Category Archives: Stray Thoughts

It could be bunnies!

It’s almost Easter. Where did the time go? Still writing. Still working on the newest part of my ‘Yucatan Job‘ series.

A side note – for those wanting a taste of Yucatán culture – there’s a cooking show on PBS ‘Pati’s Mexican Table‘ and in Season 5 Pati Jinich. the host, spends time exploring Yucatan and cooks Yucatecan influenced dishes.

Rick Bayless, in his cooking show ‘Mexico-One Plate at a Time‘, also on PBS, spends time in Yucatan.

Two different approaches/shows. Pati visits with more ‘ordinary’ cooks while Rick spends times with “Chefs” before cooking.

Slow? Or is that just me?

Might be time to move to a faster hosting server. Granted, it seems to be only WordPress generating that first page that feels slow. When the server does other things, like backup of the blog or other things, it responds okay.

Or I need to start using this one more, considering it isn’t free.

NaNo Survived

Made it through NaNoWriMo 2015. Though it looked close there for a couple days. Managed to hit the minimum ten minutes before the end.

Can’t say it’s very readable. Gonna take months to turn it into a “real” story. But it’s done, and I’ll be busy with real life things for the next month or two first.

Rambling thru August

I’m not a huge Windows user, except at work. 85% of my work days are spent using Visual Studio doing something with C#. Coding, fixing bugs (usually other peoples in some legacy app), enterprise back end stuff. Rarely UI/UX unless it’s a bug in something.

(I’m actually working on my first new coding project of the year. Heavily UI based, though I’m following a design by someone else. Fun stuff. CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, etc. things I don’t get to do very often for work projects except when bug fixing.)

The rest of my time is spent in Outlook or other office tools. With the occasional foray into things like Balsamiq or LinqPad.

At home? I’m heavily invested in the Apple ecosphere. I’ve been a Mac use for over 2 decades. OS X user since 10.0. And an iOS user since it became available.

I’m not looking forward to Windows 10. I don’t have any issues with Windows 8.1 (at home) and Windows 7 ( at work). After all… Visual Studio works just fine on them. I can just ignore the minor  nits in 8.1. Why change now?

One of those days

Ugh! Office politics!

Ever have one of those days where you do your job as requested, but someone else above you or in  a different department thinks you shouldn’t have done it that way? Maybe you inadvertently stepped on some toes you didn’t know were there? Because this job ‘task’ intersected with their ‘spear of influence’ ?

And now, you wonder if you’ll have a job the next day? And should you be polishing your resume, after 20 years working for the same company (in assorted roles) ?

 

That as me when I got home from work yesterday. Feeling the unemployment avalanche headed my way.

Not a good feeling. Maybe I’ll win the lottery and it won’t matter? I’ve got enough in the bank right now that I could spend 6 months job hunting. Not that I want to. I like what I do, just not the politics than I’m suddenly running into (The tech lead in my group left a couple months ago, with no replacement in sight, and now I’m getting hit with their stuff in addition to mine. Maybe this was why they really left? Office politics making it impossible to do their job? Just a wild guess.)

Halfway

Beginning of July. 2015 is half over. Yeah?

Going to be busy work wise this summer. Not going to be able to take vacation time in August like I normally do. Too many things due this and next month. Maybe in September/October? We’ll see.

But still writing. Trying to get something done for the 2015 IDF. 

Now in progress

I’ve started posting the next installment of my pseudo-space opera, The Yucatan Job – written for NaNoWriMo 2014, to both AO3 and Ff.Net. Posting frequency? Approximately 1 chapter per month, as I revise it (It was a bit incoherent/messy towards the end.).

AO3: All the world’s a Stage

Ff.net (entire series in 1 fic) : The Yucatan Job Book III

At this point it’s looking like there will be a side story between Book III and Book IV (tentative title: The Battle for Earth ) though it may not be written any time soon. Or it might be my NaNoWriMo 2015 novella. Not sure yet.)

Quarterly Update

Yes. Still here.

Just a simple short update.

January and a large portion of February was spent dealing with RL (aka work) issues and a server meltdown/move over at TtH. But that’s done and we’re moving forward.

I’ve started writing more, though I have so many unfinished fics that it’s hard to pick one to focus on. But I’m getting there.

I haven’t started fixing up my NaNoWriMo 2014 story yet to make it postable, at all the usual places. Although I made the word count quota in time, the actual story? Maybe 2/3 done. So getting it ready to share will take some time. Hopefully by the end of March.

I Survived NaNoWriMo 2014

Yup. Managed to hack out 50,360 words in 28 days. Wrote some after that but was unable to update the official count before the official end. No matter. I made it. 4th year in a row.

Unfortunately, the story itself? Approx. 2/3 done. So, not only will I start revising it in January to post to ff.net and AO3, I need to actually finish it. Oops. And I might end up deleting the last chapter or two. I inserted another fandom, turning it into a true crossover but the crossover characters are stealing the show, and I’m not thrilled with that. So they might have to go or be toned down a bit, back to supporting players. We’ll see what happens.

But first a break to decompress before I do that.

Don’t buy tires like me

For those who wonder, and can’t be bothered to click on my Flikr link, I drive a 2001 BMW 325i sedan. Very basic model. Manual transmission, almost no electronics. It’s like a large go cart. It came with almost no options. Except the sports package (slightly better suspension. Large/wide tires.  Smaller steering wheel.)

(I bought it used. I believe I’m the 3rd owner. 1st owner was military (hence the serious lack of options. Been there,  done that) who took it to Hawaii. Eventually it ended up here, where I bought it, and spent some $$ to bring it up to spec (or at least as close as it could get at 89K miles). The doors leak when it rains. The inside of the front doors? Needs to be reupholstered or something.

Its been my daily/only driver since (replaced a 94 530i that was eating my wallet alive) with 167K on it now.

We won’t talk about the airbag recall (I’m 200th on the local dealer waiting list. Might get it replaced before next summer.). That’s a hassle of another sort. (I usually give the T a ride to visit the folks at Thanksgiving. This year, now that we know about the airbag issue (BMW says – don’t let anyone sit in the front passenger seat until it’s fixed. The airbag is off unless someone sits there. The dealer says – safety feature, can’t turn it off.), she gets to sit in the back for her part of the trip. Of course, she usually sleeps most of the way so it isn’t a big deal. Just gonna be strange.

So, Let’s talk about tires. My tire buying habit is not recommended for anyone low on cash. But it works for me.  Remember that sports package part? That means there’s only a limited selection for tires. The 530i had a similar issue.( I just think BMW likes picking odd sized tires!)

I buy Kuhmos. Cheap, for that size, but tread life? Not the best. They are decent in wet weather/snow for the first 5K miles so I buy them right before Thanksgiving . Takes me thru winter and a trip up north with decent tread. But by late April, they are basically summer tires. Still good in warm weather. By October? Still some tread on them (10K -12K miles on them at that point. Still decent but then the cold weather hits and… they turn into  large hockey pucks. Rocks have better traction than these things on cold roads after 15K miles.

If if I didn’t travel up north into the snow belt at least once a year, I could safely get another 5K out of them. But I do, so, November = another new set of tires.

That gives me good rubber on the road for the parts of winter when I need it.

Sure, I could spend twice as much on better tires and get two years on them but this works for me budget wise. Spreads the tire buying pain out. And I’d have to deal with less traction on 2 year old tires. Back when I lived up north I had snow tires but that is a wasted expense around here, even on bad years.

(My mechanic thinks I’m crazy for doing it this way, but he doesn’t argue, just throws the new ones on my car every fall and gives away the old ones to someone who needs something better than the bald tires they have now.)

Now, if you looked up the tires I buy, they don’t get great reviews… From people who expect them to last 30 – 40K miles like the limited warranty says, but those first 15K miles? They get the job done. I couldn’t imagine trying to get 30K from them unless you lived in Florida, or Texas.

Did I mention they’re cheap for that size?

 

One of those days…

Did the early voting thing, then purged the craziness of the proposed State Constitution amendments (The Rude Pundit goes to town on them on his blog in his usual style.) with a trip across the street to my favorite toy store.

And then returned home to find out that a Moderator over at Twisting the Hellmouth (who quit today for reasons) had, on his way out the door, deleted 8 stories. (Mostly mine and I can put them back… but still!!!) I guess he was making a statement. Pointless. But a statement. About Abuse of Power. By engaging in some. And disappointing because I thought he was a grown-up.

And I haven’t had time for dinner yet!!! Good thing I ate a big lunch.

Just AirPlaying around

So, apparently AirPlay is this thing where your Mac or iPad or iPhone can send audio/video to another device, like a newer Apple TV and use that gadget to play/show it.

So, I could play a movie on my iPad and have it show up on the tv my Apple TV is attached to.

Got it?

Okay, so my Pioneer receiver that all of my HDMI gadgets (PS3, Apple TV, cable box, etc) are attached to and I basically use as an expensive HDMI switch (radio? What’s that?) also supports AirPlay, but I’ve been ignoring that because I don’t use AirPlay.

Well… Suddenly yesterday, my receiver kept switching to AirPlay when I used the remote for my older 1st gen Apple TV (I use that as a media server. The new Apple TV does streaming from my Mac and the Internet . Eventually I’ll get rid of the old one and just have the new one… But anyway…)

I’m not sure what was going on there but one of those times it showed a program I DON’T have anywhere in my video collection on any device. I didn’t think it could pick up AirPlay devices not on my local network… Weird.

Need to fix that. Turn it off! How is that getting to my receiver past my router?

And then, my new Apple TV kept showing some message about AirPlay. Turns out, it somehow was in conference room mode. And was displaying instructions for using that. What? Not sure how that happened. But I turned it off. Also reconfigured the new Apple TV so random AirPlay user can’t send anything to MY Apple TV, which shouldn’t be possible either.

Such weirdness for a feature I don’t use.

Honestly Apple, what was that!

So, Apple held their yearly new iPad intro yesterday. I don’t recall seeing an Apple event on a Thursday before but it seemed to go fairly well. Jokes from Tim Cook about the “accidental” leak of some iPad specs the day before (that sucked the air out of a Google announcement on Wednesday. Oops?)

Jokes about Apple secrecy (with an appearance by Steve Colbert.

So, new iPad Mini. I was looking forward to that one. Not anymore. It’s basically an iPhone 5s with a big screen and no phone bits in the mini case. zzzzzzz.

The new iPad Air? Much better. It got all the improvements, including a case redesigned. New CPU, a variant on the iPhone 6’s cpu/gpu. Faster networking, etc.

New iMac with retina display (higher res than those new 4K TVs ) could almost buy 2 maxed out MacBook Airs for a maxed out iMac. Not on my wish list.

Mac mini upgrade… Well, I was thinking of getting a second one to replace my older 1st gen AppleTV, but not this year. It has faster wifi than my current mini and 2(!) thunderbolt 2 port. And much better graphics. But the top end machine has a cpu less powerful than my current mini. Wtf Apple. Off the wish list until the NEXT refresh I guess.

There were also some software updates. OS X Yosemite is now out on the Mac store. (Something to do this weekend!). And a bunch of program updates to go with it.

IOS 8.1 (already?) will be released on Monday.

Those are the highlights.