Category Archives: geek stuff

Air!

It’s been a rough month or so for me in terms of work. Basically been nonstop in order to try to stay ahead or keep up (it changes, depending on the day), and for quite a few weekends, I would take Saturday off for my sanity but be working from home on Sunday to keep getting shit done.   What have I been doing?  Making myself invaluable in the world of COBOL apparently:

The Inevitable Return of COBOL

Take a gander at that article.  That’s been my life, getting to know the client’s COBOL programs and decipher them into readable pseudocode.  What’s amusing to me is that I honestly might be learning this skill that keeps me gainfully employed; it’s not sexy by any means, but so much still runs on a COBOL backbone and industry is just not really ready to ignore the ol’ adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Anyway, the 3-4 weeks of intensity has managed to finally get lessened due to that hard work.  So that’s been great.  It’s still busy during the week of course, but I have been able to take a full weekend both this one and the last.  Yay!

So, what else has been going on?  Let’s go through some of the pictures, shall we?

Twin Peaks

OH MAN.  So much excitement with Season 3 coming up in like a month.  I have to keep expectations in check, but it’s so exciting to realize we’ll get some answers one way or another so soon.

A few weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly released 3 covers that all had to do with Twin Peaks.  If you lined them all together, you could see they all formed one “last supper”-ish picture of major components of the cast.  When I realized this was happening, I managed to finally get to Barnes & Noble and snag 2 of the 3 covers, but of course the ‘good’ cover was the one I couldn’t find, which was the one with David Lynch, Cooper, Laura and Audrey.  Of course.   I held out one piece of hope though – that Larry’s subscription issue would come with that cover, and happily enough, that turned out to be the case.  All 3 covers were MINE.

I am so freakin’ excited for this.

Here are some more official photos of the covers in their full glory:

In the midst of all my geekery, I went back to Welcome To Twin Peaks and looked at their video links.  One of them was to what has been thus far an amazing analysis series that covers the entirety of the show, and while it leaves a lot of the charming and esoteric details for when watching the show, you can watch this analysis and get a pretty great sense of what has happened in advance of Season 3:

Journey Through Twin Peaks, A 4-Hour Video Essay Exploring The Series, The Film & More

I’d just managed to finish watching through to the recap of winding down from solving the Laura Palmer mystery, and am interested in how it deals with the Windom Earle plot as well as Miss Twin Peaks and the dive into the Black Lodge.  And of course, the frustrating then-“series” finale which is no longer the bane of the show’s existence.  “How’s Annie?”, indeed.

Fun @ WeHo’s Flaming Saddles

This guy is ridiculously hot, and I barely remember it at this point due to the alcohol consumption.

Yeah, so when you make it to one of WeHo’s very festive gay bars, you can rest assured eventually some hot mofo will be dancing around for you to ogle.  And sure enough, a weekend ago, Larry & I got to enjoy that pastime.  Greta was celebrating her birthday and her girlfriend Stacey invited us out to Flaming Saddles, a WeHo outpost of a place we’d also visited in NYC many years back.    Anyway, we had a blast.  After a few pitchers of beer, how could you not have fun?  Drag queens, gays, hot guys dancing around….yeah, you tell me how you can’t have fun.  Well, I can actually tell you the best way to fuck it all up:  add shots.  Larry & I had been drinking $13 pitchers of beer for a while, but of course when it’s a birthday party, people always think you need to add shots.  OOF.  Larry wisely and by necessity passed, but I was like SURE.  Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!  Yeah, I entered the zone of blackout drunk and a 36-hour hangover period.  Day drinking is a fun thing, but it’s not a right.  And you can easily fuck that up if you’re not careful.  Anyway, still a blast, and something I’d love to do again.  Just don’t mix.

If you get the chance to visit some place like Flaming Saddles or the Abbey, I highly recommend it.  What’s not to love?

Work Goes to the Standard Rooftop in DTLA

The new partner overseeing the national practice that I work in came to visit our humble Los Angeles office and meet us.  It was a good day and all of us were in the area so why not have an after-work happy hour atop the Standard Rooftop?  It’s just a block away from where we work, the weather was stunning, and the view was great.

See for yourself!

So that brings us to this weekend.  I’m obviously skipping a lot, but I’ll have to make up that differential with some more posts, like movies we’ve seen, etc.  In the meantime, it’s getting close to bed time and today has been a long one, with our Griffith Park run kicking it off and then a lot of work doing laundry, ironing, watching TV, and well, getting mentally prepared for another week.  Le sigh.

Hope all is going well out there for everyone else in this nutso time we live in.

Visiting the Twin Peaks Pop-Up in DTLA

I had been reading about the David Lynch “Festival of Disruption” that had been held this past weekend in Downtown Los Angeles at the Ace Hotel’s United Artists Theater.  It was a musical event with various interesting acts hand-picked by David Lynch…

It sounds like it could have been a cool event (see here: link to the festival’s website) to attend, but I didn’t really pay attention or know about it beforehand.  Tickets went fast.  But the good news was that my social media feed let me know that the pop-up shop situated in what would have been the ticket booth was going to be around for the following week (which is now this week).  And it was in DTLA, just a brisk walk away from where I work.  So YEAH, I was making my way there…as long as jury duty and/or work didn’t get in the way.  Happily, I wasn’t summoned to attend jury duty this week but still may have to go next week; and work is in a small in-between phase, so today during lunch, I did the walk over there.  It was so great, and happily not many people around at that time.   And of course, I got SWAG.  Here are the pics I took:

Still so excited for the return of this amazing show next year.  I honestly have no idea what to expect, and fully realize it could be a crazy-ass trainwreck.  But with David Lynch and Mark Frost both involved, I’m excited whether the results are good or bad.

A Fascinating LEGO Death Star Video

Someone put together the official LEGO Death Star construction kit and made a simply fantastic time-lapse video of it – what’s kind of cool is it’s not like a blocky-transition video, everything is very smooth.  Plus, as each room gets completed, a demonstration of what the room does as well as corresponding audio cues from the movies can be heard.  SO. COOL.

Still working on the next pictures post from Europe.  I got distracted this weekend by wanting to get out of the house….and also playing Anno 1404 like it was crack.  That game is a fun combination of city-building and renaissance themes much the same way Tropico 4 was….which means it’s eminently playable and addicting.  We also went out and saw The Girl on the Train and it was absolute garbage.  Okay, “absolute” is too strong a word, but it was such a waste of time and money.  Talk about a bad way of telling a story.  Recommendation:  PASS.   And then of course we had the second presidential debate yesterday evening and jesus, what a shit show.  It’s clear Donald Trump knows how to play to his base but once you get past the 90s-based attacks and listen to his word salad, it is just shocking he became the nominee for the GOP.  I’m still happily voting for Hillary Clinton and I love that he said we’d be getting a 3rd Obama term with her!  I WISH!

Space, Man…Like, Woah

Watching these videos I’m linking here create that kind of nausea in the pit of your stomach you feel when you realize that there’s just so Much SPACE out there and all our problems and cares don’t amount to a hill of beans in the grand epic scheme of things.  These videos are just stunning and jaw-dropping and much like the series Cosmos did, make you feel realllllly small.  And the Earth just looks so amazing from that ISS perspective.

So yeah, space, man.  Woah.  Time for a rewatch of Gravity to remind myself while the view up there is stunning, it’s likely at the risk of dying horribly.  😉

Saturday State Amidst the Horseshit

Hello everybody!  With Larry & I both having gotten a run in this afternoon, it feels like it is actually Sunday, as that’s when we normally do that.  But we’ve got some plans tomorrow so today was it!  I ended up trying a variant on the route I’ve been going, using the Griffith Park horse trails to run along.  I enjoyed it as it was a little bit more hospitable than the bike path along the eastern side of the 5 Freeway, but I got to about 3 miles in my run and was like, hmm…what to do now?  I didn’t really want to retrace my path I’d just taken so instead, I decided to go through the equestrian tunnel under the 5.

Will never go through this tunnel ever
Will never go through this tunnel ever28-Dec-2014 14:23, Canon Canon PowerShot SX600 HS, 5.0, 10.591mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 400
 

If you notice the caption of that photo, I mentioned EVER.  Well, I’m a dirty liar.  That was from a simpler time, back in December 2014, when Larry & I were strolling along.  But now it was a practicality – I wanted to get back to where I started and not have to go all the way around.  So this tunnel was the solution.  Funny enough, as I approach this point, I start seeing people on horses.  As I get closer, there are a LOT of people on horses.  And they’re all cowboy’d up with hats and flannel.  I slow down a bit thinking maybe they’re heading into the tunnel and I’ve missed my shot.  But then they all bunch up and hold short before the entrance, and I’m like, THIS IS IT.  I gotta go or I’m going to definitely be running through mounds of fresh horseshit.  So I high-tail it into the tunnel, quickly making sure I’m actually not prohibited from doing so – turns out, only bicycles aren’t allowed.  I head in and it is DARK in there.  The ambient light available does indicate that plenty of old horseshit is in the middle of the tunnel, so I wisely stay aligned against the left wall.  As I’m running, I start hearing over the music from my headphones the LOUD echoing of horse footfalls.  And it sounds like they’re moving fast!  So I put on turbo speed to make sure I’m not gonna get trampled, all the while hoping I don’t plop right into a pile of horseshit.  Happily, all horseshit was avoided and I was not trampled.

FitBit_23Jan2016

The tunnel is there at that southernmost point of the route – it’s a good run and I like that it’s a loop.  The previous runs on the bike trail are great, but can get boring.  Griffith Park is always a fun run.

saucony2016After we got back I ended up buying some new Saucony shoes – I realized I think I’ve had these current pair for much longer than I’m supposed to.  It’s been apparent to my feet for a little while now, especially now that I’m really trying to stay consistent with exercise and that I’m out in the world and not on my treadmill.

In Other News….

