We went out for brunch the day before Christmas and had a wonderful time at a new restaurant.

Today we went to Annapolis to have tea. It’s pretty amazing how full you can be from a tray of sweet and savory treats.

Date posted: December 31, 2023 | Filed under family, finn | Leave a Comment »

Christmas at the Lockardugan compound is behind us, and we all had a great day together. Finn came downstairs late as is their prerogative as a teen, to a lit tree surrounded by presents and a happy crackling fire in the fireplace. As usual, they had the lion’s share of gifts, but that’s part of the fun of being a parent. We lounged about the house for the rest of the day in our pajamas, enjoying the ability to relax. Jen set up a roast and I helped put together the sides, and we sat down for a lovely Christmas meal together at the table.

I bought Jen a second gallette iron from eBay way back in July or so, and finally was able to give it to her. Last year she made a batch but was complaining about how long it took to accomplish with one iron, so I immediately made a note and set up a watchlist on eBay. This one was priced well below all the others and came in the original box, so I immediately pulled the trigger and hid it in the basement for months. The look on her face when she opened it was priceless.

I also got her a new iPad for Christmas because she typically wanders the house with her AirPods in and something playing on her phone. I figured she would enjoy having something with a larger screen to watch while she’s in the kitchen or at her desk, or merely sitting on the couch. We attempted to merge her settings over from her phone on Christmas day, but her iCloud account has been completely jammed full for months now, and there isn’t enough room to back up her phone, so it refused to merge her account information. This meant she needs to clear data off her phone, and we all know how painful it is to do that by hand on a tiny screen. I used a spare drive to back up all of the photos, but we’re going to need to set up the iPad manually, which is always a drag. When that’s done she can use it to go through her photos faster and easier.

On a side note, for months I’ve been wondering why my Keychain passwords weren’t showing up on my iPad, and while I had some time I looked up the solution: signing out of my iCloud account on all my devices, restarting them, and then signing back into each one in the proper order. Kind of a pain in the ass, especially because it forgets all of my Wallet settings—my debit cards and Maryland ID. Once I’d done that, though, all my passwords appeared on all devices; hallelujah.

Date posted: December 28, 2023 | Filed under apple, family | Leave a Comment »

A check from USAA showed up in the mail on Friday evening for the settlement; apparently the Grievance Effect is still all-powerful. So our car hunt will commence next week. With the payment stalled I haven’t done any further looking into candidates, so I guess we’ll start with the ones at the top of the list and see what else is out there.

Meanwhile, the CR-V just topped 160,000 miles. Go little buddy!

Date posted: December 24, 2023 | Filed under cars | Leave a Comment »

I hit a deer on November 21 and filed a claim with USAA that evening. It’s now December 22 and I still don’t have a payment for the car in hand. There was one lost week when the salvage yard was waiting on the lien release document I misplaced, where I had to chase down the issue myself after nobody contacted me. On the day the claim was resolved, December 15, they cut me a check instead of following my instructions and electronically transferring the funds to my bank account. The representative I spoke to this morning said it would take 5-7 business days to get that check, which means it will probably show up the day after Christmas.

I would have a hard time recommending USAA to anyone after this laborious process; the fact that I have done more work to resolve my claim than my fucking claims adjuster irritates me.

Date posted: December 22, 2023 | Filed under life | Leave a Comment »

Strange, I wouldn’t have guessed this: kids using TikTok have exploded the popularity of shoegaze. Old-school bands like Slowdive are making a comeback (they started long before TikTok, actually) but new ones are sprouting up based on snippets included in video shorts.

Most compelling of all, is that the bulk of shoegaze’s fastest-growing acts are a cadre of super-young artists who most shoegaze fans over the age of 25 have likely never even heard of. All of 2023’s breakout stars are teenage solo artists making music in their bedrooms, bucking the conventional identity of shoegaze as “band”-centric music with a barrier to entry amounting to the cost of a pedalboard and a Jazzmaster guitar.

Date posted: December 20, 2023 | Filed under music | Leave a Comment »

Date posted: December 17, 2023 | Filed under family | Leave a Comment »

I’ve always loved the New York City subway signage system. I used Vignelli’s maps and design standards manual as a learning aid when I taught college. Today I learned that the MTA sells surplus signage and equipment, and you can buy it directly from them. I think you have to go pick it up yourself, though.

Date posted: December 16, 2023 | Filed under art/design, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

After a week and a half of silence from USAA I got on the phone this morning and navigated their stupid menu system after three tries to get to a human being—the first two tries landed me in the voicemail of my Customer-Non-Service Representative. Once I’d wrangled a live person and explained what I was calling about, they transferred me to a specialist who listened to my situation, put me on hold, and then conferenced me in with a woman at the title/salvage yard in New York. She helpfully told me they were waiting on the lien release, which I hadn’t included in the paperwork. After ascertaining what it was I was supposed to send along, I asked them repeatedly why I hadn’t been contacted about the delay or with further instructions, and they basically deflected. Irritated, I found the document in my files and sent it off FedEx this afternoon; hopefully I’ll hear something back before Christmas and we can go get a new fucking car. Meanwhile I’ve slagged the woman who hasn’t been assisting me to everyone at USAA.

I dropped the second rental off at Budget this afternoon, and we’ll see if we can make it through the holidays with one vehicle. This rental was a full-size Chevy Malibu, and for a Chevy it really was quite a nice car. The controls were almost exactly the same as the Trailblazer we rented in New York, so there was no learning curve to go from one car to the other. Heated seats and remote start are definitely on the list of must-have items for the new vehicle.

Date posted: December 13, 2023 | Filed under cars | Leave a Comment »

Apple is now selling us, the faithful, a USB-C case for the AirPods Pro as a standalone item, for $99. Apparently it’s not shipping until after Christmas. I think I’ll probably wind up upgrading my AirPods as a unit when these die, but it’s good to know that’s an option. In terms of useful appliances I use every day, I’d have to rank AirPods in the top 3—and they show the wear and tear. (via)

Date posted: December 13, 2023 | Filed under apple, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Music-Map is the kind of thing that shows up every couple of years with some new technology underneath it, and it usually disappears after a few months. In any case, this one does what it says on the tin: plug a band in and you get other bands that sound similar. Bookmarked. Also related: Gnoosic, which follows a slightly different format.

Date posted: December 10, 2023 | Filed under music, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »