Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Hallowe'en 2018

3:39 pm - I just saw a dinosaur walk across the street in front of our house. Not sure if it was a school costume worn home, or someone starting T-o-Ting early. In any case, they didn't come here.

3:51 pm - Eric is back home with the pizza. I've put out some of the candy into bowls. I'm waiting for the paperboy to deliver the paper.

4:00 pm - Neighbors across the street are doing some REALLY last-minute decorating. Caution tape is going up all over their yard. Unless they are undercover police actually investigating a crime, which I doubt, since one of them is dressed like a princess.

4:05 pm - Halloween 2013 Crowds, Halloween 2014 Crowds.

4:07 pm - Paperboy delivered the paper and got two pieces of candy for his troubles.

4:40 pm - First group, across the street. Turned and went a different way. May not come back here. Hrm.

4:58 pm - First group, three kids. Very polite. The Flash, a unicorn and a princess.

First Kids
5:02 pm - Second group, three kids. (6)

5:12 pm - A lone Spider-Man with his dad. (7)

5:20 pm - Start of a little spurt of people. Not sure how many... reviewing the photos now... Lucky 13 people showed up! (20)

5:25 pm - Two more. Remember, live-ish photos are available. (22)

5:30 pm - 14 more. Whew. (36)

5:37 pm - HOLY CATS. There was an endless-seeming stream of them.

5:39 pm - Another stream of them...

5:42 pm - Batman, Superman and the Queen of Hearts.

5:45 pm - A solo and somewhat nervous girl.

5:50 pm - more and more...

5:56 pm - more and more and more and more...

5:58 pm - I can't even tell how many by looking at the photos. I know there have been more than 140 though. We got through the first bowl and then some.

6:08 pm - Eric fed Inkwell and is putting the pizza in the oven. Oh Take n Bake, how we love thee!

6:12 pm - A young men dressed as a policeman came up and I said, "I swear officer, I've just been giving candy to children!" He was... befuddled.

6:17 pm - Another kid recognized Eric as his teacher. Now they know which house to TP.

6:42 pm - Continual crowds... pizza is good, but I can get maybe one bite before the next crowd arrives.

6:55 pm - IT'S NOT EVEN SEVEN?!!?!???

Scary Panda

7:15 pm - It's a neverending stream of children of all ages, each one dressed up in a strange way, each with their own quirks. And some react REALLY funny when they see Eric (their teacher) at the door.

7:20 pm - Next year: Dog treats, bottled water... Maybe a bunch of cheap pillow cases to give to children with inadequate bags.

7:28 pm - Regular clumps. Enough that we can't really sit down and stop. Both Eric and I have each had two pieces of candy.

7:34 pm - Someone in the neighborhood is giving out cotton candy. Cotton candy. Seriously?!??

7:37 pm - We asked a young man what he was dressed as. He didn't hear us, I think, and looked at Eric and said, "Mister Gjovaag???" We both immediately questioned how he could be dressed as Mr. Gjovaag while wearing Dodgers fan gear. He was very confused.

7:42 pm - The security cam is trying to take a photo every five seconds, but it's not consistent.

7:47 pm - We've moved to asking "Who is this Mister Gjovaag you folks keep talking about? He must be really handsome and well-liked."

8:05 pm - Eric had a nosebleed. Good thing the crowds slowed down a bit.

8:14 pm - Starting to download videos from the cam. We'll see if I got anything really cool.

8:37 pm - It may be over for this year. It *IS* a school night. Eric says we should invite people over for 2020, which will be on a Saturday and thus be insane. I can still hear children in the night, but they haven't come up here yet.

8:46 pm - A few more stragglers. I'll stay up until about 9:30 before I turn off the lights. But the massive crowds are done now.

9:05 pm - Counted the candy bags. I estimate about 750 people, with a pretty large margin of error. I'm relatively sure we had more than 700, but I doubt we reached 800. Lights are still on, but I'm not expecting many more, if any. Inkwell is loose again and very put out that we locked him up. Videos are downloading. I need to figure out how to edit AVI files, I guess.

