Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art MuseumWe had a very busy weekend! Saturday, Kevin and I went to the “Blues BBQ” event that some of our fellow Ingress Resistance members organized. It was an all-day event that started with a nice potluck BBQ lunch in a park. We had some great food, chatted, and prepared for the afternoon’s events, which included an organized attack and takeover of a large college portal farm, then a planned split-up to various other farms to send a message to the Enlightened. I’m going to leave out most of the details of this mission, because I wouldn’t want to reveal any intel that the Resistance might want to keep under wraps. Kevin and I carpooled with another Resistance member to the college, we performed our portion of the attack and takeover, then quickly brought the college up as a blue L8 farm, then farmed and burned out as many portals as we could before the Enlightened started showing up to flip it back to their side. Kevin and I then got dropped off at the park we had the BBQ at, and grabbed our own car to head to our assigned farm. Kevin and I then had a blast plowing through several large clusters of smog-green-covered areas, flipped them, and made them all a perty blue color. Kevin gained a lot of AP, and he’s very close to L8 now, with just 1 bar left to go. We just need to find and flip one or two more green farms and that should do it. Either that, or if the 25-30 new portals I submitted recently come online soon, that might do it as well.

Sunday we spent the day at the Milwaukee Art Museum. After visiting there a couple times on Milwaukee portal runs, Kevin–being a big art “aficionado”–kept asking if we could go sometime for real–without the portals. So we planned it and went. We ended up getting a family membership because there’s just so much to see there, we’ll definitely be going several more times over the next year. There was a really neat “Art in Animation” exhibit there with a lot of interactive activities for the kids, and Kevin could certainly spend a lot of time just at that one exhibit alone. Sandy came too, and also had a good time. We even had lunch in their cafe and enjoyed the beautiful lake-front view.  I started a Milwaukee Art Museum photo set, so click there to see some of the photos.  I’ve been very slowly and carefully adding the photos to it that I can.  I took a lot of them, but many photos (those from private art collections) I can’t post because of the rules.  The outdoor photos are fine though, so that’s mostly what’s there, and I have many more to add, so if you’re looking at the photos on 7/18/13, there will most likely be several more added by the end of the week.

This week my knees are killing me as I try to recover from the weekend of walking. I hate that I can’t do my daily mile now, because of the extended amount of weekend walking I did. Getting old I guess. Even Socks–now at 77 dog-years old–doesn’t tug as much on our walks.

The big 5-0, Ingress again, X-Box, and Spam

OMG! I turn 50 this weekend! The horror!! I just wish it was past already. My wife’s got something planned and she keeps insisting it’s nothing big, just a small get-together at the house… I sure hope that’s accurate. I hate all the “Over The Hill” gifts and parties I’ve seen others have over the years. It’s just another day, take it easy.

I’ve been obsessed with Ingress lately (see my previous post if you don’t know what Ingress is). I finally made L8 – the highest level in the game, and it only took 4 months! Now I am changing my focus from leveling up to helping other teammates level up–primarily Kevin, Tyler, Matt, and Eric. Having a nice group of L8’s in our area will give the Resistance some serious power in the game. It’s fun, very addicting, and I’ve met a lot of nice people who play the game.

Microsoft introduced their new X-Box recently–The X-Box One.  Really? One?  This is Three, right?  I don’t know about you, but when I refer to the ORIGINAL X-Box, I call it the X-Box One.  Hello confusion.  Are we going to get one? Probably.  Just like the PS4.  Eventually.  Everything changes.  Gotta keep up.

Finally, I managed to find a excellent plugin for my website that totally eliminates the spam I’ve been getting! This is exciting for me, because it was such a pain to keep cleaning up hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of spam messages each month. Now I can focus on other things more… like hacking portals, or posting a little more often…

Arizona Spring Break 2013

Arizona Vacation 2013Well, finally, I’ve managed to get everything (I think) organized and sorted out from this year’s vacation, so here it is. This year, for spring break we went to Arizona. No surprise there, this was my third time there, Kevin’s second, and Sandy’s first. We enjoy getting away, Arizona is an awesome place to visit this time of year, and Jay, Shell and family make it feel just like home. Our vacation was two weeks long and began Friday 3/22/13 and ending Saturday 4/6/13 when we returned home. We drove, with me doing 90% of the driving this time. Last time, when Patrick went with Kevin, Ty and I, we split the driving in half, so we saved some vacation time by driving straight through, there and back. This time, since it was just me driving (pretty much) we planned one overnight stay at a motel going down and one coming back. It worked out very nicely.

We left Kenosha on Friday night–technically it was Saturday morning, since we left after midnight. I slept from about 6pm Friday to around midnight, as Sandy and Kevin packed and got things ready. After I got up, we loaded the car and left. Socks was so confused, with everyone leaving him alone in the middle of the night.

The hardest part of the drive was that first night driving in the dark, getting sleepy mainly just because it was dark out. After the sun came up it was much easier to stay awake and see everything. Sandy even tried driving, once we hit a stretch of 200+ miles of straight road, and it worked out well, allowing me to get some much-needed rest. She did that a few more times on the trip down, which was a huge relief for me each time.

Kevin started collecting state pins for his hat along the way, so he’s got quite a few already. We stayed overnight at Travelodge in Amarillo, TX on Saturday night, and it was very comfortable. Then in the morning we stopped at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo before heading out on the rest of the drive to Phoenix. The Cadillac Ranch was unexpectedly ice-cold and out in the middle of a field, so we froze a bit, and had to make it only a short stop before hurrying back to the car to thaw out. Unfortunately we didn’t stay until the sun came all the way up, or we would have gotten some better photos than we did. The rest of the Sunday drive was nice, much less stressful than Saturday was, since the driving was only during the daylight hours.

The visit with Jay and his family was great. We ate good, played good, and just took it easy most of the time, when we weren’t preparing for, or going on, our little excursions in the area. We had planned to drive to Hollywood and LA this year, but it just didn’t work out this time, so we skipped it. Maybe next year. It’s still on our “to do” list. We want to see the walk of fame, the Hollywood sign, and a few other famous locales in that area, at the very least.

Did I mention the horses…er, I mean, their dogs? Jay has two of the largest dogs I’ve ever played with. Ozzie is a 12-year-old St. Bernard, and Duke is a 5-month-old Great Dane puppy! Duke (the puppy!) makes poops larger than Socks himself! Socks would be a light snack for him. And, appropriately, he makes the exact same sound as a Clydesdale when he walks across their hardwood floors! He’s very playful and friendly, but he certainly doesn’t realize his size and power and hasn’t learned to respect personal space yet. Ozzie, on the other hand, is a “gentle giant”, just chillin’ all the time and looking for a nice petting from anyone willing to pay attention to him. It was fun watching them wrestle and play tug-of-war together too.  There are some photos of them in here.

We went camping at Lake Pleasant Tuesday and Wednesday, and came back Thursday morning. That was very nice, the weather was excellent, and my only complaint was an upset stomach and diarrhea I picked up from something along the way. It passed in a couple days though, so all in all it was really nice.  There are a few Lake Pleasant photos in this miscellaneous album.

Monday 4/1 we went to Tombstone and The Thing. Just after leaving Tombstone, we had to stop at a border patrol checkpoint. Their dog sniffed our car, we were asked if we were all US Citizens, Sandy said hello to the nice doggy, and we were back on the road. The Thing was full of its usual weirdness, our in the middle of nowhere (Dragoon, AZ) but still has an excellent gift shop and a Dairy Queen, which we took full advantage of. Kevin, of course, had to collect his usual bag of rocks for his collection, and some other trinkets

Tuesday, 4/2, Jay drove us up South Mountain. This is another must-see every time someone new is with us. The view is not to be missed. Shell came with this time, and she isn’t too fond of heights. This was Sandy’s first visit, and I think she really liked it.

On the way back from South Mountain we went for lunch at Alice Cooperstown. This is a really cool restaurant located 2 blocks from Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s a warehouse-style building filled with music memorabilia, and featuring a 2-foot hot dog called “The Big Unit”. I took several photos, but with my current diet, I didn’t have the guts to order The Big Unit. A couple other people did while we were there, and they make a big deal out of it. I didn’t manage to get the camera out in time, so I missed a photo of the actual thing. Maybe next time I’ll even order one myself. I could always split it with someone, or take some home.

We also visited the Roosevelt Dam while we were there. It was really neat, and very well documented at the viewing areas on both sides of the dam. Then, after talking to a couple other travelers who came from the other direction, we decided to head back home by way of the Apache Trail. This is a long trail, about 40-50 miles, consisting mostly of graded dirt road (sometimes very thin, I might add–and very bumpy) winding around, up, and down a mountain range. It was a little scary at times, but we took it easy and enjoyed the ride. The views were spectacular, as you can see by the photos! I even took a few small videos. One one point, when Tyler was deep into his music and not paying attention, Jay made the van fishtail, on purpose, just enough to scare the crap out of Tyler and make him think we were out of control! His reaction was priceless. One additional note on the Roosevelt Dam and Apache Trail Photos, in case you look at them: You might notice that many of them are very clear and sharp, while others are very hazy and low-quality. The high-quality photos were the result of Jay’s awesome new 18 megapixel Sony camera! Wow, is that thing nice, even for quick panoramas! You can really tell the difference in quality between photos from that camera and the rest, which are from my phone, Sandy’s phone (which are both 8 megapixels), and Kevin’s phone (5 megapixels). I’ll definitely get a camera like Jay’s before our next trip, that’s for sure!

Wednesday, 4/3, was Lia’s birthday party at Chuck e Cheese. Ah, some things never change: Pizza, Animatronic Chuckie, a “live” visit from him every hour on the 30’s, the goofy and most-awful song parodies EVER, and games that hate to give up their tickets. Then it’s over to the ticket-eating machine to cash in and see what little $1.00 prizes the kids have earned.

I had also planned to take a few random “portal runs” using Ingress, but that didn’t happen either. Not knowing the area very well would make it very difficult, and no one seemed too keen on using a lot of gas just to get me AP points in Ingress so I could level up sooner. I seemed to be the only one there really into the game, so majority ruled and I set it aside. I did manage to hack a few choice portals and get a few nice keys during the regular stops on the trip though! I took screenshots of the dual portals at the Cadillac Ranch (both Resistance-owned) and the portal at Roosevelt Dam was wide open, so I acquired that one for myself. I even obtained a key for that one, and as I just checked it today, I am still the Owner, and it’s now a L6 portal, thanks to other Resistance members who must have leveled it up for me. Being only an L6 myself, I can’t level up a portal higher than L4 on my own. It wasn’t an easy task, even though it was an unoccupied portal when we arrived–the cellular reception there was very very weak, and I could only obtain a weak signal when I stood in certain specific spots at the lookout point, and even then it only stay connected for a very short time, just enough to place one or two resonators before getting disconnected again. Now I’m using remote recharge from home, whenever I get the chance, to keep it fully charged up.

Thursday, 4/4, at 6pm we left Jay’s for Mount Rushmore. I stayed up the night before, only taking a short nap in the middle of the night, so I could get a good sleep in just before leaving. I went to sleep between 9 and 10am Thursday and slept good until about 4:30pm. Then we ate, and headed out for South Dakota. Having a good sleep, I was able to comfortably drive clear through the night, until shortly after the sun came up. We were in Las Vegas, New Mexico when I decided I was too tired to continue, so Sandy took over once we got to road with no changes for several hundred miles. I slept a couple hours, then took over driving again the rest of the way into South Dakota. We stayed at a motel in Rapid City, SD, which is about 25-30 minutes from Mount Rushmore. It was dark when we arrived, so we spent the night there, then went to Mount Rushmore after breakfast in the morning. We had breakfast at the Colonial House in Rapid City, SD before Mt. Rushmore. It was a restaurant with Wizard of Oz theme. Very good food.

