Updates 6.27

There’s a whole lot going on in the US right now but I’m at the point where I’ve started to tune it out. I’ll probably drop some rambling posts about the social unrest and venture into fringe conspiracy theories later, but not right now. It just gets so tiring, you know? Like, why should I try to carry the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders (or in my head) 24/7? It’s a constant burden and it can weigh a person down.

So, I’m trying to get back to focusing on things that I actually enjoy, like manga, movies, studying Japanese, and cats. And I’ve been working more now that things are starting to get back to normal in New York City, which is nice.

This past Monday, businesses started opening back up. There’s still no dining in, which is a good thing honestly, but it was super nice to be able to get the car washed, drive downtown, and get takeout from Thai Terminal and Veniero’s. I really missed their food, especially Veniero’s cheesecake. It was so good that I didn’t even bother to take a photo of it before gobbling it down.

Hopefully, COVID-19 doesn’t spike. I’m not really interested in another shutdown, but with all of the protests and rioting, it could happen. I wasn’t really prepared last time, so if there’s going to be another shutdown I’m not going to get caught with my pants down again. I picked up my Mom and we went to New Jersey to shop at Walmart. My cart was overflowing. LOL. I didn’t hoard TP or paper towels, but I picked up quite a few canned and frozen items along with olive oil, honey, canned soups, and other staples.

We stopped by Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater and the grocery was open (which was great because we needed Yakult) but the food court was still closed. Daiso was open and we wound up picking up some nice dishes with cat designs:

So, I’ve moved on to memorizing Japanese kanji. It’s actually more fun than I expected. I’m starting to remember the component parts of the kanji and it’s making it easier to start guessing at the meanings of other kanji. I’m hoping that by the end of the year I can read simple kid’s books in Japanese.

Speaking of Japanese, if you haven’t read Dungeon Meshi / Delicious in Dungeon, I highly recommend it. The last chapter was especially good. It’s probably the best chapter in the manga.

And speaking of reading, I’ve plowed through about 50 books so far this year, including the entire Witcher series. That one is really hit or miss and The Last Wish, which the Netflix series is based on, is definitely the best of the bunch. It was worth the time, though, as someone who really enjoys fantasy novels. I’m reading a book about Israeli history right now and it reminded me of why I was so fascinated with Middle Eastern history while I was studying it in college. I’ll probably go on a run of books about modern Middle Eastern history next. I also want to get around to reading The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I’ve been putting it off, even though I’m really interested in it.

Last thing I want to mention before putting things away so we can eat dinner is that there are new kittens in the apartment. Here’s one of them:

A short note about the ability to join this blog as a “user”

A few months ago, I decided to enable the setting that allows “anyone” to register as a user of this blog with a default role of “subscriber”. I had previously had it turned on but it was a long time ago and I couldn’t remember why I had turned it off.

Today, I disabled the feature again. It doesn’t seem to be that useful, or at least it’s not useful in any way that I could tell. A lot of people signed up as users. Over 250, but I couldn’t see that I had 250 additional people looking at anything on the blog regularly. The email addresses used to sign up were, by and large, what appeared to be references to spammy websites, like [email protected], for example.

Even worse, I started getting people making login attempts using my username. I’m not sure if they somehow found my username as a result of my allowing people to join as subscribers or if it was just a guess, but either way, it’s annoying. I know people are going to try to be dicks and gain access to other people’s websites no matter what, but I don’t like feeling like I’m contributing to my own insecurity.

So, I shut off the ability for people to join as new subscribers. I also deleted everyone who had joined as users except for two people who looked legit. If anyone joined as a genuine attempt to subscribe, I’m sorry. You’ll have to follow the blog through the WordPress app or using RSS.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Low Light Video Test

Samsung Galaxy S7 Low Light Video Test: Exiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I recorded this video while walking down the main staircase from the 2nd Floor to the Main Lobby. The light is pretty dim and going down the stairs makes it shaky. I figured it would be a good way to test the phone’s ability to record video in low light. It didn’t perform very well. The video is shaky and grainy. Hopefully it performs better in bright light situations.

Switching to Android: How to fix not receiving text messages from iPhone iOS users

After quite a few years of reliable use, my iPhone 5S finally broke down on me. There were some odd scratches or particles inside the camera mechanism in the phone that caused large blotches to appear in all of my pictures. It was really annoying because I love using my phone camera while I’m out.

