The Phoenix metro area had quite the wonderful thunderstorm yesterday. Going outside this morning to sip coffee was just great. The air feels so clean and fresh. You can't help but sit and breathe deeply.
Some things I like and definitely worth your time.
• Star Wars Rebels. As a huge fan of the Clone Wars animated series, and anything Dave Filoni is involved with, I was really looking forward to watching this. Starts slow, and is a little kid-centric. But by season four had found its feet. Turned out to be a very very good tale set in the Star Wars universe. Clone Wars was better though.
• Rockonteurs Podcast. If you like 80s music (and if you don't, what is wrong with you?) this will be right up your alley. Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt chat with the who's who of what made the world go round back then. Billy Idol, Boy George, John Taylor, Dave Stewart. It's great stuff.
• Virtual Chat With Ted Lasso Cast. Ted Lasso was one of the best things to come out of 2020. And this chat with the cast of the show is just utterly delightful.
• Utopia. Comic books. Dystopia. Villains. Rain Wilson. John Cusack. It will shock you "salt, bleach, spoon".
• Ambrosia Devon Custard. When you find it over here in the US it just brings a smile to your face. And now a little something from the old country.
• Cobra Kai. Like most chaps my age, I was a bit partial to the original Karate Kid. Hearing they'd made a TV show set 34 years later, looking at life from Johnny Lawrence's perspective was intriguing. And oh boy did it ever work. Nostalgia factor sure. But great writing and some deliciously funny moments makes this a must see. Final episode of season three is just marvelous.
At the beginning of December, we popped a box in the mail bound for the UK. Just to be sure, I paid extra for International Priority because Christmas Presents. Time passed. A couple days before Christmas I tweeted:
Paying extra for international priority shipping was totally worth it. 17 days ago I dropped off the package bound for the UK. Since then it’s gone from Phoenix to Los Angeles, and then back to Phoenix. Where it has sat since Friday. Nice!
— Kevin Spencer (@kevin_spencer) December 22, 2020
Since then, it went back to Los Angeles again, up to San Fransisco, and then made it across the pond to Heathrow and cleared customs. From there it went from London to Coventry. And has sat since Jan 2nd with no further updates. No ETA for delivery. Nothing.
Best $85 I've ever spent.
To be fair, we're far from alone. I think I was hoping the UK postal system wasn't quite as backed up. First world problems I guess?
Update: delivered yesterday (21 Jan 2021). And on top of what I'd already paid on my end, my parents had to pay VAT and a "delivery fee". Cool cool. Won't be doing this again.
Some more things really worth your time, Oct 7th 2020 edition.
• accidentallywesanderson on Instagram. Now, I'm not one to fawn over things on Insta because, well, Facebook. But this account of things that wouldn't look out of place in a Wes Anderson film is so good.
• Battlestar Galactica. I know what you're thinking, welcome to 2004. But this show is one of the best of all time, and I wondered how it would hold up again. The answer is, it's just as good as I remember it being. I'm 3 episodes into season two and it's just great, I'm hooked all over again. So say we all.
• Safari. No really. It's become my default browser on my Mac. Surprising for someone historically so focused on Netscape Navigator => Mozilla => Firefox since the olden times. At $job I started using it here and there assisting debugging one of our apps. That morphed to just opening a couple other tabs here and there. To then finding I had 37 tabs open and had been using it all day. So I wondered what it would be like to live in Safari full time. And here we are a month later.
Those of us who purchased an Apple device at the end of last year got a free year of Apple TV+. It's approaching subscription renew or cancel time. And I find it's a dilemma. Are For All Mankind, The Morning Show, and Ted Lasso worth re-upping Apple TV+ for another year?
Here are a few things really worth your time.
• Ted Lasso on Apple TV+. What started out as Jason Sudeikis commercials for NBC Premier League now turned into a series. And it's great. Heartwarming fish out of water story of an American coming to England to manage a football team.
• Minimal Gallery on Flickr. Minimal photography is probably my favorite. This gallery is must daily viewing.
• All Or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur on Amazon Prime. I'm biased obviously, because they've been my team since I was a kid. But an utterly fascinating look behind the scenes of life at Tottenham in 2020. Thoroughly recommended.
• Sunday Live chat with Lol Tolhurst and cEvin Key on YouTube. Founding members of two of my favorite bands of all time Skinny Puppy & The Cure have a chat. And it's great.
• World's Toughest Race: Eco Challenge Fiji on Amazon Prime. Bear Grylls hosts a grueling cross island race with 66 teams. You really get to like some of the teams and their own back stories.
The weather took a pleasant turn this past week. Going outside to sip morning coffee again is nice.
As I sit here a hazy smoke lingers over Phoenix. The pinky orange sun barely visible through the cover. Our neighbor California is having one heck of a time with wildfires. Some of the videos on the news are just mind blowing and I feel terrible for those without homes to go back to.
I worry things are just a lightning strike away from igniting here also. The summer has been brutal and as you drive around you can't help but notice how dried out everything is.
What a bloody year this has been eh?
My work from home setup is perhaps different from some.
I've gone with laptop only and like the freedom of moving around the house. With the kiddo in virtual schooling, being able to sit down at the dining room table on a whim is great. As are video calls from the stairs/bedroom/breakfast-nook/patio etc
My body has not reacted with the same enthusiasm.
In the before times, I drove to my office, had a "normal" external monitor/keyboard/trackpad setup. Now I type solely on my MacBook Pro keyboard. It's super convenient to have the laptop on various tabletops or just my own lap.
My arms are telling me another story.
For one other surprise 2020 has brought me is RSI. Specifically Tennis Elbow of all things. The angle of my arms as I type isn't helping. Short term I'm taking anti-inflammatory medicine, icing my elbow, and wearing one of those forearm brace thingers.
Clearly I need to re-assess my posture as I move around the house.
I know, I says to myself, I'll update my Mac to Catalina. It's been out for a while, and lots of bugs likely fixed by now.
Mail.app is a shitshow. Data loss with empty message bodies. I've never been more annoyed at an OS update in my life. In a nutshell, I've experienced what is described here. Perfect storm of Microsoft Exchange and a local Mail rule to move messages to a local folder.
The "fix" is to move away from local folders and rules. Instead, create a rule on the Exchange server to move the email to a folder before Mail.app downloads anything. If I hadn't stumbled across that, I would have
thrown my laptop in the ocean restored Mojave from backup.
So there's two hours of my life I'm never getting back. Thanks Apple for the stellar quality control.
This past weekend was the hottest so far this year.
Summers in the desert. pic.twitter.com/gL4OgAjyw3
— Kevin Spencer (@kevin_spencer) July 11, 2020
Not having any humidity is the key. For while it does hit you like an oven, you can stay outside for longer than you'd think before starting to sweat. Compare that to the East Coast and, really, I don't know how people in Florida do it. Instantly drenched when you take three steps.
When it gets this hot, there are some fun outdoor cooking stories of course. This Reddit thread from r/phoenix has a couple good examples. From frying eggs in a pan, to baking cookies on your dashboard. The first one I've done, the second is a bloody fantastic idea.
While it's supposed to be our Monsoon Season, we haven't had any rain since April 11th. And no fun lightning storms to watch.