April 2018

Note: I wrote this several months ago but am just now posting, fwiw.

Cover Leaf

In this riveting biography of Dennis Rodman, Wolf Blitzer details the quest of the NBA star of ‘90s fame to save the future, a future where all Americans speak Korean and worship the God of Olympia (Rodman himself), second only to the Eternal Leader, Kim Jong-un.

Based on 90 hours of face-to-face interviews of the future Dennis Rodman (who has now come back to the present and married the only person worthy of himself — the current Dennis Rodman), Blitzer chronicles Rodmans’ journey, which begins on a crisp Saturday in October. A black van screeches to a halt not three feet away from Rodman, on an allegedly empty street in LA. When the van’s sliding door opens, Rodman is pleasantly surprised to see his second-best-only-to-Kim North Korean friend, an old-guard lieutenant of the DPRK and esteemed Korean intellectual, Richard.

When Richard debriefs Rodman on Kim’s plan to cryonize Korea’s Black Hope, a riveting tale of friendship and betrayal spirals out of control… eventually, when Rodman is decryonized 500 years later.

Nominated for the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, Dennis Rodman: A Biography will keep you on the edge of your seat and awestruck by how one Chicago Bull from Trenton will have saved the world in the would-otherwise-be-coming Kimpocalypse.

Review

Five stars

Blitzer’s masterful retelling of the not-so-distant almost future is bound to make readers stop to think about how far we’ve come in what some commentators have called a post-political world.

Although President Donald Trump is not mentioned on the cover leaf, his multiple colossal failures play a prominent role in the would-be coming global nuclear destabilization. We have already seen dozens of escalating speeches by Trump in regard to North Korea. Perhaps it should not surprise us that the Mentally Deranged U.S. Dotard, as Trump would have officially been referred to in the future North Korean world order, would have launched a nuclear bomb at North Korea in a fit of rage after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Apprentice finally would have surpassed its old ratings under Trump.

But this biography is not about Trump or Schwarzenegger or Kim Jong-un. It is about one man and his will to save the future of Planet Earth as we know it. It will cause the sports world to reimagine Rodman’s career in light of the darkest historical timeline, which he singularly prevented through a mixture of basketball skills and worldwide fame.

This biography starts where it matters. Not in Trenton where Rodman was born nor during his back-to-back winning seasons for the Chicago Bulls — but rather in the year 2019, the year Rodman is frozen alive inside the Glorious Sanitarium of the Eternal Revolution.

The friendship between Rodman and Jong-un is notoriously well known, but Rodman’s biography puts to rest any speculation on the extent of the two world leaders’ friendship. In one of the most emotionally intense chapters of the book, a scene of love and rage is on full display as we are taken to Rodman and Jong-un’s reunion of 2019. Without giving away too many spoilers, Rodman did not want to be cryonized but eventually obeyed the Eternal Leader, all while scheming the dictator’s eventual fall.

We are taken into the future and back again, through picturesque Korean jungles in search of a mad scientist’s 5000-year-old time machine invention, to high-octane chases atop self-driving Uber cars. (Yes, Uber still would have existed in the darkest timeline.)

Dennis Rodman: A Biography is the most important book of our time. You will be held captive from page 1 to 843 by a narrative that’s not only wildly entertaining, but also sure to reshape our sociological wisdom for years to come.

One of the first things I had to do as a newly minted web developer was make elements on the page reactive beyond what I could do with my months of study of JavaScript and jQuery. I was introduced to Knockout and Vue at around that time, and I’ve tinkered a little with React.

Vue has been by far easier for me than React, mainly because the setup for Vue is much like other JS libraries (Slick, for instance) that I’m used to including on a project. That is, you download a file or folder and include it in a script tag on your web page, before your main script. Vue even looks a little bit like Slick with how it requires calling a function that just takes an object with properties to define your configuration. No ES6 classes, no npm or Webpack build processes to figure out, if you don’t want to mess with all that. Vue also can be easily used with the HTML you already have; no need to learn JSX.

The part about not having to compile code is the part I really like. I have been working on an app idea recently that requires a lot of compiling, and I’m just kind of sick and tired of it. Whenever I can, I try to go back to the good old days of my first web design training, when I could just write some files and be done, like magic.

For this reason, for the past week and a half, I’ve wondered away from my side project to do a funner side side project. That’s what reactive libraries were made for anyway, right?

The side side project is titled simply “Matt Watson’s Games,” and my idea was to push Vue components with string templates as far as I could without resorting to an npm build situation. I decided to give up .vue component files or any kind of URL routing or store state management, apart from whatever I might be able to write without using an npm package. (Not even any scss, so the new CSS variables ended up being super handy.) There’s just something I like about being able to code static files with plain old css, js and html, upload those few files to a server, and call it a day.

There is a live version running at mattwatson.org/games, and the repo is here. I’m in the middle of coding Mancala right now. All the games are purely frontend and meant to be played by two people on the same device. Data-persisting multiplayer games are completely another kind of project I won’t be doing any time soon, although I did just get a copy of the 447-page book HTML5 Games: Novice to Ninja by Earle Castledine. We’ll see…

I plan to come back to this project occasionally and keep adding games… until I don’t anymore. For every game, I make a new file containing the necessary Vue string template components. Not a very pretty system, but not bad considering there is no build system. And it’s a lot of fun to work on.