Print Story I've had enough of 2010
By georgeha (Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 10:24:24 AM EST) wrap it up, LARPing, droid, LEGO (all tags)
can I has refund?

Plus last Lego Robotics and a new venue record, Samwise the predatory bisexual, Bulge Larping, Christmas cookie drama, tough day in Tonawanda, Watching: Stage Left, and bangers and mash.

In tech reviews, Air Control Lite, Wii Fit thinks I'm fat, and Instant Netflix.

In media reviews, Off the Main Sequence, The Redbreast, Commando, The Remains of Company D, The Good War, Oliver!, Fame and the best of 2010.

Poll: Shutdown due to Northeastern.

I'm not sorry to see the end of 2010, it was rough.

Financially, it was real rough, from owing Federal tax due to eff'ed up withholding, to having to pay $900 a month for meds until we meet our deductible, to job troubles, to nearly $5000 in unexpected plumbing and auto expenses in the last quarter. 2011 will be better, right? Except until we meet out health care deductible that is, until then it's $1200 a month on meds. And spaying the "free" kitten.

Professionally, I need a new attitude or a new position.

It wasn't all bad, cabin camping in Ithaca was nice, as was the trip to Phoenix.

Lego Robotics and a new record

The new record holder for the smallest venue I've been to that the Dead played at is the University of Rochester Palestra, it's tiny. Enough for a basketball court and bleachers on the side, not much more. That's where the next Lego Robotics competition was. Nine year old, her teammates and I spent nearly nine hours in the U of R gym area for Lego Robotics. The kids did good, but not good enough to advance to the state competition. They still punched above their weight, a rookie team of 2-4 nine year olds aren't expected to advance. Next up, learning the sensors.

I asked her if she wanted to go there for college, she wasn't sure, but trudging through heart attack snow to a gym doesn't show it off.

Samwise the predatory bisexual

I finished up Jackson's LOTR: ROTK. I missed the Houses of the Healing and the Scouring of the Shire segments. I wonder if anyone's reinterpreted it as Samwise, the Poor Predatory Bisexual Hobbit. Think about it, he's Frodo's gardener who goes away with him, a year later they return, Frodo gives him Bag End and then disappears. Sure, plenty of Brokeback Mountains of Shadow, but not so much Samwise brainwashing Frodo into signing over Bag End, then meeting his end in a shallow hole a few leagues from West End. Gone over the sea, yeah right. Pretty suspicious.

Battle of the Bulge Larping

To commemorate the Battle of the Bulge, we did some Bulge Live Action Role Playing, spending several cold hours wandering the piney Christmas Tree Farm. The part of the 106th division was played by nine year old, who spent much of the time lying in the snow, demoralized. The part of the ruthless, driven Peiper, searching out the perfect Tree, err, bridge, was played by fourteen year old.

I'm serious.

The girls, being sisters, like to disagree. On a subject as important as a Christmas Tree, they each want to be the one to pick out the tree. The physically freakish fourteen year old (she's happiest when she has an hour or two of swimming a day) knows enough to wait a few hours until everyone else is cold and tired and will say yes to whatever she picks out, just to get home.

We did good this year, we left while the sun was still in the sky, it's not fun to cut down a tree in the dark, and schlep it to the car in pitch darkness.

A few days later, the "free" kitten climbed up the tree and knocked it over. A day or so after that, the dog peed on the tree.

Christmas Cookie Drama

I would have liked a low drama Christmas, no such luck. This year the drama was cookie centered. On Christmas Eve, 20 minutes before dinner, fourteen year old wanted to make cookies, and didn't let nine year old do enough, so she went crying upstairs. Drama.

Ten minutes before heading to my parents yesterday, they wanted to frost cookies, drama. On the way to my parents, we forgot my sister's GS cookies and had to go back home, drama.

In other Christmas drama, Porsche_mom let the Santa secret out of the bag, she told her son, who told nine year old.

Tough day in Tonawanda

We fit visits in with both of Mrs. Ha's parents the Sunday before Christmas, and got back in time to pick the kids up. It helped that we only spent 20 minutes with her mom.

We saw her dad first at DeGraff, he's recovering fairly well, and was discharged Tuesday. He's a little irate about a medical conspiracy, they keep claiming he gets the DTs when he's hospitalized. Now when he's home, and able to drink whiskey whenever he wants to, no DTs. He's been hospitalized twice in the last ten years, and while he doesn't remember the DTs, the medical staff claimed he had them. The conclusion is obvious, hospitals cause DTs.

But it was a good visit, I got to watch a good bit of the Bills Dolphins game, he and Mrs. Ha had a good talk. We even talked winter boots, he's avoided New York Winters for LA winters for 33 years, but not this time.

The nursing home was only ten minutes away, but her mom was really out of it (she did have an altercation earlier that day, maybe they had to break out the Ativan loaded tranq gun). We watched a little more football, then she started wandering around with no desire to talk to Mrs. Ha, so we left.

The highlight was a lunch of beef on 'weck at Anderson's on the Boulevard.

Watching: Stage Left

Fourteen year old continues the family tradition of working in theatre and staying in the background (sort of, my sister loves to be in the limelight) with her first show she worked while the show plays, Oliver! She's working costumes. For the record, I was in a few high school musicals in the pit orchestra, when they needed a second trombone. From that came my love of coffee (getting out of rehearsal after 10 at night, getting up in the morning at 6 or 7), coffee made it all better. Review from the Saturday matinee below.

Bangers and mash, eventually

I've been having a craving for bangers and mash since Hogswatchnight was mentioned on FB, I reckon it was sausagy enough for the Hogfather. I had a hard time finding sausages large enough and mild enough. I ended up getting some Wegmans apple/onion links, and they were good.

While I was cooking them, the downstairs bathroom sink drainpipe popped out and my work phone rang, three things demanding my attention at once. The work phone was of the usual "two of your teammates did this strange thing to fix a problem but I can't tell you what exactly they did, can you do it?" wave your magic wand crap.

Will make again A++++.

Tech Reviews

Air Control Lite

In one of those best apps for droid lists I saw Air Control mentioned, an app where you can pretend to be an air traffic controller and route big red planes, little blue planes and green helicopters to a big runway, little runway and helipad respectively, while avoiding collisions. In my free version, all you have to do is get the aircraft to the end of the runway regardless of flight path. The jumbo jet is flying 200 mph the wrong way? No problem, it apparently does an Immelman at the end of the runway. That bugs me.

Wii Fit thinks I'm fat

Our ebay "winnings" went to cell phone and ipod cases, and a Wii Fit Plus, which made Christmas cheaper. We played with the Wii fit yesterday, it thinks I could stand to lose 5 pounds. If I've been working out, a muscular 150 looks good. I haven't been, it's more like a flabby 150. Oddly, I'm the house champion on Hula Hoop (cf. Why every guy should buy their girlfriend Wii fit), and not so oddly, the champion for sitting in half lotus on not moving (decades of off and on yoga pay off).

Instant Netflix for Wii and XP

One of the other presents was Instant Netflix. We're enjoying it, the kids most of all, but quality wise, on the Wii, I rank it below DVR and DVD. It looks okay, but there are lots of stops to catch up, and so far FF and Rewind also cause stopping to queue more data. The instant selection is ginormous, but still missing things like AbFab, Red Green and Spirited Away.

The laptop using the same WiFi with a higher resolution doesn't have the queueing problem, I don't know if it's because the laptop (Dell D62) has a much faster CPU, more RAM, or better WiFi.

Media Reviews

It was a busy say when we went to see the high school's production of Oliver!, fourteen year old had an appointment for contacts in the morning (it was her big Christmas present), then we dropped her off to work the show, and then we showed up.It was very good, nine year old was enthralled, even if she couldn't recline. Fourteen year old told us we mostly got the better cast (they had two players for the leading roles, playing alternate shows). No wrap party for the crew, but she was tired. She was still up late.

In movie watching, we watched Fame on the Wii, the original version. The script or film could have used a better editor, with the ensemble cast there were lots of subplots that were mentioned once, and then dropped.

Off the Main Sequence is a big hardcover compilation of Heinlein stories that don't easily fit into his future history. If you like Heinlein, you've probably already read them.

The Redbreast is a Scandinavian detective story about an alcoholic cop named Harry Hole, wondering why Norwegian Waffen SS vets are getting killed. I liked it, it's "Noirwegian".

In milhist news, I finished Durnford-Slater's Commando: Memoirs of a Fighting Commando in World War II and Nelson's The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War. The first is a slim book about the British Commando's in WWII, starting with the first volunteer, Durnford-Slater. A good quick read. The second is about a man curious about his grandfather's service in WWI, in finding out more about it he finds our more about the soldiers he served with in Company D of the 28th Regiment, and their fighting on the western front in WW1. A slightly more mobile account of fighting than normal, though still lots of trenches.

Also in milhist was Terkel's The Good War, which was lots of short interviews from people involved in WWII, combatants on all the sides, and civilians. The most ironic ones were veterans mentioning how black soldiers in America had fewer rights than Nazi POWs.

2010 Media Wrapup


I read 72 books in 2010, listed below. My top five in particular order are:

  1. The Art of Making Money
  2. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
  3. The First War of Physics
  4. Hitler's Holy Relics
  5. Young Miles
The Art of Making Money
The Commandoes
The White Album (Didion)
Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle (Frank)
Inherent Vice
D-Day (Beevor)
Strategy for Defeat
Anansi Boys
Good Omens
Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars

A Game of Thrones
Long Range Desert Group
A Clash of Kings
Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain
A Man Called Intrepid
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
The Fifties
Total War
My Tank is Fight
Small Gods

Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen
The Fall of Berlin 1945 (Beevor)
The Armageddon Rag
Blood Iron and Gold
The Templars: History and Myth
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Age of Uncertainty

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Trotsky (Service)
Street Without Joy
Operation Mincemeat
Company Commander
The First War of Physics
Hitler's Holy Relics
Day of Battle
Roll Me Over

Retreat, Hell!
Young Miles
Guadalcanal Diary
Hellbent for Glory
Mists of Avalon
The Last Stand
The Thousand Mile War
Paratrooper!: The Saga of the U. S. Army and Marine Parachute and Glider Combat Troops during World War II
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

The Dying Earth
Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Outlaw of Gor
War as I Knew it
Priest Kings of Gor
Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth
Raider of Gor
The Man With the Golden Touch: How The Bond Films Conquered the World
A World Without Islam
Iron Coffins

The Silver Chair
The Yom Kippur War
The View from the Turret: The 743rd Tank Battalion During WWII
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
Pendulum of War: The Three Battles of El Alamein
Off the Main Sequence
Company D
The Good War

The Redbreast


I watched 27 movies or series for the first time in 2010.

The creepiest was definitely May.
The funniest was Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Walk Hard Dewy Cox
Hustle and Flow
Little Children
Losing Chase
Five Days
Death and the Maiden
The Big Chill
Victory at Sea
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The Door in the Floor
Paranormal Activity
The Haunted Airman
The Lady in White
Mists of Avalon
The Haunting of Molly Hartley
Summer of '42
Away We Go
Revolutionary Road
Things We Lost in the Fire


Only two concerts that I recall, though I may have seen a band or two at the Lilac Festival. Vampire Weekend was better than Furthur.

Vampire Weekend


Only two plays, both at School of the Arts. While Oliver! is full of earworms, I'll pick Dark of the Moon.

Dark of the Moon

< I like being home... | Merry three days after Christmas! >
I've had enough of 2010 | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden)
9 is plenty old enough to know what's up with by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 10:39:16 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Yeah, it makes things easier by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 10:42:03 AM EST
and I'm not sure why we did the Santa thing, other than being mindless conformists.

IIRC, fourteen year old was nine or ten when she realized, and it was bad. We're talking daily letters to Santa that I had to sneak out of the mailbox bad.

[ Parent ]
Santa by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 03:35:52 PM EST
one 10 year nephew knows.  the other still believes.

Also I am not sure if you've heard but you have to use all your HSA monies by the end of the year or you lose it!  Caution some items are out of stock!


I believe it expenses must be billed by 2010 by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 03:54:52 PM EST
but you still have the first quarter to distribute. It's moot, the last $750 med bill and $700 dental bill wiped out everything.

[ Parent ]
What kind of television are you using the Wii on? by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Dec 29, 2010 at 02:58:37 PM EST
I only ask because you can improve the quality of the picture in several ways. Most often I recommend picking up the Wii component AV cables (at most major retailers) and using them instead of the standard AV cables.

There are also some setting adjustments you can make depending on your television, which could make the picture better. Let me know and I'll see what can be done.

It's not like I do this stuff all day.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

An old Phillips tube by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Dec 29, 2010 at 03:08:03 PM EST
standard TV Aspect Ratio, I forget how I connected the DVD.

[ Parent ]
Sounds like the televisions by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Dec 29, 2010 at 03:18:40 PM EST
I'm using. We get a decent picture on ours.

You may have the best picture you can get, but just to double check, you might try plugging the cables into a different input. Are there any input selection settings - either on the remote or buttons on the television or on-screen menu?

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]
Android by garlic (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Dec 29, 2010 at 11:32:14 PM EST
You'd probably like pirates and traders on android.

I was 5ish when I worked it out by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 11:34:33 AM EST
I remember shop assistants cooing about Santa, and my mother saying quietly 'she knows' and the look of horror on their faces as if my parents had robbed me of my childhood.

I didn't tell anyone in school though except members of one family and not until they were 11, and about to go to secondary. At this point I felt it really was for their own good.

Instant Netflix by FlightTest (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 06:41:48 PM EST
Seems to work fine on our Wii.  FF and RW require queuing but I think that's down to limited memory in the Wii.  Rarely, it pauses for queuing when watching, but I've watched plenty of movies with no pausing for queuing.

I figure it's a memory thing by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 09:33:11 PM EST
and maybe poorer wifi than in my Dell.

[ Parent ]
I've had enough of 2010 | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden)