Home improvement!

It’s like spring outside! It was nearly 70 degrees yesterday, and it’s going to freeze again in a couple of days. The weather is really acting up. Around this time last year , we were breaking temperature records in the negative, this time around we have abnormally high temperatures. The good thing about the warmer weather is that it motivated me to actually do some cleaning and improvement to my humble abode.

First of, I went to Lowes the other day to pick up a screw wrench so that I could remove that stupid fitting on my faucet so that I could fit my water filter. Obviously, metal on metal doesn’t offer a lot of traction but with a bit of effort, the thing broke loose and the filter was swiftly attached. Though the water is pretty good out of the tap here in Nebraska, I feel the filtered water taste better (or it’s a complete placebo…)

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Secondly, I decided to do something with my WiFi\ situation. As I mentioned in a previous post, my WiFi modem/router unit had quirk where it would stop working, The network was still there but you could not connect to it. The only way to fix a modem is obviously to turn it on and off again but that is a bit annoying, especially when it started to happen every night. I was also renting the unit from Cox, which sounded like a good idea at the time. Having just received some tax refunds, I decided to kill two birds with one stone.

I went to my trusty local electronic the store (that would be the Nebraska Furniture Store if you are wondering) and got myself some new tech: a Netgear CM400 cable modem and TP-link Archer C5 dual band WiFi router. After getting stuck on the phone for a little more than an hour with Cox tech support (they made a typo and put in the wrong mac address), My new WiFi set up was up and running.

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This new setup is excellent, and my internet is noticeably more stable and faster than on the old modem unit. Another side effect of the better network is that I can finally do game streaming on my Nvidia Shield again. The old WiFi was so bad that it would usually fail after 30 seconds of streaming. It’s not quite as epic as it was back when I was still in college (well until my friends realized that when my computer was booting games and playing silently was not a screen saver option and started messing when I was remotely playing), it is still nice to be able to lay back on the couch and play PC games on a handheld device.

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To finish today’s post, here is a picture of an actual package I got from Amazon:

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I had ordered some ink cartridges for my fountain pen. I figured that they would just sent them in an envelope, but apparently Amazon thought differently. I guess they don’t have any boxes smaller than this one…

February general life update… updated

Last year’s February was quite spectacular. We got hit by a freak snow storm during Superbowl weekend that no one saw coming, I had just ran my car into a tree, and we were breaking temperature records in the negative. This year is quite the opposite! As a matter of fact it is nearly 60˚ outside right now! The massive snow storm everyone was so scared of was nothing short of a let down (at least for me), and my car is not in the garage for repair! Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Because it is pretty great here.

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Anyways, After month of waiting and complaining to the seller via Paypal, I finally received the Rubik’s cube stickers that I had ordered back in late November. The two blank cubes that laying around on my desk are finally stickered.

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If you are a Rubik’s cube fan, You will recognize the left cube being a Shepherd’s cube, one of the more common sticker modification. Instead of colors, each face has white arrow stickers that create two spirals on the face of the cube. It’s not all that hard to solve if you have familiarity with super cubes and shape shifting cubes. There are quite a few piece that are duplicates, so I usually start with one of the two spiral corners and work my way outwards. It’s decent challenge but not as hard the other cube.

If you don’t recognize the other cube’s sticker pattern/design it’s because it a creation of my own, more specifically based on a cube I Bought last year, The maze cube.

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The thing about the maze cube is that I still haven’t properly solved it. The black and white pattern really messes with your mind. It’s hard to know what piece goes where and it is easy to lose your direction. In hopes of figuring out a reliable method to solve it I decided to take the mathematical approach: creates a simpler but essentially identical situation.

Instead of having two mirrored black and white patterns I went with two colored stickers with arrows and assigned one pattern to one color and the other pattern with the other color and reproduce the cube but with colors and arrow.

I did give the new cube a solve and I think I might be unto something. It  is still a bit hard to solve but I think that I might be able to get this reliable a actually solve the bastard. The hard part will be to memorize what part of the pattern goes where but that’s for another time.

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I finally got around to start watching Netflix’s Jessica Jones series. I was big fan of the Daredevil series they made (and very excited for season 2) and had heard good thing from people who had already seen it. That being said, I am a bit on the fence about this show. I don’t dislike it but I don’t necessarily love it either.

I have only seen 4 episodes so far and it is definitely growing on me but I am not a big fan of the art direction. I get they are trying to do the whole Film Noir with detective monologue and jazzy music, but that clashes a bit too much with the fight scenes and the more supernatural aspect of the main characters. It has only improved with each succeeding episode so I don’t think it will be a recurring issue.

