Adult Swim canceled one of my favorite shows, the Venture Brothers, last year, with little fanfare. They announced today they’re going to produce a follow-up movie for the series along with Metocalypse and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, two other canceled shows. It’s not as good as having a whole season, but I’d love to see things wrapped up (and have a little more time with Team Venture).
I haven’t mentioned the Mustang here because, well, it’s not here yet. The seller was being a little iffy about the possibility of it making an hour-long drive and crossing a 3-mile bridge with no breakdown lane, so we postponed the pickup and explored other options. I talked with Matt yesterday and he’s arranged for it to be towed here this afternoon, as he didn’t want us to get stuck on the bridge or somewhere in Eastern Maryland with a car we hadn’t ever driven. Which is, frankly, fine with me: as much as I’d love to road-trip it across the bridge, I’d rather do the 1-10-100 test with my USAA towing card handy.
In other news, I dusted off my acoustic guitar a couple of days ago, tuned it up, and put it behind my desk in the office. There are a bunch of simple songs I was learning back when I was taking lessons ten years ago—sweet creeping Jesus time has flown—and recently decided I’d like to pick this thing back up and learn them again. I found my notes and chord books and I’ve worked on the progressions for two songs already, and my fingertips already hurt. But it’s nice to make music again!
6:45: I wake up and give Hazel some belly scratches until she wakes up fully. Belly scratches used to make her nervous, but now she won’t get out of bed without them. This dog is weird.
7:00: I shove three pills down Hazel’s throat: a giant frozen horse pill that’s supposed to help her ear condition, a Prozac, and a tranquilizer to keep her from shaking her head every five minutes. Then I mix up some food with some fish oil and feed her. It smells like ass.
7:10: In the new shower. The heated floor feels nice.
7:30: I kiss the girls goodbye and head out the door.
7:40: I’m sitting in the car, parked a little ways away from the train station. I’ve got about 10 minutes to kill before I have to walk to the platform, so I sip some coffee and search for some new podcasts to follow.
8:00: I’m on the train, listening to Sidedoor, the Smithsonian’s podcast about things in their collection you might not see in the museum. Highly recommended.
8:45: Filing through Union Station, following hundreds of other people on their morning commute.
8:50: I drop my bag at my desk in the office. Then I spend about 15 minutes warming up my oatmeal, sipping coffee, and reading the day’s headlines while I eat.
9:10: One of my designers asks me for some help with a visual in Flourish, our interactive charting software. We spend the next 20 minutes trying to get it to do what we want (showing percentages in a popup for data in a bar chart that is represented by numerical values). I’m able to get it displaying percentage data from a different part of the spreadsheet but I can’t crack the particular formula it needs, so we send an email to their enterprise support team.
9:30: I meet with my video producer, who thanks me for the noise-cancelling headphones I got for him, and asks for my help transferring a project from Final Cut Pro to Premiere. I spend the next half-hour directing him on a wild goose chase; he’d heard that previous versions of Premiere would import FCP files, and we have several machines that are running older versions. This proves to be false. He finds a way with a third-party application, and gets to work.
9:45: I set up my production manager’s new MacBook Pro with a Dropbox account and begin syncing about 35GB of data.
9:50: Down to the café to reset the Amazon Fire stick running the display software for that room; the TV has been set to shut itself off from 7PM-8AM and the Fire stick didn’t reboot itself. The batteries in the remote are dead, so I source some new ones. I update some settings and do the same for the three lobby displays upstairs. Fire sticks are unreliable. I’ve returned two of them and another is acting strange.
10:00: I leave a message with a data visualization candidate I’m hoping to hire: I’ve got some good news for her.
10:15: Going through email, sorting out the day’s priorities and tasks (I have 5 hours blocked out on my calendar for actually producing some work, and I’m able to take advantage of about 1 hour of it).
10:40: I get a callback from my candidate and offer her a job! Best part of my day. She’s excited and we work out some of the details.
11:00: I dig up a slide deck from 2017 to answer a question from the London office about getting a map of our locations printed for their walls; the map they like is three years out of date. I find a suitable replacement, set it up for print, and send it to them.
11:15: I shoot an email to my data viz candidate about a side project she sent me a link to (Muppets!) and offer some feedback. Now I have the Muppet Show theme song stuck in my head.
11:18: We get an email back from the Flourish folks, who say they’re working on a solution.
11:30: Reviewing some videos from an international office and fielding questions from other folks on our team, then request a meeting to review the strategy.
11:45: I have to look over some design changes from the folks who are building a system to create interactive reports for us; they’re going into production this week.
12:00: Cleaning out my email inbox, which has filled up again.
12:15: I set up a blank drive and begin cloning the internal drive on my old laptop so that I can return it this week. When that’s done I check on the Dropbox syncing on the other laptop.
