Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Binge Watching

Since Moose and Squirrel arrived, we haven't been able to keep up with our favorite shows like we use to pre-kiddies.  Actually, that's not 100% accurate.  It wasn't until the bedtime ritual expanded to include longer bath time and book reading along with one or both kids fighting sleep that our evening freetime shrank.

I started Binge Watching WestWorld, although when you consider that the episodes are longer than an hour and I could only fit one, maybe 2, in per night, it's stretching the definition of binge watching.

Now that that is done, I'm working on The Expanse and Dark Matters.  These are shorter length episodes and I was originally gonna watch an episode of each, as if I were watching TV shows old school.  However, with season two of the Expanse coming in Feb, I decided to finish that one first (halfway there) and then finish up Dark Matters.

Update:  I actually finished watching Expanse and am quiet pleased with it.  A lot of information is thrown at you and I did have to rewind at times.  But luckily there are online synopsis that recap the episode and provide additional details I missed so that I don't have to re-watch an entire episode.  Based on the online comments, the series is more or less true to the books.  

Job essentials

I love my not so new job, I really do.  Well, love is a strong word but essentially it is as close to my dream job as I will achieve at this point in my life.  I have a flexible schedule and it is very autonomous.  Furthermore, now that Headless Nick has left and I don't feel like I'm constantly being watched, it is more enjoyable than ever.

That said there are some drawbacks.  For one thing, I often get an assignment or task that is so boring my brain tries to escape out of my ears. And as is often the case, the reward for finishing one of those assignments is getting assigned a new boring task.

This has been the most snowless January I can remember in quite a while.  On the one hand I'm happy that I don't have to shovel a ton of snow or deal with bundling up the kids to take them to daycare.

On the other hand, I would like to have some snow to build a snowman or fort on the weekends for them to play with.  I had visions of them jumping off the deck from the old pool access door into a big pile of snow.

Guess that will have to wait until next year, which might be better anyway as they'll be a year older and more susceptible to the idea that you don't jump off every high place, just the one Daddy approves.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Easy and Expensive versus Cheap and Complicated

Every since we moved into our house, I've wanted to figure out a way to get music to play throughout the house.  The previous owner did run some speaker wire from the basement to the first floor and he also installed speakers in the kitchen that connect to an old school receiver which is located in a cabinet above the fridge.   [Note: the asshole actually left us a broken CD player but my buddy gave me his old school receiver.]

I can play celestial radio through it, but I'd like to be able to connect other speakers to this system and stream it throughout the house (well most likely just the living room, basement and perhaps back deck and maybe even the garage).  I hoped I would be able to buy some sound bars for the respective TVs and use those as wireless speakers when not watching television.

I'd also like to be able to stream Spotify as well as the music on my PC and even the CDs we still own.  Lastly, I want to do this as inexpensively as possible and don't want to fish wires to connect speakers back to the main receiver. 

So far my limited research (a trip to Best Buy and reading through the audio Forum at Tom's Hardware) indicates there are a couple of ways to do it, with the trade-off being between getting everything I want and the setup costs.

Upgrade the Receiver:  I could get a more modern receiver with Bluetooth and/or WiFi which would allow me to stream content over the kitchen speakers.  The drawback is that unless I buy the speakers that go with that brand of receiver, there is no guarantee they will all play nicely with one another.  And I would not be able to take advantage of the most of the receiver's output jacks because it has to be located in the kitchen cabinet and there is no practical way to connect any peripherals to it.

Connect an Audio Adapter: there are various adapters that connect to your old school receiver which just bring the WiFi piece.  I haven't found one that also includes bluetooth so you are limited in wireless speakers and sound bars.

It seems SONOS is the Platinum Standard out there, though there are cheaper solutions out there.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Today's thoughts

One of the things I'm working on this year is reducing my FB friends list.  I'm shooting for getting it below 500.  At the moment I'm removing people who hardly ever log in, or I've had zero or next to zero interaction with in the 8+ years I've been on FB.  I'm sure FB is part of the problem because it doesn't let everyone see everyone's stuff.

I'm struggling mostly with what i call my Loyalty Friends.  These are people who I use to interact with in some way back in the day but don't anymore.  They haven't done anything to me and haven't unfriended me so it seems jerkish to do the same to them. 

I have at least 5 dead friends on Facebook.  Obviously they don't appear in my feed but I wonder if they do influence the algorithm?  I notice that whenever I unfriend a few people, within a day or two I start seeing friends in my feed that I haven't seen in years.  Conversely, I get comments from friends who usually don't comment so I suspect they are suddenly seeing me in their feed where I was missing before. 

Thus instead of unfriending a hundred people at once, I'm going at it slower just to see who shows up. 

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Catch up post for posterity

Winter cold and snow don't bother me much although I enjoyed them more as a kid than as an adult.
However, when the temps are as cold as they have been this week as low as 10 and as high as only 20, then it gets beyond annoying.  It's too cold to be outside for very long even if you are bundled up.  God forbid I have to do something outside like minor work on a car.

Winter is a series of milestones, like a drunk walking home, lurching from parking meter to lamppost. I’m already seeing pitchers-and-catchers-report numbers here and there. In one month, I’ll start noticing that the days are in fact growing longer. Then snowstorms will give way to freezing rain, then the first false hope of an early spring, then spring itself.  -- Nancy Nall

We caught a lucky break that the snow melted over Christmas break and hasn't returned...yet.  That may change next week.  My mom earned another trip to the hospital because she had pneumonia.  So she got to spend the holidays in the ICU and is not sitting with an oxygen tank in our home.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Rogue One Review

Over the holidays, Nightingale and I were able to break away from our kids and see Rogue One.  I did not hate Rogue One, but I have issues with it.  I knew enough about the plot and the ending from spoilers so I wasn't shocked or surprised.  I cannot really put my finger on what I didn't like though I agree with a lot of what she said here.

I think the biggest part that bothered me was the last 20 minutes.  We know they succeed in getting the plans, so did we really need to create drama with a giant claw machine picking out data tapes from a very big shelf that, oh what a surprise, gets jammed just as the correct file is accessed?

I would have been fine with them getting the file, perhaps still climbing to the top of the tower to broadcast and having a shoot out with Director K.  We didn't need the additional plot line of the rebels on the ground needing to create an uplink directly to the attacking fleet to let them know that an important transmission was coming.  This could have been re-directed into just buying Jyn and Cassian more time to finish their task.

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Changes to MOL in 2017

For a while I've been wondering what to do with this blog while also writing over at ChicagoNow (although I haven't posted there in a while either).  I've decided for now that this will be more of the archive of my personal life, as much as i feel shareable on the internet.  To that end, I'll probably write shorter but more frequent stream of conscious posts to capture something that is going on at the moment for posterity sake.

I am also probably going to split Two for Tuesday posts into separate posts instead of one post with two primary subjects.  Or not.

Precise number of crackers permitted

I'm attempting a Sugar Detox this week.  I'm weary of New Year's resolutions and goals that set one up to fail but  I figure even I can pull something like this off if it is only 3 days.   I decided to start today because that frees me up for the weekend.  Your body doesn't know the difference between 71 and 72 hours, and the only reason it is three days is because you need some measurable.  Although I suspect that is also the average time it takes to get all the sugar out if there is any science behind this one.  So I figured I'd start when I woke up today and when I wake up on Friday it's back to normal.  The hardest part will be not having an alcoholic beverage before bedtime.

If this is successful, I may make it a monthly thing, or I can try to expand it to 4 days, or do it every week.  Will just have to see how it goes.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Starting 2016 on the right foot

If my scale is correct, I weigh 5 pounds less than I did a year ago.    This is somewhat incredible to me because I haven't exactly been a workout fiend of late and winter is usually when your body stores fat, not loses it.

I did run two consecutive days so there is that.