April Birthdays, updated 2021





Sofia Boutella (Algerian-French actress who was a lovely white-haired alien in Star Trek: Beyond and a similarly endearing rebel in Fahrenheit 451; she also has apparently danced in many of Madonna’s videos? Sometimes bleach blonde, sometimes brown haired; unique eyebrows)

Aries Water Dog


Lily James (In Downton Abbey, she played the pale-haired, young and adventurous Lady Rose; yet she regularly? is a dark-blonde gal with a semi-sweet frumpy smile)

Aries Earth Snake


Ana de la Reguera (Anabell Gardoqui “Ana” de la Reguera, Mexican actress from Nacho Libre, Cowboys vs Aliens and The Book of Life)

Aries Fire Snake (a tad short for me but VERY compatible)


Conor Marie Leslie (actress who plays Donna Troy/Wonder Girl on Titans, an internet-TV show about the Teen Titans of DC Comics; in some pics she’s a stunner who resembles Norah Zehetner from Heroes)

Aries Metal Sheep (Rather compatible with moi, minus the “metal”)

AJ Michalka (actress from TV’s The Goldbergs, Lanie, Erica’s friend, Barry’s girlfriend, voice of Catra in the 20XX She-Ra reboot cartoon on Netflix)

Aries Metal Sheep

Daisy Ridley (actress from Star Wars 7-9, among other roles)

Aries Water Monkey (surprisingly very compatible with moi)

Jenna Jenovich (GORGEOUS Russian model…don’t ask me how I located her :P)

Aries Fire Rabbit


Julia Taylor Ross (actress from of Saving Hope (TV))

Aries Water Pig


actress Chloe Bennet (who I first met and fell for on TV’s Agents of SHIELD)

Aries Water Monkey

Virginia Gardner (actress from TV’s The Goldbergs, Lexy Bloom, the hot, popular girl, the one Barry wanted to date)

Aries Wood Pig


Marta Milans (lovely Spanish actress who played the foster mom who adopted the Shazam kids, Shazam! movie 2019)

Aries Water Dog



Cassidy Freeman (red-haired actress who played Grace Mercer on CW/TV’s Smallville)

Taurus Water Dog


actress Shirley MacLaine/MacLean Beaty (Someone I’ve known a long time but only recently became a huge crush once I started watching a number of her films; be sure to check out my special birthday/letter posts to her.)

Taurus Wood Dog (in this life)

Melinda (Patricia) Clarke (Actress from such TV shows as the OC, Gotham, Vampire Diaries, Eli Stone, Chuck, etc.)

Taurus Earth Rooster

Josephine Jobert (French actress from Death in Paradise, after Sara Martins left the series)

Taurus Water Ox


Gal Gadot (Israeli actress who most recently played 2017’s (and 2020/1984’s) Wonder Woman; she has also appeared in the Fast and the Furious film series and was the voice of a lovely street racer in the second Wreck-It Ralph movie)

Taurus Wood Ox


Talent VS Temptation; the On-Going Conflict with Modern Female Vocalists


To be talented or to be scandalous?  That is the question.  Reframe the question.  What does it take to earn award-worthy status and fame?  And, is that golden record worth a loss of respect as an artist?

Have you ever noticed a stark contrast in female vocalists?  I’m talking about (young) women like Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, Megan “Thee Stallion” and Alicia Keys.  [Wait.  Don’t jump to conclusions.  I’m not lumping those women together into one category.]  I’d throw in Katy Perry, but, the more I think about it, I feel Katy walks the line or bounces from one side to the other, as does Lady Gaga, and the latter sure has gone through a progressive evolution in recent years.

Maybe it’s just me and my unique perceptions.  And, maybe, what I have to say will just make some readers bristle or respond angrily.  So be it.  If I get any “flack,” I’m used to it.  Shame on me for speaking my mind.


Have you ever noticed how some women are VERY talented–or, at least, creative–and yet give stage performances in which they look…slutty?  While, others, who have the same right and chances to awards of all kinds, dress with far greater class but lack the…well…vocal talent to produce a full album of music I’d call favorable listening material?

Now, this is a bit of a stretch for me.  I don’t even know Megan “Thee Stallion” that well, haven’t heard more than one or two of her songs and seen as many stage performances.  But…there is something about the full-figured woman that suggests both creative potential and stellar activism.  YET, when I see her perform, there is an overwhelming urge to turn on a red light and bring up stripper poles.  And, it irks me.  I hate to see people with great talent/potential flaunting themselves as if they…well…had nothing else to offer.

Do you need to flaunt yourself to get credit or notice of your messages?  And, will people actually hear what you have to sing if you “flash your goods?”  At a time–though it has been going on for a LONG time–when women are striving for respect and equal rights (again), why do you want to wash out great potential and talent with strip shows?

I grasping for comparisons but drawing blank from the internal distress this topic causes me.

Mention the name Tina Turner, and you’re sure to get as many people doing an impersonation of her typical hasty dancing as you would reference to any of her better songs.  The same might be said for Mick Jagger and his “rooster strut;” thankfully, he never struts around in his underwear.

Again, I hope I do not offend or cause too much upheaval with my opinions, but…

Taylor Swift and Alicia Keys are BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS (young) women.  The former, in my opinion, has greater musical/creative talent and potential.  Both, often enough, dress with class and carry themselves like “ladies.”  [Not all of the time; I’ll admit that.  There have been some atrocious “red carpet” outfits.  Blame designers seeking fame and hasty scheduling.]  However, can I name an album by either artist which I’d listen to regularly?  Nope.  I can name a few songs by Tay I enjoy.  And, she is VERY clever and creative in packaging her work.  [Sorry, Alicia.]

Dua Lipa and Megan “Thee Stallion,” coincidentally born the same year and relatively new “flashes in the pan,” both present potent music just showing its worth but take fashion-model risks with their stage attire (and…ugh…background dancers).  Part of my primary reasoning for writing this is from a recent performance I watched in which masked background dancers looked like slutty nurses at some strip club, making a scene to promote vaccines.  [No, that’s not why they were…performing.]  It made me think of all the horror movies that involve homicidal nurses and other doctor-like people.  No thank you.  And, what a shame.  Because, I can see the potential, the talent and powerful voices.  [But, then again, Lady Gaga started out wearing everything under the sun, including a dress made of raw meat.  And, look at her now; she’s practically…lady-like, getting her share of classy duets with the like of Tony Bennett.  So…maybe…just give these newcomers time to mature?]

Rihanna is a gorgeous face and still-budding talent I’m struggling to place among this lot.  She has had a few catchy songs and a mix of outfits, some better than others.  I cannot categorize her output, in part, because I haven’t seen/listened to enough of it; I haven’t heard anything, yet, that deeply offends or bothers me.  But, I remain a minor fan.  [I get the feeling she will take up some cause other than music and be more powerful with it.]

Beyoncé has somehow been given “queen” status, yet I see no reason for it.  I’m sure it’s a term thrown around in the secret-society-business she inhabits.  But, it makes no sense to me.  [Don’t get me started on who is the most beautiful member of the former Destiny’s Child.  Okay.  I favor Kelly.  All right?]  I suppose she has walked the fine line between flaunting and female empowerment.  How do I classify her?  I am not sure.  She’s had good songs (with Destiny’s Child) and some I could do without or don’t fully understand.

Katy Perry (Hudson) stands out as an exception to whatever I am trying to convey here.  While, yes, she has had some wild, scandalous looks and visuals, I can listen to just about any song from her One of the Boys album and find reason to enjoy it.   I can feel myself carried away to a whimsical place where crazy things can happen; and it’s okay.  I don’t have to dwell on the sexual/innuendo aspects of it.  I am not complaining about drug references, nor wealth or mistreatment of women.  She is a perpetual fountain of creativity with no limits of range or genre.  But, even she pushes buttons, now and then (mostly in her videos).  [I cannot be sure if she is a positive force for female rights and empowerment without chaos.]  I am not a 100% fan.  [Maybe 95%.]

I’m not even sure how any or all of this affects receiving (not earning, because earning isn’t honestly a factor) awards.  And, this has been going on since the first trophies were handed out on stage.  What other than some secretive arrangement off-stage results in receiving an award?  Audience attendance?  CDs sold?…or, should I include CDs handed out at some public function, some write-offs?  I highly question the quality and/or judgement of the product that produces these awards.  And, just think of all that goes into those award shows…the dresses/suits, the setting, the interviews, the following-day gossip and tabloids…and all for what?!  WHAT IS THE POINT?!  WHERE IS THE RESPECT FOR ACTUAL TALENT AND CREATIVITY?!

I consider myself an artist.  But, I will not reduce myself or resort to “appealing to the masses” to acquire fame.  My talents speak for themselves.  Either you like my work or you do not and move along.  I may work on commission, but I won’t create something that goes against my morals and/or personal limits.  I am not here to amuse you, but I enjoy amusing, when I can.

I speak purely out of concern and dismay.  I hate to see talent and potential wasted in a way that only compounds the problems we continue to face.  Women want respect for their talents and abilities?  They won’t get it by flaunting their “goods.”  That may sound like the words of an “old man” or a “prude.”  But, it’s the truth.  Men (and anyone attracted to such appearances) will only give the lowest of responses to such displays.

You will not steel yourself against the slime and scum of this world in your underwear, even if you have amazingly toned buns of steel.  You may parade your womanhood and shout, “Girl Power!”  But, you’ll get only a fraction of the respect you’d likely receive with all of your clothes (on).  It’s not a job interview, but, maybe, think of it like one.  Are you applying to be a stripper?  Do you want more for yourself than the life of the runway model who gets tossed aside if she shows an ounce of cellulite or steps one inch off her mark?  You can do better than ending up on some celebrity reality-TV show about people watching TV or a short-lived talk show added to the pile of failures.

Rise up.  Perk up.  Be respectful to yourselves and others and continue to blaze on with the talents you possess.  Do NOT contribute to the mass output of those who submit to the lesser trends of our world.  We don’t need more talk of riches, drug use and mistreatment.  There are plenty of songs about relationships gone wrong.  You can do better.  You all can.  Let’s transform the face of music, make it something we can enjoy without cultivating unpleasant and endangering thoughts.  And, if the “business” is keeping you down or steering you a bad way, change it…or walk away from it.  Find a path of light that best presents your talents, whatever they may be.  [Not everyone is cut out for the music industry.  But, you can still be passionate about singing/making music.]

I speak out as a heterosexual man and lover of women who is long past tired of the on-going conflicts they face.  I am tired of hearing about mistreatment and marches with fuzzy pink hats.  I don’t think the marches and protests are doing anything for the cause.  I think it comes down to what those involved put out and how they represent themselves.  And, any contribution to the salivation of lesser men is only compounding the risks women continue to face, causing increasing numbers of women to mentally fracture.  I am not a conventional feminist but am beyond tired of the submission/domination norm that persists.  I’ll break the glass ceiling if you stand with me.

[And, if you think I am nuts or some sort of opinionated jerk, move along.  ‘Nothing to see here.  It doesn’t affect you.]


Bend It Like Rocket League; a Nintendo-Switch Gamer Review



Do you feel the need, the need for speed? Do you like fast cars and the engine noises they make? Do you like remote-control cars and enjoy driving recklessly without the risk of losing your life? Do you like video games in which you can customize your “character” and change the music to suit your mood? Do you like soccer…er, futbol (for those who don’t accept the other sport name)…ice hockey, basketball, American football and the concept of using rocket-powered cars to play those sports?

If you answer yes to any of those questions, Rocket League, essentially a high-powered soccer/futbol game, designed for international internet interaction by Psyonix, may be good for your collection. But, this is just a review from the perspective of a Nintendo-Switch player who has been sampling the fast and furious action for about six months, since the game went “public” and expanded its membership to the Nintendo Switch, last summer. The PC origins of the game and its earlier fan base are beyond my limited, non-premium comprehension.

For readers who are among the average lot of players, this review may be too long and too much for you to handle; so you might as well forfeit and bail, now. It’s probably 4:20, somewhere. Go smoke some weed and write “poop” a thousand times, which is about as much as you can say in the game before you get filtered, disconnected and/or banned, though you can name yourself everything horrid and vulgar under the sun. When you’re done, maybe the game will let you play, again; you know; when the ban is lifted. [No. I will not say “Sorry” for those “Savage” words. You know who you are. And, trash talk, limited as it may be, is permitted.]

Now, for those who I have not ruffled with that statement, please, continue reading if you are interested in knowing more about this game and how it plays on the Nintendo Switch (not the PC or any other gaming system which runs the software).

With the Switch, you gain the advantage of connecting with other Switch players, with relative ease, and are able to alter your profile information, most importantly your profile picture and in-game name, allowing you to customize more than just your car, game settings and player anthems. [‘Lots of customization options, including the car’s frame, wheels, engine sound, exhaust stream, tire streaks, colors, decals and antenna decorations. But, many you’ll have to earn by entertaining the masses, like a gladiator in the ol’ Roman Coliseum.]

Other (non-Switch) players appear as either “AIs,” artificial units supplied by the game makers with names, apparently, taken from the movie Top Gun, or “Epic” (user-controlled) icons with some sort of coded identification. AIs fill in for teammates who leave a game before its end (for reasons I have already touched on and will touch, again, soon enough) and play with varying skill. Some AIs seem to play better than the average player and win games for the inept. Others appear to be just as lousy as their teammates or even worse and make costly mistakes in the faces of those trying to avoid one more loss in their “career.” [You can thank your “wingman” Goose, ignore Iceman or bicker with Jester for contributing to your loss.] On a good day…er, night…a pair of AIs will come to my rescue and play better than the players who left me because the team was down one point and they could not score (not to mention defend a goal or drive) to save their lives. [But, what fun is that, playing with “people” who can’t talk back? Oh. Right. That’s what most video-game players have been doing for decades before the age of internet gaming.]

Nintendo-Switch players are free to use short or long…er…colorful names, even symbols for those too shy or not creative enough to craft names. “Epic” names seem to be a given, something provided by the game, and are separate from the players’ chosen in-game names. “Epic” names also seem to be rather odd, random combinations of letters, numbers and words. [PC players might see things from a different perspective. I have not heard enough from any of them because chatting with other players remains a challenge, especially when they have 0 patience to stall their adrenaline rushes as well as greed for “swag” and pointless titles. Perhaps, they see Switch players the same way I see them, as faceless, colorless, odd names and numbers.]

[See my list of complaints below for other problems with chosen and Epic names.]

There is a WIDE assortment of cars to drive and customize. Lovers of car shows and/or movies like The Fast and the Furious and Back to the Future (well…for THE car) are sure to get a thrill. But, when you first start playing, your choices are very limited. As I’ve said before, you have to earn your treats and whistles. You are joining a league of gladiators who use cars to fight their battles and score goals in an arena run by emperors who wear Bluetooth wreaths upon their heads.

Your initial options include a boxy A-Team van called the Merc (which, unfortunately, I could not decorate to LOOK like the actual A-Team van), a reject Hot Wheels racecar called the Breakout and a common RC car called the Octane (which seems to be the most favored and an exceedingly annoying show-off in the hands of adept players). Each has earned some favor with previous players, and you can find videos from real people who will talk at great length about the matter. [I’ll try my best to spare you the expense.]

[Speaking of expense, if you feel so inclined, you can improve your playing experience by “subscribing” to a “premium account” which gives you far more freebies (as you gain rank) and allows you to trade things you don’t want (anymore) with other players. If you’d rather not invest actual money too quickly, you have the option to play the “free version” (as I have) and take your chances with unlocking anything that may interest you in investing more time and energy into this heavy-metal grudge match and geometry test.]

As you…er, progress…through the game, enduring losses, fighting feverishly for wins, earning and losing pointless rankings in the blink of an eye and putting up with teammates of varying skill and attitude, you’ll unlock more and–in my opinion–better options. Though, it seems, the ability of the car and its parts rests upon the player. I’ve seen players do amazing things with the car and parts I thought were useless. It also seems a car can improve its usefulness with investment of time and practice; a car or wheels you use for the first time may suddenly prove a sluggish challenge after spending countless hours with another model.

The average game consists of three players on two teams, orange and blue (though you don’t have to LOOK orange or blue), competing to score goals by driving and, sometimes, launching their cars, like rockets, in a spacious stadium with a dome and numerous glowing pads that provide extra “boost” to help you speed around and perform airborne stunts (you know, if you possess such superhuman skill and like to annoy players who struggle with motion sickness from 3D games). You can also play Doubles and one-on-one Duels, if you prefer less competition and more control; you can even customize the colors and other elements (like gravity and swapping the common ball with a cube) of a game to suit your interests.

[I find myself struggling to control the ball, when I am alone, and do not see much enjoyment in being pitted against no one or just one other player who cannot speak beyond a few restricted text messages. But, to each their own.]

You not only score points by hitting the ball (or puck in the ice-hockey variation) into the goal (or hoop in the Hoops/basketball variation); you can also earn “ping” (audience enthusiasm, I presume?) and participation points which can give you VIP status, potentially earning you a special prize…most often some lame “blueprint” that you’ll get multiple times and never pay to use because it’s not worth the price. Other prizes include new car models, wheels, profile “banners,” methods of painting your car, etc., etc. [I have yet to win a “goal explosion;” so I presume that is just for “premium” players?]

Every week, new challenges are offered to earn an XP (or EXP, aka experience, for you older players) boost and/or unlock a new something. [Don’t get your hopes up.] There are also tournaments you can host and/or enter, some which earn you official “tournament winner” status banners you can proudly display to annoy and scare off other players, though you might not have done anything to earn them in the company of some jaw-dropping gamers who seem born with the ability to send a toy car spinning like a tornado through the air, soaring directly from one goal to the other or bouncing a ball off a wall at such an angle that geometry teachers around the world would cry blood in amazement. [If only the players’ math grades were as stellar.]

There is also something called a “season” which consists of numerous challenges in blocks. Each time you complete a necessary number of challenges in a block, you unlock the next block and the chance to earn certain ranked prizes, including a new metallic finish for your car, like earning a bronze, silver or gold medal in the Olympics. [I reached Silver status in the first season.]

Once in a while, often for a special holiday (season), the game offers special arenas, game formats and/or “swag” you can earn by completing various tasks. There is a concept called “Rocket Labs” in which the makers provide unique arenas, sometimes with unique skills/tools you can use, for a limited time; which is unfortunate when you try and quickly find yourself attracted to a particular game format/arena. The recent Chinese-New-Year, Super Bowl and Halloween (Ghostbusters) events were particularly entertaining.

[On a personal note, I’d like to ask the makers of Rocket League to consider adding the American football variation to the “Extra” menu, to round out the sports options which already include ice hockey and basketball.]

When you need a break from intense, infuriating play, there are options to communicate and trade items with other players. BUT, first you have to add them to your “friend” list. [I know; challenging your anti-social, introverted comfort zones. Right?] Then, you have to PAY for a means of earning “credits” which you will need to trade/buy certain (not all) items and “build” blueprints, turning a crappy hologram into something you can use. I’ve been told there is a “starter package” for unlocking the trading feature, an expense of about five American dollars (in the USA). Chatting is free for those who have become “friends” (Epic or otherwise) and tragically disregarded by most players I’ve encountered; people are more interested in driving recklessly and wasting time against better players than getting to know their teammates and, maybe, working on strategies! [‘More on this in my next section.]



# Often enough, some sort of interference causes the controllers to fail.

Suddenly, my car is moving jarringly on its own and no longer sensibly participating in the game, allowing my team to lose and my rank to plummet as if I was playing blind and dumb. I do not know if this a means of player hacking to disable opponents or a game glitch. Perhaps, too much internet interaction is causing a jam like proton streams crossing in those old Ghostbusters movies. There is no swift way to convey to teammates that my controls are jammed; I’ve tried texting the information, but that risks me being kicked from the game, anyway, because I have to stop driving to type more letters than the average player ever uses. [A headset communication option (and alert/icon for every player who has it active) might be helpful, if everyone I happened to pair up with had one…but that’s a hoop dream.]

# There is the option of activating something called “ball cam” (which my one nephew insists should be disabled) to keep an eye on where the ball (or other target object) goes.

This is an attempt to replace your own human ability to follow the “ball” with your internal compass, turning your head and ears in that direction. Though the game has fairly good sound quality, meshing audience noise with engine sounds and background music which comes and goes in volume for various reasons, there is a lack of natural, instinctive motion awareness, being able to detect something beside or above you. Turning off “ball cam” leaves you with just whatever is in front of your car and whatever surrounding space you can see from the forward viewpoint; the only values I see in this are:
1) Reducing motion sickness from constantly shifting camera angles, sometimes throwing your view above the car where, hopefully, you can keep track of the “ball” in motion (as it soars past you into your goal) and
2) Allowing you to chase down annoying opponents and “demolish” them.
In either case, gameplay is challenging and, sometimes, nauseating, which pushes me to cease playing. There is just no substitute, it seems, for real, outdoor sports, perhaps, without a VR interface and space to play such a game. [Hmm…]

[I personally prefer the ball cam to be on. This seems to add to the controller/signal problem(s) I previously mentioned, but it’s better than not being able to use your peripheral vision and instincts.]

# Other players too often…well…suck. [This is not something the game’s makers can actually fix. But, it deserves to be said.]

When you play for the first time, maybe for a few weeks, you’ll soon realize–unless you were (dare I fuel anyone’s ego) “born to play”–you are “out of your league” and forced to learn how to control yourself as quickly as possible (or get out of the traffic jam). But, practice a bit more, and you’ll soon feel yourself improving and notice how much other players are a waste of your time and energy. [No offense…but…it’s true. And, I am far from what I’d call a “pro.”]

HOWEVER, what makes matters worse is when players turn cowardly in an instant, usually when the team is down by a single point, and decide to leave the game before it ends. Now, in any rational sport with an audience and teams of more than three players, you could not do this. But, in this game, you can. And, when you bail on a game, if it is a “ranked” or “competitive” game, you may lose your prized rank and be banned from playing the game, not just the round you were enjoying? a moment ago, any Rocket League game you wish to try within a set amount of time (if you are not banned completely from all RL usage). That’s right; there are penalties; and, occasionally, you get penalized for mechanical failure outside your control (as I have been).

Now, you, yourself, might want to leave a game before its end because, well, your team sucks. Maybe you are doing all of the work (or think you’re that hot) while your teammates can barely drive or hit a ball in the right direction. Maybe you are earning nothing while one teammate is creaming the competition, whether or not they flaunt their prowess with crowns and flashy moves. Maybe you just hate losing (or are a sore loser). Fine. But, it comes at a price. You might get away with some of it in the non-competitive “casual” arenas. But, you’ll have the gaming police on your tail in the ranked games. If you find your team sending a red SOS vote to forfeit and disappearing from your sides, you can be sure they will either pay or not be playing, again, for some time. But, while that’s their justice, you are still left to pay the price of facing a better team on your own! [And, that royally sucks.]

[So, I ask you, makers of Rocket League, is this justified punishment? Is it fair to be punished by losing rank and/or the ability to enter another game when a player on your team leaves the game, by his/her choice or technical failure? I am sure you tried to establish some kind of law system. But, it’s still not fair (or working fairly). I think players who stay with the game and lose, regardless, should not suffer a loss of rank, even if their team (or what’s left of it) loses. If not this, then there should be no banning from play for those who leave early; let those who are brave (or dumb) enough to stay in play, and let the cowards leave. And, if some glitch causes technical difficulties, it should NOT result in a ban and/or loss of rank, as I have suffered. That’s just cold.]

# Extra-personal peeve: I tire of players who call themselves some variation of “poop” and/or “faze” and either play horribly (and bail) or play so well that I almost feel humiliated for being beaten by poop. [It’s also really annoying playing someone who has a name like NOTAPRO who then plays like a pro and leaves you wondering why you bothered entering the arena. I hate “sorries” and most falsehoods. I also do not get along well with “420s” and any variation of an advertised drug abuser. Nor do I enjoy seeing people who give themselves very vulgar, sometimes horrific names (involving body parts) when players may very well be small children (who cannot drive or adequately hit a ball), leaving parents and relatives to answer uncomfortable questions.] I also despise the abusive use of the Octane car, which looks like nothing more than a common lightweight toy car, which too many players embellish with the over-used crowns and trophies, flaunting their supposed skill. There is A LOT of “posturing” in this game, and it quickly gets annoying.

