I had it coming . . .

Last night my wife and I were watching a disc we got from Netflix.  I was sitting in my recliner, with a cat sound asleep on my lap, when she got up to go to the kitchen.  Seeing her heading that direction, I held up my empty coffee cup and asked if she’d mind getting me a refill – so I wouldn’t have to wake the cat.

She wanted to know what she should put in it, and I responded with “something hot, brown, and wet.”

Then SHE asked me if I meant Zoe Saldana or Halle Berry.

I really should have just said “coffee”.  Besides, even if they were willing, neither one of them would fit in my coffee cup.

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The Martian . . .

My wife and I watched the Matt Damon movie “The Martian” last night.  It’s a pretty good movie, but I think I’m going to sue Matt Damon anyhow.  I had disco music in my dreams all night.  (joke)

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand that.

Actually, I was a teenager during the disco age (1970’s) – and I’ll defend disco even now.  It’s not a bad music style.  Most of it is up-beat, most of it has positive messages, and it’s great to dance to.  Think of it as a softer version of what came later.  Instead of Ace of Base, you have ABBA or Gloria Gaynor (who both had music in the movie).  Watching “The Martian” was absolutely a walk down memory lane for me.  I knew EVERY song they used in the show.

New year – new goals . . .

Welcome to my first blog written within the year 2016. Oh, I know – someone is going to point out that I’ve already POSTED a blog in 2016. You’re right – but I wrote it before Christmas.

Anyhow, I thought I’d start this year off by setting out the goals we’re looking at for our home improvement projects and personal lives.

First, the big one. After seeing some wonderful success with the double-pane replacement windows we’ve had installed around our home, we’re now looking at a different source of temperature offensiveness. It’s that black roof we had put on right before we closed on the house. Rather than go to the incredible expense of having another roof put on so soon, we did some digging and discovered a type of “paint” that can be applied to roofing shingles to help shut the heat out. The price seems quite reasonable – if it holds up to expectations we can do the whole roof for about $100 worth of the paint plus the cost of the labor for getting someone to apply it, which our guttering guys have already agreed to do. I think they are looking at it as a possible third income stream for them (since most of their work is seasonal).

Also, my weight continues to drop in a slow, steady, hopefully healthy way. When I stepped on the scales to weigh about a week ago, I was looking at 198.8 – yes, I did check the battery (lol) – putting my total weight lost at precisely 50 pounds over the course of one year. I’m good with that.

We’re planning to do the roof painting with money from our annual income tax refund, which leads to item number three on our plan. Any money left over will be used to pay down our credit cards, which have been used over the last year for everything from rental cars to an upright deep freezer and a PS4.

Well, I think that’s enough to get the year rolling. Today is my wife’s first day back to work for the year, and I’m sure the same is true for many of you. Drive carefully, have a great day, and I hope your 2016 goes as swimmingly as you wish it to!

Year in review . . .

I realize that many of my readers are not old enough to remember who they were, but in 2015 we lost a lot of beloved entertainers and leaders, who’s collective impact has affected nearly everyone in North America in one way or other.

While I feel like giving them a sort of lengthy group eulogy, I’ll refrain and just give you a link to the BBC’s website where they posted a video that does the job better than I could.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35114580

To them all: you will be missed. Thank you for the fun, laughs, tears, and distractions. May you have as much fun with your next life.

Thoughts on joining the PS4 generation…

Well, I guess it had to happen.  One of the games I play fairly often is DC Universe Online – aka: DCUO.  While I played it on the PS3, there was a limitation that I was terribly frustrated by: higher-leveled characters could use area-of-effect (AOE) spells and powers that just flat toasted my PS3’s graphics card.  The images would lag, load slow, or in worst-case scenarios the image would totally pixelate and the system would lock up.  It wasn’t just my system either – this was a problem lots of PS3 users would talk about in chat.  It has long seemed like the only remedy is to upgrade to a PS4.

In addition to that, there was another game, The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO or ESO) which a friend and I have been trying to play together, because we both like the series that preceded it and we can interact in real time even though he’s in Florida and I’m in Kansas.  ESO is not available at all on the PS3, but it IS available to the PS4.

Put both of those paragraphs together, and it was inevitable that I would eventually get a PS4.  About a week ago, I found a listing on eBay where a guy had bought a special (meaning more expensive than normal) edition PS4 as a present for one of his kids, only to find out that the kid didn’t like Star Wars (it has a  Darth Vader silhouette  line sketch on the outside of the box).  So he was selling it (still NEW, in the box) for over $100 off the usual price so he could get a different one as a Christmas present for the kid.  It seemed to me like a win-win, I get the PS4, his kid gets something he likes.

