It’s been a tough few weeks for us. A lot of unwanted drama, mostly from a particularly toxic person but I’m reserving my observations on those issues for another, more serious blog post. I haven’t even checked on my blog stats lately and imagine my non-surprise to see that Mr. Robert Anton Wilson still drives the google search hits. So guess what? I’m mentioning him again.
And with that gratuitous search engine plug, moving on…
Roku and Plex Media Server
We’re really happy with our Roku player and last night, Andrea commented that we haven’t changed our watching habits…so why did we take so long to cut the cord? Comfort with the known, I guess. Now, we’re comfortable with the Roku, and I’m working around the quirks of Plex Media Server so that we can watch both our recorded shows and the ones I’ve extracted from our DVDs.
And now that I’ve completed my collection of Bugs Bunny shorts…and I do mean completed – every Bugs Bunny cartoon, including the proto-Bugs shorts…, I can now watch them all in order of release: from April 30th, 1938 to Bugs’s birthday (July 27,th 1940) all the way to July 16th, 1964. I’ve also got all of the lesser specials, collections and others that came later. As for watching them in order, well, I like to do that. I took two years to watch all of the Twilight Zone episodes in original air order. The “complete” is not without additional work, though. I discovered, though, that several are in .FLV format which I’ll have to convert to something Roku and the Plex team can understand.
Homeschooled Teen Mask-erade Dance
We hosted a homeschooled teen dance on March 9th (only the banner as we work out photos permissions, etc.) that went over resoundingly well. Andrea does all the planning and promoting, the whole family does the set up, tear down and cheerleading, and I DJ. I let my ears bleed and play the songs they want to hear. Well, not all of them. I still had a song or two from Skrillex and Big D and the Kid’s Table that didn’t go over well at other dances, and I had to politely at first, then firmly, tell one young man that those were just leftover requests and the only two people wanted them AND his friend was one and HE wouldn’t dance!
Anyway, the kids seemed to have a blast and the survey we took encouraged us to plan two more. We’re having our second annual Humans vs Zombies dance – this time with a prom theme. And, we’re even more excited to plan one around our favorite holiday – Halloween!
Movies of the Week
We saw Oz the Great and Powerful on Monday. In 3D, though I don’t think it enhanced the movie. Entertaining and a visual treat. Recommended.
Also recommended are two more Andrea and I missed in the theater: Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It Ralph. Fun, great animation, witty. I liked the spin the creators of “Guardians” put on tradition and it was pretty cool catching the video game Easter eggs in “Ralph”.
I took quite a while to read Scott Trent’s Right: A New Design Perspective for Business Innovation, pausing to read William H. Calvin’s The Throwing Madonna and Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom as the former tied into the thesis for Right and the latter was referenced.
Calvin’s Madonna is a collection of essays on Calvin’s theories (the title has to do with handedness) but the one that caught my attention and led me to read the book was “Left Brain, Right Brain: Science or the New Phrenology?” Calvin wrote that may years ago and at the time had no knowledge of recent research using fMRIs to map brain activity during creative periods. Even though myths based on Roger Sperry’s work on split-brains have been debunked, the metaphors persist. I found Calvin’s theories interesting.
I read Haidt’s Hypothesis as additional research into a theme and reference in Trent’s book. In my Goodreads comments on the book, I said
I wanted to like this book…It appears to be extensively researched and well-sourced…but I think the subtitle just didn’t cut it with me.
More than that, Haidt didn’t convince me of any “ancient wisdom”. Nor did he convince me that the metaphor embraced by Trent about an elephant and driver – elephant being our emotional side and driver being the rational side – was as workable as Trent tried to make it.
I set aside Right half finished last March for various reasons, but I picked it up again this January because I promised the author that I would give him feedback. I need time to think over constructive comments as I bled red ink all over the pages I printed. Reading for information or enjoyment goes much faster than reading to critique. I know that from my in-depth critique of a couple of Robert Anton Wilson‘s books (snuck in another search engine term!). The PDF version of Right that I got was only 140 pages and it took two and a half months!…with distractions. I haven’t even sorted through all my markups. I know for sure, though, that I have no aspirations to be an editor.
Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story was, well, I’ll quote myself again
Such an odd book…so much intelligence, unfortunately bracketed by and interspersed with metaphysical nonsense and philosophical BS.
Okay, I did take a philosophy course as a freshman in college, but come on! I was 18! I grew out of it. That some people don’t baffles me. A life of perpetual of under-the-influence “wait…wait…what if…the hokey-pokey really is what it is all about?” Um, sure.
I did manage to squeeze in another Arthur Clarke novel – Islands in the Sky. Nice, simple young-adult science fiction. We didn’t get through all of 20,000 Leagues and with all we have to do this week, I’m not sure if we’ll finish before Thursday’s postponed Teen Book Club meeting.
Meanwhile, as I digest Right, I’m following a thread (rabbit hole?) from one of the references in Right and started Managing as Designing and another design book I already had on my list: Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience, and Brand Value. It never ends – and that’s a good thing.
Beer(s) of the Week
Serendipitous find of the week – went to World Market to get some Torani Vanilla syrup and took advantage of a 30% off sale on “build your own six pack”. I searched the shelves several times for “interesting” beers to try and when I got to five, I noticed that the one stout I found was an Imperial Stout…no luck finding a second. More’s the pity, because Victory Brewing Company’s Storm King (Imperial) Stout is mostly highly recommended. My initial thoughts:
Pitch black pour with deep creamy head that fades quickly. Hoppy, grassy aroma and a strong hops taste. Less body than I expected, but it’s getting better with each sip. The (Imperial) means more hops than usual for a stout and that kicking 9.1% ABV. Great beer for this Saturday night.
Kicks to the curb the other beer of the week, BJ’s Brewmaster’s Reserve imperial Red Ale. I thought it rather thin but liked it. The citrus and hops grew on me through dinner.
I’ve got more beers to report on next posting. Enjoy.