9:30 pm - Decorations down, lights out. I'll stay up a bit longer in case we have high school stragglers who don't get that no porch light = no candy, but I think this year is a wrap. And we have LOTS of candy left over.

It's Hallowe'en!


I've set up much of the house for the holiday... ok, the front room. Put up the "Trick-or-Treaters Welcome" signs. Put some pumpkins in the window. Prepped the bedroom for Inkwell. Set up the security cam to record photos every few seconds. The candy is out and ready to be put in bowls for serving. Eric has a cold and is miserable. I think we're as ready as we're going to get.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Review: Doctor Who - The Ghost Monument

If you've never read the short story, "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" by M.R.James, then you are missing a certain cultural depth of this Doctor Who episode. I would love to know if the writer was consciously invoking that classic horror tale. In any case, the lingering shots on the sheets of apparent fabric made me think of the M.R.James, and when they eventually did their stuff, I definitely felt the chill that echoed from my first reading of the short story.

Ahem.

The plot itself was fine, a little on the standard side. We all know about rallies and winners and such, and this episode definitely used that plot to give our expanded cast of characters more time to develop. This was very much a story about growing the characters with some quick action mingled with introspective moments and nice scenery. Overall, I thought it worked.

I noticed the reference to the previous baddie, and I'm not sure whether I'm happy or annoyed that there is apparently going to be another extended arc. If that's what's developing.

I liked Angstrom and had what I assume is the expected negative reaction to Epzo. The actors for both were fantastic, and gave their stories nicely while still acting like people at the end of a difficult race, still trying to win. The ending was... I'm not going to say predictable, but it certainly didn't win any awards for originality. I guess I was hoping for something a little more amazing.

And lastly... the TARDIS. I wasn't sure if we would spend the entire season searching for it, so seeing the tease of it at the beginning didn't actually tell me much. The ending and entry into the timeship was nicely done - it felt almost like a callback to Ian's "It's a Police Box!" reaction. The interior... well, I'll have to really see it in action to make a decision on whether or not I like it.

The verdict: I enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next episode (which I hope to watch tonight).

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Cameraphone Zen (catchup post)

October 6th:

exit sign

October 8th:

Flower

October 9th:

Granger Dinosaur

October 10th:

Tree

October 11th:

A local version of the Effiel Tower

October 12th:

A leaf

October 13th:

Doggone fence

October 14th:

Flowers

Monday, October 08, 2018

Review: Doctor Who - The Woman Who Fell to Earth

First up, I don't blame the production crew for this, but the presentation by BBC America was simply AWFUL. There were more ads than show during the second half, and there were short spoilery segments inserted in the ads that made you think the show was back, but no - it was just another ad FOR THE SHOW YOU ARE WATCHING with spoilers for future events, just in case you wanted to enjoy the episode as it was written.

Eric and I watched the simulcast, so we didn't see all the ridiculous interviews in the middle of the show, but we also didn't see the closing credits or the trailer. In fact, I don't recall hearing the Doctor Who theme at all during the airing, although I heard the X-Files theme a number of times due to ads *GRRRRR*.

In short, if you want to watch and enjoy Doctor Who, apparently BBC America is the LAST place you should go to find it. The presentation sucked. It was horrible.

That said, the brilliance of the episode barely managed to shine through BBC America's mangled showing.


First thoughts, I was completely convinced by the end of the episode that we were seeing the Doctor. In fact, about the moment she started working on the sonic I felt myself accepting her. I accepted her more quickly than I accepted either Matt Smith or Peter Capaldi. Both of them I required a second episode to feel the connection, she got it in one.

The supporting cast is good, although the absolute best character of the bunch is the one we won't be seeing traveling with the Doctor. It felt like they gelled as a team more quickly than any other cast, and I liked how each of them brought their strengths to the adventure.

The story itself was a tiny bit slow, I think. I'm not sure, because it could've just been the constant interruption by endless commercials instead of the pacing of the episode itself. Hard to tell when there are literally more commercials than show. But I think the plot took a little overlong to develop into action. Thinking back, I'm not sure what could have been changed, though, so perhaps I was just completely thrown off by the awful ads.

