Category Archives: geek stuff

Larry Loved: The Next Conversation Podcast

If you knew Larry, you knew he was a giant fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation.   He loved Star Trek in general, including the movies and The Original Series, but TNG was his jam.  You’ll see on our Netflix that he’d pretty much watched every episode multiple times, and those that don’t have a complete red progress bar are those that he deemed “meh”.   TNG was his drug, and man did he love watching it – and I think he loved the cast/characters that were on the show.   Picard, of course, but also Riker, Data, Dr Crusher, Deanna Troy, Worf, Jordie….the whole crew.   I could get into some episodes, but for me, I always would have the “Larry Commentary” to help me understand what was going on or what those passing references actually meant.

So fortunately for Larry, a few years back, one of the guys behind the James Bonding podcast, Matt Mira, joined up with his co-writer friend, Andy Secunda, to go through every episode of TNG, in order.   And then talk about it.  Andy was a newbie to the franchise, so he’d come in with the new view point, while Matt was like Larry, someone who’d seen these episodes plenty.   It’s a very funny podcast series, but warning, these episodes can go on for a loooong time, and sometimes the episode itself isn’t talked about for like an hour.   It is perfect for if you’re working and just listening to something, as it feels like you’re just hanging out with two good friends.

You can subscribe to their podcast, Star Trek: The Next Conversation, via any of the podcast services.   They’re currently up to midway through Season 5.

I am bringing this up today because earlier this week, I sent an email to their podcast letting them know that one of their biggest fans had passed, and how he listened to their podcast through chemotherapy and recovery over the last 18 months.  Happily, they responded yesterday – and right on cue, I started sobbing as it was just such a happy thing to receive but also just another reminder of what I’ve lost.  They posted about Larry on Twitter here:

And they indicated that they’d read my email on the next official TNC podcast episode, which we’ll see if that actually happens as I don’t know how much they want to bum their listeners out, but still, I think Larry would be very thrilled to know two of his favorites have him in mind and are thinking of him.  I know it makes me happy.

Guinan Returns

I just saw that on The View today, Patrick Stewart was on to talk about his show, Star Trek: Picard, which is premiering on CBS All Access this week.  So right out of the gate, this news just is so bittersweet, as I know Larry was so excited to see the return of Jean Luc Picard to television.  I will wait until after the show premieres to post the pictures and video I have, but Larry was able to go with his good friend Greg and visit the set of the show in Santa Clarita this past fall.  Talk about an awesome treat.   He didn’t get to meet Patrick Stewart unfortunately, but he did get to go on the set of the show’s spaceship as well as see a couple scenes being filmed, notably one with Jeri Ryan.  But Larry died too soon to be able to get to see the show itself.

That was preamble to the news today from The View:  Patrick Stewart extended an invitation to Whoopi Goldberg to be on Season 2 of Picard.  So. Fucking. Cool.   Larry would have been so excited to learn that news.   I know stuff like this may seem trivial but goddamn Larry loved ST:TNG and the return of the cast in Picard was something that made him happy.  And god damn the fact that he died of cancer so fucking soon.  I’ll never be okay with this.

Star Wars at Home

This morning started out with Alyssa leaving and saying her goodbyes with Larry one last time.   Later that morning, Stacie and Trent came over to visit with Larry.   It was a very nice time spent with them – I’m glad they could do so, as we were able to reminisce a little and just have a nice conversation with Larry.  They left before noon and we then got Larry downstairs.   It was very hard to have him go up and down stairs.   A nurse from True Care was coming at 1pm, and we also had Nicki, Sveta, and Mila coming over.  Not only that, I had been able to reach out to friends in the industry (George and Greg, effectively) about a Star Wars Rise of Skywalker screener and Greg had one!   He wasn’t in town on Thursday, but managed to FedEx it to us overnight so it got here in the morning today.  Not only that, but he also sent Uncut Gems, 1917, and Frozen 2. Unbelievable.  The nurse’s visit was good, and she encouraged us to move the hospital bed to the living room level, which honestly made the most sense so he’d have TV, be around everyone, and not have to deal with stairs anymore.  So we cleared out the area around where the Eames chair was, moving that over by the dining room table, and made room for the hospital bed to be relocated.  The highlight of the day was of course getting to watch Star Wars!  It was a lot of fun, a lot of the criticism is warranted, but it’s still one hell of a ride.  Very enjoyable, but still like The Last Jedi the best of this new trilogy.  Larry couldn’t really stay awake for most of it and was in and out, but I tried my best to keep him engaged.

Afterwards, we all just had a pleasant evening hanging out, drinking wine, telling stories, lighting Hanukkah candles, laughing, crying, playing Cards Against Humanity, eating Taco Bell.  I love my friends so much and they’ve been a godsend in this.  I don’t know what I’d do without them, as well as Fran and Joel obviously.   It was the first night that Larry spent down in the living room and I slept on the couch near him.  It wasn’t easy.  He peed once in the night which went well as I had him stand up, but the second time he did it laying down into the urinal and it was a mess.  Had to change the bed, do the sheets and his clothes, change his clothes to be clean, and then finally put him back to sleep.  I’m a little tired today (Sunday).

Coq au Vin via Instapot!

No clue what we were doing.  We have been watching “For All Mankind” at that point, along with The Morning Show, ST:TNG, The Mandalorian, and Castle Rock Season 2.  It was actually Sunday when we made chicken coq au vin in the Instapot that night, which was fun and fairly successful!

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:

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M

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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.