So how about that northeastern blizzard?  Very very glad to have made my visit there last week and not this one – I probably would have still been out of there in time, but eh, better safe than sorry.  Some of my FB friends have been posting snowfall pictures and I was telling Larry that I was having a bit of jealousy….then he slapped the sense back into me as while it can be pretty, if you actually have to go out in it to get somewhere, MEH.  I think most people are happy with it as it’s a Saturday and no one really needs to go anywhere.  So you can just go out, take some pics, then go back into the warmth and continue drinking.  Happily Larry’s family are all doing fine back there and the forecast is that it’ll be 40 degrees early next week so the snow won’t really get a chance to stick around.

Barbara was my next-door neighbor when I lived in the UWS of NYC and this is taken right outside where I used to live, looking west down West 72nd St.  Again, I momentarily missed this, but then I remembered that time when we got hit with a blizzard right before we were moving to California.  It was this kind of snow and we wanted to get a Duane Reade that was a few blocks further west than the view above.  PAIN. IN. THE. ASS.  So yeah, it’s neat, but I’m pretty thrilled with cloudy and 65.

Video Games!

There’s a few I’ve been playing and some I recently finished too – this is purely for my own fun so feel free to leave at this point.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (Finished)

ACS-media-SS-4-big_202195_202309What an amazing return to form for this series!  Unity was a pretty big disappointment, even if it was fun to run around Paris.  I did enjoy the sailing-ship entries such as Black Flag and Rogue, but those kind of are their own beasts.  AC 3, the one set in colonial America, had tons of potential too, but man that was a drag.  So yeah, someone figured out what needed to be done as Syndicate is just so much fun to play.  It’s set in Industrial/Victorian London, and you play as the Frye twins, Jacob & Evie.  They come in to rescue London from the grip of Templars who have command of the city; you can play as either twin throughout the game, which adds some interesting variety.  There are fun side activities and exploring the city of London is very gratifying.  You run into Darwin, Dickens, and Marx in your travels, and in the DLC, you can interact with and track down Jack the Ripper.  The game’s mechanics are just lots of fun, the story is compelling and well-written, Jacob & Evie are fun to tag along with, and it’s just a fun game.  Highly recommended!  (I’m honestly nervous about the news though that the next installment will take place in Ancient Egypt….)

King’s Quest, Chapter 2 (Abandoning…)

Kings_Quest_Chapter2_BannerI really did want to like this next chapter as I loved playing Chapter 1.  But the developers decided to add a mechanic of having to play everything exactly perfect if you want to save everyone trapped in the dungeon with you….and of course explain things ridiculously poorly.  Once you figure things out, it’s too late and even more hilariously, you really can’t restart the chapter.  It’s not clear if the next chapter will have actual repercussions, but I just don’t know how much I care.  Disappointing.

Undertale (Currently Playing…, Kinda)

Undertale-logoThis is a very independent game made by one guy that is getting a ton of raves.  It’s understandable why, as while the graphics are intentionally primitive, there is an interesting and quite funny story to be experience as you embark on your quest.  Also, you don’t have to kill anything and apparently, you really shouldn’t if you want the best ending.  That is frustrating to hear, as I did kill one of the “bosses” as it didn’t look like you could do anything but kill.  So now I’m thinking I need to replay the game, but I’m not motivated enough to do that just yet.  Instead, I kind of faded away from the game and figure once I’m done with some of the other games I’m playing, I’ll go back to it and replay it.  With no killing.

Fallout 4 (Now Playing)

fallout4_wallpaperI was pretty stoked for this game ahead of its release – both when seeing it at E3 last year and when the trailer came out.  BRING IT ON!  Then I started playing it when it released and I liked it, but didn’t immediately love it.  Then I remembered that I got Assassin’s Creed Syndicate “for free” when I bought my new graphics card, and I couldn’t help but start playing it.  Then I couldn’t stop and so I played till I finished it.  It was time to go back to Fallout and post-apocalyptic Boston though, and so I fired Fallout 4 up again and started fresh, and I’m in it this time.  I still haven’t actually entered “Diamond City”, the new name for Boston.  But I’ve been enjoying the outskirts so far and figuring out the new systems, like settlements and crafting.  I did find Walden Pond this morning and it’s hilarious to see it’s now a nearly empty nuked out shell of what I assume it once was/is.  It’s a wonderful game world and I’m kind of wondering how the main story will turn out, but I’ve been delaying that for a little while.  I should probably head into Boston and get shit started.

Diablo III (Now Playing)

VHGE1UOVGE431402697675171Yes, yes, I’ve been here before.  Diablo 3 has been out for a few years now, but it manages to keep coming back into my life.  First, I finally started playing it once the godawful Auction House idea was taken out.  It was awesome.  Then the expansion pack came out, and I waited awhile before getting it, but it was also a lot of fun.  Now there’s concepts of Seasons and Adventure Mode, both introduced in the expansion pack, but I didn’t actually explore them that much as I was happy with finishing the main story.  But I got sucked into it again and am playing a new Crusader character in Season 5 (don’t ask me what the different seasons mean…I don’t know) and it’s just a blast.  I’m hooked.