Lisa’s Story: Zombie Apocalypse – Chapter Eighteen

Over the next couple of days I helped Andy move into his new apartment. After cleaning out the refrigerator and letting the apartment air out, I convinced him to move the former occupants’ personal items to a bedroom.

“You really care about your neighbor’s stuff?” he asked while taking a picture off the walls.

I shrugged. “Kind of. Maybe. They might come back.” I hadn’t really known them or most of my neighbors to be honest. A week ago I had broken into every apartment and taken all the food and drinks I could find but I hadn’t touched their personal belongings.

“It doesn’t seem likely.”

“Yeah but you got to have hope or why the hell are we surviving?”

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My Headphones Broke (a little)

So several months ago, maybe as long ago as January, I bought a pair of wireless bluetooth headphones because regular head phones just don’t last very long(a couple of months) for me.  I know it’s because I’m constantly shoving them in my purse when I get to work bending the wires at the plug causing them to break.  About couple of weeks ago the power button on my wireless headphone broke.  It sagged in and didn’t feel like it was pressing against anything.  The headphones have a aux jack so I’ve been using that.  I have a low but significant chance of just plain breaking electronics when I try to fix them, so I have been putting it off.  Tonight I finally worked up the courage to crack them open and see if it’s something I can fix or not.

Pictures behind the read more.

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Quick Movie Reviews

Terminator: Genisys

I had very low hopes for this movie after Terminator: Salvation but this movie has resurrected the series for me.  Salvation was a slog through a plot that didn’t really matter since we already knew about the human looking terminators and that Skynet would be defeated someday.  Genisys takes the story back to what was good about the first two movies: traveling through time to kill Sarah Conner.  It doubles down on that by introducing two more plots to kill her and a guardian terminator called Pops.  What could have been a confusing mess is handled well enough to be fun action movie.  Rating 4/5

American Ultra

This movie was much more violent than the trailer led me to believe.  I expected a bumbling stoner clerk with “super spy” abilities.  What I got was closer to Kill Bill than Clerks.  Still not a bad movie.  Story runs on over the top action but still delivers some comedy and drama. I really liked the dynamic between Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart.  Rating 3.5/5

Interstellar

This movie is a hard science fiction movie in the same vein as 2001: A Space Odyssey but with a bit more action.  Set in a future, year unknown, that doesn’t look too different from our own a man stumbles into a secret NASA project to find a new home for humanity in a distant galaxy.  I like that movie is almost purely driven by science.  The NASA robots were a surprise.  They look like the monolith from 2001 but coated in polished aluminum, with two small monitors for a “face” and very human sounding voices.  Completely nonhuman looking but still very humanized.  Rating 4/5

It’s The Little Things That Keep Me Going

Yesterday at work was not the best day I’ve had but it did have a silver lining.

My work day started at 9am, which for most people is mid-morning, for me it’s the middle of my sleep cycle.  I normally sleep from 3am-ish to 11am-ish.  Lately it’s been shifting more toward 5am to 1pm.  This usually is fine because I usually work either in the afternoon or evening.  My manager is cool and mostly schedules me for those shifts but sometimes I have to work a morning shift like today.

So, I get to work and I’m already(still) tired and want a nap.  I press onward knowing I will spend most of my day at the Jewelry Counter, which isn’t terribly hard work.  I help put out stock until we open at 9:30 am, at which point I have to stay close to the Jewelry Counter and I stay there for a hour and a half when I take my break.  When I come back from break(nap time), I find out I have been evicted from Jewelry and cast out on to the Floor because I’m the only person, not already at a register, who can run a register so I am needed to help out with long lines.  Before being set loose on the floor I have to cover four breaks at the Front Register, the Fitting Room, Jewelry, and the Back Register.

Halfway through Fitting Room’s break I start to feel an ache across my forehead centering mostly over my left eye.  It gets worse fairly rapidly to the point that I closed my eyes and had to be “woken up” by a customer.  I have generic Excedrin in my locker because I get headaches/migraines somewhat regularly.  The pain lessens but never really goes away for the rest of the day.  I make it through the rest of the breaks, take my lunch, and return to the Floor still the only person who can help out at the registers.  I end up spending a lot of time at the registers because it is a busy day, too busy to only have one person that can help at the registers.

All in all it was a pretty tiring day but like I said at the beginning there was a silver lining.  One of the worst things about working in retail is people who do not respect the workers.  I could write a whole post on just that; in fact I probably will.  Right now I want to bask in the golden moment I witnessed and was a part of.

A woman and her child, age 5-8, came through the line to m register.  She placed her items on the counter but pulled a Batman mug to one side and said, “We’re going to be paying for this separately.  He has his own money and is going to pay for it.”  I went through her transaction quickly and easily.  Then I began the child’s.

The woman carefully coached the child through the transaction.  She handed him his money and told him to wait until I had said the amount.  She had him unfold the bill before handing it to me.  When customers hand me cash, I always say the amount the customer has given me out loud for two reasons.  One, it gives people a chance to stop me if they have change to dig out and, two, it helps me when I go to type the amount into the register.  I don’t usually expect a response but I was happy to hear the woman instruct her child to say “Yes.” in response.  I handed him the change, thanked them and wished them a nice day.  The woman thanked me as well and prompted her child to do the same.  Throughout the transaction she made sure he was paying attention to me.

So often, I have had wadded up bills dropped on the counter for me to pick up and straighten out.  So often, I have repeated myself because they aren’t paying attention.  So often, I have felt like I am acting opposite an empty chair.  I felt none of these things in that transaction and felt like the woman was making sure her child would not make a future cashier feel them either.

In all, I interacted with them for only a few minutes but seeing a child taught how to be polite to retail workers was the high point of my day.

 

Brief Review of Timeless

So, do you remember the Quantum Leap episode where Sam encounters an evil leaper and has to set right what they put wrong?  Well, Timeless is basically that episode as a series but better.

Timeless is a new series on NBC about a team of three, a historian, a soldier, and the time machine’s pilot, who go back in time to prevent an anit-American terrorist from changing America’s history in a stolen time machine.  Don’t worry there’s no Islamophobia in this show.  The terrorist leader, Garcia Flynn, has his own as yet unknown reasons for wanting to change the past but they seem to be tied to the historian of the good guys and main character, Lucy Preston.  Flynn has a notebook that has Lucy’s handwriting in it, which he claims she hasn’t written yet but will one day.

The other members of the are Wyatt Logan, a soldier chosen by Homeland Security, and Rufus Carlin, the time machine’s pilot and the black man of the team.  Wyatt has a dead wife in his backstory which he wants to save now that he has a chance but he is also a dedicated soldier.  Rufus is an employee of the company that built both the stolen time machine and the prototype they use to try to stop Flynn.  He was actually very reluctant to be the pilot not only because of the danger of time travel but also because he is black.  He says one of the best lines to his boss, “Also, I don’t know how it works across the pond, but I am black. There is literally no place in American history that would be awesome for me.”  There’s something shadowy going on with his boss but it’s not clear how much Flynn knows.

This show has a nuanced take on time travel or rather the results of time travel.  In many shows it’s common for history to be almost immutable, resisting changes with almost comical deus ex machinas.  Or history is a delicate jenga tower, pull the wrong block out and it all comes crashing down(until you put it back exactly like it was before).  In Timeless the characters act like history is the jenga tower but if they keep things mostly in place history goes on like nothing has happened.  Well, almost like nothing happened.  The main characters involvement, if significant, do become a part of history and can have effects that are unpredictable, like having a school named after your alias or changing someone’s family tree.

At this point I’ve only seen the first three episodes.  The first two were really good with trips to the Hindenburg crash and Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.  The third one didn’t have a specific event tied to it but was still a good episode.  Overall I’d say give the first episode a watch.  I know there are like two other time travel shows starting soon but this one feels like a home run.

My Memories

My memories are a labyrinth
Winding corridors
Secret doors
Dead ends and pitfalls

My memories are a quilt
Cut apart pieces
Stitched together fragments
Painstakingly reassembled

My memories are a map
Charting my life
From place to place
From then to now

My memories are a book in progress
Half written chapters
In need of editing
With no ending.

Trouble on Deck Three

“Happy Halloween!” Maggie called out as she entered on to the ship’s flight deck.

“You’re late,” Felix said. He turned from his station, jumpsuit half zipped, still sipping his coffee and saw Maggie wearing an over sized black sweater, over her jumpsuit, adorned with bright, almost glowing, orange lettering that read “Happy Halloween” arching over an equally bright orange jack-in-lantern.

“That’s hideous.” he said.

“Don’t be a sourpuss. It’s festive.” Maggie took her seat at the station opposite his and began running through the morning checklist. “Did last shift leave you alone?”

“I told them to go grab some sleep.”

“There’s supposed to be two people in here at all times.”

“I don’t know why. The autopilot could take us all the way to Mars orbit. I heard about a ship- ” he cut himself off and returned to his checklist.

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Lisa’s Story: Zombie Apocalypse – Chapter Seventeen

I walked inside my apartment and Andy followed me. I gestured to the sofa as I walked past it to the kitchen area, “Take a seat. You want a drink?”

“Uh, sure what do have?” Andy asked from the sofa.

“Bottled water, sodas.” The water had mostly come from the superstore while the sodas I had scavenged from my neighbors. I had seen beer and other alcoholic beverages in a few apartments but had left them.

“Root beer?” he asked.

“Sure.” I pulled two cans out of a box and walked around to the living room. I handed one to Andy and sat in my watch chair with the other. We sat in silence for a minute drinking our warm sodas.

“What’s with the couch?” Andy asked pointing to the short sofa standing on end by the door.

“I use it to block the door.”

“Ah, ok. So, today was a lot of fun. What are we going to do tomorrow?”

I couldn’t help myself and launched into my best mad scientist mouse voice, “The same thing we do everyday. Try to take over the world!” Andy stared at me blankly for a second while I broke down laughing for the first time in weeks.

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Odyssey 3011: One Woman’s Tale – Part Four

The following story is based on my experiences in the game Odyssey 3011, an Xbox Live Indie game. The story is a mix of my play through and added fictional encounters in the form of a log kept by my player character.

Jump 140?

I’m not sure if I should call that a jump or not. I’m in a different place but it wasn’t a hyperspace jump. I’m not home. Not even close to Earth as far as I can tell. It was a wormhole I think. I’m not in the same system anymore. I’m picking up a beacon from a docking station nearby. I’m going to head there and see if I can figure out where I am.

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CW Streaming App – Review

This review is based off the Roku version of the The CW’s app.

A few weeks ago all The CW shows disappeared from Hulu.  This concerned me because I watch The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, iZombie, The 100, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and I was really looking forward to season two of Supergirl.  Then I found out The CW was planning on launching their own streaming app.  Their parent company CBS also has a streaming app that costs $5.99 for limited commercials or $9.99 for no commercials.  I was afraid The CW would follow suit and I would be forced to wait until the seasons were available on Netflix.

The new app launched a couple of days ago and I checked it out last night.  First off there’s no subscription or sign in needed. The app is completely free for everyone.  New episodes are available to stream the day after they air.  There are commercials but they are short and only add about 10 minutes to the run time of a 40 minute show unlike broadcast which adds 20 minutes.

Brief sidebar about commercials:  I don’t mind them.  I’ve been watching broadcast and cable tv for 30+ years so I have accepted them as a fact of life.  Especially on a free app like The CW’s.  They have to make money either through charging for a subscription or showing ads.  I would rather watch ads than re-buy my cable subscription one channel at a time.

The layout of the app is a bit different than other apps.  Unlike most streaming apps which have copied Netflix and Hulu’s horizontal scrolling design, The Cw’s app has a vertical design.  (It is actually a copy of The CW’s other streaming app “The CW Seed”, which mostly offers older tv shows, DC Comics animated movies and shows like The Birds of Prey and Constantine, and a few new shows made just for the streaming service.)  On the left side is a small sidebar with four tabs to chose from: Featured, Latest, Shows, and About.  The rest of the screen is divided in half with the middle section for displaying and selecting episodes or shows and the right section acting as an info pane.

The app opens on a “Featured” tab which flips through screen size title cards for the featured shows.  The images do take a second to pop in making it a little jerky to watch.  The “Latest” tab is probably going to be the most useful tab since it lists episodes from newest to oldest letting you quickly see what has just arived.  Since the app lacks a favorites or queue, this is the best way to find new episodes without going to the page for every show you watch.  The “Shows” tab every show is listed in alphabetical order.  From here you can lookup all the available episodes and extras, which don’t show up on the “Latest” tab, for a given show.  And the “About” tab is just boilerplate legal info.

There isn’t much else to say except that the app works.  Playback starts after a couple of seconds, transitions to and from commercials are fairly smooth, and closed captions are available by pressing the options button.   I watched an episode of The Flash to see how long the commercials are.  Each break is about two minutes with three or four commercials and the breaks are visible on the timeline as tic marks if you pause the show.  I found them to be mostly non-intrusive though a bit repetitive as I saw the same commercials several times but this is a problem Hulu has as well.

I had a minor issue when I tried to watch a new episode half an hour after it appeared in the app(12:30 am) and got a 404 error. The new episode played fine when I went to watch it later(1:30 am).  This is probably just a first week hiccup and most people won’t try watching new episodes right after they become available.

Overall I like the app.  Hopefully the image load times will get better but it doesn’t really effect the app’s usability.  Have an app to check for new tv episodes is less than ideal but it’s better than having to wait until the season is over to catch up on Netflix. And you can’t beat the price of free.