The PS4 arrived ON Black Friday.  I also ordered (via eBay) a copy of the ESO game for the PS4, from a different seller, that arrived at the same time.

First off, the setup process was a LOT more cumbersome than I thought it needed to be.  When I put in my PSN log-in information to access the account I had set up while gaming on the PS3, it went to a loading-screen that displayed a polite little animated swirling circle with the words, “PLEASE WAIT” – and stayed there for over 24 HOURS.  I still don’t know what it was trying to do, but I finally gave up and hit the “Back” button to escape whatever it was doing, and moved on.  Most of my trophies, friend contacts, and other such information seem to have been transferred alright, but I’m still not entirely pleased.

It seems that ESO has some sort of partnership with SONY beyond just making a version of the install software for the PS4.  ESO is a massive, multi-player, online game.  That is all that it is.  There is no game without being online and logged in.  But, ESO won’t even install on the PS4 unless you ALSO have a PSN Plus subscription.  The only real difference between ESO and DCUO is cosmetic, but DCUO was originally released for the PS3, and so does not require the Plus subscription.

I’m pretty disappointed with the PS4, overall.  It is not backwards compatible, which means that none of the games I already have for the PS3 will play on the PS4.  There are no PS4 versions of any of those games, except for Dragon Age: Inquisistion, which I don’t really care for because it’s so different from the other Dragon Age games it should have a different name.  I looked in the Playstation Store, and there aren’t many PS4 games at all, and the ones they do have aren’t games I want to play.

So, it seems that the only reason I now have a PS4 is to play DCUO, or take advantage of the social networking stuff.  If you have a PS4 and want to add a new friend, leave me a message with your ID, and I may hook up.  I would just put my account name here, but automated spam-bots troll the internet specifically looking for things like that.

Facebook’s name-game woes continue…

Facebook has a policy that they expect every user to use their real, legal name on the site.  They also have a policy that their systems people can suspend accounts if there is a reasonable expectation that a user’s listed name is fake or misleading.

Those two policies collided in a spectacular “fail” moment for Facebook when they suspended the account of a Vietnamese man whose name is pronounced “Poo da Bi”.

Being Vietnamese, the spelling is quite different, and the story is hilarious because there are so many ways Facebook might have avoided embarrassment over this, and they pushed it to a full-blown media circus.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-34897404

the last few days . . .

I’ve been really busy the last few days, though someone outside the house might not think so.  Last Monday a good friend who’s been out-of-touch for a few years called me up and asked about renewing our friendship.  One thing we both have in common is playing video games, so when he suggested we get our respective copies of The Elder Scrolls Online updated (and he had a TON of mods to share with me – I’ve never tried modding an MMO before) we worked out how he would share the mods with me and I started checking out which ones I wanted to use.  Two days later – the game no longer looks familiar!  Not that I played it all that much anyhow – I don’t like MMO’s unless I’m sharing them with someone I already know IRL, AND know their game-play style works with mine.

Anyhow, now I have to sort out which mods I want and don’t, based on how the game experience changes as I play using them.  The first thing I need to do is get rid of a huge dwemer-style clock that is sitting smack-dab in the middle of my screen.  LOL!

Life lessons from cats . . .

We see them everywhere, but how many of us actually consider that they might have lessons to teach us? Well, here are a few that I’ve observed:

appreciate friendsAppreciate your friends, openly and publicly.

 

 

 

 

Be comfortable spending time alone.   Be comfortable alone

 

 

 

cross linesReal friendship knows no barriers.

 

 

 

Exercise should be fun – AND teach real life survival skills.  exercise

 

 

 

cause wonder

Cause infinite wonder . . .

 

 

 

Openly express affection.    express affection

 

 

 

 

 

balance is importantBalance is very important.

Facebook to test “dislike” button . . .

When Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would begin testing soon on a new button that would allow users to “dislike” posts, he was careful to say that his desire would be for it to be used to show empathy when another user posts something dreadful – like a death in the family.  Sure, Mark, I’ll just bet that is exactly how it will (NOT) be used!  (/end sarcasm)  Just one more reason I’m glad to have quit Facebook over 6 years ago, and will not be going back – ever.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34264624