Not Disappointed

I'm fairly pleased with the iPhone 4S announcement the other day. It hit all the points I was looking for in a new iPhone. Granted, my points weren't really that lofty. I hoped for, at the least:

  • A screen as good as the iPhone 4 (e.g. retina display).
  • The same or better camera.
  • More powerful, processor-wise.
  • More memory for less.

What was shown was:


  • Yup, retina display. No change in screen size or resolution
  • A better 8MP camera with an aperture of 2.4 (good for low light).
  • Dual-core A5 chip = faster!
  • Now offering it in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. It meets my more memory for less criteria.

I wasn't expecting or waiting for an iPhone 5. It seems to fit with the pattern or releases (e.g. iPhone 3 to iPhone 3GS). And since I'm on a broken down iPhone 3GS anything would be much better. Now, what size and color should I get?

Just Annouce It Already!

Apple can announce anything today. Just as long as it's a new iPhone. I so desperately need a new phone. 

  • The headphone jack is broken.
  • The physical volume buttons are broken.
  • The side with the volume buttons is starting t split.
  • The top power button, when pressed does nothing. This means I can't power off my iPhone

I could have gone with an iPhone 4, but I held off for two reasons. The first, was to uphold a pledge to skip every-other-version of the iPhone. We had the First Gen, skipped the iPhone 3G, and got the iPhone 3GS. The second reason I waited was when my iPhone truly started to become unusable as a music device, it happened during that weird window where you know you need a new iPhone, so why get one. Why not wait?

I do hope the new iPhone is better than the iPhone 4, which was something I lusted after for some time. What I hope for in a new iPhone is:

  • A screen as good as the iPhone 4 (e.g. retina display).
  • The same or better camera.
  • More powerful, processor-wise.
  • More memory for less.

All that I ask above is doable, very doable. We'll see what happens later on this morning. All I know is that by the end of the month I should have a new phone.

Boardwalk Empire - The Subway Edition

I'm not a big fan of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. I tried watching a few episodes when it debuted earlier this year. But I just couldn't get into it. But I can get into this advertising campaign. I heard about it a few days ago, and now Laughing Squid has a few photos. I'd love to see this in person. Too bad it won't be around for long. But if your in NYC, you should stop by and see - but only on the weekends.

More photos can be found on Laughing Squid's blog post.

Bixby

Photo of Papa, Bixby and Lucky. Bixby is on the left.

It's tough when you lose a pet. A pet who's been a loyal friend and good companion over the years. But, like us and everything on this planet, in this universe, time doesn't stand still and let us simply live forever. And so, sadly, we say goodbye to Bixby who succumbed to age this past Thursday morning. He was about 77 years old (11 in human years).

Bixby was as friendly, yet cautious dog. His cautious nature bordered on being shy. He would let his partner, Lucky, determine if any new person was worthy of attention. After the determination, Bixby would warm up and be playful as much as the next dog. Combine Bixby's relaxed playfulness with Lucky's hyperactive playful nature and you've got a tiring combination.

Bixby was a slower moving dog, built more for comfort than speed. It didn't help that he had an injured front paw making him a little less active. But he'd trott around with Lucky, playing with whomever would stop by.

But now, Lucky is alone again, as he was for a year before Bixby's arrival. The photos in this post were taken with a film camera on Bixby's first day in our lives. The photos are dated February 25, 2001.

You'll be missed Bixby.

Photo of Papa, Bixby and Lucky. Bixby is on the left.

An Opportunity

I’ve been meaning to write for some time now. I’ve had the desire to do so. But having the desire, and having the opportunity, are two different things. When they don’t sync up, it can make for one cranky person.

Luckily, I’ve been too busy to be cranky.

I started a new job a few weeks back. It’s a job that I was interested in taking. I took a 12% pay reduction, and increased my commute by 45 minutes, but to me it was worth it. At least that’s how I looked at it when I said yes to the opportunity. It is how I look at it now, as well. I’m sure, almost positive, it will also be how I look at it in the future. But sometimes, in the haze of commuting, it is difficult to see the sanity in the decision I made.

I get to spend more time with Farrah and Mia. Granted it is morning commute time, but it is time nonetheless. The evening commute is spent apart. When I get home, which is often after 7pm, I only spend an hour with Mia before her bedtime. Then the time I spend with Farrah is only to eat, catch up briefly on the day’s events, then get our things together for the next day.

For now it seems like a cycle ride that has no end.

In October, things may change. But October is months away. Who knows if the change will be for the better or for the worse. The optimist in me hopes for the former, and I will continue to think that until October comes to pass.

I’m writing this on my evening commute home, on the CalTrain. It hasn’t been a bad experience on the train. The people are as friendly as can be, for being cramped into a train, going from point A to point Z in such-and-such time. I’ve only had a few delays here and there. Nothing to complain about just yet.

When my job moves deeper into the City – yup, we’re moving downtown – we’ll see how the train compute plus Muni will be like. I’m guessing it’ll be a bear for a few weeks until I get my pattern down.

And so I’ll try post when I can. I hope I’ll find opportunities to do so, whether it’s writing while I’m on a train ride or when I’m winding down from the day in bed.

I have the desire. Opportunity is the issue.

The King's Speech

I upped my Netflix movie discs this month in the hopes of catching up on a few movies. I hope to write a few words on each movie that I was able to view.

I was able to set aside a few moments last weekend to watch an excellent movie The King's Speech. It would have been a good idea to see this movie before the Oscars. But knowing it had won several Oscars, as well as other awards, did not taint my viewing of the movie.

The film, from it's synopsis, seems grand in scope. It tells the story of a man with a speaking issue who would be King one day. But as I sat and watched the movie it felt like a nicely made small film. The movie moved at a good pace, covering a little less than a decade of time very smoothly. It established its characters, their relationships, and their situations with ease.

The interaction between the actors and their characters was a sight to see. In a short period of time, you could recognize the love and patience that Helena Bonham Carter's character has for Firth's. And you could feel the tension, then later admiration and respect Firth and Geoffrey Rush's character shared throughout the film. Yes, there was a montage here and there, but how else would you encapsulate all the speaking exercises Firth's King George VI would go through?

Now, I don't know the historical accuracy of this film. Heck, I don't expect any film to be historically accurate. All I can say is that this film proves to be an inspirational piece worth repeated viewing.

If you like British movies, have two hours to spare, and an opportunity to rent this film, I don't believe you'd be disappointed

Unsure About PlayStation Now

Seriously?

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.
— http://blog.us.playstation.com/2011/04/26/update-on-playstation-network-and-qriocity/

After hearing this news from Sony, I'm wondering if I can ever trust Sony or the PlayStation Network ever again. I was winding down on my console video game play. Perhaps this is a sign to give it up all together.

The full post is on ://Playstation.blog

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

You are waiting to hear news. It might be good news you are hoping to hear, something favorable to your future. Or, perhaps it's bad news  you wish you could avoid, news that can prove to be an obstacle for some time.  Either way, you just want to know what is going on, what is going to happen, so you can take the next step(s) to arrive at a conclusion. You are almost not concerned about the why, you simply want to know the what. But all you can do is wait.

Why do you have to wait?

Well, the decision, the next move to make things happen, may be out of your control. Or perhaps time is a necessity, it needs to pass in order for results to occur. But all you know is that it sucks. And you wait.

I'm in a situation like this now. I'm hoping for favorable news. If a 'negative' is given as a response, it won't be the end of the world.  But it will be disappointing.

A friend of mine is waiting for news as well. It could be good or bad. Not sure what it will be, but I'm hoping for a positive outcome.

Waiting, in either case, is the only option.

Domain Swapping

If you found me - if you are reading these words on this blog - you could have only come here one of two ways. Either you've come directly to ://giron.me or you followed a link from my photo site, ://janella.com.

Prior to this new endeavor, I wrote on janella.com. But as you can see, things have changed. Those older blog posts still exist. I didn't delete those posts. I simply moved them to ://janella.giron.me. They are safely there to search and read.

Why the shell game?

I wanted to keep words and photos separate. Not that I won't post photos here.  I'm just looking for a little more segmentation, a little separation. When people ask about photos we've taken, I'd like to simply point them to janella.com - which would load the photo gallery - instead of a blog where you would need to find the photo link.

Plus, I don't write often. And I find it a bit embarrassing when I point someone to the blog - again, to see photos - they will inevitably comment that I haven't written in quite some time.

So, I'm still settling in on this space of the interwebs. Drop on a by every once in a while to see what's up here, ok?

A Sunday Post

I wanted to start writing a regular post on Sunday, time permitting of course. I’m not sure what subject it may be. Perhaps it will be about something that happened during the week. Or it could be a summation of week’s events in total. Or it may simply be another photo. Let us see what comes of this.

Mia turned nine months old this past week. Now, she has been out of the womb longer than she was in it. An amazing thing to realized this week. If you were to tell me 18 months ago we’d have this babbling bundle of joy to deal with I would have simply replied, “Huh? You’re crazy.” Yes, we’re happily crazy.

Farrah was able to put Mia in short sleeves, sunglasses and a hat, as the sun finally came out of its hiding place behind the clouds. Earlier that day Mia had some blood drawn, and unpleasant experience for all of us. I was the lucky one to hold her still while the needle was inserted. It’s a task I hope I do not have to do often. But the going outside in the sun cheered up Mia immensely.

 I had a birthday recently. As a whole it was a pleasant experience. But there were individual elements, like being stuck on Highway 17 for over two hours, that were unpleasant. A tree was down across the highway, making the trip to Santa Cruz more arduous than normal.

Part of presents I received were a very cool backpack and tickets to Wondercon.The last time I went to a comic book convention was over 15 years ago. I had never been to Wondercon, a large local comic book convention. This would be Farrah’s first comic book convention, making the experience even more memorable. 

The Moscone Center, where the convention is held, was extremely crowded. There were many people in costume, though a majority of the attendees were in everyday clothes. We saw at least a dozen Stormtroopers, a couple of Wonder Women, a Superman, an Alien, a couple of Jokers, and several scantily clad women who were, I’m guessing, some Sucker Punch characters. (I need to watch that movie.)

We were able to attend a talk from one of my favorite comic book artists, Bill Sienkiewicz.  I’m not an artist, not being able to draw worth a lick. But I enjoy listening to creative people talk about their passion. Sienkiewicz talked with no prepared topics, simply taking questions from the audience. It was interesting to hear his past experiences which help shape his artistic point of view.

Wondercon was crowded. Moving around the first half of the show floor was like swimming though molasses. When we were able to get to the middle of the showroom floor we had more opportunity to move a breath more freely. Even with all of this, I think I'd like to go to Wondercon next year as well.

The above photos were taken on April 1, 2011.

Comment No Longer

I read a lot of things online. I would often read commments that accompany the articles and blog posts. But I've grown tired of the often snide and rude remarks people make in the comment section.  Instead of providing meaningful comments, thoughtful responses that could add to the subject of the article, blog post, or photo, some people choose to make an ugly destructive comment. They make these ugly comments with ease, enjoying the lack of repercussion afforded by their anonymity.

I know my blog doesn't run into this issue. What I've had problems with are spam comments. I receive more spam comments then actual comments each month. And since most people now comment via Facebook, where I crosspost often, having comments enabled on the site appears unnecessary. If you don't have a Facebook account, I have to ask: "Who are you?"

Mia at Eight Months

Yesterday, Mia turned eight months old! Wow, it's amazing how time moves so quickly. She's not crawling yet, but she successfully flopped onto her belly from this sitting position.

We think she's starting to teethe. There appears to be a little something in her front lower jaw. She seems OK with what is going on, only becoming fussy every once in a while. Also, she's been amazing in sleeping through the night. This makes mommy and daddy very happy in the morning.

Happy eight months Mia!

This photo was taken the morning of March 2, 2011.

Rough Night

Lately, Mia has been able to sleep through the night. Unfortunately, she had a rough night sleeping last night. She woke up crying around 1:40am. This alone wouldn't be so bad. But then she woke up crying twice more, once at 2:40-ish and then at 4:20-ish.

Each time she wakes up you go through the checklist: Is she hungry? Does her diaper need changing? Is she cold? None of these seemed to be the case last night. I think it came down to her not wanting to be alone, perhaps a night terror attack. Mia was only comforted by having her back and head rubbed while we stood next to her crib.

I'm sure she'll have a few rough nights in the future. I imagine a time when she's older, when she finds the dark corner in her room scary, or an unfamiliar noise outside will startle her awake. She'll scream or cry, come running into our room and ask if she can sleep in our bed. We'll say OK, but only for a little while. She'll fall asleep in between Farrah and I. We'll pick up her little self and place her back into her own bed. We'll rub her back and her head, making sure she's comfortably asleep.

I imagine a time, and I smile. I smile because she's our little girl who's coming to mommy and daddy for reassurance that everything is OK. And it is OK, even in the middle of the night.

I smile because she's our little girl.

MoBowl - A Review

This week I had the opportunity to eat lunch at Mobowl. MoBowl is a food truck serving Chinese cuisine with a twist. We've tried MoGo, a similar concept involving Korean cuisine, and we've enjoyed what they had to offer. Would MoBowl be the same?

To find out where MoBowl will be on any given day, you need to either look on their homepage or their twitter stream. They only serve food on weekdays during the lunchtime. On this particular day, they were only three minutes away from my workplace.

On to the review.

Atmosphere

Well, it's a food truck. The truck is clean, with available drinks and plastic utensils available up front. The menu is written in chalk and is easy to read.

Service

They were a half hour into their lunch service. I only saw one customer was in line. I wondered if this was a bad sign, but I walked up to the truck and ordered. The order taker – possibly the owner – was friendly, giving me several options to what I ordered. I had the Five Spice Pulled Pork bowl. There were two additional options with my meal, a fried egg and brown rice. Each would cost an additional dollar. I opted only for the fried egg. The meal came out to nine dollars total.

They were able to make my dish in less than five minutes. I took it to go, as is the case with these food trucks, and took my meal back to the office.

Food

The food comes in a sturdy plastic bowl. Items in the bowl are segregated into three areas: a salad, rice with the fried egg on top, and the pulled pork. At first glance it doesn't seem like that much food. Then you realize the bowl is deep, and the contents of the bowl make up a hearty meal.

The salad was a normal regular green salad with a light dressing. The egg was fried medium with a slightly runny yoke. The rice was perfect, not too soggy or too dry. The meat, at first taste, was extremely tender and flavorful. I enjoyed it for a while. But after some time the five spice, which I've had before in other dishes, became overwhelming.

Verdict

I enjoyed my meal, though again, the five spice was a bit heavy handed in my opinion. I think I'll go back to try another offering. But for now I give it 2 1/2 stars out of 5.

Investing in a System

I'm trying to invest in a cross platform note taking system. What I'd like for this system to do is:

  • Be available on whatever device I'm on - primarily a Windows machine, a Mac, iPhone and an iPad.
  • Have the ability to take notes offline, then upload for later access.
  • Have the ability to access notes while offline, somehow storing a local copy on each device.
  • Easily export all my data - just in case the company or system goes under.
  • Be easy to use and secure.

I like the idea of Evernote. I've tried to use it before, when it first became available on the iPhone. For some reason I haven't taken to the system. But now that I have the application on all my devices, I'll take the opportunity to take it for a full run. I'm going to try using the free version of Evernote for all my note taking (e.g. blog posts, blog ideas, longer personal projects, etc.) The only thing the free version appears to be missing from my list above is the offline abilities. Those can be had with a premium account. Let me set a 30-day trial period, ending on February 25th. Let's see how that goes.

So what am I using now?

I'm trying to get by with Elements. It's a cool little iPhone and iPad app that syncs with Dropbox. But that's the limitation, the apps availability on those two platforms. I know I can use a simple text editor to access the Dropbox created file or create a text file and put it into Dropbox for editing in Elements. But it seems laborious at this point. But it might be the more elegant solution if the Evernote software on the Mac and Windows machine proves to be cumbersome. Who knows.

I've also been trying out Scrivener for writing. Again, the problem is it only resides on my Mac. And again, I suppose I could export out the file to Dropbox to make further edits, but it seems too much work to accomplish this.

I'll let you know how it progresses.

Salt - A Review

Angelina Jolie is Salt

Netflix Synopsis:

After she's accused of being a Russian sleeper spy, rogue CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) goes on the run, using every tactic, accent and disguise she knows to elude her pursuers, clear her name and protect her husband. Her supervisor, Winter (Liev Schreiber), buys her story, while counterintelligence officer Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) decidedly does not and will do anything to stop her in this fast-paced, intrigue-filled spy adventure.

My Take:

I really wanted to like this movie, and I did for about the first third. But then it took a sudden turn downward when the movie changed direction from plausible to unbelievable super-action hero. I mean, I believe the Jason Bourne movies more than Salt. Granted, the film was well shot, the chases and stunts well choreographed. I know, it's a movie, and things don't have to be realistic. Perhaps it was my mistake going into this film hoping for an actual action/espionage film, as opposed to pure cartoonish action sequences. I prefer Angelina Jolie's in Wanted than in this film.

For me, any empathy for "Salt" was lost, as the story failed to support her actions or motivation. But I guess this isn't a movie about character motivation, but of the momentum of action.

Rating: Cable TV

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-12


  • I'm happy I no longer host the blog on tumblr.com. Imagine, they've been down for 12+ hours. What's up @tumblr? #fumblr #
  • I swear, tumblr was working a few minutes ago. Did it just go down again? #
  • Pearl Harbor. The anniversary of my father's death. A friend's birthday. These are things I think of every December 7th. #
  • Mia - December 8, 2010 http://instagr.am/p/f1ni/ #
  • When was the last time I used a stapler? http://instagr.am/p/f4yo/ #
  • Things on my desk - ketchup packets http://instagr.am/p/glZo/ #
  • Mia at Starbucks http://instagr.am/p/h3gE/ #
  • Today's to do list, item 1: put up outdoor Christmas light. Check! Onto item 2 after lunch. #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-05

  • Trying out Seesmic 2 Desktop. Not sure if it's the right program for me. I'll give it a go for a couple of days. http://bit.ly/9jMisw #
  • @michellebranch Always wanted to buy 'Broken Bracelet'. I'm happy it's now finally available! in reply to michellebranch #
  • If @directv doesn't start offering BBCAmerica in HD, I'll be using Airplay from my iPad to watch Dr Who, etc. http://j.mp/f8IWL4 #
  • I'm finding it difficult to work from home, especially when my daughter is staring at me wanting to play. Is it time for a break yet? #
  • ♫ Listening to Ready Or Not (Cillo Remix) by Fugees on exfm http://ex.fm/s/nst7V #