Tag Archives: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Public Courtesy…plus Arts, Design, and Life

I wonder how much of our best behavior that we reserve for when in public (and the accompanying corollary of less so for family) is a put on. I imagine some people do feel the need to impress strangers more than those closest to them. And I also imagine that for some, politeness either comes naturally or was beaten into them as a child. I should say, hopefully impressed upon them as a child. Public politeness manifests in interesting ways, and, as my brain tends to work occasionally, I explored an insignificant tangent last week…

Sometimes public politeness can lead to awkward situations. What do you do when someone holds the door for you? As you walk through, do you reach out to hold the door? What if he/she stills holds it? Do you not try to also hold the door open? Doors being doors in a well designed (or actually meeting accessibility building codes) facility, it’s not likely that it takes both of you to restrain it from closing. I’ve seen some contortionist-like positions assumed as people try to keep open a door – or jockey through – without touching the other person. Awkward is an understatement. Of course, you may be polite in thinking to hold a door for one, only to find yourself standing guard for the entire Ninth Royal Mountaineers. Meanwhile, your family is already seated in the theater, wondering what happened to you.

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Over the Verizon…and down rabbit holes…

A coworker likes to say, “It’s never boring”, and around our house, that’s an appropriate phrase. This week we made a radical jump: no more cable television. Yep. Cut the cord…or cable as it were. While we have a few issues with Verizon since we moved back to the states in 2007 (their customer service is deplorable), this one was totally on us.

We haven’t really been watching television, save for a couple of shows, for a long time and to pay the amount of money we were shelling out for a DVR and two set tops boxes and no movie channels was absurd. We DVR’d two shows for everyone (The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family), Once Upon a Time for Drew (though I would watch it with him), NOVA, and a few shows for Andrea that she never seemed to have time to watch. Not worth it at all.

As with many of life’s changes, Andrea makes the decision first…and I more often than not must socialize the concepts for a while before I come around. And when she sets her mind to something, she runs with it. She can spend a couple of long nights researching options and then one day I come home to a small box on the counter containing something even smaller that I have to figure out how to make work for us.

RokuThe magic little device is a Roku streaming player. And little it is, as you can see in the picture. Andrea looked at Apple TV, but we nixed that pretty quick. Too many limitations – content, recurring costs, etc. and it’s wedded to the dreaded iTunes. To be fair, Roku and Apple TV do have a common limitation that I hope someday somebody will figure out: neither can stream from VIDEO_TS folders. DVD content has to be converted into something palatable.

Connecting the Roku is simple. HDMI cable into our receiver, network cable from the router (they do have wireless versions as well.) That’s it. Then you start setting up your channels. They make it pretty painless. Now, some of the Roku channels might require fees – Hulu Plus is one we’re looking into – but the rates per month are fractions of what Verizon was charging us.

How many readers remember television antennas? All but forgotten I’d venture. It probably never occurs to the aluminum foil hat folks worrying about cell phone radiation that they are being bombarded with a constant stream of digital over-the-air broadcasts. But all those local television stations make their content available to anyone with an antenna and a digital decoder.

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