 14th so he called the police to do a welfare check on them and yet he apparently left a loaded gun someplace his wife could easily get to.

But, hey, at least one of the kids made it to Heaven so at least she’s in a better place now, right? Isn’t that what Christians like to say when someone dies? Of course, that’s only if you buy into the concept of the Age of Accountability. The idea that, because babies and children are not capable of making informed decisions about whether or not to accept Jesus Christ as their savior, that God will grant them a pass and let them into Heaven if they die before reaching the Age of Accountability. Which is 13 by many people’s standards.

It’s not like God hasn’t asked for folks to kill their kids in the past. He was kidding, but still…
Source: Wikimedia

The problem, of course, is that the Bible doesn’t literally say anything about the Age of Accountability being a thing. It’s a concept some Christians came up with to answer the question of: “What happens to the babies who die before they are ever capable of accepting Jesus as their savior? Do they go to Hell? After all, all humans are born in sin.” Presumably, Hell is the fate of all people who die without accepting Jesus regardless of whether they had ever heard of him or weren’t capable of believing in him which makes God look unjust and unkind and you can’t fucking have that, now can you?

So, some folks latched on to a couple passages in the Bible that seemed to suggest that babies, at least, got a free pass. The most popular one being 2 Samuel 12:21–23. This requires some pretext. Ya see, King David fathered a child with Bathsheba after knocking off her husband and that pissed God off because God had already given David a shit ton of other pussy and his master’s house so God decides the kid has to die. God kills the kid, who hadn’t had the opportunity to commit his own sins, to punish David, who had committed the sin of Adultery even though he had added Bathsheba to his collection of wives.

Honestly, it’s not easy to follow God’s reasoning here because it’s not like David wasn’t fucking a lot of other women. He had six other wives and an untold number of concubines at the time; seemingly with God’s blessing and approval.

Anyway, King David stops fasting and praying for the kid as soon as he kicks off his mortal coil and his servants are appalled. David basically tells them there’s no point in fasting and praying once the kid is dead because God isn’t going to send him back and he’ll see him in Heaven some day anyway and, besides, he’s got a whole lot more fuckery he needs to get to. It’s not like King David didn’t have enough kids in the end anyway with something on the order of 20 or so, including four with Bathsheba. Whom he apparently got to keep even though he pissed off God by getting involved with her in the first fucking place.

The point is that a lot of Christians buy into the Age of Accountability thing based on flimsy passages like where King David says he’ll see his dead son in Heaven someday. So when one of them takes the actions that Esther Callejas did to protect her kids from Hell, it shouldn’t be too surprising. If anything, you’d think other Christians would laud her for it. You have to really love your kids to send yourself straight to Hell to make certain they get into Heaven, right? That’s some Jesus-level love right there. Except, you know, Jesus didn’t actually go to Hell in spite of some translations saying that he did. Biblically, Jesus’ suffering ended as soon as he died on the cross and that was enough to absolve mankind, blah blah blah blah blah. Whatever, it’s nonsense and fodder for a different entry.

Don’t kill your kids, folks. Even if you think they’ll go straight to Heaven. God might allow it, but the rest of us frown on that bullshit.

I might not buy this year’s Call of Duty.

I love the Call of Duty franchise. Much like how World of Warcraft ruined all other MMORPGs for me, Call of Duty has been my go-to First Person Shooter for multiplayer since the first game released in 2003. I still play others FPS games like Borderlands and Far Cry, but the former’s multiplayer is co-op and not versus and the latter just doesn’t feel right. While I do own a few of the Battlefield series, the only one I really enjoyed the multiplayer in was Bad Company 2.

Today was the multiplayer reveal of this year’s release called Call of Duty: Vanguard and after watching the Sledgehammer presentation on it, I am underwhelmed. Here’s the presentation in full.

Meet the new Call of Duty, very much like the old Call of Duty.

Back when Modern Warfare 2019 was released they made a big deal about how it was an all-new engine (it wasn’t, though it was a major overhaul) and how that engine would be the basis of all future CoD games, I was concerned that we’d end up with cookie cutter releases. The release of Black Ops: Cold War offered some hope that this wouldn’t be the case as it made some major changes, but it still shared a lot of similarities to MW 2019. Vanguard looks practically like a reskin of MW 2019 with a few new additions tossed in such as breakable parts of the environment, a blind-fire ability, and the ability to move back and forth while mounted.

Pew pew pew!

To be fair, it’s a good-looking game and they’ve obviously made several improvements to the graphical fidelity, but many of the perks, kill streaks, and field upgrades are reskinned carbon copies of what you’d find in 2019’s CoD and I already own that game. There’s a couple of new perks and kill streaks, but most of it’s the same.

For example, one of the things I really hated about MW 2019 was the fact that Dead Silence was a field upgrade instead of a perk. That means it’s on a timer that has to fill up before you can use it and when used it only lasts for 12 seconds, though getting kills will extend it a few seconds. Cold War made it back into a perk called Ninja that didn’t completely eliminate your footsteps, but came really close and it was active all the time. Vanguard is using MW 2019’s field upgrade version of Dead Silence and I’m really disappointed at that. I like stealth builds and having Dead Silence along with suppressors on the guns was a big part of that. In Cold War two of the 6 perks I take on every build are Ninja and Ghost — silent movement and invisibility to UAVs — and I only ever use other options in that tier when needed to complete a challenge.

I’ve not preordered Vanguard yet and that’s a first for me. I’m reserving a final decision on it until after I’ve tried the Open Beta in a couple of weekends. I love the franchise deeply and there’s no other FPS out there that I would enjoy the multiplayer as much. I keep hoping someone will come along and put out something that feels as good that I can switch to. I thought Respawn would manage it seeing as the guys who founded it started Infinity Ward which made the original CoD, but they put out a sci-fi shooter with giant mechs and grappling hooks instead and it just doesn’t work for me.

Dunno what I’ll do yet, but I’m definitely disappointed.

I’m headed to easy street.

It seems there was a class action lawsuit against AMD for something they did ages ago — I have no idea what — that I apparently signed onto. I just got my settlement payment from the lawsuit. My payout?

$1.75

Yeah, I’m sittin’ pretty now, baby.

The Conservatives have a new free speech Twitter clone.

Republican douchebag and former Trump spokesman Jason Miller is the latest Conservative to attempt to launch a social media platform with an obvious Twitter clone that they’re calling GETTR. It’s not clear if they’re just using one of the various Open Source Twitter clones out there or if they found someone who managed to whip up a halfway decent looking facsimile, but at first glance you’d be forgiven if you thought you went to Twitter by accident. The selling point they are pushing as to why you should use it is because they are “fighting cancel culture, promoting common sense, defending free speech, challenging social media monopolies, and creating a true marketplace of ideas.”

Curious to see how it’s going so far; I went over to take a look. The home page only has two posts on it. It appears that, unlike Twitter, you have to look at individual accounts to see anything other than announcements from management. The first post is the expected welcome post and the second one is an announcement that, due to heavy signups, there may be delays in your activation code being sent out and to, please, for the love of God, stop submitting requests for codes repeatedly. Above the two sole posts is a list titled “Suggested for you” which has a number of major players such as Newsmax, convicted criminal Dinesh D’Souza, Mike Pompeo, Jenn Pelligrino, and Ben Carson. Not sure how they figured out that these would be people I’m interested in other than they’re interested in promoting them. To be fair, Miller himself doesn’t show up until 7th place in the list so his ego isn’t too big. Also interesting is the omission of FOX News in favor of Newsmax showing that they prefer the network that is as fact free as is possible.

There’s also a GETTR News sidebar and I figured I’d start with that to see how things are going. The first news story is about how Trump is stronger than ever!

When you hate Twitter so much that you make your clone look exactly like it, you’re a GETTR!

Clicking the three dots in the upper right corner gives they usual Follow, Mute, Block, and Report options that you’d see on Twitter. While there’s plenty of other functionality that’s missing, the basics of what you’d need to rip off Twitter are all present and accounted for. OK, so what are the replies looking like? Oooo, that’s gonna be a test of their commitment to free speech I bet.

It takes a while before you come across replies that appear to be from legit MAGA folks, but there’s a few to be found.

As you scroll through the replies there is a lot of repeat postings and it’s not entirely clear if it’s because folks kept submitting the same replies over and over again or because the site is bugged in some way. I’m leaning towards the latter because the repeats come in blocks of the same replies in the same order over and over. The fact that I kept getting this pop up:

Also suggests the site is not without its early issues. Still, I’m happy the Conservatives have a new site they can fall in love with and then become disillusioned with once it starts yanking clearly illegal content in spite of it being all about “free speech.” Hey, at least it’s not banning profanity the way Mike Lindell’s sad attempt at a free speech platform tried to do.