David Tenant as the big villain is phenomenal,the actor they got for Luke Cage is awesome, the references to other Marvel heroes are always a nice touch. Overall, it is pretty good, maybe more of an acquired taste than Daredevil was, but definitely another solid entry in the marvel universe. I can’t wait to see what they do with Iron Fist too, though i have been reading they are having problem with how mystical they want to get with the character. Only time will tell I suppose.

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Update:

I just remembered of something that I forgot to talk about! After all those stories about the Flint water scandal and the recent story about another polluted water story in Texas, I decided that it would be a good idea to buy a water filter for my tap. After all, better be safe than sorry right?

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The only problem is that it my faucet is being a %&$#. The fitting that is currently screwed in just won’t budge an inch, and I need to get rid of it before I can fit the filter…

Why is it so hard to do something so simple… uuughh…

Zoolander 2, another movie review…

So you know how i was like ” I hope I am not going to be brain dead after watching Zoolander 2″ at the end of my previous post? Well, guess what, I was completely wrong! I actually liked this movie! I thought it was hilarious! It was not a complete train wreck like I was lead to believe after see the harsh review online.

The plot in and of itself is nonsense but that is not the point of the movie, and I don’t think there is an actual point to the movie. It is not a movie that you have to watch with your mind as sharp as a sushi knife, but instead you have to relax and go with the flow of the story.

I think the biggest reason why people may not have like the film is because they did not understand the humor. The humor is where the film truly shines. While it may not have a a scene as rememberable as the walk off from the first one, it still pretty good. It is not slapstick humor, or sex jokes, or call out to dated cultural references/memes (though there are a quite a few cameos), the humor is actually what I think is clever satire of some of today modern societal trends. They make fun of hipsters, with one of the side characters who keeps saying how he hates things when he mean there cool or calls something that happened 15 minutes prior “retro”. They make fun of the push for environmental consciousness with crazy things made of recycle byproducts and hosting a fashion show at a toxic landfill. They poke fun at political correctness and this weird movement about identity politics with the character Cumberbatch briefly plays. The characters and the plot may be dumb but the humor behind it is quite clever.

If you have seen the first zoolander and liked it, you will probably like this one too. The movie is self aware of how ridiculous it is and that why you should go in and not expect a serious movie. If something as bad as Transformers can have three sequels despite having no likable characters and gutter humor, I can hope that Zoolander 2 can still be a success because I genuinely think that it is a good comedy.

Deadpool, A movie review…

Alright, big weekend movie number one: Deadpool. There was some concern a while ago about if it could pull off the comic book goofiness and violence that seems to be what made the comic book popular. We knew it would be rated R, but that could mean anything with how idiotic the movie rating system is. But as it turns out, it performed really well.

The humor is mostly tasteful and when they break the fourth wall, they don’t try too hard. The violence is there but not gory. If you have seen Mad Max Fury Road last year, it is comparable in how violent/gory Deadpool is. The only reason I think there is an R rating is because a scene inside a strip club, other than that it’s mostly tame (or least by my standards).

They do throw a couple punches at Green lantern and at the much hated previous incarnation of Deadpool during the movie. There is that joke about the green costume that was present in one of the trailers, and there is another brief one in the opening credit scene (which itself is quite funny since it features none of the actual actors/producers names) in the form of a trading card with strange resemblance to the Green Lantern. As for the old Deadpool form that Wolverine movie, there is one short quip about sawing someone mouth shut and a brief shot of an action figure with close resemblance to that version of Deadpool.

There are however a couple jokes that definitely about Valentines day, probably because it happens to be during the opening weekend. I am not sure to joke will work if you see some other time of the year.

Now as we all know, 20th Century Fox has the movie rights to the X men (and Fantastic Four) related comic books, and does not seem to want to relinquish the back to Marvel studios any time soon. They have done a decent job recently with the X men movie (not so much with Fantastic four though) but you can tell that some of Marvel’s fan would love to see the X men cross over into the Marvel movie continuity. I think we are starting to see sign of that.

First of all, there was Stan Lee cameo in the movie! Stan Lee has never appear in any of the X men movies since X men 3. And the final climax fight scene happens on what suspiciously looks like a Heli-carrier, those flying aircraft carrier that SHIELD uses (as seen in Avengers 1 and 2, and Captain America 2). It does not actually looks like the ones in the Marvel movies however, there are no Shield logos and it has giant jet engine rather than the weird propellers, though that probably due to movie rights and stuff like that.

Overall, It is worth a watch. It a refreshing movie to watch considering how terrible the last Fantastic Four movie was and how Ryan Reynolds previous attempt at Super Hero movies were lack luster.

On a side note, I went to see this movie in Imax (not 3D) and something kept bothering: image shuddering during CGI sequences, and weird out of focus/fuzziness. I am not sure if it has to do with the projector or if they are consequences of the Imax reformatting or whatever. It was distracting sometimes. Also, I caught someone trying to film the movie with their cellphone, It felt good.

Anyways, I’m off to see Zoolander 2. Hopefully my IQ won’t drop too far from how terrible it is…

Wifi difficulties / Super Bowl thoughts / a short movie review…

I have been meaning to write a blog recently but I am having issues with my wifi box thingy. Every so often it sorts of stop working, but still indicates that everything still works. All the indicator light on the box are on, indicating that it is connected to the internet and broadcasting but none of my devices can connect at all to. I really hate when I am in the middle of writing and WordPress just crashes, not saving what I was typing… At least it hasn’t happened while I was playing online.

The way I am fixing it to to turn it on and off again, but that is really annoying. I’ll probably go and look for a new Wifi router at some point, but it can wait for now.

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In case you were wondering, I did not watch the end of the Super Bowl, not that I was paying much attention during the first half of the game anyways. The only advertisement that stuck to mind that really weird one for Kickstart, the pseudo energy drink from Mountain Dew. I don’t know what they were smoking when they came up with ‘puppy-monkey-baby’ but it must really be potent and extremely illegal. Probably something you could get in Amsterdam…

Also, I still don’t understand why everyone always get so excited for the halftime show considering it’s all playback and very possibly even lip sync. I understand that it would to complicated to assemble a proper stage with speaker and audio and that the acoustic are terrible inside a football stadium, there are probably no real other practical means to put on big show. It still bothers me it’s mostly fake.

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I went to see Kung Fu Panda 3 the other week. It was about as good as I expected it to be. It’s one of the few series of animated films that Dreamwork has managed to be consistent with. The sequel to how to train your dragon was definitely not as good as the original and the Shrek sequels only got worse, so it is good to know that at least they have some talent left.

Though the more I think about the more I feel that the basic plot to the third Kung fu panda and the second one where essentially the same. Po thinks he is a Kung fu master, some new bad guy show up and beats up everyone, Po must learn something (inner peace/chi) and defeat the bad guy is some big fight at the end.

Maybe I am trying to hard to think of something to say about the film, but I like the idea that Dreamwork has a check list named “How to make a Kung Fu Panda film” lying around.

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Two big film I have been waiting for just came out: Zoolander 2 and Deadpool! So far it seems that Deadpool is actually good and that Zoolander is rubbish, according to the Rotten Tomatoes rating. I’ll still go and see Zoolander 2, just to get a baseline for terrible movies for this year. I think it is important to watch terrible movies once in a while, as a sort of pallet cleanser for the cinematic art. If I had not seen Pixels, which was horrible, I don’t think I could have grasped how much worse Fantastic four was. It also help find mediocre movies that are worse watching from terrible movies that should have never seen the light of day.

You can most definitely count on a couple reviews coming this weekend as I go see the first big releases of this year!

The superbowl sort of live blog…

Obviously, I don’t really care about sports, but I thought I should at least pay attention to the Superbowl so that i can pretend to be more American than I am, or least for the supposedly unique adverts. So far, at time of writing it half way through the second quarter and I still don’t really care. The Broncos are leading by 3 points. Cool. There has not been any unique ads yet either. The panthers are playing terribly so far and it would not surprise me if the Broncos just crush them during the second half.

I am currently streaming the game on the CBS app for Xbox 0ne, which sucks as you can see by the featured image. It was literally 1 minute of live footage and then it would crash. Missed the first half of the first quarter, but it seemed that I didn’t miss anything. Also, I got reminded how much I hate the half mute “feature” that my television has.

I’ll probably post again after the half time show, if I am still watching by then.

Disappointing blizzard of disappointment…

When I heard last week that they were predicting a major winter storm would be coming our way, I got pretty excited. Maybe I would have a snow day and have the day off! And then my creative itch started to scratch.

I figured the weather would not be bad enough for me to get stuck at home, meaning I would have had to drive to work (which i was confident I could do). My plan was to create sort of a parody trailer for a disaster movie, making fun of the fact when it barely snow on the west coast, everything grinds to a halt, while here in the midwest, a blizzard is just another day of the week. It would have been mostly footage of me driving to work through the blizzard with Mad Max like dramatic music for effect. I know how to do some basic video editing, I knew which soundtrack I wanted to use, I had the camera set up ready. What could possibly foil my brilliant plan?

Well, it is rather simple: There was no blizzard. It snowed a bit but nothing like what was predicted. there was maybe 3-4 inches of snow compared to the foot and a half that was expected. The company did not even bother sending weather warning that day, though a vast majority of my coworker worked from home. I did end up filming my way to work in case there was something interesting on the way there but nothing caught my attention.

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After a whole day in the “blizzard”…

So disappointing.

I realize that I am complaining about “good” weather, but it would have made for a really cool video. It is still early in the year so I might another chance later.