# Players confuse in-game/Switch names with Epic names.

I, myself, did not realize the problem until someone I teamed up with freaked out over seeing a different name under the car of the person who “invited” her to “team up.” I also found someone who failed to find me on the list of people you “previously played with” to add as a friend. She received an invite from me, but from my “Epic name” which I did not even know I had until I puzzled over what she last said to me before leaving. It took me a long time to reconnect with her and clear up the confusion.

[You might give your Profile the name WinkiFace (which you will see in the games when you score or assist) but send an invite under the name CrookedPanda921 or PreviouslyBanned612.]

Oh; that thing in the corner by the Epic logo…what the heck is that name and who picked it for me?! No wonder they freaked out; even I could not say I had two names. I didn’t know until it was too late. Foreigners REALLY have a problem because some names don’t even translate into the English (or whatever that quasi-English alphabet is) format; they just come out as lines of white squares. Sigh. Such is the life of the game.

# Texting/Chatting is HORRIBLY filtered.

This is a HUGE issue for me, in part, because, often enough, what seems like an ordinary string of words is lumped together as something offensive and BLEEPED OUT, causing the recipient to wonder what horrible thing I just said, denying me from having a civil chat. YET, players are allowed to use awful, immoral, disgusting names…and that is NOT filtered or prohibited. What sense does this make? I feel like some “holy” boy band and their promise rings are running the chat service, banning text they feel is “poopy” or not “pruuudent.”

You could take the chat option away and save players some grief, but then a fair amount of the joy, from connecting with others around the world, would be lost. However, I am sure, fowl language, perverts and the like would not (be lost).

You have a limited variety of phrases and whatnot you can program to keys for use before, in and after a game. But, these ARE LIMITED and not to everyone’s interest/taste. I do not feel SAVAGE! or SORRY! (especially the way some people misuse that word) satisfies my texting needs. I’d love the option of custom text messages with the same key options, but, I’m equally sure, some players would abuse this to flash vulgar and otherwise disturbing messages. So…there seems to be no way to satisfy everyone.

Also, some players “spam” provided text messages until, at some point, the game finally bans them from using the feature (temporarily, I presume). This is (dare I repeat myself…also) annoying. You can adjust chat options to block one or both teams’ messages, but this ruins the opportunity to communicate with teammates, which, I like to think, is part of being a team! Otherwise, you’ve got tape over your hands and faces and can only scream silently when your teammate turns the wrong way, collides with you and/or ruins a chance to score/defend.

[I guess…I choose silence over annoying, repeating messages AND TEAMMATES WHO CHEER FOR THE OTHER TEAM, WHICH PLAYS BETTER THAN MY TEAM (BAILING AND/OR FAILING TO DEFEND/SCORE) AND DOES NOT CHEER FOR MY TEAM. What is up with that?! My sister says it’s good sportsmanship. Did it ever occur to her that a better (though less friendly and sociable) team might keep comments to themselves and not lick the boots of other players?…they just play well and gloat silently? Oh please, master player, let me praise you, so that you might add me to your Epic friend list and let me be on that S2-Championship-Winner team, with which I may earn a useless banner to flaunt and intimidate (or annoy) other players! Oh no! That guy is a S2 Championship Winner!…who did nothing but watch his stellar teammate do all the work, merely spinning through the air when every goal was scored. No one praises me like that, by the way, even if I thought I was that good.]

# Prizes are often underwhelming, and rankings are seemingly pointless. [At least, for non-premium players, I presume.]

You want a free blueprint or set of oddly colored wagon wheels (wheels only some Steam-Punk pothead might enjoy)? I’ve got plenty. If you want a new car model, profile banner or car topper, you’ll have to…uh…earn it as I have. The thing is…how you earn these rewards is sketchy. I could have a really great few games and get nothing. I could have one lucky shot, lose the game and get a prize. And, the value of the prize is also randomized, it seems. You could do very little to earn a wonderful prize and play your best to earn a lousy one. The whole dynamic is a bit like a claw machine; you deposit your time and energy and, hopefully, come out with something, without knowing if that something is worth more or less than what you paid.

[Here’s the most recent and most discouraging “kicker.” I completed the necessary tasks to finish “Season Two” and earn the triple-prize package. That is a LONG list of achievements to complete for three measily surpise eggs. But, the colors of those surprise eggs seemed tempting enough; I mean, they aren’t the lowest of prizes…right? Except…they sort of were/are. When I opened the coveted prize boxes, all I received were a duplicate of a car I had already won “at random,” a lousy set of wheels I’ll never use and a “decal” which I’d consider okay at best. THAT was my big reward for all I had done? THAT SUCKS! What was the big point of completing a season? To get gold paint for my car, like every other season? Or, maybe they will offer some annoying song EVERYONE has to play every minute to show their “status”…or a new crown/trophy you have to flaunt on top of your toy time bomb…er, car. Crap. Or, should I say, 420, 69, Big-Daddy, Faze-ing, ninja, supersonic, UN-lucky monster poop. What does it take to get a decent “goal explosion” like the “Titanium White Overgrowth,” the super-cute robotic bunny-woman DJ or the roaring T-Rex that makes me want to perpetually quote Jurassice Park?]

[Months before this, I completed another bigger-than-small challenge and collected 5 “golden presents.” I was advised to leave them shut and sell them as surprise eggs, next year, when they would (somehow) gain value like stocks or rare unopened packs of Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards. But, another voice prodded me to open them. When I listened to the latter, I was sufficiently disappointed, again (or…for the first time). One of the five prizes I’d call decent. The others I could have probably earned randomly through regular play; most I did not even plan on using. ‘Some reward. Psh.]

Similarly, you earn ranks of various kinds based upon performance AND completion of listed tasks. If you play well enough–psh, that’s asking a lot of a team that hasn’t already given itself a unified name and share the same internet service/server and/or room–you work your way up the list of ranks, including bronze, silver, gold, platinum, etc. If you lose well enough, down goes that rank (and, sometimes, your ability to enter certain tournaments and use other modes/features). But then, there is this other numerical ranking system that determines some of the prizes you receive and a status I don’t understand. It’s that little number that appears with a glowing bar under your picture and name. What is that? Whatever it is, you can improve this by completing tasks which award you XP bonuses.

I’ve had players see that numerical rank and sound astounded as if I was an ace player. That’s not how that works! It does not mean anyone is an ace by any means! All it seems to mean is that I have played enough and served up enough dog tricks to earn those XP bonuses which elevate the number. So, what is the point of calling that a level? I guess, it’s a level of dedication to gameplay? It shows how enslaved I am? It says Writingbolt is so addicted that he stuck around for X number of hours, not including the time spent customizing cars and trying to find music that doesn’t annoy him?

Which brings me to…

# The music is okay if you like Grand Theft Auto and/or moody techno/new-age tracks.

I can see myself playing those old, awful games, stealing vehicles and listening to various tunes while committing other crimes. One out of five songs is tolerable. I can count on one hand how many I like. [I’m partial to the vocals of Morgan Perry, but the videos that go with those songs are fairly inane, like old ads for Axe body spray without the humor.] Last “season,” an artist known as Slushii had a catchy tune I picked as my favorite, but it, too, has moments of annoying repetition and high-pitch grating. [To each their own. I WOULD like to receive/use the “goal explosion” with the robotic bunny-woman DJ, though.]

# Trading duplicate and/or unwanted prizes remains a challenge.

What adds to my annoyance is when teammates who fail to help you win a game decide to waste precious time by TYPING “TRade?” or “RTade wit me.” There are definite cases of dyslexia among those who play. Why would I want to trade with someone I can barely speak with (for numerous reasons) while in the middle of a game I am trying to win so I don’t lose rank? If you want to trade with me, first, offer friendship and try to get on my list; second, be sure I CAN trade; third, find out if I have any duplicates or unwanted items worth trading (I probably do not); and THEN we can consider a trade or two. But, don’t try talking trades in the middle of a game; I did not enter to have a fashion show.]

When you are playing with people who use computers or other gaming systems, there is, likely, a conflict of information exchange. There may be an inability to trade/transfer across “platforms.” [I have not confirmed this, yet.] So, if you don’t want to get “too technical,” enjoy what you can get and do not bother with trading. [However, if I could trade some duplicate crap…er, items for something like a goal explosion (I’ve been coveting), that’d be greeeeat (Office Space).]


I suppose an FAQ webpage, somewhere, might provide answers to many newcomers (and those who struggle to learn no matter how long they have played), but who, “these days,” would read it? 🙂 People barely take the time to read legal statements, manuals and warranty information.


In short, what you expect or hope to achieve or win is never guaranteed. Enjoy customizing the shiny toy guns…er, cars…and good teamwork, if you can establish it. Make real friends or quit before you waste too much of your precious time. That is, if you’re not so “baked” that you are still aware of time and space.

Why do I continue playing? Perhaps, an undying hope of connecting with players around the world and establishing some sort of valued friendship. It’s not likely the intended or main goal of most players (nor of the game’s makers), but that’s my SPIN on it. Without the friendships you COULD achieve (or should have to play with a solid team), the game is a futile chase of balls and other things among insulting, immoral and sometimes deeply troubled players who could round out a rogue’s gallery for Batman.

If you want my pick, I say learn how to flip (sideways, backwards and forwards), collect plenty of “boost” and go with the Dominus (until I discover a better model). The Octane, I’ve already insulted (above). The Merc has its charms when playing defense, as does the Road Hog and Marauder (all good for Ice Hockey but lousy in terms of speed). And, many of the other models you may “unlock” are colorful alternatives with no clear advantage. I’ve won a few that are so “short;” they can barely reach the ball in motion unless I drive directly forward/into the ball. They might as well be clown cars from Japan. The Dominus is fairly balanced, sufficiently heavy and looks slick in most of its “clothing;” you just need to adjust for its lack of height by honing jumping and flipping skills. [And, work on aim…oh, my horrible aim.]

Oh, who am I kidding? [I’m not being paid to write this.] Make REAL FRIENDS (even if you have to meet them online, first) and get outside, once in a while! Get fresh air and play real soccer…er, futbol…if it’s your thing. You can go shopping for stickers of flashy sportscars, some other rainy day, and fill a whole sticker book no one but you and fellow sticker collectors might appreciate.

March Birthdays, updated 2021





actress Nathalie Joanne Emmanuel (In Game of Thrones, she played the enslaved translator of the slaver who almost took one of the three baby dragons in Season 3, later falling for the head of the Unsullied army; she appears in the ninth? Fast and Furious film)

Pisces Earth Snake


Camila Cabello (lovely, enchanting and rather petite vocalist and Cuban beauty who departed from Fifth Harmony, a musical group of young women from a few years back)

Pisces Fire Ox

Aarti Mann (Indian actress)

Pisces Earth Horse



vocalist and actress? Riki (Erika) Lindhome (the blonde half of Garfunkel and Oates)

Pisces Earth Sheep



actress Amy Pietz (lovely, enchanting and fiery lil actress who wanted so badly to be part of the musical Cats, in TV’s Caroline in the City; I continue to have a huge crush on her)

Pisces Earth Rooster



actress Alexandria Anna Daddario (who I first saw in the first Percy Jackson film, then White Collar and the Baywatch spoof movie (2017); she has very fiery/icy blue eyes)

Pisces Fire Tiger (surprisingly compatible with moi)




actress (and wonderful vocalist) Constance Wu (Korean/American actress from TV’s Fresh Off the Boat, delightfully sweet voice, gorgeous face and refreshing honesty)

Aries Water Dog 

[A “gify” web page says she said the superpower she would want is to know what people look like under their clothes without them knowing she is looking?  Is this true?  And, her favorite childhood toy was a stuffed Raja tiger from Aladdin?]



actress Maribeth Monroe (In TV’s The Good Place, she plays Mindy, the woman who lives alone in a “mid-place” house apart from the good/bad places, obsessed with sex and drugs)

Aries Earth Horse (surprisingly VERY compatible with moi)



Paige Spiranac (GORGEOUS blonde golfer; she appeared on some season of The Bachelor…and some radio show holding an Iron Man comic book and taking a selfie with an Iron Man outfit?)

Aries Water Rooster


actress Angela Marie Dotchin (New Zealander, gorgeous blonde, one of many bit parts from Hercules/Xena shows, including a mermaid that paired up with one of the Ioalus-es)

Aries Wood Tiger

Kate Micucci (vocalist and fabulous voice-over actress; the petite brunette who has appeared or supplied her voice to shows such as TMNT 2014-ish CG series  <Irma>, the Scrubs medical comedy TV series, the reboot of Duck Tales <Webby>, the musical duo Garfunkel and Oates, etc.) [See Riki (Erika) Lindhome, above.]

Aries Metal Monkey


A Glimpse of the Future; Jeopardy, Feb. 13, 2047


I occasionally mention things, in conversation, which people tell me are true in their lives, things that happened in the recent or distant past.  But, I am just as capable of foreseeing the future.  Last year, I had a vivid vision of a lovely nature.  Allow me to lay out images from that vision…  Call it Writingbolt Vision…



Can you see it?  YOU know who she is.  It’s Taylor Dane!  …Just kidding.  But, I kid you not; I saw this woman and thought…how vividly she resembles what could very well be the future.

And, finally…

Numbers can be wacky!

**These were snapshots I took with my cheap digital camera; and I hope there is no conflict with displaying images from a TV show on this blog/website.  If there is a problem, I'd appreciate a discreet alert to remove the images in an email.

Happy Chinese New Year, the Year of the Metal Ox 2021/4721


Last year, the Metal Rat was fairly disappointed (and disappointing) by its lack of new beginnings and loss of business.  The global economy suffered instead of prospering.  Existing businesses suffered losses and failures.  A plague was unleashed upon the world…well, except for places like New Zealand which put up shields rather quickly.  So, maybe THAT is what the Rat was, this time, a plague, not a new start of something good.  A new virus, I guess.  Yay?

Well, now we welcome the next animal in line, the Metal Ox.  And, what does this creature bode?  Well, nothing too exciting, unless you get excited by hard work.  Yep.  That seems to be the general consensus of what lies ahead.  Hard work to make the progress we seek.  Slow and steady.  No quick moves or risky investments (unless your feng shui is particularly blessed).  And, be prepared for unpleasant surprises and difficulties.  Be patient and endure.  Do not rush.  Do not pick fights. 

[However, a certain feng shui source I consulted suggests this may be a year of government betrayals and public uprisings (in other words, riots, strikes, etc.).] 

Things could get ugly…er, this new year.  So, buckle up, strap on your work clothes and take her slow and steady toward productivity.  It seems red is suggested as a color to boost financial and love luck in these hard times.  I know red is said to make a bull charge…so does that mean we want to CHARGE the global economy?…like a battery, not teasing someone with a quick temper.  [In the passing Rat year, blue and white were suggested good-luck colors.]

Here are my art samples for this year.




So Much for Super Bowls…*hiccup!*


Did I miss the latest Super Bowl?  When was that?  February 7th?  Sunday?  Oh darn.

Actually, I watched most of it.  I just wish I had missed the game…because I swear I knew how it would go.  I swear I relived the horrible thing that it was, except I don’t remember the commercials.  I just remember hating Tom Brady and his lot.  But, I remember him in Patriot attire, not Buccaneer.

The GOAT they call him.  HA!  Yea, he’s a goat, all right.  A goat that consumes his weight in water every day, or so I’ve heard.  Shouldn’t that make him the CAMEL?  The Careless Arsehole Making…Entertainment…Lousy?  It’s a work in progress.  I’ll hopefully get back to you on that one.  [I’m open to suggestions.]

I am just SO glad the commentators mentioned the nagging referees.  I am betting Brady’s company had a hand in that.  Sure.  On top of all the other scandals attached to his success, now we load up some refs with money and charm stuffed in their pockets.  Brady was first on the field that day; want to bet he made contact with the first-ever female ref?  I would not be surprised.  Put in a good word for me.  Wink.  Thanks, sweetheart.  Giselle means nothing.

Why did it seem like the Chiefs’ offensive line was crumbling around Mahomes and his bad toe/foot?  ‘Because they were afraid of being penalized for HOLDING.  Too often, the Chiefs were getting holding penalties.  And, in one instance, one Chief brushes against Brady while saying something.  And, that was inappropriate conduct.  Brady is even caught smirking, gloating in response to the penalty call.

At the start of the game, the commentators were in favor of the Chiefs winning.  By the end of the game, they were praising Brady, claiming he “did his thing.”  I am confused.  Back in the day, Brady’s thing was stellar quarterback skill.  At least, I thought it was.  I thought he was just so good that I had to admire AND hate him; that he rivaled Brett Favre and Joe Montana.  Now, is it fraud?  Is his skill swindling authorities to get his way?  He didn’t subscribe to advertising like so many other players.  [How many commercials featured Chiefs players and/or Packers’ Aaron Rodgers?  Were there Brady ads shown exclusively in Florida?]

As far as I could tell, Brady only benefitted from the excessive discipline of referees, aka penalties.  He didn’t even break a sweat!…in Florida!  He just walked down the field and planted the ball in hand-picked hands that didn’t have to spike it.  The whole experience was like watching a monopoly buy out some small store/company.  Congrats.  Now, Bob’s Search Engine is a Koogle-head and being turned into a grocery store chain for Biff Jezos.

And if the painful ending wasn’t bad enough…

  1. Lacking commercials.  Advertising was definitely missing something…like alcohol.  Even the ever-horse-trotting Budweiser was amiss with some hints at a non-alcoholic beverage I never saw clearly.  That wasn’t even a commercial!  It was a magazine clipping they kept showing on TV.  Half of the commercials were for local broadcasting TV shows.  Doritos and M&Ms were the highlights, and even they were lost in a boring sea.  Jason Alexander was fishing for a show about nothing, reminiscing about his sweater days with a chocolate-sauce stain.  And, there were SO many pitches for African-American awareness…claiming Patrick Mahomes (I had no idea) was also “black”…on a night when the whitest guys in the place took all the joy out of the stadium……  [To be continued]
  2. Victory parade madness.  ……[continued]….and threw the Lombardi trophy over open waters, while drunk, like it didn’t even matter, like it was some souvenir football tossed into the crowd.  I don’t even want to know why that happened.  I care but don’t want to know.  It’s just nuts.  It’s stupid.  It’s careless.  Which brings me back to my point about the CAMEL.  So much for all that noble talk about teamwork and good sportsmanship.  Bull-diddly-shat.

Yep.  That about sums it up.  ‘Not even 3 points to give.  ‘Not even a field goal.  ‘Because it wasn’t worth all the effort or spectacle.  It wasn’t worth the risk to everyone’s health/safety.  It wasn’t worth Black History Month and all the other merits achieved by those involved.  It was a lame joke and cruel punishment to Patrick Mahomes and his team.  Granted, if Mahomes knew he had that bad foot, he probably should not have been playing…but you know how people can pressure you to take risks.

[‘Which leads me back to the game between the Packers and Buccaneers, the one that gave Brady’s hand-picked victory-ensured team (of two) the open door to score another lame ring and grand (but not valued) trophy.   There were numerous opportunities when Rodgers could have run with the ball to aid his team.  But, he did not run for fear of more injuries, like his previous collar-bone, hand and leg fractures.  He was scared stiff.  Thankfully…or luckily?…that was not Brady’s fault.  Had I been battered like Rodgers, I might have been apprehensive, too.  But, where’s that cushy insurance package he’s always pitching?  Where’s his good neighbor?  I guess that’s bogus, too, Drake.]

The BEST part of Super Bowl 2021?  Surprisingly, that was the halftime show with The Weekend.  I am hardly a fan of the guy.  I amazingly recognized a few of the songs.  I thought he did a stellar job of working the entire field and light shows.  The countless characters wearing real-estate-grunt suits and facial underwear were a bit unsettling.  But, the whole worked rather well.  No fear of audience interfer–

Oh, wait.  There was that one streaker who put everyone at risk at the riskiest of times.  [I wonder how that impacted the “social-distancing” crisis.]

What was I talking about?  Never mind.  It probably wasn’t important.

Hey, you, reader!  Go long!  I’ll toss you my priceless trophy like a football!…like a football.


Pokemon Comics; Belated Tay-dreaming Whims


Looking back, just now, I realized I missed…

My introduction!  [No.  I’m just having a momentary flash back to that movie, A Knight’s Tale, and Paul Bettany’s dialogue.]

I missed out on featuring some of my last Taylor-Swift art-storm.  I had posted a previous warning of what was to come but never actually disclosed (at least a portion of) the (numerous) images.  So, to compensate for what might have been a lackluster birthday supply, here is a sampling of those Pokemon (Sword) comics I mentioned.

Try to decipher some clues about Tay and I from the following bunch. Feel free to pick through the layers and compare details.

And, lastly, some whimsical pieces that cast Tay and I as superheroes…er, sort of.


February Birthdays, updated 2021




FEB. 1

Lauren Conrad (fashion designer, person on whom I based a character in a book series I’ve been writing; hush-hush) <married to William Tell as of 2014>

Aquarius Wood Ox

FEB. 7

actress Kirby Howell-Baptiste (plays Simone on TV’s The Good Place, the African-British ethics equivalent of Chidi who fell in love with him one season and went coo-coo as a test human in another)

Aquarius Fire Rabbit (Rather compatible with moi)

FEB. 11

actress Natalie Dormer (lovely blonde? who I know from Game of Thrones, the whimsical, aloof beauty with unusually big eyes who tried to befriend Sansa and was the pretty daughter of Diana Rigg’s character)

Aquarius Water Dog (Rather compatible with moi, though a current/former lover seems to be filling the role with similar astrological luck) 

actress Jennifer Aniston (from the TV show Friends and numerous films…and, lately, beauty product ads)

Aquarius Earth Monkey (surprisingly VERY compatible with moi)

FEB. 15

singer/performer Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, aka Megan Thee Stallion (her stage name) (Capable of being HOT! on stage but too quick and easy to flaunt her assets, overpowering any appreciation for what singing talent she might have, to be quite blunt…but it seems to be a trend?…and no help to the feminist movement.)

Aquarius Wood Pig (Aside from the wood factor, VERY compatible with me; perfect height and an all-around healthy aura)  [I make a point of asking/searching to understand why she connects herself with a male horse.  Why not Megan the Wondermare?  I suppose being a pig isn’t very sexy/stellar…but there is strength and assurance in this hog-ess.  And, yea, she has some fine ham hocks. :D][Call (email) me.]


FEB. 21

actress Hayley Orrantia (the lovely-though-sometimes-bitchy Erica Goldberg, from The Goldbergs)

Aquarius/Pisces Wood Dog

actress Ashley Green (brown-haired beauty who I knew initially from the Twilight films)

Pisces Fire Rabbit (Rather compatible with moi)

FEB. 25

Jameela Jamil (plays Tehani, the tall, semi-snobbish celebrity-obsessed beauty on TV’s The Good Place)

Pisces Fire Tiger

FEB. 27

actress Li BingBing (GORGEOUS gorgeous but somewhat mysterious and elusive East-Asian actress–and possibly vocalist?–who I have seen in one or two English-translated films (The Forbidden Kingdom, Silver Hawk) but has also starred in many foreign films)

[One source said Feb. 27, 1976, Pisces Fire Dragon; another said 1970…and the current Google listing shows Feb. 27, 1973…if someone could clarify this, I’d really appreciate the assistance!]


January Birthdays, updated 2021




JAN. 1

actress Stacy Martin (French-English actress from lesser-known film, The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun)

Capricorn Metal Horse

JAN. 8

actress Cara Theobold (who I know from Downton Abbey and the movie Ready Player One)

Capricorn Earth Snake 

JAN. 19

actress Marsha Thomason  (the rather attractive British/African woman from White Collar (TV), among many other roles)

Capricorn Wood Rabbit


JAN. 21

actress Kelly Rohrbach (the blonde beauty from the Baywatch spoof movie, among other roles)

Aquarius Earth Snake

JAN. 22

actress Raquel Cassidy (on Downton Abbey, she played the ever soothing therapist/sewing expert Ms./Mrs. Baxter who befriended Mr. Molesly and clashed with Thomas Barrow though she tried to remain friends with everyone)

Aquarius Fire Sheep (VERY compatible with moi!)

JAN. 30

actress Eiza Gonzalez (Mexican actress from Alita:  Battle Angel movie)

Aquarius Metal Horse