Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hi, everybody! I'm still around, just been lazy. Unemployed at the moment, waiting for the results of my drug testing and physical, so while I've had plenty of free time, I also haven't been paid to sit in front of a computer for eight hours, so I imagine that's to be blamed for my non-blogging. I've been running regularly (even drove up to San Marcos to check out some of the running trails up there), I've been cleaning out my storage locker (I've meant to do this for about a year, but am now doubly motivated knowing that the owner of A-1 Self-Storage was a leading supporter of Proposition 8) and I've been using the hell out of my Netflix subscription. For two reasons.

First, Netflix is finally dropping HD-DVD on December 15th. Can't blame them, they announced they were going to phase it out in January. But I have about thirty movies in my queue in HD-DVD, so I'm trying to get through as many as possible. Which is difficult, since I spent a week and a half trying to get a copy of The Wild Bunch that works. I got two defective discs in a row, and today I received another replacement disc, which was cracked in half. So I gave up; The Wild Bunch is available on their Watch Instantly service, so I'll watch it that way, high-def be damned. I should say, I don't blame Netflix, I imagine problems with the condition of their remaining HD-DVD stock drove their decision to finally drop the format completely. I can't expect them to last forever.

The second reason Netflix has been dominating my attention is that the new xbox update, with streaming movies from Netflix Watch Instantly, is now live. I'd been watching Netflix movies on the Xbox via unofficial software and Vista Media Center, but that stopped working a few weeks ago (since I knew the official solution would soon be available, I didn't bother trying to fix it). But now I have a simple, smooth means of watching streaming movies on my HDTV. And I've been very happy with the final product, mostly. I know the selection could be better, but I have 500 items on my Watch Instantly queue, so I can't complain. I like the focus on indie film and documentaries, and the addition of Starz content is a nice plus. Picture quality, under ideal conditions, is great. There are even a small number of films available in high-def, including a few films that were already near the top of my list, like the new John Sayles movie Honeydripper. No one would confuse the picture quality with Blu-Ray, but I was impressed. But again, that's under ideal circumstances. Which means before 6 PM or after midnight. During the peak evening movie-viewing window, I go from four-bars quality (the best), to three or two bars. I stopped watching one movie, the quality was so bad. I don't know if this is because my cable internet connection is slowing down on my end or if Netflix's servers are being hammered (I suspect the former), but it's disappointing. But for the most part, even the lower-quality streams are acceptable, and when all goes well, it's DVD quality or better. And it looks like Netflix just renewed it's deal with the BBC, a lot of their stuff that was scheduled to expire at the end of the month no longer is, so that's a plus; it looks like I'll still have time to watch Yes, Prime Minister once I finally finish watching Yes, Minister.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

So, it's been an exciting week for me, and not just due to the epochal election results. I put in my notice at work, and accepted a full-time position with the county library. I've been volunteering with the library for over a year now, and have been eager to get started with them in a paying position, so I'm very excited to have finally gotten my foot in the door. The bad news is, despite being eager to leave my current position because of the commute to La Jolla, I accepted a position in San Marcos. Which extends my commute about fifteen miles each way, and subjects me to I-15 traffic. But I made the drive Saturday, for research purposes, and it only took 35 minutes. And I think I'll mostly be driving against traffic, so it shouldn't be too bad. And I'm willing to put up with it to get myself established with the county. And the drive will give me a chance to work my way through my This American Life podcast backlog.

So, my last day at the aquarium is a week from tomorrow, and I'm supposed to start at the library that Friday. I don't know my schedule yet, I have to go through the background check and physical and all that before they talk to me about my schedule. But it's a full-time position, so I look forward to actually having an expendable income again, and not having to feel quite as guilty when I buy stupid crap I don't need. And like I said, I scouted out the commute this weekend, and checked out the library, it's very nice. And San Marcos isn't quite what I expected, less developed, pretty. So while the commute makes me a bit nervous, overall I'm very excited by this new opportunity. I will miss the aquarium, but it's nice to again have a job I can consider a career.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Oh, crap. Yma Sumac, dead at 86. Studs, Yma...they say these things come in threes, and two people I admire as immensely at these two makes me scared to think just who might be next.

Last.fm has a good selection of her music. She also has her official web presence. And, of course, there's YouTube: