Obligatory Merry Christmas Post (may be long and boring)

Here it is Christmas 2014. By my count, I’ve lived here in the house of Al for 9 months now. Its been an interesting set of months after years of living unhappily for almost 5 years. ¬†It almost felt like some kind of sentence was passed that I had yet another thing to live through after being in Chennai for almost an entire year in 2009. I lived through the time in India quite happily.

Now its the first Xmas with my own bubble. My own room. My own internet. My cable and my work which leaves me quite happy most of the time. I make just enough money to have a good life and I’m extremely thankful as I look back from this Christmas to have what I have and not have that home any longer.

I spent some time this holiday considering the good things in my life. Perhaps you can gain some insight in your life by the things which I have found:

  1. You cannot live your life for someone else. You simply cannot fit in that person. There is not enough room and perhaps in some kind of Ayn Rand quote no should ask you to do it either. If a person you care about and one that cares about you suggests that you should become an altruistic blob, leave that immediately. It will not work.
  2. You cannot make another person happy unless you make yourself happy first. Its simply impossible to reach that zenith. There is no way to do it and if you think you can you’re a fool or you are laboring under a conception that we are put here to make others happy. You have to find happiness within yourself first. Other people are really demanding and they will change their happiness quotients as time goes by. Just forget it. It may sound selfish and self absorbing but I’m just speaking my truth here so take it or leave it.
  3. Relationships based on the idea of communication, discourse, honesty, truth may be the ones to fail first. We are just not good at communicating. That’s different than talking and we see so many failed things where the first thing called out is a communication issue. I call BS on that. You can say whatever you want to someone else but I think the other person rarely hears the things in the same manner you say them. Honesty and truth is subjective as well. I’ve told my kids that we are cut of imperfect clay and we will dissemble as often or even more often as we tell the truth. A person that says they value the truth above all else and will then commit adultery is the biggest and most profound liar of all. Its a hypocritical thing so take a good look at your relationships.
  4. Relationships are bartering things. You give so much and you get so much. If you are not getting and only giving its not a relationship. Its something else completely and if you go into it with eyes wide open, great.
  5. Divorces consume energy. At the rate we are going we will see more than 50% of first time marriages fail. Second marriage at an even higher rate will fail. Consider the energy that this uses up. The years lost. My friend Ed can testify that almost 7 years have gone by and what has been gained. I would aver that nothing was gained at all and that Ed was the biggest loser.
  6. Finally, if you think life is unfair, that its conspiring against you or is diabolical or evil; I hate to burst your bubble. Its supremely indifferent. It just does not care about your issues. Time does not heal all wounds either. None of these platitudes make any sense and we invent them to try in some absurd fashion to help others deal with events that travel across time and space and suddenly cause life disruption.

All of this points to a condition this December of happiness because I’ve realized a few things. I am not good marriage material. I am not a good person. I’m selfish, an introvert, and somewhat narcissistic. And those are my good traits. On the bad side, I’m vindictive, spiteful, and sometimes say mean and hurtful things. What all this really means, after 5 years of failed marriage and 20-some of marriage which was probably fucked up since it started but I was blind to the points above, I’ve realized that I am not good at the whole thing.

The rest of my miserable life will be spent pandering to my needs, making me happy, traveling where I want to go. Spending time with the two younger creatures I helped bring in to the world and a number of friends which seems trapped in completely different continents and timezones.

I would never ask you to measure your failures and successes by my condition. You could never understand mine as I am sure I cannot grok yours. Such is life. As the wise old man was wont to say,

fuck you if you can’t take a joke

And such its Christmas and I’m mean again and have not even done any drinking (yet). Its because I don’t really care any more for the holidays. I’m sorry for that but they were also a casualty. Now they are just time off from work.

Hopefully that drives the 2 or 3 readers of this blog away completely because I am an asshole of huge proportions. That’s fine too. I don’t write this thing for you.

Have a good holiday no matter what though. Enjoy it the way you think you should. Don’t believe anything I have just written if it does not feel good or fit. Clothing and shoes often don’t fit the other and thoughts are the same.

Take care and have fun. Sex is good too. I’ll just watch some porn now.

Streaming Madness

I like finding good things to spend a little money on. Since I am in the room quite often, I want to find a way to extend my movie and documentary watching to new levels. My latest testing has been comparing the Roku Streaming Stick against my Chromecast.

Roku Streaming Stick


The Roku Streaming Stick is a compact little unit which plugs into my cheapo Samsung TV’s HDMI port. It also includes a handy remote control. When I first powered it up, I got a firmware update that included additional features and perhaps other channels. Roku lists these channels for the Roku.

You basically reach the home page for the device after registering and find the usual channels like Netflix and Hulu. But there are so many other movie and TV channels that yesterday I spent literally hours exploring my options for streaming. I found film Noir, classic movies and westerns, documentary and news channels. In the past HBOGo did not include Comcast support. Now it does. For the sometime couch potato this has to be the best option.

Google Chromecast

To me, the Chromecast takes a different focus on streaming. It relies on vendors including support and uses a tablet or phone as the remote control.

chromecastThe Chromecast probably set the bar for this kind of HDMI compliant stick and I still enjoy mine. The applications available on the Google Chromecast include a whole bunch of the big and even smaller players.

Using it is a pretty basic operation. You plug it in, install the chromecast app on a tablet or phone and away you go with Netflix, Hulu, and other supported applications.

Duking it Out in the Trenches of Streaming

The real thing here is what I get for the almighty dollar. Since the two devices take a different approach its hard to just compare. For the couch potato in me, the Roku has become the winner. The reasons to access my comcast cable service is much less and now only includes local news and Football. With the Roku, I can stream everything including these rather stupid old classic Sci-Fi movies, old westerns, Film Noir. Other stuff I never believed I would find.

For me, the Roku Streaming Stick wins. Do your own test for what works for you. I only have one TV so unless I buy a HDMI switch, I only have two HDMI ports. I only need one streaming service so I measure the winner to a level that gives me close to 100% of what I want and need. The Roku is there. The Chromecast takes a different path which I appreciate and love. For daily use, the Roku provides so many options for streaming content, its hard to beat.

Seems like old times

Last night I walked for 5.7 miles in about 1 hour and 50 minutes. The weather was interesting to say the least. We have been having pretty good rainstorms last week or so. Last night it rained gently but when you’re out for almost 2 hours even gentle rainfall results in a soaking. By the time I was about 10 minutes from home, I was wet. I felt incredible. I have to admit to raising my arms in an exultant victory step, feeling the moist pellets strike my face with its strange urgency. Feeling the spirit gently touch me through the sunset clouds. I could hear it’s insistent whisper. It’s timeless essence.

A wondrous feeling. A linking to a thing ancient and mysterious. People have felt the rain touch their faces for generations. Nothing has changed there. The drops seem to spell out a secret that we strain to hear and feel. The rain ran into my eyes. My glasses so necessary with advancing age suddenly not needed. My soul felt unburdened and no longer tethered to it’s earthly shell. I was that universal hunter gatherer that I wanted so much to understand years ago.

Now I knew. That man and I are the same. We both felt the rain gently strike our faces. The mysterious world no less mysterious. A moment shared across years.

Thanks for the ability to simply walk those 6 or so miles on a rainy night. Those cares and fears fall away in those sublime steps and I’m left turning my head up to let the persistent drops remind me why I walk on a simple rainy night.

iPad Air 2 RMA Imminent

Okay. So I’m done and am gonna initiate the return to Best Buy per their not wanted criteria. Tomorrow it goes back. I came up with the following reasons to keep the Nexus 9 and return the iPad:

The iPad is not the kind of device I can use easily. I’m used to a degree of freedom declaring what applications are default for an action. I guess I’m spoiled there.

IOS8 is not Lollipop. Trying to manipulate the IOS Launcher is pitiful. Whoever ever came up with the select all icons when holding down one should be taken to the whipping board.

A garden is a pleasant place but a wall limits outside and inside actions. The iPad really limits how applications can share with another application.

Now why I am keeping the Nexus 9 particularly:

I like it. I don’t give a flying f**k if the guy that writes for Android Authority does or does not like it. I never did care whether he did or not but this stuff is up to independent verification.

