Jan 012020
 

We are not only starting a new year in 2020, we are starting a new decade. Nobody really makes decade resolutions and I’m certainly not going to make decade intentions. I’ll be turning 40 in this decade, which is hard to imagine and, be that as it may, I’m not intimidated. This isn’t a post about turning 40 (perhaps I will write one when we get closer to March). I am going to make the usual 2020 New Years Intentions; hopefully I will have better luck in a couple of the categories.

Biggs Labs – Smart Home/Professional Development

I didn’t make any progress on the Smart Home front. I did a little bit of research since Samsung kind of hamstrung me with the changes to the app. Hopefully I can still do what I hope to be able to do using Home Kit and Raspberry Pi. However that isn’t going to be my highest priority project.

I was supposed to revamp one of my project web sites in 2019, including the gift list. However I had a really busy summer at work and writing extra curricular code was not appealing. Therefore I have quite a list of updates I want to do to make this site a little more useful to other family members. In fact some of the development research I will do may also be applicable to things I’ll be doing at work.

2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge

I did well for my reading challenge in 2019. In fact I almost read more than I intended. In 2020 I think I’m still going to play it safe and set my reading challenge total to 15 again. I do have several more Dresden books to read which, again, should help my total. Unfortunately I read all my newer Star Wars books this year. I have a few older Star Wars books (now considered “Legends”) which I might dig into and some re-reading of some great books.

I’ll get into more details about my reading ambitions in another post. Keep an eye out because after I finish a book, sometimes I take the time to write up a review.

2020 New Years Health Goals

Year after year, this category continues to be where I am most successful. My goal was to complete a 10K in 2019 and that is exactly what I did. In fact, I ran the whole thing, thus resulting in a new personal best. In 2020 I feel running another 10K is the obvious decision, however I do need to challenge myself. Therefore I am going to try to complete a 10K and 5K back-to-back (at the Flying Pig). Essentially I will run a 15K, which is approximately 9.3 miles.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. I did not reduce my social media interaction as much as I said I would. Only recently did I step away from Twitter but I’m still getting on Facebook a little too obsessively. However I am taking extra steps to reduce the negativity on Facebook by leaving groups and muting or hiding posts that I find offensive and blasphemous. So far it’s working as I’ve felt less angry after scrolling through Facebook.

I might return to Twitter, but I think I am going to wait a few weeks. I don’t want to miss more of Mark Hamill’s brilliance. Regardless, I hope to make 2020 a little more positive especially since I am turning 40. Also, it’s probably time to overcome my subtle sociopathy.

What are your 2020 New Years resolutions?

Happy New Year!

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

Dec 172019
 

After tomorrow, the countdown to the final Skywalker Star Wars movie ends. It’s been 40+ years in the making, and I’ve been a fan of ALL OF IT since I was 8 years old. I never imagined that I would have a passion for something as trivial and trite as a movie franchise. Thanks to George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy and Disney I get to share that same passion with my kid and that is priceless.

Anxious, Excited and Scared

I don’t know what to expect from this movie. I’m anxious, excited and scared. I’m anxious for it to finally be here and excited to finally see the conclusion. I worry about the reemergence of more “fan” toxicity (which is why I will be on a social media black out for a few days). I love Star Wars. I’ve loved every moment of every movie, animated series and live action series. The fact that I get to mention “live action series” is practically a dream come true. I have zero doubts that I will feel the same for this movie; and TO HELL with the fanbabies.

I’m man enough to admit that I will walk into this movie knowing that I might tear up a bit. In fact, in the trailer when C-3PO “takes a last look at his friends”, that hits me “right in the feelz”. Every. Single. Time. Is this the end of C-3PO? What will happen to the Millennium Falcon? Will Chewbacca survive? What will happen to him? The future of the new characters feels trivial compared to my questions about those that have been around since 1977. I love the new characters. Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose, BB-8, D-O; they are worthy additions to canon. However, they’re not Luke, Leia, R2-D2, Han, Chewie, and Lando. How do I want their stories to end? Granted we already know how it ends for a couple of them, but will they all meet similar fate? I think, above all things, I just want to know if this is the end of their journey, or just the end of this one.

So screw the fanbabies! They cannot ruin this for me. This movie will be a defining film of the franchise and of the decade, and a milestone in my life.

/MTFBWY

Confronting fear is the destiny of the Jedi.

Dec 132019
 

Gus-Gus
2005-2019

December 6th was just about as awful of a day as I could possibly imagine. Gus, our nearly 15 year old Yorkie-Bichon suddenly collapsed. When I tried to see if he could walk, he kept going in a circle. We immediately drove to the emergency vet clinic. They found that a tumor, probably on his spleen, is causing internal bleeding. They could perform emergency surgery to determine if the tumor was malignant, however that would mean he only has a couple of months, at best. The hemorrhaging may have caused a lack of blood to his brain, which means he probably also had a mild stroke.

The most humane thing to do was say good bye, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

Why Maharajah??

Yes, I know a “Maharajah” is an Indian Prince and I’m not trying to be culturally insensitive. Gus had a very strong personality. He was very much a “I want to do it my way” kind of dog. If there was a mound of blankets, pillows, or laundry and you turned your back or stepped out of the room, you would return to find him lying at the top of said mound. We often accused him of thinking he was “the maharajah”. He would lay there with a smug look on his face. This was a behavior he exhibited to the end.

Gus hated wearing costumes and clothes

We’ve had him since he was about 20 weeks and over the years he had many nicknames. His full name was actually Gus-Gus, named after the mouse from Cinderella. Gus was the short version. He had a big dog personality; always thinking he could take on Canadian geese or deer. Therefore I would sometimes call him Battousai the Manslayer, clearly he had that man killer instinct.

He could be a little asshole sometimes. For example if it was raining or too cold outside, then in his mind that made it all right to pee in the house. One time we accidentally locked him in the bedroom, so he jumped up on the bed, walked onto the dresser from the bed, and pooped on the dresser. It was his way of saying “How Dare You Lock Me In Here”. His strong personality was his most endearing quality, it is truly one of thing things I loved most about him.

None Shall Compare

I grew up with dogs. We had Labradors when I was a kid. A few months after my wife and I started dating we bought Gus. He was apart of our life before we were even married. He was the first dog I ever personally owned (Gromit was the second dog we bought together a few months after Gus). While I adored all the dogs I had around me as a kid, there is something different about the first dog you bought for yourself (or your family).

When I was talking to my neighbor, he told me about a dog he had. He explained that it was almost as if the dog could tell what he was thinking by a simple look or a nod of his head. He said that dog is the dog that all his other dogs are compared to. This is true for Gus. We know there will never be another Gus, but I know we will compare every new dog to Gus. We have a one year old Westie, and I already comment about behaviors he’s exhibiting that he has clearly learned from “his mentor”, aka Gus.

RIP buddy. I will miss you every day for the rest of my life, but I hope we gave you the best years of yours.

“Dogs’ lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price.” – Dean Koontz

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

Dec 052019
 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Blizzard Entertainment and the 15th anniversary for World of Warcraft. I have been playing video games since the first Nintendo. Of course Internet didn’t exist back then but we managed to still make it a friends and family activity. As technology evolved so did the world of gaming. Consoles added online, multiplayer modes. PC games added multiplayer mode, which initially became popular in First Person Shooters. I spent many nights in college playing multiplayer Half Life.

Then the MMORPG was born. In my youth, an RPG required a few friends, paper, pencils, dice and some incredible imagination. Then Blizzard created World of Warcraft, which was an evolution from their Warcraft series of games (my favorite being Warcraft III). WoW united us all by breaking down borders, cultural and political divides. I realize that last item isn’t always true, but if you find the right kind of people, everyone can agree to leave that topic alone.

Now the world is so different.

Online Friends Are Real Friends

I know I’ve talked about this before. You can have friends you haven’t met in person. Twenty years ago the only friends you had are the ones you met in school or at work. Oftentimes people outside the gaming subculture tend to think having “online friends” seems absurd. How can you be friends with someone you’ve never met face-to-face? Our physical locations cannot limit the things we have in common with people.

A friend of mine (a gaming friend) once said “friends are the family you get to choose”. This is true. I’ve had disagreements with friends just as I do with family. I also get along with my friends just as I do with family. While I have not met all my online friends in person, I have met a few. In fact some have even been to my house and I’ve even had one live with me for a year. I hope to meet more of them one day. Today I am just as good of friends with people I’ve never physically met as I was with friends I had in high school.

Blizzard has created a huge community. Larger than any community I’ve ever known. I’m grateful for the friendships this game has given me.

duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!

 

Dec 022019
 

The Thanksgiving and Christmas season is always pretty busy for me. I have to make sure I’m efficient at work as I usually take quite a bit of time off for both holiday’s to spend time with family. In fact that is the reason I haven’t written a post since the Rise of Skywalker trailer. I have some posts in draft or in mind, I just haven’t had the time to complete them.

Radio City Music Hall Stage

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving (US); mine was excellent. My in-laws know how to provide a wonderful Thanksgiving vacation experience. This year they treated us to the Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes. I have never seen a Rockettes show; its an amazing show. It really put me in the Christmas spirit. I highly recommend going to a Rockettes if you have the opportunity.

It is now the wonderful season of Advent and, therefore officially Christmas season. I have begun decorating, listening to Christmas music and donning my Santa hat for the next 24 days.