Whew! Hoorah! Grand! Christmas is over!

Usually I’m sad about that, because everyone remembers the crushing decrescendo that happens around 7 PM Christmas night - even though you’re close to the actual event the day celebrates, right? I know the dates are imprecise, but it is amusing that everyone’s done with Christmas a few hours before the whole Birth business. Somehow we think that happens Christmas Eve, even though that’s not possible by dint of the day’s very name.

This year? Worst Christmas Ever. Daughter away - and she didn’t call, being in transit to some beach place, and also she thought a text would be sufficient. No sir, it was not. Wife was in Arizona, and I was here to await my Dad coming down on Christmas Day if the weather was good, but he decided it wasn’t, and didn’t.

You may say well, he’s in his 90s, you can understand why he didn’t want to drive. HE DRIVES A SEMI LOADED WITH EXPLOSIVE GAS. But only if there’s no snow, and apparently it was snowing up there, so he didn’t go.

So I was alone at Christmas for the first time . . . no, belay that. Was alone Christmas Eve my first year in DC. So there’s precedent. But never the whole show. But. Facetimed with AZ family on Christmas Eve, and went to a neighbor’s Christmas Day for soup and lefse. By six o’clock it all felt done and the obligation to feel Christmassy lifted . . . at which point Daughter called, and we talked for an hour and everything ended up fine.

That said, hoorah. It’s done. Let’s try this again next year.

Say, what’s this?

Looks like a cheap Chinese knockoff of the Tile. Well, heck. The battery will probably kick off in three months, but let’s give it a try. I needed one for my suitcase, because I like to know when it’s on its way from the plane, and whether or not it made it on the plane.



The instructions said I should download the app, which I did. Took a while to find it. Crap logo. I opened up the instructions page, and here my heart sank.


Why. There are people in China who can proof this. Why.

I turned on the app, and it started looking for things. It found my TV. I have no idea why. It found something else, then finally found the two tiles sitting two feet away, but found something else inbetween, so now my list of discovered items was TV, security camera, Itek unit, something else, Itek unit. Couldn’t eliminate the extraneous items from the list of devices.

They connected right away, so that was good. Unfortunately they disconnected every 45 seconds or so, which made my phone sing with a notification that consisted of a recording of a bird singing in a zoo. I had to turn off the notifications, which kinda sorta defeats the purpose of these things.

In short, utter junk, and the reviews of the app bore this out. I took it back to the store and got my money back and asked to speak to a manager. Nice guy. I walked him over to the floor display where the product was sold, and said “take this out back and burn it. Every one of these will come back. This degrades the customer’s trust in your electronics.”

He said it was a Black Friday item, they just showed up, they didn’t have time to test them, company thing. He was sympathetic and rueful, but pointed out that it wasn’t a regular item, just a Black Friday promo. Whereupon me, Mr. Smartypants, had to point out the consistent branding on all the boxes in the aisle. They were impulse items, Holiday gifts, but they all had the style and typeface of Home Depot, so the consumer expected Home Depot quality.

I’m sure some calculus was made - # of returns, # of people who gave up and didn’t bother, # of people who got a good one, # of people who never opened up the gift and used it, and the numbers said Firebirds Are Go.

But I had to say something.

Guess what: there’s an URL on my receipt where I can submit feedback!

Oh, don’t think I won’t. I will feedback them so hard on this.

Or would, if I hadn’t lost the receipt. Maybe it’s in the car somewhere. Or a pocket. I don’t know. I have things to do.





This is the third reason. If I don't do this now, you'll lose the plot!

Oh my gosh, I forgot. There's one more.

I am so sorry.

The last ep of the last serial for a year, since a new feature replaces the Cliffhangers for 2019.

In the last one we get to see the bad guy given his just druthers, and if we’re lucky it’ll be a spectacular demise. Maybe he’ll be electrocuted or crushed by a robot! No idea what awaits Purps in this one.

Who is this guy again?

Why is he on the case? Well, he just is. Let’s take a look at the last cliffhanger resolution:

See, they just didn’t show us the part where he was nowhere near the explosion.

After the cliffhanger resolution, there’s always palaver to set up the next plot point. Craig says he got the number the henchmen were dialing, and it’s the observatory. They were calling Dr. Science Uncle? His Niece Sheila can’t believe he’d have anything to do with the Purple Monster. Craig says he wants to set up a “noiseless motion picture recorder” in Dr. Science Uncle’s office to see what the heck is up. This he does.

Then he calls Dr. Science Uncle to advance the plot:

Nothing suspicious in his manner there. They go to meet Dr. Science Uncle, but he’s left! Suspicious! Craig checks the camera, and takes it down to the lab in the observatory for developing.


Meanwhile, Niece Sheila discovers the Secret Entrance to the rocket-ship base under the observatory, and Purps nabs her.

Yeah, why would you take the annihilator back to Mars. No time to load it. Because . . . well, because. Meanwhile, Craig finds the secret entrance, and heads down for the Final Confrontation. One last hats-on fistfight, and it’s a doozy.

Purps, having no allegiance to anyone, heads into his rocket to make his escape, so he can give Mars the Earth technology they need to invade and get back home. See, they can only make one way trips.

Oh no! He got away!

Or . . . did he? Will he be hoisted by his own purple petard?

Then Craig shows the police his film from his noiseless camera, showing Purps inhabiting the body of dead Dr. Uncle Science. And so, the thrilling conclusion:

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more rote example of the genre. I’m done for a while. We’ll pick up the serials in 2020.

The last ep of the last serial for a year, since a new feature replaces the Cliffhangers for 2019.

Some Chain Store fun. There are many more pages, but it's not slated for the 2019 updates. It'll have to hang in an uncompleted state, doled out for Hiatal weeks. In the old days - 1998, 1999 - I would have dumped the entire thing on the web at once, but I'm getting parsimonious in my dotage. See you thither & hither ~

PS I don't know what the deal is with the update links, but they're not working. Here's the page.



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