The hardware is understated in favor of the software for the 9. What are we really buying here? We are buying a view into Android 5 Lollipop I believe. LOf course the hardware could be better. No matter what we buy it could be better. The software could be better. Well, of course. Its never done and all those entitled boys on XDA and other places need to grow a set and grow up. Software never finishes.

I like the screen on it and how responsive it is. I like the performance. I like everything about it. Even its little faults. I have my faults too. In the iPad world everything just works ™ but its how it works that bugs the hell out of me. Its like without human interaction it works.I guess I love Linux too much and this is so far away from the open standard, the ability to customize down to fonts and icons and experience.

Some folks would tell me you shoulda knowed. I did. But I am habilis. I investigate and use tools and toys.

Now back to waiting for Android 5.1 and see what happens next in the wondrous, wacky, and strange world of Nexus.

There is beer







Its Friday. Time to party like its 2014. I’ve decided to post completely random crap to my blog for the remainder of the year. I’m testing all you legions of dedicated Mikes Thoughts readers. Those that stick it out will be rewarded commensurately.


A Thursday iPad versus Android Post

Its a Thursday iPad versus Android day. But its not really because each device has a different niche for me. My Nexus 9 is really fun to use in that unfinished, Lollipop way. It reminds me why I love an evolving and unfinished platform. Its so Linux-y. My iPad gives me a polished and done environment much more structured and with the walls ever so visible. The usual ways of doing things avail not but Google is very present on IOS and you can make things or get things to work to a certain point. The real joy though is of the hardware and how responsive it is. You don’t need iTunes to use and I did a large OTA from the tablet. I would never have bought one if I needed iTunes. Its the bane of the devil and I will never install it.

One question I got from a roommate is whether I would keep it. I believe so because I enjoy it and each tablet fulfills a toy need for me. None of this is serious stuff for me really. The most serious is my Nexus 5 with Lollipop 5.0.1 on it. It fulfills a daily need and its quite stable and runs so well.

I think there is room for a person to use what makes them happy, productive, gives them some fun. A person never has to be locked in to a thing and should always be a habilis type. Experimenting, using, having fun with the toys.

Android is more fun. It has this open nature to how you can interact with sharing, using, controlling. The iPad is more controlled but the applications are very nice. Its not a one or the other thing. We all can use what we want and there is room to make other uses of things.

Go visit an apple store and try out an iPad Air 2. See if its your cup of tea. If not, no big deal. Nothing lost or gained. Same with an Android tablet. I happen to like the open ended nature of the experience and how things can be declared as default applications with no real heavy lifting. Its not a versus thing. Its a “and” thing.

Happy Birthday Me

Its been an interesting life. I think back on the accomplishments, failures, things I’ve done or not done. Places I’ve lived or visited. People I’ve wronged or righted. Friends that have come and gone. I still miss the DaveR. A loss of a person which life has never made up with replacement people. There are others that have gone their other ways which now I understand. When I was an archeologist, I preferred to excavate by myself. This Native American monitor called me “lone warrior”. Not out of teasing I don’t think. It was just a statement about the way I am. In retrospect, all the the things have come about where I interacted with another of the opposite sex have ended and I’m left as this lone warrior. Living in a house we jokingly call the “Money Pit”. Its falling apart in a few ways. I think the ceiling leaks and my memory leaks too. Right onto this blog. I hear strange noises that the wall heater makes like it grumbles about its mission in life. The refrigerator sounds sometimes like a little tank just starting up. So many thing which seem on the edge of working and non working.

We all persist here though just like I persisted a few times. I realized then and now I am a solitary warrior. My task in life is not to make another person happy. I’ve realized that I can never do that. I cannot make another happy until I am happy. A person asked whether another person will enter my orbit. I doubt it. I’m a voyager of the lone degree. My solo orbit crosses many places and each birthday reminds me.

So I’ve gently accepted or at least live with the passing of years. Getting old. But not feeling old. Perhaps that’s the difference. Maybe I still feel like that precocious youth striding down the streets of Lancaster. Singing those old Beatles songs with my friend Mike. The only thing has changed is that time has passed. I’m left a youth still. More so than ever before.

Happy Birthday me.