12:30: I run out for some Chipotle and bring it back to eat at my desk. I’m not finished with it when…
1:00: …I jump into an hourlong meeting with an external web vendor to talk about design needs; the first 45 minutes is spent going through data spreadsheets until I ask to change direction, and we accomplish everything I need to in the last 5 minutes of the meeting.
2:00: I go directly into another meeting to talk about the IO videos and sort things out.
2:30: I’m called out of that meeting to go shoot some pictures of one of our program leads, who is getting an award from the DOD for being a great boss and giving one of his employees enough time to join the Air National Guard and go through a 6-month training program. I sit through a very low-key ceremony, then have the lead and the DOD rep follow me to our step-and-repeat, shoot some standard grip and grins, then go to a different spot and repeat the process.
3:00: I go back to finish the video discussion, and help come up with a strategy.
3:45: Following up on more email. So much daily email.
4:15: Both laptops are done, so I wipe the drive on my old machine and install Catalina.
4:20: I finish final details with my data viz candidate and arrange for the offer letter to be sent.
4:25: Reviewing about 20 new candidates for our Graphic Design position, taking notes, and narrowing down to 4 for follow ups.
4:40: There are about 20 shots of the award group to go through, so I cull them down to 5 good ones, color-correct the best two, and post them to our Flickr feed. Then I send an email to the DOD rep and our internal team to kickstart the social media posts.
4:50: I lock all the cameras, laptops, and other gear away and attempt to straighten up my desk.
5:05: I’m out the door and on my way to the train. Listening to Broken Record, a podcast with Rick Rubin interviewing various musicians.
5:20: my train pulls out of the station and I’m on my way home.
5:58: I hike back to my car and drive to the liquor store to replenish our beer supply. Jen gets a 6-pack of Harp and I choose a six-pack of Victory Cloud Walker, a hazy juicy IPA.
6:30: We sit down for some dinner: a southern beans and rice recipe Jen found that includes chorizo. Yummy.
7:15: I help Finn go through her homework to make sure everything is complete.
8:20: Jen and Finn head upstairs to bed. I let Hazel out for an evening pee.
8:30: Playing through Fallout 4 as a new character, because I’m lazy and I don’t feel like learning a whole new game. Hazel is settling at my feet, after wandering the first floor worrying at her bones.
9:15: Watching an episode from the latest season of The Venture Brothers on Hulu. Just as funny as it was in 2004.
9:50: I put Hazel out for her last pee of the day. She comes back in and waits by the stairs for me to pick her up and put her over the baby gate.
10:15: Laying in bed and reading through some dumb Internet before going to sleep.
This year, as in previous years, I got a gift certificate to Best Buy at our holiday Christmas party. I decided to spend it on an AppleTV, something I’ve been looking at buying since they came out in 2007.
Having plumbed the pole in our den with expandability in mind, it was simple to hook up. I had already run extra power and network cabling out there, and the HDMI cable goes right into the back of the TV. Eventually, when I’m able to afford a decent head unit with HDMI input/output, I’ll move everything off the pole and back onto the cabinet and use the head to switch between inputs (FIOS, AppleTV, XBOX). But for now, it works great. It’s resting on the top of the TV right now, but a few strategically placed zip ties should hold it securely until it makes the move.
I set up my Flickr, Netflix, Vimeo, and iTunes accounts in minutes. Picture quality for Netflix was marginal (I tested an episode of Mythbusters, so it may improve with true digital movies, or there may be a setting I’m missing). We sat and looked through Finn’s Flickr set as a family before heading off to bed last night, although we can’t watch videos posted there. Stupid Flash.
Setting up iTunes was pretty easy; it requires activating Home Sharing in iTunes, which then makes it discoverable by AppleTV. Paging through music and movies is easy at that point. One caveat: The furthest back AppleTV can connect with iTunes is version 10.5 (roughly Leopard). Sharing pictures is a little trickier, because it requires finding and enabling a somewhat hidden feature within iTunes to share photos in iPhoto. Once I’d done that, I could browse everything on my hard drive.
The G5 server in our basement has been finicky sharing its iTunes library, requiring multiple library rebuilds, but I found a really easy method for doing so. I did sort out a good way to share video without importing them into iTunes (thereby making iTunes that much slower): deselect the “Copy files to iTunes Media Folder when adding to library” setting in Preferences -> Advanced. I also found that iTunes doesn’t like AVI files, which means we have four years worth of Flip movie files that need to be converted to be shared. Yuck. Fortunately, I finally found a good .m4v converter called Adapter which converts .FLV, .MOV, .AVI and other formats without fucking up the sound, which is a godsend. Now I need to dig out that disc of Venture Brothers episodes and convert them all to .m4v.
