Category Archives: geek stuff

Cooking with Gas as We Exit the Awful 2018

I was no fan of 2018, that is for sure.   As 2018 ends though, there are good things on deck and I’ll hope that 2019 is a bit gentler and happier.  I felt like getting out the rest of the pictures I have from 2018 before NYE tonight, so here goes:

Last Holidays at AMLI:

Honestly, as we get ready to move into our new house, there will be some sadness at leaving our apartment here at the AMLI development.  We’ve been here for almost 4 years!  That’s one of the longest times I’ve lived anywhere.  The location was fantastic for being able to walk to dining, shopping, and movies, and it was a small apartment but not in a bad way.  Except for having people over – the small size definitely kept us from entertaining.   So yeah, the new house we’re getting will be much more amenable to having people over!

Cool Shot of the Grand Wilshire one night:

That’s the current tallest building in LA, technically, which is next to the PwC building in DTLA.   Pretty neat.

Paras & Carey Engagement / Holiday Party Fun – 15 Dec 2018

Our good friends Paras & Carey got engaged earlier this month!   It’s fantastic news and they’re such a fun couple and some of our favorite people.  They had friends over for a Holiday-then-Engagement party and man oh man did I get drunk.  What did me in was after a whole night of drinking red wine, we switched to champagne to toast the couple.   OOF.  Not a good idea, at least for me.  Definite hangover the next day.  Anyway – pics!

Happy Hour with PwC

Before the PwC holiday break, the group I work with at PwC had a nice happy hour after work, when we all had come in to meet for a prep session.   It was fun, and I do love working with these guys.   All very smart and all a lot of fun.

Christmas at Mom’s

I’ve had the week off because PwC shuts down during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  We didn’t expect to do much in terms of activities this week as we  knew we were gearing up to close on the house and buy a ton of appliances, so let’s just chill.   Unfortunately though, Larry ended up getting hit pretty hard with something that laid him out Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I ended up going to Mom’s by myself to meet up with Mom, Stacie, and Trent.  It was a fun time, but certainly my mind wasn’t all there thinking about Larry.

When I got back home from Mom’s, Larry was ready to go to the ER as he had a fever and it was just the culmination of him feeling really shitty.   As we prepared to do that, his fever kind of broke and we ended up not going.   Larry had chemo the next day (Wednesday) and both of us thought there’s no way he’ll be able to get it, but when we went in, the doctor ran blood tests and everything was better.   Some of the pain that Larry had been feeling in his chest area the doctor predicted was likely an ulcer in his esophagus area, likely from stress.   He got a prescription and that medicine seems to have helped – and whatever bug or illness was messing with him looks to have also gone away.

The last chemo session (Number 12!) was started on Wednesday and on Friday, he was able to say goodbye to the pump, hopefully for the last time.   It’s exciting to know that he’s past that first, super-intensive phase and that we know it did it’s job.  Now we just have to get ready for what comes next.  Hopeful that 2019 yields some good news there.

The Glen LA update:

First, we have wired our down payment to the escrow company, so things are feeling really fucking real as of today.   A closing date of today was actually in the cards, but because of the gas company (again) not being done with the installation until last week, the city sign-off won’t happen until next week (hopefully).

We did have two walkthroughs with the builder’s service rep over the past two weeks and folks, we not only have power, we DO have gas as well!   There are a good number of small little things, mostly touch-up type stuff, for the builder to resolve, but basically, this house is almost ready to go!

You’ll also notice that the backsplash is in, which was one of the last things that we noticed as needing to be installed, and man, when we finally got to see it, it was such a joy.   The kitchen looks goooood.   The whole house looks great!

Walkthrough 1:

Follow-Up Visit to see if Gas worked!

So great!

Larry’s energy has been better this past weekend, so on Sunday, we went to Best Buy and bought the remaining appliances we didn’t have yet, a refrigerator and a washer & dryer.   We’re pretty damn happy with the choices we made:

Next thing we’ve got our eye on is buying a king-size mattress set, and we went to Macy’s yesterday and I think we know what we want but we didn’t pull the trigger yesterday.  Might have to do that tomorrow though.

Other Stuff:

We’ve been watching a lot of movies lately.  The weekend before Christmas, when Larry was feeling okay, we actually saw two movies:

  • Bumblebee:  Holy shitballs, this was the Transformers movie I’ve always wanted.   It’s fantastic, it’s got the old-school 1980s style of Transformers, it’s funny, there’s actual emotional performances to be found, it’s got heart, and it’s a blast.   Highly recommended.

  • Aquaman:  Look at DC, finally figuring out how to make their superhero movies.  Wonder Woman was finally something good from them, and of all things, they made Aquaman a thrilling and fun movie.  It doesn’t hurt at all that Jason Momoa is practically perfect in the role, even if there’s no way you would have believed they’d go with his look for Aquaman based off of his traditional comic-book appearance.   The movie is a touch too long, and there’s a lot of video-game style plotting going on (go here to get that, then go there to get this, but first get this other thing) but it’s still really entertaining.   I think DC really needs to consider jettisoning all the Snyder nonsense and figure out how to tell the best Superman movie they can.   Good luck though, as Richard Donner already did that.

At home, we’ve watched a couple of movies via renting them from ITunes:

  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople:  Oh my god, this movie is amazing.   If you watch the trailer, you’ll know immediately if you like it or not, as the movie is basically this but fleshed out into the full story:

The director, Taika Waititi, is the same guy who made Thor: Ragnarok and What We Do In The Shadows, which I’d previously raved about.   He’s got a wonderful sense of humor and tells a story with such a great wit.   I don’t want to go too much further in describing the plot, but the kid in the movie, Ricky Baker (played by Julian Dennison), is hilarious, and Sam Neill as Uncle Hector is wonderful.   Just, go, rent this movie.  It’s SOOO good.

  • Hearts Beat Loud.  This is a cute independent movie about a Brooklyn record store owner who makes a great song with his college-bound daughter, and the resulting path of whether they continue to do this at the expense of his daughter no longer going to college.  It’s a small story with a lot of great actors and good performances, and the music is very good.  I don’t know if I loved the movie?   It was cute for what it is, and the trailer below helps give you a sense of what to expect.   Nick Offerman can get it though – he’s a good looking guy in this hipster-y makeover.

  • The Spy Who Dumped Me.  I really wanted to like this more than I did.   Coming from someone who still actively adores the movie Spy, this looked to be exactly in that same sweet spot and it has two actresses, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon, that I love as well.  But man, this was not it.   It had moments that were fun, and a ridiculously hot guy in the form of Sam Heughan, but just something didn’t feel pulled together about it.  Glad it was a rental!

Before I end this post, I had to post some posters I saved from the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters movie.   Have you SEEN these trailers????   I need this movie in my bloodstream it looks so goddamn good:

O

M

G

Just make it Spring 2019 already.   Godzilla and King Ghidorah battling it out??????  Rodan fucking shit up???  Mothra all peaceful then throwing down???? GHIDORAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!   Just…too much.   It’s by far the movie I’m looking forward to the most this summer.   So exciting.  Anyway, I love these posters they made:

Just damn.

Anyway, that’s a long enough post for the end of the year.   As I mentioned at the beginning, 2018 was a shit year for all the reasons that you can think of.   I NEED 2019 to be better.

Countertops + More

It’s mid October so it’s a perfect time to post an entry here.   I’m mostly focused on pictures right now, but in short, 2018 continues to be a challenging year and some days are much harder than others.  Work insists on being stressful and it is sometimes difficult to deal with that on top of all the other stuff.  Larry’s chemotherapy is apparently doing its job, which is fantastic, but the side effects continue to build up and progressively get worse.  He’s able to find ways to deal and mitigate, but it sucks nonetheless.  Mom can’t feel her hands and it doesn’t look to be carpal tunnel, so here’s hoping that upcoming appointments with a nerve doctor provide insight on what is happening.   So all around, good times, right?  That’s the update then on what’s been going on, so now I’ll just post some pics.

Sunday, Oct 21: Our Countertops at the Glen LA

Yesterday, we celebrated Mom’s 70th.  Planning for this evolved as Mom’s not been feeling that great so we kept this very simple.  Larry and I made a cake, and then we met up with Stacie at Mom’s to get lunch and celebrate.  Wish we could have done more but the plan is to eventually have a do-over when she’s feeling better.

Sat, Oct 20: Mom’s 70th

And in completely unimportant news, I rebuilt my PC.  I do this every now and then because one simply can’t have an old computer.   Well, I’ve actually held off on rebuilding the computer’s motherboard and processor for 5 years!   I’ve replaced the graphics card a few times, got a solid state drive or two, and upgraded the power source in that time, but hadn’t really felt the need to update the main processor.   But the latest round of computer games were starting to tell me that if I wanted the premiere experience, I’d need to do something about it.  So I did.  And just in time, as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which just came out, is a beast and I can run it without a problem and it looks glorious.  It’s a fantastic game too.  My components this time around included:

  • Intel i7-8700 3.7Ghz processor
  • ASUS Prime Z370-A Motherboard
  • 16 GB of DDR4 3000 RAM
  • be quiet! Dark Rock processor cooler fan
  • GeForce GTX 1070 Ti video card (which I had got a month or two ago)

Behold, my new PC as built on a Friday, Oct 5 night:

Larry Got Some Star Trek:TNG Love

I neglected to add something fairly awesome from this past weekend in my previous post:  Larry’s childhood friend Greg stopped by to visit and cheer Larry up.  Greg’s been great about checking in while Larry goes through chemo, but we had no idea what to expect when he asked if he could come over on Saturday!  Greg not only brought his son Asher, but he also brought a SIGNED STAR TREK:TNG BOOK – signed by SIR PATRICK STEWART HIMSELF!!!   It’s a slightly involved story, but Greg is in the Hollywood producing world and had the ability to meet Patrick Stewart this past Friday and provide what is possibly the world’s most perfect gift for Larry!

The inscription reads:

Hi, Larry, I am so happy to sign this for you.  I hope you are well soon and I send you all my best wishes.  Patrick Stewart

HOLY SHIT.  I got tears in my eyes when I saw this, as did Larry.  It is a fantastic thing to know that one of his idols was thinking of him just the day before.

We started Round 5 of chemo today.  I think Jean-Luc Picard’s encouragement will go a long way towards this being a good 2 weeks!

Janelle Monáe’s Fireball Island

I wish, right?  I don’t even know what that would be like, but I know I’d LOVE IT.   I figured I’d write a post now because:

  1. I moved my site to another hosting company
  2. I love these two things I mentioned in the title and so a post had to happen

First, I moved off of my Fatcow hosting company when suddenly the cost to host this site basically doubled.   Say what?  I saw that show on my credit card and I was like, I don’t fucking think so. A quick google of ‘best web hosting in 2018’ showed me a CNET article and at the top of the list was inmotion.   Checked out the website, saw the prices, saw they offered hosting on SSD, it was like, yep, I’ll do that.

The interesting part was transferring the site.  I’d actually been fairly good about doing database backups over the last few years, along with doing full downloads of the website content.  When hosting a WordPress site, you do have to take care of two factors:  the database, which actually has all the post information, including all those damn words; then you also have to download all the pictures and graphics and themes separately.

After downloading all my content from my previous host, I canceled the account and for a few days, if you tried to visit this here URL, you got NADA.  Because my site exists mainly for me at this point, that is not a problem.  I did slowly but surely figure out how to get my database uploaded and restored on the new site, while Filezilla connection to my new host made it pretty easy to upload the tons of content that exists from my site in all its incarnations.

And here we are!  It’s actually been a fairly straightforward process with one really annoying problem:  the character set I guess that the exported database used, when then used in the restoration, decided that some of the characters were weird ass Å characters.   Tech support here, which has been pretty great and helpful, doesn’t know how to fix it.  So I see this being a manual cleanup process that will take some time to fix, slowly but surely.  I also have to fix up pages where I used the Envira gallery plugin as I no longer do and the move to the new site TOTALLY hosed that up.  I ended up only using it for a year or so?  So the impact isn’t total, but annoying nonetheless.

You’re now caught up on the behind the scenes drama!!!!

In the other point of this post:  Janelle Monáe!

She’s been releasing more and more videos from her new album, Dirty Computer, and I am fucking stoked.   Her first song, “Make Me Feel,” is ridiculously awesome and the new Prince song we all need:

The other 2 songs released after are all also amazing, and very very lesbian and/or bi.  It’s fantastic.  Yay, 2018, as there’s so much to fret over, that there is still a boldness in art that isn’t being tamped out.

I still love that we got to see her perform at the Hollywood Bowl:

Janelle Monáe at the Hollywood Bowl

And in the final point of this post:  Fireball Island!

Man, there is just one game from my youth that I freakin’ flipped out over and harassed my mom to get me endlessly until she gave in and got it for me:  Fireball Island.

I brought that thing with me to Cambridge probably every day.  Okay, I probably didn’t bring it every day, but when I could I did.  For some stupid reason I got rid of the damn thing – probably “growing up” or “maturing”.  P’ssh.  When I would look occasionally online to eBay I’d see original versions going for hundreds of bucks and it’s like, nostalgia is one thing but paying that much for it is a little much.

Color me surprised when I’m scrolling through Kotaku one fine morning and see a post indicating a Kickstarter for a brand new version of the game is out.  It might have taken me maaaayyyybe 5 minutes to get my pledge in for the $145.  I’m a sucker.  But I can NOT wait for that game to come out this fall.  What do you think we’ll be playing up on the roofdeck of our new house??? FIREBALL ISLAND, bitches.

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.