Our new addition – Lizzie

It should not surprise anyone who has been paying attention to this blog that we had to say goodbye to Garrett in January, at the ripe old age of 13. Since then, the house just hasn’t felt right. Sure, it is nice to not have to worry about feeding, and keeping the yard locked and safe, and to be certain to not stay out too late. But all that convenience pales in the absence of a buddy.

To partly fill the void, we have been sitting two wonderful Greyhound girls, Falcon and Clara who have brought joy, a bit of chaos, and the love of a greyhound back into the house. But still, something was missing. No permanent addition to our family. Continue reading →

Real Estate Insanity

Living in ‘Silicon Valley’ is interesting for many reasons, not the least of which is the zaniness of the housing market. Having grown up here in the 60’s and 70’s, I was oblivious to this phenomenon, thinking that it was normal. That is until I moved to Arizona for more than a decade and returned.

When we returned in 2014, we knew that we were in for a shock. When I moved away in 2003, the condo I bought in 1999 for $249K, sold easily for $350K, an amazing return on my investment. Continue reading →

Valerian movie review

Last year, one movie that I really wanted to see was Valerian (full title: “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”), a film by Luc Besson, who made one of my go-to SciFi movies, “The Fifth Element”. Known for making movies that are visually stunning, blending humor and action, and a penchant for strong female characters, I thought this couldn’t go wrong.

Alas, I didn’t make it to the theaters to see it, and I kept checking for it on Netflix and Hulu, without any satisfaction. Then when I got a spot bonus at work with Amazon gift cards, I went to it on their site, and instead of dropping it into my shopping cart, I noticed that it was available as part of my Prime membership. Cool. Continue reading →

Netflix Originals

Bagging on netflix is becoming a recurring theme, but alas, I need to circle back.

When Netflix streaming began to take off, it was pretty much the only game in town. At the time, the catalog was far from complete, but Netflix got in at the ground floor, and all the content owners pretty much granted access to their catalog. Not complete access, and there were significant holes, but the selection was solid.

Then a few years ago, Netflix began radically changing their focus. As competitors rose (Amazon, Hulu, Apple,) Netflix was competing for content, and not winning the fight. Instead of having a dwindling catalog, and having to bid against the rising competition, they pivoted to funding the creation of content. The concept of “Netflix Originals” (N-O) made an appearance, and now the catalog is flooded with Netflix Originals. To the point of crowding out the outside content. Continue reading →

Funnies: Lucas Electronics

I grew up in a weird time. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale and San Jose), I was at the epicenter of the rise of tech. But also, I was a car and motorcycle guy.

As such, I was exposed to some oddities and interesting troubleshooting of electrics of various mobiles. One pleasure I never had was owning anything with Lucas electronics, for my auto shop friends in high school would tell hair curling stories. Continue reading →

Review: Forensic Files

One day, a long time ago, I began watching Forensic Files on Netflix. It started as a way to kill time, something in the background, but since it had 9 “collections” of up to 70 episodes each, it took quite a while to get through it.

The premise is each episode is a crime (usually murder, but not always), and how forensic and scientific evidence helped capture the guilty parties, sometimes after years of the case going cold. Continue reading →

Line of Duty

I have been on a tear, watching British television shows, and especially their police procedurals. It began with Hinterland, then expanded into Broadchurch, and Wallander. All very enjoyable, all top quality. While searching for something in the same vein, Barbara found a recommendation for “Line of Duty“, and while it isn’t on Netflix, it was on Hulu.

Unlike the other police procedurals, this one has a twist. It focuses on a group that is charged with investigating and ferreting out corrupt practice in the police agencies. The group is AC-12, or Anticorruption unit 12. Continue reading →

Vintage Nonsense: Retro Mountain Bikes

Vintage is all the rage. Hipsters and their vinyl LP’s, even cassette tapes (who the hell wants to remember that shitty format), film cameras, and other things “old”. As things go, most of this is harmless, and in fact, while I will not admit that vinyl sounds better, it is different and part of the charm is the physical act of dropping the needle on the album, and having to turn it over after it finishes.

But the other day I saw something that really shook me to my core. On one of the mountain biking forums that I get notifications from (I am not really visiting and reading there often) a thread was started that was about how to make a new vintage mountain bike. Something from the dawn of time. Chrome-Moly frame, rigid fork, and a 15 speed (3×5) cassette. Continue reading →

Wallander – Review

I have been meaning to write about a show that I watched on Netflix that was quite enjoyable, the BBC production of Wallander. A police procedural, with a backstory, right up my alley.

The series is adapted from the Wallander thriller novels penned by Henning Mankell, a Swedish author. The series starts with the principal protagonist, Kurt Wallander, just after he become the DI (Detective Inspector), of his little hamlet, about age 42, and over the series covers about 20 years of his career. Continue reading →

Reflections of 2017, and looking to 2018

Ah, December 31, the year is about done, and there are some thoughts clanking around my head. Time to extract them before the temptation to eat myself into a coma wins the battle.

Number 1 – Work

It has been a good and busy year at work. I am currently in the certifications group at Cisco, and while it is product management, it is different from my prior roles. In many ways that is refreshing, as it brings new challenges, and opportunities.

I started the year as a contractor (or C-Worker, short for contingent worker), but in July I was converted into a full time employee, a pretty significant development. That reduced some (ok, a LOT) anxiety in my status. Being a contractor had some benefits (as in, 8 hours are done, turn off and unplug), but unpaid holidays and unsubsidized healthcare really made it touch and go. Continue reading →