10:25 AM Saturday, February 1, 2020
Missed a January update completely. Went back on a keto diet. Tried intermittent fasting, but didn't seem to be losing any weight, and just didn't make me happy at all. At least on keto I'm seeing results and I'm not so hangry. Found out my pneumonia induced normal blood pressure was because of the illness, and not because I wasn't drinking coffee or eating. Started looking into Nerf and modding a lot, because Jackson got a bunch of Nerf guns, thinking I'd get one to mod for my birthday. But I ended up dropping and breaking my Apple Watch 4, which was out of warranty. Went without one for a couple days, contemplated trying a kind of smart watch (Withings Move or Steel HR), but realized I actually use the smart watch functionality of the Apple Watch. So, after getting confirmation it would cost about half as much as getting a new watch as it would be to get the old one fix, moved up to an Apple Watch 5 Titanium Space Black. Same week Tracy was complaining about the battery life on her iPhone 8, so first got her a Morphie Juice Pack Air, but while that was shipping, managed to talk her into just getting a new phone instead. So ordered iPhone 11 Pros for both of us, gold for her, space black for me. So a little weird getting Apple Watch and iPhone not immediately after release. Think we're off the 2 year cycle for good, start stretching device ownership out longer. Also now fully Space Black (iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch). Also, no birthday presents for me. Besides a Nerf gun or two, was also thinking of a second Nintendo Switch for the house, or a RetroPi Arcade cabinet. Maybe Arbor Day? Oh, really enjoyed watching Kim's Convenience. Like The Leftovers, but that's a rough watch. A to Z was also pretty good. And caught the first episode of Star Trek: Picard while it was free on YouTube. Definitely getting CBS All Access] in March once all the episodes are available, unless I give in before then. Also realized we now have Apple TV+ for a year. So need to check out For All Mankind and Little America.
10:05 AM Saturday, March 21, 2020
So last post, about a month and a half ago, was about new phones and watch, and what TV I was watching. Now just more TV. Repurposed my old hackintosh and put Ubuntu on it. It's been much more stable. Thinking of getting an eSATA disk enclosure, using ZFS, and moving the Plex server there (instead of my current mess on the Mac mini with TV and Movies spread out over 4 different volumes. Started finally watching Mr. Robot, about midway through the 4th season there. Before that ripped through Dark (great) Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet (great), the John Wick movies, the Fantastic Beasts movies. Also put Unbound (dns server) on the PiHoles as well as PiVPN (WireGuard), which means we should be good when we get to leave the house again. Oh yeah, Covid-19. I was supposed to go to Ottawa for a work trip March 8-10, but decided not to go because this virus was becoming a thing, didn't want to go through an airport or anything. Then started working from home the rest of that week (I was in on March 9 because there was a blood drive and I could finally donate again). Then the NBA cancels the season, CPS closes schools for a couple weeks, we started self isolating pretty much on Friday, March 13. Grocery stores went bare for a bit then I think got restocked, but I haven't been lately. It's only been 1 week for the kids at home, Lucy's doing well, organized, doing homework. Jackson on the other hand has been a challenge. He does rip through his morning work and his worksheets pretty quickly, and they started up like 30 min of elearning (via Zoom) with Ms. V on Thursday go forward, but even that's a struggle. He's definitely going to be a second job. I think I've left the house twice in 8 days or so. So, a pretty normal week for me. Been having family dinners at the kitchen table, and game night afterwards. Self quarantine means everyone's home for dinner at the same time. Tracy got some more board games, although been playing more mahjong than anything lately. So getting things done that have been on the plate for a while.