We ran across Castle Rock, Colorado on the way there too. This is something I hadn’t seen before – There was a gas station at the base of this huge, vertical mountain, with what looks like a very old stone castle or building atop it. I took a few shots while filling up at the gas station.

Mount Rushmore is an awesome sight. At first glance, when we were still approaching it, it looked very small. Then, as we got closer, things became bigger and clearer. There’s a very nice, official monument building there, including a huge viewing area, a stadium in front of it, a museum containing its entire history, and an enormous gift shop. It’s free to view, but you have to pay $11.00 to park your vehicle there.

Lastly, I must say, Wyoming is the most boring, flat state in the country. It’s empty. Lusk, Wyoming – Flat as a pancake, no humans seen for hours and hours. I’d hate to break down anywhere in that state, that’s for sure. A curious sight we did see (or “sights” I should say), was the billboards for The Firehouse Brewing Company, which is located in Rapid City, SD, where we stayed the night. These billboards, located along the highway all through South Dakota and in one or two other states as well, each have a completely real fire engine–usually a restored antique–all polished up and looking perfectly usable–next to them! Every single one, I swear, had an enormous real fire engine alongside it. At the first one I thought there was a fire at the billboard or something, not making the connection until we passed another one.

All in all, it was a great vacation with no issues at all. Very pleasant! We’d like to thank Jay and Shell and their wonderful family–again–for allowing us to stay with them. Already, Kevin is already asking “What else is there that we can see and do there next year?” I told him “There’s a ton more, Kevin – the country is a big place…Google it!” I explained that I haven’t even begin to think about next year’s vacation, I’m still trying to sort through THIS year’s vacation photos and get them posted as soon as I can! At least he’s looking forward to it… He must have had a good time.

Amazing new discovery…and Ingress progress

Coffee WarmerI just discovered this awesome coffee warming technique! It really works! When ripping DVDs, the fan runs at high speed constantly, blowing the heat out of the laptop. This is even more useful than the built-in coffee cup holder…which is only available on the laptop when I’m NOT ripping DVDs… 😉

This weekend we made a lot of progress in getting more “blue” on Kenosha’s Ingress map!  Before it was nearly all green, with the Enlightened consuming large chunks of area.  Last night we had a few large areas covered in blue, but this morning I see that most of our areas are back to simply links, so I’m afraid the Enlightened are becoming just that, and are working on re-acquiring their portals.  We have made great progress, however, and are working with a few other key Resistance allies in the area to build up our portals and hammer on the enemie’s as much as possible.

My daily walks really help our progress a great deal, allowing us to attack and gather from each portal we encounter, both on the way out and on the way back.  I’m only a few hundred points from level 3 now, and Kevin is well into level 2.  We are getting so addicted to the game, it’s ridiculous.

Review of the Wii-U

Wii-UAfter a few days of playing with the Wii-U (once I managed to pry it out of the hands of my 14-year-old) I thought I’d post my thoughts.  An HD Nintendo console has been overdue for quite some time, so it’s a relief to finally see them catching up (somewhat) to the “big boys”–PS3 and X-Box 360–though new consoles from both of those companies are now in the works as well.  But Nintendo reminds me a lot of Apple in the way they evolve.  They’re slower in movement, but over time they do get it right for their particular audience.  Anyway, the Wii-U is an excellent replacement for the Wii.  I am very relieved to see that we can still play our old Wii games on it, so we can get rid of the old thing completely.  It was a pain to have to bring the TV down to a standard definition video image to use the Wii.  Now everything can remain in full 1080p HD.

The Wii-U comes with a huge “GamePad” controller, which is much like a small tablet combined with a Wii controller.  It has a decent-sized touchscreen–at least it’s bigger than the Nintendo DS screen–and feels very comfortable in the hands.  It’s nice and light, with nice finger grooves in the right places underneath and a stick on both the left and right sides.  Many games allow their gameplay to run on either the Gamepad screen or the TV screen, and some allow both simultaneously.  Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to all games–and doesn’t apply to the old Wii games at all–but hopefully this will change in the near future with an update.  Being able to play on just the gamepad–even if you can only go up to 40 feet away from the console–is HUGE for our household.  To Kevin, it means being able to still play the console games he wants when he has time, while we can still watch the TV shows we want.  If Nintendo adds this feature into the classic Wii software, I think this feature alone could justify its price for a lot of families!