A picture of my wall, showing the dark blotches from damage to the camera.
A picture of my wall, showing the dark blotches from damage to the camera.

I did some research online and the problem seems to be caused by dust or impact damage to the camera lens. My iPhone wasn’t new, by any means. It had suffered more than a few drops and it was out of warranty. Regardless, Apple won’t repair damage to the camera in-store. People who had this issue were given new phones instead if they were within the warranty period. Even if Apple did repair damaged camera mechanisms, I wonder if it would have been worth it? A brand new iPhone 5S is $99 on Virgin Mobile. The repair might have been as much or more.

Not quite ready to spend a lot of money on a new phone, I tried carrying around an actual camera with me for a while. Besides being extra weight, bulky, and more difficult to use (so many settings and stuff), it felt like I was whipping out and wielding a rotary phone. Mostly, it was just an awkward experience and the pictures the camera took weren’t that good anyway. Even the iPhone 5S did a better job. I wasn’t really surprised though. The camera I was trying to use as an alternative was a few years older than the 5S.

I finally caved and decided it was time to purchase a new phone. After much consideration, I decided to jump ship and switch to a Samsung Galaxy S7 running Android Nougat 7.0. I think what finally sold me on the device was the water and dust proofing (so I wouldn’t have the camera problem I had with the iPhone 5S) and the excellent camera. I’m also still butthurt about Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. I don’t think it was worth it to get a vibrating non-button home button. They’re giving less and asking for more than a viable competitor.

It took me about 10-12 hours to install and log into my favorite apps (or find alternatives in the Google Play Store), customize the launcher, set wallpapers, and just get comfortable with the device. But then I hit a snag. I realized I wasn’t receiving text messages that were sent to me by people using iPhones.

The Fix:

I did some research online to see how to get the problem fixed. I had a feeling it had something to do with iMessages, and I was right. The top search results recommended doing things like sending text messages to random numbers with a STOP command, but that didn’t seem to do anything. Also, the article was pretty old and dealt with a previous version of iOS.

I did some tinkering on my own and realized the solution in iOS 10 is pretty simple:

Simply toggle off iMessages in your Messages Settings menu.
Simply toggle off iMessages in your Messages Settings menu.

On your iPhone, open Settings < Messages, and toggle off iMessage. If you have an iPad like I do, toggle off iMessage there as well. Also, in the next menu down, toggle off FaceTime.

Then you just have to wait. I managed to get this far at around 2 AM. By 8:30 am, I was receiving text messages from iPhone users again.

If you have an iPad, make sure to turn off iMessage there as well. Also disable FaceTime.
If you have an iPad, make sure to turn off iMessage there as well. Also disable FaceTime.

As far as the Samsung Galaxy S7 goes, it was worth it. It’s an awesome phone, especially coming from an iPhone 5S. I’m happy with the camera too. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to test it yet, but so far I’m happy with how it performs. There are no filters on the photos below:

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Late afternoon sunshine at City College.

A post shared by Bradley Farless (@bradleyf81) on

Trick Jumps in Grand Theft Auto V

The Fleeca Job: Complete - After-heist party screenshot

I meant to spend most of my break between semesters catching up on reading like I did last year, but we’re about a week out from the first day of class and I’ve only read through some volumes of the comic book series Grimm Fairy Tales. It’s not bad, but it’s also not the intellectually stimulating experience I want from a book. I picked them up as digital comics a few years ago and never got around to reading them. Maybe they were part of a Humble Bundle, I don’t know. It’s hard to resist the book Humble Bundles.

I’m reading through some more interesting stuff, like Karen Armstrong’s book on Paul the Apostle, St. Paul: The Apostle We Love to HateThe End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov, and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I’m also playing Grand Theft Auto V pretty heavily. I picked it up on Steam’s winter sale a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, so I wanted to give this one a shot.

The story mode is good, but I enjoy the online play more, even though it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of load times. I also wish it had more of the story mode content, like items you can find and collect. One thing that did carry over is the trick jumps. Some of them are a headache to get right, mostly because you have to use the right vehicle and avoid killing yourself while pulling off the jumps, or you have to land in just the right spot to get credit for the jump. It’s fun, though. One of the more interesting ones to do are the jumps at the airport traffic circle off the billboards. I made the video below of the jumps, but I feel like I could probably pull off two backflips on the motorcycle before landing. I’m going to give it a shot.

GTA V - Airport Billboard Stunt Jumps - Pegassi Vortex