So, that’s my one and only visit to GETTR. Based on what I’ve seen I don’t think I’ll ever need to go back for a second helping. It’s exactly the sort of stuff you’d expect to find from a Conservative social media platform. To be fair, it’s not like Twitter doesn’t have more than its share of trolls who shitpost random replies repeatedly to famous accounts, but I thought I’d see a larger representation of Conservatives chiming in to complain about the trolls and, really, there was just a handful of them present. Granted, it’s only been live for a day or two so maybe most of them don’t know about it yet. The trolls, however, they arrived quickly and they look like they’re there to stay.

Video capture tech has come a long way.

Back when Courtney graduated high school in 2008, I wanted to put together a DVD of home movies of her to play on a loop during her open house. Naturally, this required buying a video capture card so I could get the footage into my PC and then burn them out to a DVD.

KWORLD DVD MAKER PCI
Click to embiggen.

I ended up buying a KWORLD DVD MAKER PCI card. You put it into an open PCI slot in your computer and it had a single S-Video connector for the input. Plug your VCR into that, load up the capture software, press record in the software and play on the VHS and, in the amount of time it takes to play back the video tape, you had a video file on your machine. I don’t remember how much it cost at the time, but it probably wasn’t more than $80 to $100 and it worked reasonably well for what I wanted it for. I still have the card around here someplace, but I’ve not had a motherboard with PCI slots on it in ages.

I thought about it recently when I stumbled across the manual while digging through my boxes of computer stuff looking for something entirely unrelated. I realized that we have a number of home videos locked onto VHS that are going to end up deteriorating at some point so I should probably think about making digital copies. Mostly videos of Christmas gatherings, but also some parades mom marched in as a clown and I think a birthday or two. When my mother moved in, she brought a working VHS/DVD combo player with her so I had half of what I needed to make this a project.

So, today I went onto Amazon and started looking at video capture options and there is no shortage of products to choose from. With the rise of YouTube and gamers wanting to share videos of gameplay, there are a ton of them that don’t even need a computer to work. You just hook it up to whatever you want to capture from and pass the signal through to a display and it’ll capture the video to a microSD card in the device itself. There’s several that are full-on PCIe cards meant for industrial usage that have multiple inputs. Then there’s an absolute shit ton of USB based products.

The last option is the one I decided to go with, purchasing a “REDGO Video Audio VHS VCR USB Video Capture Card to DVD Converter Capture Card Adapter” as it’s labeled on Amazon. It should be arriving sometime tomorrow and the difference in size between the KWORLD PCI card and the REDGO USB stick is impressive.

Even more impressive? It costs $9.99. Now that could be because it does a crappy job and, admittedly, it is not the highest rated of the USB based capture cards out there. That said, it shows up on a lot of recommended lists as a second or third option behind the best.

The best one being from Elgato, maker of many of the stand-alone game capture devices as well as PCI cards. Their Elgato Video Capture will set you back $88, which was a bit more than I wanted to spend. I can justify tossing $10 and some change (after tax) at the REDGO option and if it turns out to be shitty, well, I’m only out $10 if Amazon won’t accept a return. Which they almost certainly would.

Elgato’s much more expensive, but arguably better, option.

Now I’m all set to digitize all the old home movies to my PC. With the 4TB mechanical HD I have as a data/backup drive, I should have more than enough room to save the files and then load them up in DaVinci Resolve for a try at editing them a bit.

Given that it’s been 13 years since I bought the last capture card, I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised at how the tech has advanced. Still, when I see the image of the naked board in the USB device compared to the PCI card of the old one, it still impresses me. I’ll let you guys know how good of a job it does. I’m not expecting miracles as we are talking digitizing Standard Definition VHS tapes and then playing them back on high resolution flat panels, but it’s better than losing the videos altogether.

Happy or healthy.

In August I will turn 54 years old, just a year younger than the age at which my biological father died. If I recall correctly, he died from pancreatic cancer. Not something I’m too worried about as my doctor started screening me a couple of years ago and I don’t have the smoking and drinking habit that he had. That said, I’m not exactly in great health myself. I’m morbidly obese, diabetic, and have peripheral neuropathy in my feet. These two facts, that I’m closing in on the age my father died and that I’m not exactly in great shape, have led to me considering my own mortality a lot lately. Specifically, whether it’s better to be happy and die young or miserable and live longer.

Despite not being in the greatest shape, I’m pretty happy with life at the moment. I’ve managed to accomplish most of the stuff I’ve long dreamed of — getting married, owning a home, etc. — and while there are things I’d love to do, like travel more, or, at all, I’m happy with where I’m at. Meanwhile, the attempts I’ve made at getting healthier such as eating better and exercising only make me miserable. In part because I stress over the fact that I’m not doing these things like I should be.

As a result, I find I’m spending a lot of time pondering the question of being happy or healthy. My doctor, being an excellent doctor, would argue that once I get into the habits of exercising and eating healthier and lost the weight and got some of my energy back that I’d be even happier, but the fact is I’m happy now and getting to that supposedly happier status would require a lot of misery.

It doesn’t help that when I bought an elliptical and made a good effort to use it regularly for three months, I ended up gaining weight instead of losing it. Everyone said it would get easier after a couple of months, but it never got any easier. As is the fate of most home exercise equipment, it became a coat rack until we sold it when we moved out of Ann Arbor 6 years ago. In a proper and just universe, exercise would show benefits within a couple of days and not months or years later. It would be much easier to be motivated if I actually experienced some of the supposed benefits sooner rather than later. Gaining weight, even if it is new muscle, is not the result I should be getting for my efforts. Not to mention that food that’s good for you would taste better than the bad food.

When we bought the house 4 years ago one of the first things I did was purchase a bicycle to ride around the neighborhood. I even bought one of those stupid helmets. My thinking at the time was that I had to find something that was fun to do so it felt less like exercise and more like playing and I used to love riding my bike as a kid. However, much like the elliptical, I rode it a couple times a week for that first summer and then parked it in the garage for the winter and it has not seen the light of day since. I look at it every time I pull the lawn mower out to cut the grass and I think I should check to see if the tires are still in good shape and maybe pull it out, but I never do. Hell, mowing the lawn is really the only exercise I get at this point and that’s enough to wipe me out for the rest of the day.

The one change I did manage to stick to was giving up drinking pop and switching to water for the majority of the day outside of a couple cups of coffee. That’s mainly because it’s been long enough that drinking pop — both regular and diet — tastes like malted battery acid these days. Doesn’t stop me from missing it or hating every drop of the water I drink, but at least I’ve managed to stick to it.

I’m at the point where I have resigned myself to my fate. I know I should be doing more to improve my health, but I just get depressed whenever I think of what it would take. I’d rather not die young, but I also like sitting and sitting is considered a lethal activity these days. The one thing I am doing is thinking about it a lot. While sitting, of course. Now if only that burned more calories.

Do you live in a political bubble?

SciBabe over on Facebook had a link to a NYT article that asks: Do You Live in a Political Bubble? You can enter your address and it’ll generate a map of the ratio of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in your immediate neighborhood. She lives in a Democratic bubble whereas mine is the opposite as you can see below.

My Westland, MI neighborhood political bubble.
Where my fellow Independents at? Not this neighborhood, that’s for goddamned sure. Click to embiggen

I had already suspected as much based on the number of Gadsden flags that are flown in the area and there’s been at least three straight up Trump flags I’ve seen. Hell, just the number of inground flag poles is a good indicator. American flags in particular are a near-constant presence. I have an American flag which I take out for Memorial Day and July 4th, but otherwise it stays folded up in the garage. Our flag mount came off the house a while ago, however, so unless I get motivated, we may miss those holidays this year.

The article is interesting because it turns out that 1 in 3 Americans lives in a completely isolated political bubble, surrounded by neighbors of the same political party. The city of Inkster, MI which is just a few miles away from me, is almost entirely Democrats.

I will have lived here for four years officially on June 1st and in that time the only neighbors whose names I can remember live in the houses on either side of me. I’ve chatted briefly with some of the younger families during Halloween trick-or-treating, but beyond the occasional wave as we’re passing in the street, I have almost no contact with them. None of the other folks living here have made an attempt at introducing themselves and the look they give when you see them out in their yards does not invite you taking the opportunity to do so yourself. Additionally, the pandemic over the past year has also not helped in getting to know one’s neighbors.

Which is probably for the best, considering most of my neighbors are Republicans. I doubt I would have much to say of interest to them to begin with. My new neighbors on my right (facing the house) are Trumpers, much to my dismay, but have otherwise been nothing but friendly. I’ve even been told by them that I am a good neighbor. I keep debating if I should attempt to reach out to the other folks in my immediate area to see if there’s any common ground to be had. So far, I’ve not psyched myself up enough to bother with it. Tales of neighbors waging war on each other have done nothing to encourage any interactions.

That said, I am looking into what it would cost to have a two-flag pole installed in my yard so I can fly my American flag alongside an FSM flag, just to offset the number of Gadsden flags I see. Surely nothing negative would come from that, right?