Between a borked iPhone and the temptation to use my new GoPro, I took significantly more video than photos this month, and a couple are even doing respectably on YouTube.
Every year we crack out at least one key holiday tradition without fail: the jigsaw.
In time when it’s just as easy to slouch into the couch and pick up a controller to play some video games on our limited down time, I like to take the opportunity in the cold, dark days of winter to piece together a massive puzzle. It sits on the floor for a while, may move to the table, back to the floor, back to the table. The giant sheet of cardboard covered with a couple thousand tiny pieces is always in the way, always cumbersome to deal with, and always draws a crowd when people are at the house.
One might sit alone and listen to holiday music and put in a few pieces.
There could be five people jostling for a better view while we guard pieces of dessert.
It could be two of us idly poking away at the diminishing piles a lazy afternoon wears closer to dinner time.
Eventually it gets built.
This year we cracked open a 2000 piece Ravensburger with a painted Star Wars scene that we’d acquired at some point. Almost the full month we worked at it, a dozen people coming and going, spending a few minutes or a few hours together. And this morning, alone and hiding from -30 degrees outside, I put in the last thirty pieces with a cup of coffee and a little quiet music.
How to put a LAMP server onto a computer the size of a deck of cards in my basement.
Depends on the source of the text: from my head, it’s usually about 60-80 words per minute.
The effort continues to enact an repatriation exit from my american-based web hosting provider.
It’s a good thing the weather is so terrible. It’s in the minus 20s all this week with a minus 40ish windchill. (On a side note, it’s my New Years resolution to stop clarifying metric or centigrade units here. There’s really only a few places that still use old fashioned imperial units and if 2017 has proved anything, none of them seem to be examples worth following anymore.)
I digress… it’s a good thing the weather has been so terrible this week because I’ve been holed up in front of an SSH connection configuring a Raspberry Pi I bought off my brother, turning it into a little web server.
This blog is not quite ready to be moved over, at least not until I verify the stability of the rest of it and pressure test it this weekend by tweeting out my latest web comic on Saturday. If all goes well, that site will be living on a playing-card-size server in my basement by the end of the day. If it explodes… maybe plan C. If it holds up for a standard Saturday deluge of traffic, I’ll start moving this site over in January.
It was a frustrating phone day.
Backstory: like many of you who own iPhones like me, the latest software update coupled with an aging device has seen your enjoyment with your magic glass rock diminish inversely with the passage of time. My battery has required charging sometimes as frequently as five times per day. The camera often takes ten or fifteen seconds just to load up, meaning you miss that moment while the screen freezes and everyone gets bored and wanders away. The clicks are sluggish on a good day. Usability has not held steady as a word I’ve been associating with Apple products.
So I made an appointment at the local Apple store. I was gonna shell out for a battery replacement.
And the phone, which couldn’t be bothered to hold a charge long enough to buy a coffee last week… well… it had a good day.
The Kid, who had tagged along to the mall, supposed that maybe the phone knew it was going to the doctor and was behaving itself. After driving to the mall, going for lunch, and then wandering around all morning my battery was at 99%.
We tried to drain it.
We sent some Instagrams. We played Pokemon Go in the mall. I connected to WiFi and tried to do a cloud sync.
Forty-five minutes later the battery is still above 90% and when I get into to see the Apple so-called-genius he runs his little diagnostic tool on my phone and comes to the conclusion that my three-year-old epic-fail of a battery is just fine.
“It’s having a good day.” I insist.
“The test results are good.”
“Can I just replace the battery anyhow?”
“We only replace on a negative diagnostic. Why don’t you try doing a system restore. Sometimes that helps. We can do it here, or I’ll send you some instructions for home.”
I go home and restore the phone… which, of course, fails… four times… and results in a factory-reset device just in time for the new year. No apps. No settings. No music. No text message history.
On the bright side, it will be a little less painful to switch to a Samsung or Google phone in a couple months.
Running. Bowing. Drawing.
I gave the gift that’s impossible to return: I brought my violin to the family gatherings and played. Of course, some of my family would have rather had anything else, but it’s the thought… right?
It’s my christmas gift to myself… three and a half years in the making.
Readers may recall that in August 2014 we took a family vacation to Iceland and while there took about a million photos, ate a bunch of wonderful food and bought a bunch of Icelandic sheeps’ wool, commonly referred to as lopi.
In the post linked above, I wrote:
“I don’t tend to brag it up a lot because our culture has this thing about the masculinity of guys who can do arts-and-crafty things. But taking after my late grandfather, I learned to knit when I was a kid and can purl with the practised adequacy of a thirty-something middle-class dude who learned to knit when he was seven…. In other words, just so-so. But still, I can knit well enough for me to buy three skeins of orange-hued Icelandic wool, all of which I will be attempting (in the coming months) to craft into a very basic scarf. Very. Basic.”
Skills, guys. Don’t let anyone tell you that making anything yourself isn’t worthwhile. I built a deck. I did my own flooring. I’ve tweaked my home electrical. And I can also knit myself an epic scarf if I choose to…
But, I digress.
Months turned into a year. A year turned into multiple years. And while I would slowly pick away at the scarf project (usually in the winter when it was cold enough to want a partially knit heavy wool scarf on my lap) it was much slower going than I had originally anticipated. Sometimes it would just sit on a shelf for months and months, and I might unroll the progress and add a few iterations of the pattern before forgetting about it for a while. Other times I would devotedly add to the length a few rows each night for a week or two. Progress, but plodding.
Iceland, and the vacation of years past, faded into a memory.
Then about a week ago I decided that with only a few dozen repeats left on my pattern, I should probably finish the darn thing. No. In fact, I declared I would cross this project off my to do list before the year was through. I would wear my orange scarf to the annual new years fireworks, come hell or high water. So, in lieu of staring blankly at the television each night, I’ve been (ahem) knitting my scarf.
Alas, it is complete. Six feet of burnt orange, hand-knit, Icelandic wool warmth ready for a crisp Canadian winter.
Jigsaws. Icy. Alexa.
In lieu of a longer holiday post, here’s some violin tunes…
The coal industry would be thriving this year.