kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Oy, it's always a joy to bring up pollen.com and see Orlando in the top spot as the worst place in the US to be for those afflicted by seasonal allergies. The scale used to only go to 10, now it goes to 12 and we've been in the mid-11s this week. Tomorrow's only a 10, so at least there's that. I've been taking my daily Zyrtec, which does seem to help keep my sinuses from getting too clogged up. But when the pollen level gets this high, it does nothing for my eyes. I literally can't even step outside without my eyes starting to burn and itch and water, and then it takes a few rounds of Visine-A to make me stop wanting to rub them right out of my head. For someone who loves to be outside, why must nature torment me like this? I love oak trees! They clearly do not love me in return. I try to restrain myself from rubbing because sometimes I rub myself right into a case of pinkeye. But good golly it's hard not to rub when they itch SO BAD KILL ME NOW ACK

Sigh. What else is happening.. not much, really. Work this week has been okay, though I'm having to pick up the slack because the other half of my team has been out--last week it was because his mother-in-law was ill and his wife had to fly up to New York to see her, and this week he went to the conference in Nashville I sometimes go to. He actually had to leave that early yesterday to make it out of town before this winter storm hit--turned out to be a good idea, as his originally-scheduled flight did get cancelled. But he was set to take today off anyway, so he'll be back tomorrow. And it's about time!

I've been keeping up with Better Call Saul, which I'd very much been looking forward to. So far I like it. A colleague here thinks it's been a bit too slow to get going, and I do see what he means. But I still like it. It seems to be going interesting places, and it would appear it's about to crank things up a notch now that we're finally getting around to more of Mike's piece of the puzzle. Next week's episode oughta be a good one. And that bit in this week's with Tony the Toilet Buddy, hilarious. Also started watching the new season of House of Cards, and have not been disappointed. Good stuff it you liked the first two seasons.

Okay, back to work. I hope everyone is having a good week!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Going to bed last night I remarked to the wife, "That sure didn't feel like much of a weekend." Just a busy one without much downtime!

Friday evening after work we all headed down to Disney's Boardwalk--I was meeting a family for a photoshoot, and Heather and the girls roamed around while I worked. I was warily watching the weather all afternoon, and seeing a huge mass of rain moving in from the Gulf. I almost got in touch with the client to reschedule, but figured what the heck, we'll just see how it goes. And it turned out great! It never rained aside from a few drops, but the rain in the area really dropped the temperature so it felt very nearly pleasant. And we had a great time roaming around shooting, so I was pleased overall.

Saturday morning I hit the road for Disney again for another family session, this time at the Grand Floridian. It was my annual shoot with a family I've been working with for years--I had to look back at my e-mail to verify, but this was year #6! Their kids have changed quite a bit since we first met, as you might well imagine. It was a hot weekend, so we mainly stayed indoors in the hotel, but we started outside (the hotel has a gorgeous 1929 Cadillac sedan that I like to use) and ended back outside as well. I was glad we spent the bulk of our time inside, though!

When I got home, I mainly waited for the parts to arrive to try fixing the TV. They both came, so first I tried putting in the new power board, since it's the cheaper one and regardless I didn't want to risk damaging the new mainboard if the power board was the problem. So I installed it and tested the TV, but it was no different, still flickering and not seeing good signals from the inputs. So I went to put in the new mainboard and.. no dice. It was the exact same board platform, almost all the same components, except for the two ribbon connectors to the screen itself. Bah. So I looked around online again, but the only board I saw that looked like the correct one was listed at $215, which was rather more than I wanted to spend to fix a TV set that wasn't that great in the first place. I broke the news to the wife, and she grudgingly agreed that we'd have to replace it. So I got to researching.

