Friday, November 29, 2013

Decorating the parish hall...

... part 1 complete :)

I decided to split it into 2 sections this year, the difficult bits around the stage and on the balcony today- so tomorrow I only have the chandeliers to do :)

Black Friday project


Spent the morning using mostly scrap wood I had lying around to build a little lean-to shed for the snow-plow to live in so I don't have to dig it out when it snows :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Doctor Who in 3D!


Just got back from seeing the Doctor Who 50th episode again...but this time at the movie theater and in 3D!

It was a special one-night-only showing so even though CJ and I had watched it on Saturday we dragged Colin along and went to see it again. CJ wore his fez (and was not the only one) and took his sonic screwdriver, and there were Dalek hats and Tardis socks aplenty...it did my heart good to see so many Whovians in Port Chester :)

My favourite moment was actually before the show- they were showing still slides with trivia about the various Doctors over the 50 years and the above picture came up with a notation about the 10th anniversary episode, and without thinking both CJ and I called out "That's my Grandpa", "That's my Dad" at the same time. We then had to explain it to Colin and got a smattering of applause from the people around us :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy birthday Mom!

CJs report card was a lovely thing for Jackie to get in the mail today :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Don't get your 14 year old stoned

Just come back from the oral surgeon where CJ had his two upper canine baby teeth removed. They were not going anywhere on their own and the orthodontist had seen the adult teeth neatly queued up behind on an Xray.

The whole thing took less than 5 minutes- they gave him nitrous oxide, a local jab in the gums and out they came. I was sent out to the waiting room before they began and had hardly had time to sit down before they called me back in. Now he just has to survive on Advil and cold, soft foods for 24 hours and he'll be all set.

CJ said he rather enjoyed the whole experience...but I think that's the nitrous talking ;)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Birthday sleepover

And as the case of soda they've gone through so far isn't enough sugar...let's feed them cake :)

They are singing "Happy hatching day to you" (Frank is singing it in Polish).

Another birthday...

... another sleepover in the Undercroft :)

It's CJ's 14th birthday so he has his usual Friday gang over, but tonight they're going to be there all night (well, they've all grown a bit so they won't fit to actually sleep in there, so we've set up air mattresses and sleeping bags next door in the AA room). We did offer to take them all to a movie or out for dinner, but this is what CJ wanted to do :)

I've just dropped off the pizza (and  chicken fingers and fries and garlic knots) and they seem to be having a great time with the video games and their laptops. I spent the morning running a Wi-Fi access point in there... seems  to have been time well spent!

I'm very impressed with my son and his friends- they are all really nice kids!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Nexus 5

So I finally have a few minutes to sit down and pop down my thoughts about my new phone :)

I'm not going to try and do a full review as there are tons already out there, but if that's what you're looking for this one at Ars Technica pretty much seems to be the closet one to my own opinions that I've read.

I was very happy with my Nexus 4 (the previous "flagship" phone from Google), the only thing I really didn't like was the fact that it had a glass back that was apparently very easy to break, which meant that I always felt I had to baby it.

The Nexus 5 is not what you would call a huge leap forward- it has a nice, simple plastic back that doesn't seem quite as fragile, but it has a much faster processor and a screen that is huge improvement- brighter, clearer and bigger, all in a phone that is slimmer, lighter, the same width and only just a bit longer then than the 4. The upgrade to Android 4.4 (KitKat) is again not a huge leap, but there are some really nice touches that I'm still exploring.

The Lovely thing about a stock Android phone is that (like my beloved Gnu/Linux) it is hugely customizable. The Nexus phones don't have any bloat added or make you use some manufacturers idea of how they should be, you can use the stock interface or make it your own. Thus in no time at all I have it all set up the way I want it with my custom wallpaper and all my apps and icons just where I want them :)

So far I'm very happy with the phone- it's fast, easy and does everything I want it to do with minimum fuss and kerfuffle. The battery life (contrary to what some seem to be saying) is great- I seem to still be at between 30 and 60% when I put the phone on to charge before I go to bed after a full day of pretty heavy use, including checking email for 3 addresses all day, looking stuff up online, at least an hour of streaming music while I'm walking the dog, and more. And this is still the "honeymoon" period when I'm using it more than usual coz it's new and I'm showing it to people and letting them play with it too...and I have Bluetooth and wifi on all the time! But I seemed to get better battery life out of my Nexus 4 than most people did, so either I just have it set up the right way, or what seems lots of use to me is less than for others.

The upgrade to LTE (slightly faster cell phone internet) doesn't make much of a difference to me- I never really missed it on the 4, but I guess it's nice to have :)

The only thing I'm not crazy about is the design decision to have the camera protrude slightly from the back of the case, this means that if you put the phone down you are at risk of scratching the plastic "lens" in front of the camera. But as I always put a case on my phones anyway, and the camera cutout in the case has the effect of recessing the camera (if you see what I mean), it's not a huge deal.

And talking of the camera- it's pretty good, not stellar, but good enough. I don't need my phone to be the best camera I have- I have a DSLR for that- and this still takes pretty amazing pictures and video (not forgetting the almost-unbelievable PhotoSpheres) considering it's on a phone!

So...for the price it's a bargain for what you get, and I couldn't be happier :)


Update: 11/12/13: Just read the Gruaniad's review...I wonder if they read my blog, because it basically says everything I did :)

Friday, November 08, 2013

Another pretty picture...

... from the woods :)

Lovely day in the woods :)

It's a perfect day to be in the woods- breezy, cool and sunny.

And this is a great test of the HDR+ mode on the camera on my new Nexus 5 phone ;) Backlit, high contrast and lots of detail... I think it does a pretty good job!

I love this new phone... It's not a huge upgrade from the 4, but there is enough to make me glad I went for it. I'll try and post a fuller review later :)