I liked the overall concept, although I feel like this would have been something already discovered by one of the various Doctor-spawned groups protecting the planet. Then again, if it's not a common event - eh, hard to say. The humanoid alien didn't seem all that menacing to me, but the initial alien on the train was extremely creepy.

The ending was not at all what I was expecting. I really thought this would be a third-Doctor exiled on Earth type of run, so I was a little shocked to see what happened. Pleased, but shocked. I did manage to avoid almost every single spoiler leading up to the premiere, so if that was already common knowledge, I successfully managed to avoid it.

In all, I enjoyed this episode quite a bit, despite BBC America's best efforts to destroy it. I'm looking forward to the next episode.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Review - Come From Away

Hubby-Eric and I went to see Come From Away at the Capitol Theatre in Yakima last night. It was our first real date night in a long time, so we had a blast, going to dinner first and wandering around a little downtown before the show.

The show itself is only 100 minutes long, but it's PACKED with music, movement, and story. For those who haven't already heard about this musical, it tells the story of the town of Gander in Newfoundland on September 11, 2001. When the United States shut down its airspace completely, all the inbound international flights were diverted to other airports. Because Gander had a huge airport once used for refueling when planes couldn't fly the distances they do now, many flights were sent there. The stranded passengers and the locals had to handle a completely unexpected situation.

The musical relies on the humor inherent in any crazy situation to its advantage, turning what could have been a painful stab at an old wound into a soothing, sometimes sad but more often uplifting, narrative. Although the town itself had more than 9,000 people and there were 38 airliners with 6,579 people (and some animals) on board, the musical manages to tell the story with a cast of only 12 people, who all play multiple parts.

For me, and possibly many others, the best plot thread in the play revolves around Nick and Diane, who happened to be on the same flight from London to Dallas. They don't meet until the plane is on the ground in Gander and the passengers and crew are going stir-crazy because they are cooped up with almost no knowledge of what happened to divert the flight (remember, cell phones were not as common in 2001). I was particularly enthralled by the performance of Chamblee Ferguson as Nick, who almost seemed to be channeling Peter Capaldi when he went into Nick's character, and managed to change so completely when he was other characters that I literally did not recognize him at times.

This is not to say the entire cast wasn't excellent - they were. I don't really have the energy to write out how awesome each of them were in the parts they played, but every one of the 12 actors had a moment to shine and they all did so.

The action was non-stop. From the incredible opening number in which we are introduced properly to the town of Gander and that entire area of Newfoundland until the final curtain call, the actors never stopped moving, singing, dancing, acting... it was a high-energy performance that was exhausting to watch about five days of pure exhaustion.

The plot threads were powerful at times. The story of an Egyptian Muslim man who is immediately mistreated was painful to watch. The plucky SPCA employee who thought to find out about the animals the 38 planes were carrying made me hold my breath, thinking of the horror of traveling with a pet and to have this awful event happen. The school employees who went from a normal day of classes to getting ready to house 700 people made me laugh more than any of the others, I think. The portrayal of the local mayors was enough to get a laugh out of everyone, even though it was remarkably silly. The story of a black man from New York or the gay couple, all of whom fear the worst conservative reactions and are pleasantly surprised, hit home.

The opening number "Welcome to the Rock" made me immediately want the album (which we got). Each musical piece rolls into the next, as the planes land, the residents prepare and the people on the planes start to go crazy from being stuck on planes in an unknown place for unknown reasons. Then it gets better as the people leave the planes and people do what people do.

Despite being only 100 minutes long, there are moments when it seems like the people had been together for weeks. It was actually a bit of shock when the planes start to leave Newfoundland. And the finale is somehow as powerful as the opening number.

There are so many stories in this play that it's hard to take it all in. By the end of the play I was crying and laughing and overcome by memories and emotion.

I can highly recommend this to anyone - the tour literally started in Yakima - so there will be plenty of opportunities.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Barber shop graffiti

(Yesterday's) Cameraphone Zen

Squirrel posing

Monday, October 01, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

He's watching.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Water fountain

Saturday, September 29, 2018

What it's like to be a woman

The Kavanaugh hearings were pure hell, even though I did my best to not watch them directly. I heard and saw enough that I still feel sick about them. A very credible witness comes forward about a traumatic event in her life and a bunch of rich white men whine and cry and claim she's being unfair. All while insisting there is no need for an FBI investigation on the subject.

What are they afraid of? If she's lying outright, there's a decent chance the FBI will track down whoever is paying her to lie and reveal the truth, right? If she's telling the truth, then what sane person wants a would-be rapist who clearly has a drinking problem on the frickin' SUPREME COURT??!???

So it's been a lot of pain. Some suppressed memories came out, as well. I'm not going to talk about those.

Instead, I'm going to talk about a walk I took a few days ago. I've been walking every day in the city's central park, doing one or two laps around the parking lot. It's not a long walk, just under a half mile. I have seen a number of other people who are regulars there. I'm used to the older men: one who walks with a cane, one who spent the first week ignoring me but now nods back when I smile and nod at him as we pass each other. I was wary around them at first, but I'm comfortable now.

The other day I saw a new face. A younger man, maybe in his late 20s or early 30s. He was wearing a hoodie with the hood down, sweat pants and a baseball cap. I immediately felt uncomfortable with him there. I watched him as he passed me and watched as he approached another woman walking ahead of me. And this is what I thought: If he attacks her, I can reach them in maybe 10 seconds. I'll need a weapon. My car keys. Should I keep my phone in my hand? Should I call 911 first or fight him off?

That is the kind of thing I think whenever I see a lone man approaching a lone woman.

Because it's not safe out there for women. Every man could be a predator. Until we know them or have watched them be good for days on end, we can't be truly comfortable with them. We cannot feel safe. Even though my reasonable side was telling me that man was just a normal guy out walking like the rest of us who I see every day, I didn't know him and I felt like I needed to be alert and ready to jump to another woman's aid if necessary. When he walked past her I let out a sigh of relief and continued on, ready to keep an eye on him if/when he came back around.

That's what it's like for most women. We don't even think about it most of the time - or perhaps the more correct term is reflect on it. The thought is there, we are ready to act, and it passes because it's not needed, thankfully. I realized - while listening to Kavanaugh whine angrily - that I am alert in public more often than not. That I have been taught by experience to not trust any man, ever, when I don't know him. And to barely trust men I know (although, being socially inept, I've isolated myself from the real creeps - apparently).

When I was at Western, living in Highland Hall, I had to go down a long outdoor stairway to campus every day (Highland is on the Ridge, a housing area on a hill above the campus). One day I was walking down the stairs with another girl when we heard a voice from out of nowhere. We both stopped and looked around, and a young man, grinning, got up from where he was camouflaged in the foliage next to the stairs. I seem to recall hearing a second voice, but I don't know if I saw him. In short, neither of us saw the man even though he was literally a step away from the stairway and could have easily lunged out at us. He told us he was in military training and was trying out his skills - but I saw it as a warning. I have thought about it over and over for years. How I could not see him at all, and didn't realize he was there until he spoke. It makes me a little frightened even now. I don't think he meant to cause harm, but did he realize just what message he was sending?

Did he care?

I was taught some other lessons the hard way, but that's the only one I care to share right now. I think about it sometimes - how completely hidden that guy was. And I shudder. Because next time the guy might not be just exercising his power to scare women - he might want to hurt women. I don't know if I'll be ready if/when it happens.

Cameraphone Zen

Date on sidewalk in the park

Ack! Wireless failure!

I got on my laptop this morning and... the wireless wouldn't work. I had a Code 10 on the Intel Wireless Ac 9560 card. So I attempted to fix it by disabling it, then re-enabling it. Then uninstalling and reinstalling. Nothing. So I hooked up the ethernet to see if it was a complete network failure on the part of the computer. Ethernet worked fine. So, now that I had internet, I searched.

I found the answer in a Reddit thread, and would you believe I had to reset the BIOS to fix it? Apparently there's a Windows Update that made some sort of change somewhere that meant resetting the Wireless settings on the BIOS to Factory Defaults is the only way to get the wireless card to work again.

Of course, then I couldn't get into the BIOS thanks to Dell's overprotective system. You literally have a microsecond to hit F2. So I found this useful page which gives a method on Windows 10 computers to get to the BIOS that I never knew about. I didn't even know UEFI Firmware settings and BIOS were basically the same thing.

Anyway, my laptop is back in action after a half hour of stupidity. Thanks Microsoft for wasting my time.

Posted as a reminder if it happens again.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Tree and Moon

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Footprint in the curb

(Yesterday's) Cameraphone Zen

Hanging flower basket

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Flower

Monday, September 24, 2018

Cameraphone Zen

Fallout Shelter

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Various Thoughts and stuff

I caught Inkwell on video meowsaging me:


If this works, you should be able to see the video I posted of the event on Facebook. He actually does this to me almost every night, and sometimes in the mornings. He's kind of tucking me into bed. There is sound on the video, and if you dare to turn it up, you can hear Inkwell's purring. Because he's literally on my face as he does this, the sound is deafening to me. It didn't come across on the video as loud as I hear it when he's doing it.

---

Eric lost his glasses. I was wandering around town catching Pokemon, and got back to find a frantic email about it. I looked around the house and didn't see them, and did a quick walk around the house outside. He had written that if he dropped them outside, it was most likely at the water switch in the back yard. So I looked, but didn't see them. I went back inside and did a much more thorough search of the house before I remembered the security cam. If he had his glasses in his pocket, I might be able to see it on the cam. So I looked! Sure enough, he had his sunglasses on his face and his regular glasses in his front shirt pocket as he locked the door on his way out.

Ok. With that in mind, I realized I was going to have to retrace his steps, which might mean walking all the way to his school. Bleh. I'd just gotten *back* from a long walk. So I decided to circle the house three times before I started out retracing his steps. I walked around once, scanning the ground, and didn't see them. The second time, I focused on the areas near the house. In the deepest shadow near the AC unit I spotted something. Sure enough, it was his glasses! Whew, I didn't have to walk all the way out. (The third time round I would have focused on the areas furthest from the house, but I didn't have to do it, yay!)

I delivered them to his school by driving there (and sitting in the parking lot catching a couple of Pokemon before I went in) and then went home to rest. He was delighted. Neither of us can figure out how they managed to fall out of his pocket into the deepest shadow near the AC unit - which isn't all that close to the water switch.

---

When my sister and mother came out to go to Adam West Day with me, we first went out to visit my mother's favorite quilt shop in Prosser. I was happy to find a couple of Pokestops in the area, and surprised that my sister had just, that day, started playing the game in the hopes it will have the same positive effect of getting her out walking that it did with me. While mother had a great deal of fun in the quilt shop, I explained some of the little bit of Pokemon lore I've learned so far to my sister and we repeatedly hit the Pokestops. It was fun. I ended up with two new gym badges, one at the memorial in my Cameraphone Zen for Sep 18, and the other a boring Starbucks one near the freeway exit (we were stopped at a light long enough for me to spin it).

We also visited Chukar Cherries, which is literally across the river from the quilt shop. There was another gym across the street from it that I managed to spin as well. I ended up getting three gym badges in Prosser, but only two in Walla Walla (despite spending a lot more time in Walla Walla).

---

I have been walking my fish.


Time for some Poke-nerdism! The special research tasks apparently introduced to the game recently have various steps to completion. In the step I'm on in one of the tasks, I need to turn a Magikarp (that floppy giant goldfish) into a Gyarados. In order to do this, I have to collect 400 Magikarp "candy". You get three pieces of candy for catching a Pokemon, and one piece if you send that Pokemon to the professor to be studied (basically, you throw it away and get a reward). The other way to collect candy is to walk with your Pokemon as your "buddy". So I have been walking with Fishstix here as my buddy in order to get enough candy to feed to him to turn him into a Gyrados. As of tonight, I'm very close to 300 candies.

Most Pokemon do not require 400 candies. There are some that only need 12 candies to evolve, but more normal is 25, 50 or 100. All of which is not hard to reach by catching a whole lot of Pokemon. Which is the point of the game, and why you need to walk around a lot. The more you walk, the more Pokemon you find, and the more you can evolve your Pokemon and stuff. It's really very fun. And it's got me out walking, which is something I BADLY needed.

---

Yesterday was a Pokemon Community Day, and what happens on those days is that suddenly one type of Pokemon will just FLOOD the world. The idea is that you are out and about for three hours, walking with your friends and everyone is catching a ton of this one particular type of Pokemon. The last community day, in August, was when my sister got me addicted to the game by having me carry her spare phone and catch Eevee on a long walk with her, another sister, my niece and brother-in-law. Side note: if you are confused about my sisters, I have four of them and three of them have been mentioned in this post so far.

Anyway, so yesterday was the new Community Day, and of COURSE I went out to catch Pokemon...


I caught plenty. I even got two that were special "Shiny" ones, although I'm not entirely sure what to do with them, since their stats are awful.

I originally intended to walk for three hours, strolling around the park and sitting for a portion of the time. I was hoping to meet some other local players. Well... it was very odd. There were other people, but they pretty much all stayed in their cars and went from area to area by car. I didn't get to talk to even one of them.

Only a couple of days earlier I met another player who friended me on the app. He didn't get out of his car, either. But we talked a bit, and we've been sending gifts back and forth, the way the game allows. On Friday I "met" a car-full of people who were on my same team (Team Mystic) when we all took over two gyms together. I waved at them, but they did not get out of their car.

So apparently the local fans are very car-centric. I suppose, with the small-town fear of gangs and stuff, that it's not so strange. A bit sad and depressing, but not strange.

With no one to talk to, or walk with, I decided to just head for home. So I walked home. From the park. I worked out that I must've walked a bit more than two and a half miles over the course of two hours. That's nothing compared to what I used to be capable of, but it was difficult for me yesterday and I ended up taking only a half mile today. However, I got home with an hour to spare in the event and spent the rest of the time relaxing and culling the worst of my catches and evolving a couple of the lovelies to their final form.

I kept the app open, and after the event ended, a really really strange Pokemon showed up:


When I caught them, they turned into the shape-changing Ditto. But before now, Ditto has always shown up as a known type of Pokemon, so finding these in the wild was... well, wild. And I ended up catching four of them and spotting two more before the day was done. I don't think I've seen any today - certainly none close enough to catch (there's a radar in the corner that shows you nearby Pokemon, but I don't always pay attention to it when I'm not walking).

So... that was community day.

---

Last week I mentioned that I was recording a podcast with Rob Kelly. You can now listen to that podcast at the Fire & Water website. I haven't quite worked up the nerve to listen to it yet (I'm one of those people who cannot stand the sound of my own voice). If you listen to it, please let me know what you thought.


---

I spent an unfortunate amount of time today looking for nerdy boxer shorts for my husband to wear around the house and outside when he gets the newspaper or turns the irrigation water on. You know, shorts. But boxers. I looked everywhere, and apparently it's a current trend that boxers not be boxers, but briefs with long legs. Every place I looked had "boxer briefs" and almost no actual boxers. The times I did find interesting designs, they didn't have his size. I have currently given up the search. A few years back I got him some very cool Doctor Who and Justice League boxers. But the band is nearly worn through on the Justice League and I'm not sure how much longer the Doctor Who boxers will hold out. So I'm going to need to find some more boxer shorts soonish (He's letting me buy them because "You're the one who is looking at them most of the time.").

After giving up on boxers, I started looking at Pokemon T-shirts (hey, I'm obsessed. It happens with me. Deal with it.). I found a number of shirts I wouldn't mind getting and even added a few to Amazon wish list. My favorite may be the Going to the Gym shirt. But even Eric thinks this one is appropriate for me:

Cameraphone Zen

Squirrel on a wire