Downbelow Station – observations on CJ Cherryh’s work

I have been a life-long, avid consumer of Science Fiction. The bug really took root when I was in high school, and I was bitten hard. Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert, and other titans of the genre were my apetite and I voraciously devoured them all.

There were some authors that I attempted to get into, but at the time, and for many years after, I struggled to appreciate. One was John Brunner, whose Hugo Award winning “Stand on Zanzibar” is an example. It took no fewer than 4 attempts to get past the first 40 or so pages, the type and style of telling of the story just failed to grab my attention. But then I did read past that, fell in love with the style, and it remains one of my favorite novels of all time, one I reread fairly frequently. 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 →

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 →

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 →

The last RO post, I promise

Mont Blanc

As a couple of previous posts chronicled the demise of my initial reverse osmosis system, and my search and replacement of it.

As mentioned, the quality of the water is outstanding, the installation was routine, almost mundane, and the only remaining task was to hook up the ice maker in the refrigerator.

When I bought the system, I splurged for the $15 ice maker kit, that was about 20 feet of 3/8” tubing, a terminal connector, a ’T’ connector (to splice into the output line) and an on/off valve.

Apart from dumping about a cup of water, and having to drill a hole in the floor of the under sink cabinet, it was completely painless to install. Seriously, it took less than 30 minutes from grabbing the tubing cutter, to pushing the refrigerator back into its nook.

Tossed the accumulated ice, ran about a gallon of water, and now we are enjoying ultra clean water at both the tap, and in the door dispenser of the refrigerator.

Bonus? The ice is clearer.

Sucky Netflix Originals

I posted a while back on how I pretty much have written off Netflix Originals. While I will grant that Narcos was pretty solid, every, and I mean EVERY other one I have tried has sucked.

I wouldn’t care so much, except that Netflix over-hypes their originals, pushing it to the top of my browsing, and often burying my “List” or “Continue Watching” down 20 or so layers, just to put their preferences on the top. Continue reading →

Product review: Whirlpool WHER25 RO system

When we bought our house in South San José, I learned that we were on Great Oaks water. Having experienced that when I lived in my first condo, I knew the water was hard, and had a “taste”. (it is well water)

While there was a filtration system, it was a simple cartridge system, and by how frozen the cartridges were to the manifold, it was clear that it had been installed and neglected for a long time (so long, that the cartridges went end of life and couldn’t be replaced).

I looked for a little better system, and bought a Whirlpool Reverse Osmosis system for the under sink filtration. I will admit defeat on the installation (I hate plumbing), so we hired a handyman to get it fitted in July 2015. Continue reading →

Review: Doc Martin

Doc Martin

Netflix had been offering me as a “recommended” show to watch a series called “Doc Martin”. I had successfully ignored it for months, when one evening, as I was scrolling (and scrolling and scrolling) looking for anything decent, I saw it roll up again.

What the hell, I fired it up, expecting it to be like many of their recommendations. However, it quickly sucked me in with the story, and the cinematography.

Set in the seaside village of Portwenn (actually Port Isaac) in the Cornwall region of England, it is the story of a once masterful surgeon who developed haemophobia (fear of blood), and having given up his senior posting in London, became the GP of the village. Continue reading →

Review: Full Contact

There are a few things in my computing life that have been constantly chaotic. Top of the list: my contacts.

Looking at how my life has bounced around like a pinball, I have 3 active Google mail accounts, I have my Mac Address book, where all my added contacts from my iPhone dribble in to, and an old application and card scanner that wasn’t really compatible.

In short, it was a mess. Then I noticed that one of my twitter contacts is working for this company called “Full Contact” that promises to process all your various sources of contacts, to merge them, de-duplicate them, and then scour the various social media sites to fill in the gaps. Continue reading →