The good ole “Mii” universe is alive and well on the Wii-U, and there are always hundreds, if not thousands, of other users visiting our system and posting comments about all of the games.  We even see posts from others as we finish levels of some of the games, and I’m always wondering if the comments are actually directed toward OUR game or just generic comments… Can other users watch our gameplay?? Can we watch theirs?? I haven’t found this out yet.

For the old Wii games, there’s a “Wii” option provided as a separate app, which takes you to the classic “Wii Menu” and provides the exact same interface as the old Wii system.  In fact, you have to put down the Gamepad and pick up a standard Wii controller to play any of the Wii games and use the Wii menu interface.  We did the “Wii system transfer” before completely taking our old Wii out of service, and that was pretty flawless, once we got it going.  This was a lengthy process though, probably because we had accumulated a lot of game save data, Mii’s, and games from the Wii Store over the years.  The process is fully animated once you start it, and kind of plays out like a little cartoon, with “Pikmin” characters (from what Kevin says they are) carrying your data through the old Wii systems, out to a rocket ship and loading them up for the transfer.  One little pikmin character almost gets left behind, ala “E.T”, but they realize it before blastoff, and re-open the ship’s bay door and let him in at the last second.  Once the data is saved to your SD card, the ship takes off and your’re ready to insert it into the Wii-U, switch to that system and continue the process where the ship then lands and the pikmin unload the data into the new system and setup the icons.  It’s an amusing little cartoon, but pretty monotonous if you have a lot of data like we did.

The Wii-U also has “TVii”, which I originally thought would be a streaming TV service from Nintendo, but unfortunately it’s not.  All it is, is a “remote” for your existing TV and cable box.  You select your TV remote by answering a few simple questions based on whether the TV responds to the signals the Wii-U sends, and it sets up the remote for it.  This is definitely the simplest “universal remote control” setup I’ve ever seen, by far.  Totally painless.  Then it does the same for your cable box and cable provider.  Once that’s done you can completely control your cable box and TV with just the GamePad, replacing your two remotes.  Unfortunately, WE have much more than that to control, including our stereo, PS3, X-Box, etc., and the Wii-U doesn’t go any further than the two devices.  If someone could just make a 15-device universal remote app for the Wii-U, I’d gladly pay for it…that would be bliss!

Other apps included with the Wii-U are Netflix and HuluPlus, which both work great.  I’m currently using both services and comparing them.  Using the Wii-U interface, Netflix easily outshines HuluPlus, in my opinion.  In the Netflix app the interface on the Gamepad screen matches the TV interface, so you can use either one to select a movie or TV show and watch it on either the TV or the GamePad. Excellent!  But in HuluPlus on the GamePad, it only shows you the currently-selected option, very large, in the middle of the GamePad screen.  You have to look at the TV to scroll and select what you’re looking for.  Unless you memorize the layout of the menus, you can’t use just the GamePad to find a movie or TV show to watch, so it’s rather limited.  I’m guessing Hulu will fix this in an update though.  In comparing the Netflix and Hulu services themselves, it’s pretty much a draw.  They both offer little of the same content.  They seem to each have their own contracts for the content they offer, and both have good solid YV series offerings and movies.  It’s a tough split.  One minus on Hulu is the fact that its TV shows include “limited commercial interruptions” throughout its TV shows.  Sometimes this seems like a bit much, with hour-long TV shows sometimes having numerous 3-commercial breaks.  And there’s no fast-forwarding through the commercials either–you’re stuck with them.  I did find, several times, when I did several fast-forwards and rewinds to rewatch a part of an episode, that it can get confused and then lets you fast-forward through commercials, but then thinks a later section of the actual TV show is the commercial block!  Then later it seemed to realize it was messed up, and when I went to fast-forward or rewind the show it reset it back to the beginning again.  Pretty irritating, but it didn’t happen often and I couldn’t repeat the glitch at will.  Most of the time it worked fine.  Both Netflix and HuluPlus also have an autoplay feature for TV series playing, so you can seamlessly watch a series without manually having to start each episode.  But since HuluPlus has a commercial block before every episode and after, you have to site through a huge block of commercials (usually 6) between each episode.  A big PLUS with Hulu, however, is with current TV series playing.  Hulu gives you the current episodes of TV shows, while Netflix only provides you with previous seasons, only releasing new seasons of a show long after the next season is airing or long after the series is completed.  I guess you have to weigh the value of this with whether you watch a lot of currently-airing series’ or not.  Both services are $7.99 a month, so it makes me wonder if Hulu is worth it for all the ads when Netflix is ad-free.  But, like I said, there are enough differences between the two services to warrant having both of them, for those who can afford it and are avid movie and TV buffs.

But back to the Wii-U: The Wii-U store currently offers a very small selection, but that’s just because it’s new.  They haven’t added any of the classic Wii games to the store yet, so only Wii-U games are there at the moment.  When they finally get the games from the old Wii store into the new one, there will be a much better selection.  And it’d be even more awesome if they also add all of their classic “boxed” Wii games as digital downloads as well!  They would certainly make a fortune, especially on those hard-to-find classics.  I know they can do it–they already offer most of their new “boxed” Wii-U games as digital downloads, and the classic Wii games are much smaller in size, I’m sure.

We played a bit of Mario & Nintendoland for the Wii-U as well as a couple of the new downloadable Wii-U games that were on sale this week in the Wii-U store, and what does Kevin come back to the most?…. wait for it…. a cheap download called “Little Inferno”!  This game is just plain “WRONG”.  It teaches kids how to burn their toys.  It’s aimed at older teens, obviously, and always warns you not to play with fire, but it provides you with a safe environment to do so, allowing you to burn everything from all kinds of toys imaginable, to batteries, to a school bus full of screaming children, or an angry elf (yes, Jay–an Angry Elf) who has a belt of dynamite strapped around his waist.  It’s totally wrong, but I must admit it’s very addicting to but everything and see the way each item responds to a flame.  How this game got past the Nintendo approval process I have no idea–I guess it’s a good test of the parental controls on the Wii-U–you can block your kids from playing it if you want.  But, if they gotta play with fire, I guess doing it on the Wii-U is tons better than anywhere else!

I think Nintento has a great start here.  As long as they get busy with updating and keeping on top of the issues in a timely manner, this will turn out to be an awesome Wii system.  The GamePad features alone can make it almost as useful as a full tablet, if they make the right improvements.  We’ll see what happens.

Happy Holidaze

The season is getting pretty busy.  Yesterday we finished up cleaning and emptying the final bit of stuff left at the old house, and we’re finally fully out of it.  The bank is finally making some headway, and we’re moving forward.  Today Sandy and I did some shopping during the Packers/Bears game.  It was the perfect time for it, since all of the area’s football fans were busy watching the game.  No lines, no waiting.  Afterward, Kevin, Socks and I took a walk with a twist: Matt recommended an app called “Zombies, Run!“, so we tried it out.  You play it like an audiobook while you walk and/or run, and the story unfolds as you progress.  You also collect items during your walk, and when you get back home, in the game you “return to base” and apply the items to your compound and level up the various sections of it, like the hospital, your housing, and the armory.

It’s a neat game, and encourages you to walk more.  In fact, I think today’s walk was one of my longest in  awhile at just over 1.5 miles.  At one point, walking on the sidewalk next to Towerline Park, Kevin picked up 4 different items together, all at once.  I didn’t get them, so I stopped and went back to where he said he picked them up… Sure enough, I also picked up the 4 extra items!  That doesn’t seem to work all of the time, but did work once, so there might just be something to it.  We’ll see as we move forward in the game.  The object is to build up your base to defend against the zombie hordes  I think.  As you walk, a story unfolds as you try to reach different destinations, like a hospital for supplies, etc., and hordes of zombies chase you at various times.  You can hear them coming as they approach, and as you walk for run from them, their distance increases until you lose them again.  It keeps you occupied, like reading a good audiobook.  We’ll see how it works out.

Just one week till Christmas–wow, that’s soon.  I hope everyone has a great holiday season!  Thanks for visiting!

Movie and a walk

See?  That’s the kind of content you’re going to get in my posts if you want me to post more often.  That’s real life right there in that last post.  During today’s walk we had another similar fiasco with a “cling-on”, but I’ll spare you the details this time.  Anyway, Kevin and I just got back from seeing Wreck-It Ralph.  It was pretty cool.  A lot of it was pretty retro, with hundreds of references everywhere to old-school games like Pac-Man, Street Fighter, Asteroids, and many many more.  As with all of the previous Pixar movies, it was so overflowing with constant content, that you’d have to see it two or three times to pick up everything.  So–as expected–Kevin said he wanted to see it again, right after the movie.  There were a lot of pixellated and glitchy things in the movie, and I just hope today’s kids understand that it’s completely intentional.  Then again, there’s always their “old” parents who can explain it to them.  Though this movie wasn’t actually a Pixar-branded movie, John Lasseter was one of its producers.  So, if anything, it’s at least a half-Pixar picture.  And, as usual, it has all all-star cast.  Check out the official website or the IMDB page for all of the details.  As of today, its IMDB rating is 8.3, which is pretty darned good.

Confirmation & Trick or Treat 2012

I have a brilliant teenager. While we were trick-or-treating my phone kept me updated on the football games. I told Kevin, when they were over, that both the Packers and the Bears won today. Kevin says “Sooooo……it was a tie???”

Walked 3.49 miles trick-or-treating.  I thought I’d be exhausted, but I’m fine.  Socks and Kevin, on the other hand, are beat.  Kevin was half frozen, with red ears and nose, and Socks was shivering pretty bad too.  Sandy picked us up at the 2-hour mark after we had a good Southbound walk, and dropped us at the house again so we could do the neighborhood North of the house.  Not too many lights on to the North though–we got our largest haul from the area South.  Shockingly, there was only one light on Christmas Lane!  I thought that block would be the busiest.  I guess when you go all-out on one particular holiday a year, the rest of them don’t mean anything to you.  Luckily, I didn’t get paged at all while we were trick-or-treating, so it all turned out pretty nice.

We also had Kevin’s confirmation today.  That was nice too, and he’s now a confirmed member of the church.  Here’s a few photos.

Just checkin’ in

I posted this on Facebook last week.  Sorry it took so long to get it over here, I need to change my habits and post everything HERE first, then share it to Facebook:  I had a 3-month checkup last week and it turns out I lost 16 lbs in 3 months. I am officially–permanently–well under 300 lbs now, and it feels great.  It’s nice to be going “backwards” for a change!  By that I mean that as I’m getting older it’s actually getting easier to do things, the pain is receding, and I’m feeling better, instead of just the opposite.  And the better I feel, the more I realize I should have done this a LOOOONG time ago, and I know I’ll never, ever, go back to weighing over 300 lbs again.  Everyone’s encouragement helps a lot too, and I really appreciate it.

So… Hurricane Sandy, huh?  That’s awesome.  Now I have a new nickname for my wife.  Seriously though, my cousin Julie seems to be right in Hurricane Sandy’s path.  This is not good.  Here’s the Facebook group for the hurricane.

Trick-or-Treat is this Sunday, October 28th.  Kevin’s going as Hawkeye from The Avengers and Socks is going as a pumpkin.  I’ll take a few pictures.  We’re also going to the pumpkin farm tonight.  Should be fun!

I promise to start posting more often… no matter how small it is, I’ll post something.  If you’ve noticed though, my daily walks are always added to my photos on Flickr and in the right sidebar all the time, so there’s that, and all of my checkins are updated regularly on FourSquare (and in the right sidebar), so don’t those count?  I know, I know, it’s just not the same…. those are automated and require little effort.  You want something more solid.  Be back soon… you AND me both…