Terror of the Skies

I am a rabid Abney Park fan, but I’ve got to say I’m a little disappointed in Terror of the Skies, the new board game they just put out. The husband and I have been trying to make time to play more board games, and I was really excited about this one. We haven’t played it yet, but it does look like it will be fun and very playable. The problem I have with it is the quality of the airship markers.

AirshipPirates

As you can see from the picture, the pieces are badly glued. There’s a lot of excess glue across the bases, and the two on the left are glued upside down – the words should be readable when the pieces are standing. Then there’s the one where the base came apart completely. I’m hoping I can remove some of the glue without destroying the plastic base, but I’m not too optimistic. I’m pretty sure I can fix the broken one at least.

I’m disappointed, but not so much surprised. After all, he said himself his workforce was paid in goldfish.

As I said, I’m a huge fan. I love their music, his book was a fun read, and the art in the RPG is beautiful. But I’m disappointed in the quality of this board game. As a rabid fan, I did spring for the special autographed edition, because I love having signed items of things I adore. But the cost of the NON-collectors edition is comparable to games like Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, and Humans – when the production quality is far worse.

We’ll be playing this game on Saturday; I’ll review gameplay then.


Romance

Our wedding anniversary is coming up next week – April 29th is our 12th! Now, Rob and I are pretty much “unromantic” – we do birthdays and Giftmas, but we don’t do Valentine’s day or anniversary gifts. We do things – weekend away, a more “special” date night – but we don’t do gifts. Heck, we rarely exchange cards for that matter.

So the other day I remembered that April 29th was coming up and I was curious to see what the traditional gift for the 12th is supposed to be (Silk, Silk & Linen, Pearls), how they’ve changed over the years, and why they’ve changed. I told Rob what I’d found, and we talked about it for a bit.

Today the UPS man dropped off a package. “Open it,” says Rob. “It’s your anniversary gift!”

It was pearls! The latest Pearls Before Swine collection, of course. I love it. :)

pearls_freaks

tl;dr – Twelfth wedding anniversary gift is pearls; the husband gets me the latest Pearls Before Swine book.


The Death of Google Reader

So, the net exploded yesterday with the news that Google Reader is shutting down. They say that usage has declined, but if other rss reader sites are being brought down by Google Reader refugees, how is “declining use” a justification for shutting down Google Reader? And then there’s this neat little bit of unintended consequences.

Here are my findings so far on my search for replacing Google Reader. My needs are simple: I want to be able to add rss feeds to my list as I find interesting ‘blogs and news sites; I want to organize my feeds as I see fit, and read them sequentially without having to fight the interface; I need to be able to read on my tablet and sync to the web.

Flipboard:
– image heavy “magazineish” layout
– cutesy glossy “flip” page conceit
+ reader feeds imported nicely
– have to drill down too far to get to rss feed folders
– scrolling long articles makes the text go wonky
– sometimes cuts off the end of articles
– don’t see any way to put a particular feed set (folder from reader) onto the main pages

Verdict: Yuck.

Currents:
– same image heavy magazine layout
– battery HOG
+ reader subscriptions are accessible
– – – – – but not in folders so I can’t find ANYTHING MY GOD WHY DO I HAVE SO MANY SUBSCRIPTIONS

Verdict: Yuck.

Taptu:
– ugh. Same weird image square layout; you can turn off the images but then you’ve got text cards that look just as stupid.
+/- Adding reader feeds isn’t hard, but there’s some extra steps that are a bit annoying.
– sometimes it’s difficult to tell what feed you’re looking at on the main page

Verdict: Yuck.

Feedly:
– all these apps are bleeding together, they look so alike
+ imported reader easily
– on the website you can change the views to titles only, NOT on the app.

Verdict: Meh.

NewsBlur:
+/- I have no idea; it’s getting pounded so hard I can’t do anything.
-/+ Pay service; I got in *right* before he yanked free trial accounts. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to test with a few feeds, but not until he quits getting hammered. I’m willing to pay for an app if it actually works for me.

Verdict: Undetermined.

NetVibes:
+ intuitive web interface
+ imported reader effortlessly
+ able to rearrange and view reader folders easily
+ you can use it as a launch page with widgets (switch between reader & widget views)
– (*1000) No android app (ETA: Netvibes does have a mobile site, which is ok, I guess, though I’d much rather have an actual app.

Verdict: I like it, and may use it – but I read my feeds 98.3% of the time on my tablet.

Conclusion: Life is full of woe and sadness. Unless NewsBlur really wows me, or one of the ones I’ve missed turns out better, then NetVibes it is. Yay?

ETA 3/16 11:47pm: Well, NewsBlur did it. I’m satisfied. Android app does what I need, and the web interface is perfect with options I didn’t even know I was missing.


I’m sorry Miss Squirrel!

So today I bought three small lego sets, you know, like you do, and was happily putting them together tonight. The first one I did was a squirrel treehouse; I finished it and set it aside. The next one was a truck/trailer/bulldozer thing. I finished the first part, which happened to be the bulldozer. I set that aside and started to work on the truck part, when I looked up, and, well, this happened:

Look out, squirrel!

Look out, squirrel!


Annnnd… done.

Except for actual painting, which we will have to do (assuming a color scheme can be agreed on) the bathroom remodel is done! They finished up the new cabinet on Wednesday Jan 2, which was calendar day 7, but it was actually done in only 5 work days. Not bad! And (unlike Fox) the city inspection(s) are already complete.

We ended up going with ReBath; we think they did a great job. If/when we do the other bathrooms we’ll be most likely using them again.


Almost done!

Apart from having to wake up at 6:00am (Six! In the MORNING!) and keeping the cats locked up, it’s gone pretty smoothly so far. If it continues to go well, the bathroom should be fully functional by tomorrow night, and done on Wednesday. Of course, then we’ll have to paint. Ergh.

More progress pics!

Although I’m counting today as “day 5”, it’s really only 4 days because of Sunday. They won’t be out on the first, of course, but the cabinet should be installed on Wednesday. Not bad at all!


Bathroom remodel

Since it was the End Of The World and all, we decided that we should do a bathroom remodel! Well, actually, it was because the shower stall developed a pretty good sized crack and we figured we had to do something about it before any serious water damage ocurred.

Technically, it’s only a half-bathroom remodel, because all we’re going to do is rip out the shower and tub, to replace them with a fancy improved shower and a storage cabinet. Also, the crappy linoleum and carpet (Carpet! In a bathroom!) is going to be ripped out and replaced with tile. We aren’t doing anything to the vanity sinks and cabinets. Maybe later.

Anyhow, we got this all set up and ready to go for 12/26 – when we get a call from the bathroom guys saying that they couldn’t get started because there was still a permit open on our house. An expired permit – from when we replaced the HVAC system… TWO YEARS ago. Apparently, Fox Service Company never actually had the city inspection done on it. In 2010.

Well, that got mostly straightened out – the permit has been “renewed” and Fox is (supposedly) going to get an actual inspection done on the two year old HVAC system Real Soon Now. Whatever, we haven’t been killed by it yet, and at least the remodel can go on: which it has, starting only a day late. I call that pretty much a win.

Yesterday was day 1: Here’s some pics.

First part of their inspection is done, and they’re back again for the next stage. So far, so good!


Positives

So the whole “mfp” thing is going pretty well. I’ve been doing this for 137 days (19.5 weeks) now, and I’ve lost 38.6 pounds, or 1.97 lbs/week.

At first, I just took the mfp calorie goal and went with it. Now, I’ve been trying to up my protein to 40%, and I’m thinking about raising the calories a bit. Not totally positive about that, I think I want to make sure I’m consistantly getting some exercise, even if it is only cardio.

Here’s what’s happened in 38.6 pounds:

  • I can climb a flight of stairs without wheezing. Breathing deeply, sure, but not gasping.
  • The belt I had to buy was first cinched to the second hole, and is now on the 6th.
  • I started in size “6” (Lane Bryant’s stupid ass vanity sizing, most likely 26, pushing 28) (not that size 26 isn’t vanity sizing, ’cause my waist sure as hell wasn’t/isn’t 26 inches) (I like parenthesis) (where was I? Oh yeah) and now my size “5” (24) is a bit loose. I fit into 22s, but they’re still a bit snug.
  • I can put my foot on my knee to put on my shoes without dragging my foot up with my pants leg AND without huffing.
  • I’m buying tshirts from teefury.com in XL, not XXL, and they fit.
  • I’m keeping portions reasonable fairly comfortably, AND I’m actually liking some food that I didn’t like before, or didn’t think I would.

Things I’ve discovered:

  • I actually like the elliptical, and the treadmill.
  • My HRM watch gave me a star for last weeks training. I did not know it would do that. I’ll have to try to get TWO stars this week. :D

What I’m proud of today:

  • I did NOT want to go to the gym this morning, but I went anyway.
  • I did my full “routine” (such as it is), 10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes elliptical, 20 minutes treadmill.
  • I liked it.

Goals:

  • I want to increase my time and difficulty on the treadmill and possibly the elliptical.
  • I want to start lifting, but I’m …. scared isn’t really the word, though afraid of humiliation might be. Also, my husband keeps nagging me about having to have a spotter, and I’m on my own at the gym. I don’t see anyone spotting, but he’s all freaked out about it. Maybe I should just start on the machines – it’s not like these muscles have been used in years, anyway. Probably shouldn’t scare them too badly.
  • Water. Water. (…everywhere, and all the boards did shrink. Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink)
  • Did I mention water?

Also, I <3 my Fitbit.