HTPC Out, Boxee Box In

The desire to restart Netflix was strong. Real strong. Then they sent us another free month to use. Well, damn.

We’d been using an older Linux box for a while as our home theater pc (htpc). I’d dropped in an unused graphics card to make the whole thing pretty usable. Yeah, we suffered through a little flicker, but it was the best an 8-year-old Dell runnning Ubuntu could offer through VGA.

In comes the Netflix whose streaming feature doesn’t work in Linux because it requires Silverlight. See if Microsoft ever expands that to Ubuntu? You’ll be waiting a long time. I loaded Windows XP back onto the Dell forgetting that XP doesn’t play well with out TV for some odd reason. Megan remembered, though, and she rubbed it in my face. Like mud…being rubbed into my face.

That’s it! I cry (not really). No more rigged-up boxes. We’re going pro-made. We’re going Boxee Box!

It’s beautiful really. It’s angles alone put it a step above the usual set-top device. The only other devices coming close – Apple TV and Roku X|DS – are still black slabs, though the Roku has a nifty purple tag sticking out the front corner. Read more of this post

Ad Men

Recently, the wife and I began delving into Mad Men, a show I have honestly been meaning to watch since 2007.
With the hype surrounding the season finale last year, we knew it was time. Time to … acquire … and go for it.
Each evening of late, I’ll make dinner before we sit to it. We’ve been having chicken or shrimp or turkey because we just can’t stick to a vegetarian diet. I know I can’t, anyhow, but Megan did it for years before me. My influence is like a sticky, meaty syrup. Sorry, Megs.
Then, when the food is ready, I ask, “Should we sit at the table?” to which she responds, “No, we should sit in the living room and watch more Don Draper.”
“Let’s watch more Don Draper,” she says again.
“You know it’s called Man Men,” I reply inevitably.
She acknowledges this fact while mumbling more desires for Don Draper.

I know your game, Jon Hamm.

I’m on to you!

A night at the train station

Just looking at my Evernote files, I found a short description of my evening while waiting at the train station some time ago. I don’t recall much about it, but I do remember that I wasn’t going to remember much after I got to Pete’s! Too much of “mother’s milk.”

I know I meant to write more about the feelings I had there and then, but I just don’t remember being in that moment. Thanks for trying, Past Dan. It was a good effort.

Read more of this post

De-jobbed: Some closure

Dear readers, I do believe that you may deserve some closure in the matter of my unemployment and underemployment.

That matter has been resolved. Beginning Thursday, I will edit copy for a website based in California. That said, I will work from home. What an interesting development this is!

I’ve worked some from home before. At that Wyoming paper, I took video home to edit from time to time. There wasn’t a reason besides wanting to be at home. I was still working, but I hadn’t slacks on. Or jeans if it was Friday. Sweatpanted bliss.

Then, when I returned to Chicago, I still did work for them through the ol’ VPN from the comfort of my couch. By simply glancing away from the screen I was able to look into the maw of Soldier Field or out across Lake Michigan.

That was part-time, though. This is full-time, and I worry about not seeing co-workers or other lifeforms for days at a time. Yes, I’ve kept some hours at Borders. I will get out of the apartment. I still worry about being a partial shut-in. I have a right.

Ha! Here I am worrying about working from home. First World problems, right?

Anyhow, my plan is to get a couple of things going and always have some works in motion. That way, if I drop one for some reason, I’ll have at least one more. That may have been a lot of people’s plans recently, but mine will work. Because it’s mine.

Recent reads: Hellboy and Temeraire

Hellboy picture from

After a while of reading geeky books, I often feel the need to read something for my educated mind lest it become squishy and falls off. Out. Down?

This is the tale of how I got to that point (currently reading Persian Fire by Tom Holland – about the Persian Wars and how the divide between East and West began). Read more of this post

3 AM: Game time/Retcon

One More Day

One More Day (via

I’ve been working a lot of third shifts since I accepted another part-time job at Borders. That place is always there when I need a job, and it sure is nice not having to be trained for a new job. Anyhow, I need to occupy my time to keep awake all night on days off.

Megan felt ill all day, so there was no way that she’d stay up late with me. I wouldn’t want her to. She works so many hours all week driving back and forth between Chicago and Gurnee. It must be exhausting. So what else can I do in a quiet apartment all night long?

Walk to Walgreens. cream cone and Mtn. Dew to jump-start the late night.

Leftovers? Yes, please. Pam sent some awesome cheesy potatoes with us when we were in Wisconsin on Saturday. I loves cheesy potatoes. Make that Chessy Potatoes. Capitals and italics emphasize the importance of the meal.

Ah, but this post is in the Video Game sub category of the blog. You must have know that tech talk was coming. Read more of this post

Where three roads meet

There’s a place near home where three roads meet.

I cross it every day, most often in the morning, on my way to absolutely anywhere. Need some paper towels? Through the intersection. Pancakes? Intersection. Off to the Loop on the Blue Line? I got an intersection for you to go through from my place.

A whole lot of people travel through this place where the three roads meet. If it weren’t for the many, many traffic lights, there’d never be a moment for this chicken to cross first one street, then another just to get to the other side.

This morning, if I had had the guts and gumption to seize the moment, I may have been able to cross without one of those lights.

At 6:30 in the a.m., your Average Joe isn’t quite awake yet. Joe maybe scarfed down a bagel on the way out the door, but he hasn’t had his second cup of java yet. He’s foggy in the head and slow at foot and hand, but Joe, Jane, and even Steve still drive fast and faster on their way to wherever and over there.

That’s why it was weird at that intersection when the lights turned green and nothing happened. Read more of this post

The Editor’s Process

Since we returned from the New Smyrna and a wonderful week at the beach, I haven’t found the time to put it all into words. When I do, you’ll learn how I fretted over life before finally falling into “vacation mode,” burned to cinders on my first day out and escaped cockroach manor.

There will also be photos. I like taking photos.

Meanwhile, entertain yourself with this highly insightful look into the author’s process! Pat Rothfuss, resident Wisconsinite and author of the amazing fantasy epic The Name of the Wind, wrote up this blog posting about how he works. There’s really a lot to it.

Also, he keeps odd hours. Enjoy!

Wrong Answer: Waiting for E-mails

Answers flooded into my pocket all day. Is this the problem with too much connectivity?

Answers arrive at my doorstep, appear in my pocket and deposit themselves at my desk in quantity every day at all hours. Never am I so keenly aware of the tone or vibrate of their arrivals as when I await one in particular and all of the others show up first.
Never was I so keenly aware – like I said, of the tones and vibrates – as on Thursday. Read more of this post

I want you, A.V. Club. I want you bad.

Alternately, you can call them The Audio-Visual Club.

Like Tina Fey says, I want to go to there.

Dear The A.V. Club,

When I saw your string of tweets on none other than Twitter, I knew that I’d find some gems. There’re always gems. It’s your job.
Ne’r did I expect this little spot of sunshine, though.

Hey, wanna work for @The_AV_Club? We have an entry-level copyeditor opening in Chicago. [link]

What is that, you say? Jobs for the masses? Count me in. I was in it like 90s me in those spectacular parachute pants. Hammer, my parents blame you for that phase. Please, contact them about Photoshopping some family pictures.

You see, I lost my job three weeks back, a job I had taken just to pay the bills after moving with my wife from Wyoming to Chicago. Six months in, I’m on my rear, out the door, and up the creek (not with my wife, just the crappy job).
This is, of course, an opportunity to get back to what I love, back on the career path I had started. Here I write in amongst the boxes of our new apartment hoping that you’ll look at the link included in my cover letter.
Maybe you’ll even remember my name. It’s not a difficult name to remember: Daniel Craig. Just so you know, that was my name way before the James Bond actor was ever famous.

Read more of this post