The iPhone Remote application was also easy to sync up once I’d enabled Home Sharing, and in a lot of ways it’s easier to use than the supplied remote (which I predict will go missing within a week). It’s simple, it does what it says, no muss or fuss. I haven’t tried any AirPlay features on the set yet, but I’ll give that a try this evening.
One future solution to the sharing problem that I’ve been considering is a NAS box in place of the server. A bunch of research I did yesterday points to two consumer-level products at the $300 price point: the QNAP TS-219 and the Synology DS213. Each are two-bay enclosures with an integrated processor and on-board web service to share files. The most important features I need are AFP, Time Machine compatibility, and iTunes audio and video streaming. The QNAP is missing Time Machine functionality, while the Synology has Time Machine built in and an iTunes server available as an app. I’m a little dubious about the app, but I’m going to do some more research and see what reviews it’s getting. I’d love to be able to ditch the G5 and go with a managed box, especially because a new Intel Mac Pro is north of $2K and I never see them come up on Craigslist.
So, overall I’m very happy with the AppleTV. The ability to stream Netflix movies, access movies and music from our home server, and pull photos down from Flickr is awesome. With a few more tweaks, I think it’ll be perfect.
August has been a marathon, so I haven’t been writing much around here. I’m dealing with a lack of time and anything very important to say, sadly. You wouldn’t know it from the hackneyed sentences and dangling conclusions of my posts, but I do spend a lot of time trying to make sense of the voices in my head and then write down what they say in a logical fashion. This means I’ve got a pile of half-finished entries from the last few weeks, most of which you will probably never see. The other problem is that because I’m either hunched over my keyboard or sanding something on the porch, I don’t get out much, so I don’t have anything exciting to talk about other than the same three subjects.
Some things I am interested in, in no particular order:
The Nikon D90 is a prosumer-level DSLR with a full-size 12.3 MP chip (something only found in the pro grade camera bodies), high/lo ISO performance, 3 inch LCD, and HD Video. MSRP is $1000 for the body, and we’ll have to see what it retails for, but it looks like I’ve found the successor to my D70.
I love the final shirt in the Venture Brothers Shirt Of The Week Club, featuring the steely visage of (now deceased) Henchman 24. Money is tight, though, so I will probably pass on it.
Based on a comment left in a BoingBoing Gadgets post, I am once again using Remote Desktop to control my music server, in the basement, from my iMac, on the third floor. I didn’t realize all the functionality of the Remote Desktop application was built into OS 10.5 and compatible with 10.4. So what does all of this mean? I can now add ratings and playlists to the machine downstairs from my desk, making life a little more random and a lot less difficult.
Oh, and there’s this:
What I’m trying to do is apologize for sounding like a hamster on a wheel. I promise I’ll make it up to you in the coming months.
I’ve officially given up on attempting to drywall the entire porch myself, after getting the first six sheets hung last week before the parade. It will be easier and cheaper in the long run to hire out a pro, and so the nice fellow who did the ceiling in the living room will be back on Friday to finish out the work I started—as well as taping and mudding the whole thing. For an exceptionally reasonable price. Score. However, this means I need to hump thirteen sheets of drywall to the house before Friday afternoon.
Somehow, in the last two weeks, the short amount of time between now and the package delivery has filled up with stuff—good stuff, to be sure, but damn, man. I think we have more on our dance card in July than we had for the last six months of last year.
For the three or so people who use the Atom RSS feed to follow this here site, I fixed the problem with it so that it’s actually updating again. Sorry about that.
Still no resolution on the videocam issue; I’m reading all kinds of reviews about the Flip product line, which basically boils down to: ±$100 instant-on, five-button, no-nonsense video recorder which captures the important moments in a child’s life instantly, vs. ±$500 bulky, button-tastic über-recorder shooting HD quality. The archivist in me likes the idea of high quality, but the pragmatist knows that having a cigarette pack that turns on in two seconds for baby’s-first-whatever will be priceless. I think I’m leaning towards value and convenience, honestly.
This is the first year we have run an A/C unit in the downstairs portion of the house, and by golly, it’s nice. I haven’t seen the latest electrical bill yet, but the ability to walk through 3/4 of the house and not seriously consider climbing into the refrigerator to cool off will be worth the extra cost. Addendum: I saw an ad for this Fujitsu system in the latest This Old House. I like the idea of not having to run ductwork from here to Cleveland, and I’d love to hide the compressor(s) out back somewhere.
Can I just say how freakin’ much I’m digging on the Venture Brothers? The Adult Swim website has streaming copies of the last several episodes available (however, they don’t have previous seasons, the bastards) and I’ve been on that like a cheap suit. I totally dug the old Johnny Quest cartoons as a kid, and this is an updated version of that series with a definite twist. Santa? Put the DVD collections on my list this year.