4:04 PM Wednesday, April 22, 2020
So still living the Q-Life. Kids are eSchooling for the rest of the year. Got a new MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2020) for Lucy (and Tracy), since the MacBook Air (11-inch Late 2010) she was using couldn't even do the Google Hangouts Meets for school. Figure a new laptop every 10 years works out. Jackson's good on the iPad Pro (9.7-inch) for his Zoom morning sessions and video watching and Happy Numbers, Raz Kids, Flocabulary, Mystery Science and Brain Pop websites. Contemplating another printer because of all the printing we have to do for Jackson, since he doesn't want to use the iPad to do any of it, even though we do have an Apple Pencil that works with it. I've upgraded my work from home setup, got a Twelve South Curve stand for the work MacBook Pro, another Magic Trackpad 2 to go with the Magic Keyboard I originally got for my iPad Pro 11-inch as external trackpad/keyboard, and a couple TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp which helps working at the kitchen table. So been spending some money getting all set up. A couple of the most useful purchases were a couple 3 tier storage carts that fit under the table where the kids put their school stuff and I put my work stuff, since we all work at the kitchen table. For non school/work stuff, put up a wire between trees in the front so we can hang the screen and do movie nights with the neighbors. Had to get a couple Anker SoundCore 2 speakers that do fancy wireless stereo pairing. Using an extra Roku 3 as the source, and I think it'll get a wifi signal in the front yard. So excited to do that when the weather gets nice enough. Haven't been eating all that healthy, but trying to get back on that horse. Trying to do a little exercise daily for a change. Watched through a bunch of things. After polishing off Mr. Robot, moved on to Star Trek: Picard, all 9 Fast and the Furious movies, and the newest season of Kim's Convenience. Think I want to finish reading the other Witcher Anthology the Netflix Series is based on before watching that. Still working on repurposing the Hackintosh hardware, and I think I'm using Docker for the installs, which is pretty cool. Think I'll eventually want to dockerize this site to make it easier to develop/deploy/builld. Back to food, had my first experience with Alinea via carryout a couple times. Good, but I'm sure no where nears as good as eating there. Best thing was the cocktail kit (which included a full bottle and enough mixers for it) (that was from The Aviary. Pretty cool. Finally upgraded to a bigger coffee maker, OXO BREW 9 Cup Coffee Maker. Typed this out on the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 11-Inch (2nd Generation). It's amazing. Also decided to wear a suit today. Never really would otherwise. I do get dressed for work like I'd be going (to get into the work mindset).
9:03 PM Sunday, May 31, 2020
Another month goes by. Still home schooling Jackson. Went back to just the laptop for work from home setup. Otherwise, life goes on. Built a couple big LEGO sets, LEGO 70620 Ninjago City and LEGO 10255 Assembly Square. Had those for a while. Not sure if I want to build more or wait until I can set up future modulars on the MILS bases. Not sure what would be up next. Maybe LEGO 70618 Destiny's Bounty since that doesn't need a MILS base. Decided go get back on keto. Weight started to pack on. Simple home workout every morning seems to be paying off. Watched a bunch of different shows. Finally watched the first season of Homecoming. Watched Bodyguard (from Netflix). Had another neighbor movie night with Spies in Disguise. Watched Salvation. That one was interesting. Finally watched Triple Frontier and Extraction. Finally watched Dark Phoenix. Kids recently discovered Avatar: The Last Airbender. Finally got temps getting logged to influx from both the 1Wire setup and the Google Nest Temperature sensors (that one through a python script pulling through homebridge). Finally setup a home behavior clip chart for Jackson (also through influx, and Shortcuts, with a php page to display his color). Bleached Lucy's tips, and colored them purple. Tried to bleach Jackson's tips and color them blue, but didn't take as well. And bleached my full head of hair and tried to do purple tips with blue underneath. Been about 20 years since I've done that. We've stopped having game nights pretty much. Every now and then. Found out we're officially not going back to Willis Tower before we move to the Macy's Building for work. So won't have to go into the office at least for another month or two.
10:19 PM Monday, June 29, 2020
Black Lives Matter. And it seems like things really are changing this time. That there's actually progress. That society seems to be moving forward again, after all the steps back in the last 4 years or so. It's heartening. Onto more mundane things. Another month with Covid-19. While I see numbers going up in various places in the US, glad to see Chicago/Illinois not among them. Happy to see lots of people wearing masks while out and about. Happy that school's over, and my second job as teaching assistant is over for now. I did go into the office one day to pack up my stuff, since out office is moving. Won't be able to get into the new one until the end of July at the earliest, but who knows when they'll actually allow us in. Numerator's been really good about being cautious with reopening. Been going to the pool at the gym a bunch since they pseudo reopened (you have to book 30 minutes at a time in one of 3 separate sections of the pool. Lucy's started up swim practice (in groups of 4) as of today. Finally booked a blood donation appointment in a couple weeks. It'll get tested for Covid antibodies, so curious to see if I had it or not. Went out to Starved Rock for the day (instead of the week long trip to Orlando that was cancelled). Started to socialize a little (like 1 other family at a time), usually outside. Looking foward to the Apple OS releases this fall as previewed at WWDC 2020. Planning on nuke and paveing everything, and limiting the stuff that gets installed. I'm really hopeful they'll release a version of macOS for the iPad Pro 11-inch that I have. Seems like a real possibility. And plan on getting new computers in a couple years, maybe. I took the iMac off the kitchen desk (turned it into a standing laptop desk for work), and not really missing it. Made my way through Ozark, The Witcher (tv series), and Devs. Next up: final season of Dark.
8:57 PM Saturday, August 1, 2020
Missed writing a July post. I'm blinking and time's going right on by. We went camping as a family for the first time. Went to the Kohler-Andrae State Park, just south of Sheboygan. Pretty cool. Things to remember for next time: more blankets or sleeping bags, even in the summer; more firewood; wear bug spray, bring micro USB cable to recharge mosquito repellant device; possibly get one of those car rooftop storage units; bring swim shorts that would actually dry. But we liked it enough we're planning on going again. So yeah, we're campers. I think. Maybe we just got lucky with our first trip. Besides that, I'm trying to get better about sleeping. Haven't really been keto at all. Caught up on a lot of TV. Finished Dark, watched ZeroZeroZero, The Outsider, My Boys and started Happy Endings. Actually read some stuff, finishing Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation and Snow Crash and started Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asguard The Sword of Summer so Lucy has someone to talk to about it.
6:23 PM Sunday, August 9, 2020
Missed the 22nd anniversary of this blog on Wednesday. Was on vacation in Lakeside, MI, for the week. Had very spotty cellular service and wifi service at the Lakeside Inn. Otherwise, quite relaxing. Pretty much 4 beach days on a sparsely populated sandy beach, with super rough waves transitioning to calmness over the trip. Got to use a Maui Mat for the first time. Pretty fun. Super sore from that and the over 100 step staircase to get down the beach. Thanks to the Brizzolara's. Loved having a campfire on the beach. Super useful for warming up when getting out of the water, and for cooking hot dogs and s'mores. Can definitely see heading back there again. Thinking we need to get another Nintendo Switch. Lucy's playing lots of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Jackson plays a lot of Minecraft and Minecraft: Dungeons with Hudson. So their playtime is butting up against each other. Just found out Lucy's Roblox account got hacked into, and she lost a bunch of legendary pets in Adopt Me. So upgraded her password, setup 2 factor authentication, added a settings PIN, so hopefully she won't have a problem going forward. But still sucks. Who takes things from a clearly child's account? Some awful people out there. Also, Roblox/Adopt Me has no active session information, or trade history, so can't tell who took her stuff. Annoying. Been writing here for 22 years, on and off, mostly monthly now. And will probably keep on writing as long as I can I guess. No reason to stop. Here's to many more.
2:11 PM Sunday, September 27, 2020
Figure it's time for a monthly post. Still chugging along. School's started for the kids. Changed the arts and crafts room into a classroom, reused a my old Anthro computer desk for the kids desks. Jackson's on an old iPad Pro (9am-2pm with lunch at 11:30) and Lucy's on her MacBook Air (9am-2:30pm with lunch as 12:30). I'm back at the kitchen table. Been using an old set of Jabra Move bluetooth headphones because I thought I might be coming down with swimmer's ear, so waiting a bit before going back to Airpods Pro. Airpods Studio, or whatever the over the ear headphones Apple will hopefully release, are day 1 buys for me. Lucy uses headphones for her classes but Jackson hasn't found a pair that's comfortable, so he just uses speakers. Forgot, but right after the last post the dechero came through Chicago and we lost power for 3 days, Monday Aug 9 - Wednesday afternoon. We managed. Went to the gym a couple of times, powered up devices off batteries. Tracy was actually off, so that wasn't a problem. Actually worked out of the Brizzolaras while they were out at Lakeside, and Tracy and the kids went to the beach for the day, and I also moved Tracy's work stuff over in case we still didn't have power when she had to work again. But we got power back in time. But that was rather interesting, no TV, no AC. Did get another Nintendo Switch, which is pretty much a dedicated Animal Crossing: New Horizons machine for Lucy. Bought some foam dart guns that are actually too powerful to use in the basement, so those as just mine, not the kids. Back on keto, and skipping breakfast, so I guess intermittent fasting too. Going to try and start biking again, maybe just once a week in the morning when Tracy isn't working. First time back and went downtown to figure out the work commute to the new office whenever we do end up going back in. Started reading again. Really really like Leviathan Wakes. Very impressive. Now on The Amber Spyglass so I can watch His Dark Materials. I always stay up way too late on Thursdays cause I watch Ted Lasso and The Boys when new episodes come out. Also started working my way through the MCU again. Finished Phase 1 and started Phase 2.
8:23 PM Sunday, October 18, 2020
Finished up watching the current Marvel Cinematic Universe. Took me 27 days to complete. Definitely pick up things when you know the story so far. And, I'm not afraid to admin, hits the emotions a bit more when all the stories are all so fresh. It is an impressive piece of work. Random thought: in some other Earth in the Multiverse, I'm talking about the DC Cinematic Universe instead. Ted Lasso is amazing. I finally tried out sonarr and radarr and those are amazing tools. I also rediscovered newsgroups through those systems and nzbget. Bought way too much Nerf guns lately, stocking up I guess for future gifts. Or because I don't want to miss out on them in the future. Keep waiting for Apple to release the AirPods Studio (nothing at last month's Watch/iPad event, nothing at most recent iPhone event). Not my year to upgrade. Might not upgrade for a couple years. eLearning's been going ok for the kids. Still chugging along. Car has a weird slow leak on one of the tires. Did some rearranging in the kitchen (toaster oven got moved off the island). Finally gave in after a cold morning and ordered up Slankets for the whole family. Worth it. Going to eventually upgrade the family iMac (sticking with the most recent Intel so we can Boot Camp Windows if necessary, as well as VESA because that's just cool). Trying to use my Fujifilm X-E3 more. Ever since the new iOS update and putting the photo widget on my home screen and seeing old photos unearthed, makes me want to take more and better photos. Still have to finish reading The Amber Spyglass. Started trying to get a weekly bike ride in, usually Wednesday morning, pretend that I'm biking in to the office and back. Also trying out intermittent fasting (12/8), so basically just skipping breakfast, and trying to stay keto too, but neither of which happens on the weekend.
9:29 PM Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Let's see, SCI had to come and replace the Lutron Main controller, and then had to completely reprogram the replacement. Completed binge watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Good stuff there. Rewatched season 1 of The Mandalorian, and thoroughly enjoying season 2. Also because of episode 3 I started watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars (tv series), didn't realize there was a movie that started it off, so watched that maybe 14 episodes in, and trying to plow through those. Pretty heavy stuff. Had to believe it was on the Cartoon Network. Seems more adult than anything. And I'm only in season 2. Also decided to lighten things up so started The New Girl from the beginning. Got the new iMac, mounted on a VESA arm, which is pretty cool. It's currently the only Big Sur machine in the house. Got a High Sierra (old iMac), Mojave (Mac mini server) and Catalina (MacBook Air). Maybe after the next quarter for Lucy I'll update the MacBook Air. But having a 27" retina screen? Awesome. Immediately set up Boot Camp on it, and installed a bunch of games. Ended up getting both a PS4 Dual Shock controller (because I thought it was the best) and then an XBox Wireless controller (because it's better supported in Windows). The additional gaming started because I grabbed the free Google Stadia Pro setups that were offered to YouTube Premium subscribers, so I grabbed one each for me and the kids. I'd have to say, it's pretty impressive. First game played: Destiny 2. Helps that it's free to start, and only pay for DLC (and probably other stuff, but that's the only stuff I bought so far). Even set it up on the projector in the garage when Hudson came over once. Quality of game streaming, at one point it was doing 4K I think because I had it hooked up directly to the TVs, was really impressive. I mean, the controller sends commands over WiFi to the servers which send the video data down to the Chromecast, which you then respond to and send commands back up over WiFi and video down WiFi. Pretty cool. The fact that you just plug in Chromecasts to play makes Stadia the clear winner for me, but not enough to keep paying for it after the free trial. Oh, on my "bike commute" the morning after the election, got hit by a car. Cracked the frame on my Raleigh Carbon Clubman. I had a bump abrasion on the left lower forehead, abrasions on the knees and bruising and swelling on the right knee. All rather civilized. Lady stopped, got a lot of help from bystanders, especially a guy who lived on Southport and was driving next to me, ended up being a witness for the police report and giving me a ride home. I'd say I'm pretty much back up to speed physically. The frame seems like the only unsalvageable part, so I parted it out. I just realized I could maybe get a new frame and put a bike together. Shut down the get togethers we seemed to be ramping up as the pandemic ramped up again. Maybe in a couple weeks we'll get back to hanging out again without masks. It's weird to go back to that. Trying out some intermittent fasting (16:8), non Keto. Seems to be maintaining. Also trying cutting out coffee. I was doing like 3 cups a day for a while. Wasn't helping my blood pressure. So I've switched to tea (black, mostly Earl Grey, some English/Irish Breakfast). Thanksgiving came and went, only sous vide the breasts, Tracy roasted the legs/thighs/wings (she had a whole bird broken down). Made Tracy a Key Lime Pie Layer Cake (from Milk Bar) for her birthday, and more key lime tarts for Thanksgiving. Implemented Game Night in the house again on Tuesdays. Fairly eventful November.