Oh, and somewhere in there I had more photography business: a couple who I used to work with are getting married next month, and asked me to be their photographer. So they dropped by to catch up since I hadn't seen them for a while, and talk about the wedding plans. It all sounds good, but the one thing we couldn't settle on was price. It's tough because I know they're on a budget, and really I wouldn't mind doing it for cheap since I consider them friends. But it's giving up a full day, basically, and my wife rightfully expects that I should be bringing home some money if I'm giving up the time and work. So I dunno, I guess I'll come up with a number to ask for, and let them know that it's open for negotiation. I just hate the business side of things, you know? I need a business partner to handle that stuff. :)

So Sunday became new TV day! I spent a good bit of time researching the models in my price range, and found myself rather limited by my needs. I have an A/V receiver, but it's only for audio, it doesn't switch video or have HDMI inputs or anything. So to support the cable box, Blu-ray player, and home theater PC I need 3 HDMI inputs, plus a component input for the Wii and a good old-fashioned composite input for my old game systems. That last was the real kicker, it seems like a lot of sets have now dispensed with the composite inputs, or only have it as a hybrid with the single set of component inputs, which means you can only use one or the other. Even in HDMI, 3 such inputs is pretty rare on the low-end sets. Also, the wife and kids don't like to mess with the HTPC, so I need a Smart TV that can stream from the computer with a reasonably simple interface (and hopefully offer some other good streaming services and whatnot as well). So looking around, the only model I found in the low-to-midrange that offered smart features with the input mix I needed was the Sony lineup. I liked Samsung's interface and faster processors better, but they lacked the inputs I needed (and cost more to boot). I used to be a big Sony fan, but somewhere along the line they let me down somehow, and I've not been too impressed with our Blu-ray player, which is Sony also. But my hands were a bit tied, so off to Best Buy we went.

I knew which model I wanted (there was no 42" set in the lineup like our old set was, and I didn't want to go smaller, so I opted for the 48" W600B set), so the purchase went quickly. The installation.. not so much. The girls helped me unbox the new set, and I attached the wall-mount brackets, and.. it wouldn't fit on the wall plate. On my old set, the screwholes for the mounting brackets were 200mm apart, but on the new set they were 300mm. So just as is my luck, with the wider spread the power outlet was getting in the way. Long story short, I added some strips of wood to bring the mounting plate out from the wall (and outlet) a little bit, and then I was able to get it mounted. But the whole process took a lot longer than expected, and that ate up much of the day. Once I was finally done, Heather wanted to go to a store to get some homeschooling stuff, so we did that. And then it was dinner time, and then we went on a bike ride around the block, and then we jumped in the pool. The girls had recently come across my box of old game system controllers and wanted to try them, so we fired up the Dreamcast for some Crazy Taxi. Fun! And it was nice to have an actual TV in place when TV time rolled around, too!

OH, we also got new foster kitties! Hermione had been begging to foster again--she remembered that we'd told her maybe after our vacation, of course--and Heather happened to talk about it with one of her flute-playing friends, who said they were fostering a houseful and had a mom and kitten who needed just a little more special attention than they could spare. Mainly, the mom tends to ignore the kitten, so they need to be watched more closely to make sure he's getting enough to eat. So I got the cage down from the attic, and we got that all set up before they brought the kitties over. The girls named the kitten Willy. He is pretty cute, and I doubt more than 3 weeks old.

20140817-IMG_5315

And that was the weekend. Whew! Now time to end my workday. I didn't think I had any travel on the agenda this week, but my boss just rescheduled our meetings tomorrow from here to St. Pete, so I guess I'll be on the road after all. Ah well, it usually makes for a fairly good day.
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
I don't watch a whole lot of television, really, but now and then I'll hear some buzz about a show, or something will come along that is of particular interest to me, and I'll get hooked for a while. That's basically what happened with Breaking Bad--as the series was reaching its end the buzz was amplified and people whose taste I respect were talking it up, so I thought I'd see what it was all about. Got hooked fast and made it through the whole series within a few weeks. Damn good stuff.

My current addictions: Fargo and House of Cards.

I've briefly mentioned Fargo before, but it's just gotten better from there. There was a scene in the 7th episode that I thought was just amazingly well-done, such a different and astonishing take on the event being portrayed. In episode 8 the creators made a sudden left-turn which was a fascinating choice, and then this week's 9th episode was pretty impressive too, and really sets up next week's season finale. I can't wait, though I'll be a bit sad to see this season come to an end. Apparently a second (and possibly third) season is in the works, but the idea is that each season will be a different story and different cast, and this season will be difficult to match, let alone top.

House of Cards I'd also heard good things about, and I've loved Kevin Spacey from his Usual Suspects and Se7en days, so I figured I'd give it a shot too. I'm a couple episodes into the 2nd season, and have been very impressed with it. It's so tightly scripted, awesome performances, and a few twists that really caught me off-guard. It depresses me a bit to think that this could really be how things work in DC, of course, but as a show it's just top-notch stuff.

I think once Fargo ends and I catch up on HoC, I'll have to give True Detective a try, that one seems good too. And of course I'm looking forward to the return of Doctor Who this summer, to see how Capaldi does as Twelve.

I don't think I mentioned Mob City, did I? That was Frank Darabont's series about Bugsy Siegel and organized crime in LA in the 1940s and 50s, which was also a very well-done show, though pretty short, only 6 episodes. I was interested because it's Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption remaining my all-time favorite film), but also because the lady in charge of wardrobe bought one of Heather's vintage-inspired kids' dresses for potential use in the series. Alas, the dress did not make an appearance, though I think I know who would have been wearing it. Still, kinda neat that there was at least that potential connection!

Any other shows I should check out? I don't get a whole lot of tv time, so I kinda lean towards shows that have an end in sight, but also preferably things that are already well into their run so I can download a bunch and catch up as time permits. :)
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
In other news, can I just say: Fargo is freaking awesome. The movie, of course, and now also the television series. The city I've never been to, so I dunno. :)

Being a huge fan of the Coen Brothers' oeuvre, I was intrigued when I first heard that a Fargo series was in development. At first, I was like, how would they even do that? Then I read that the idea was that it would be a show set in the Fargo universe, so to speak--similar characters, maybe similar story elements, but generally a unique story. I was happy to be able to catch the premiere episode in the hotel on one of my recent business trips, and I've stayed caught-up since then. It's a really well done show, and it definitely has similarities to the film. Setting, of course, and dialect naturally. Characters too--there's the hapless and put-upon pencil-pusher (insurance salesman, in this case) who dips his toes into the deep end of the pool and is soon over his head. There's the pair of quirky criminal types who act like an old married couple who occasionally want to kill each other. There's the female police officer who seems to be the only normal person in sight. And there are a few other additions since there's more time to fill in a series, of course. I was wondering if they'd work in any actual direct connection to the film, and indeed they did, though I won't spoil what that was.

Anyway, good stuff. Highly recommended if you were a fan of the film; the series is, as promised, cut from much the same cloth.

Time to go home!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Since I have a couple Australian friends on here, allow me to be among the first to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

And maybe hit you up for a favor. :)

See, the wife and I rather enjoy watching well-done period mystery/detective television shows, and you Aussies have a really good one in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries on ABC. I've been able to download all the episodes, but on the show's YouTube channel there are a number of short behind-the-scenes videos that we would love to watch, but unfortunately (and stupidly, imho) they're region-restricted to prevent viewing outside of Australia. Australian proxy servers seem few and far between, so I haven't yet had any luck in my attempts to get around the restriction. So I'm wondering if one of you might be kind and savvy enough to snag the videos from the YouTube channel for me and put them somewhere I can download them. If not, no worries, it isn't the end of the world. I just hate that they're out there and we can't see them! :)

Oy.

Dec. 19th, 2013 09:00 am
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
It's amazing how something as silly and ultimately meaningless as this GQ interview with Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson and its aftermath can bring the idiocy out in people. I've seen a number of FB posts on it today, all of which have made me really want to reach for the Unfriend button. One is my cousin, so I guess I have to keep her. But another is someone I've been thinking of ditching anyway, maybe this will be the final straw.

But of course I couldn't resist making my own FB post on the subject, reproduced here for your reading pleasure:

When I saw the GQ interview with Phil Robertson yesterday, I knew it was gonna get ugly. I don't watch the show so it doesn't much matter to me. But what DOES matter to me is the flagrant misunderstanding of the First Amendment being tossed around in this guy's defense. So look:

This is NOT a First Amendment issue. 1A doesn't mean that speech has no consequences whatsoever. All 1A says is that the GOVERNMENT can't punish someone for expressing their opinion, and indeed that's not what's happening, so 1A is off the table. Of course Mr. Robertson has a constitutional right to voice his opinions, reprehensible as they may be. And A&E as his employer has a right to add consequences after the fact, in order to protect their revenue in the form of viewers and advertisers. That's all that's going on here, and it should surprise no one.

What should ALSO surprise no one, of course, is that the Robertson clan are a bunch of Bible-thumping homophobes. So it may seem like A&E is making a mistake here, since surely a majority of Duck Dynasty's audience are Bible-thumping homophobes too. But I submit this is all very shrewd on A&E's part. A&E had to know what would happen when they gave this guy a forum like an interview in GQ. They knew he'd spout some nonsense like this, and they knew it would cause an uproar. By reacting, they've inflamed the audience of the show, and gotten people all up on their high horse to support Phil and his so-called family values. And they will tune in. I predict even higher ratings for the show, at least for a little bit. And the audience won't even know--or care, anyway--that they've been strung right along. Well-played indeed, A&E.

Me, I just need some more popcorn because I think it's all utterly hilarious. :)
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
2:50pm on a Saturday being an unusual time for us to sit down and watch television, I downloaded the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary show for us to start watching Saturday night, and we finished it last night. The short-short version is that I thought it was fantastic, but I thought I'd jot down some thoughts here as well, what the heck.

Cut for spoilage and those who don't give a damn. )

BrBa

Oct. 31st, 2013 10:12 am
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
I realized that to make this journal more reflective of my life, I should occasionally jot down some thoughts on the things I've been reading, watching, and listening to. I finished watching Breaking Bad last week, and thought I'd start there, because I really loved the journey.

But I will cut it because there are bound to be spoilers for anyone who hasn't made it to the end:
Cut for spoilage! )

So yeah, safe to say I really enjoyed watching the show, and would even consider going around again sometime. Next, I dunno, there's nothing that sounds quite as good. I liked the idea that BrBa was 5 seasons and done, so it was like a really long movie or a novel, you know? I'm thinking of starting The Walking Dead, since I know I'd enjoy that, but it's still going. :) Maybe I should try House of Cards, I do love Kevin Spacey.

Okay, enough avoiding work. Have a great Halloween, people!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
-Ooh, I'm in the latest LJ Photophile poll--up against both a cat AND a zebra, and crushing them so far. Nice!

-Several of my colleagues here are always talking up Breaking Bad, especially now that the series is coming to an end. So I thought what the heck, I'll see if I can find time for a few episodes and see what I think. I was able to watch the first 4 episodes over the last couple days, and so far I like it very much. It strikes me as a really long-form movie of just the sort I enjoy, gritty stuff with average people thrust out of their comfort (or discomfort) zone. I've heard just enough about the show to know that my current desire to be Walter White won't last. But it's a goods ride so far, very well-written, great cast and performances, just high-quality stuff all around. And not the sort of thing my wife would like at all, so I'll have to watch it on my own as I can. No way I'll get caught up before the finale, but that's okay.

-It's been a really dreary, rainy week. This time of year the cold fronts make it down to northern Florida and then stall there when they run into our still-hot-and-humid air mass. This particular one has just been sitting up there, pumping in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and making for a wet few days. Yesterday I went over to St. Pete, and before I left I looked at the radar--clear here in central FL, huge mass of rain over on the west coast, right where I was driving. Made me not want to go, but luckily the drive was relatively smooth.

-No big plans today. I'm at work, figuring I may as well save my remaining days off for better weather. I did go out to lunch with Heather and the girls, though, so that was nice. And I haven't actually been working very much so far, but I'm about to buckle down and crank some stuff out. I guess I should get to it, really. Hope everyone is having a good day!

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