Funnies: Lucas Electronics

I grew up in a weird time. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale and San Jose), I was at the epicenter of the rise of tech. But also, I was a car and motorcycle guy.

As such, I was exposed to some oddities and interesting troubleshooting of electrics of various mobiles. One pleasure I never had was owning anything with Lucas electronics, for my auto shop friends in high school would tell hair curling stories. Continue reading →

Review: Forensic Files

One day, a long time ago, I began watching Forensic Files on Netflix. It started as a way to kill time, something in the background, but since it had 9 “collections” of up to 70 episodes each, it took quite a while to get through it.

The premise is each episode is a crime (usually murder, but not always), and how forensic and scientific evidence helped capture the guilty parties, sometimes after years of the case going cold. Continue reading →

Line of Duty

I have been on a tear, watching British television shows, and especially their police procedurals. It began with Hinterland, then expanded into Broadchurch, and Wallander. All very enjoyable, all top quality. While searching for something in the same vein, Barbara found a recommendation for “Line of Duty“, and while it isn’t on Netflix, it was on Hulu.

Unlike the other police procedurals, this one has a twist. It focuses on a group that is charged with investigating and ferreting out corrupt practice in the police agencies. The group is AC-12, or Anticorruption unit 12. Continue reading →

Vintage Nonsense: Retro Mountain Bikes

Vintage is all the rage. Hipsters and their vinyl LP’s, even cassette tapes (who the hell wants to remember that shitty format), film cameras, and other things “old”. As things go, most of this is harmless, and in fact, while I will not admit that vinyl sounds better, it is different and part of the charm is the physical act of dropping the needle on the album, and having to turn it over after it finishes.

But the other day I saw something that really shook me to my core. On one of the mountain biking forums that I get notifications from (I am not really visiting and reading there often) a thread was started that was about how to make a new vintage mountain bike. Something from the dawn of time. Chrome-Moly frame, rigid fork, and a 15 speed (3×5) cassette. Continue reading →

Wallander – Review

I have been meaning to write about a show that I watched on Netflix that was quite enjoyable, the BBC production of Wallander. A police procedural, with a backstory, right up my alley.

The series is adapted from the Wallander thriller novels penned by Henning Mankell, a Swedish author. The series starts with the principal protagonist, Kurt Wallander, just after he become the DI (Detective Inspector), of his little hamlet, about age 42, and over the series covers about 20 years of his career. Continue reading →

Reflections of 2017, and looking to 2018

Ah, December 31, the year is about done, and there are some thoughts clanking around my head. Time to extract them before the temptation to eat myself into a coma wins the battle.

Number 1 – Work

It has been a good and busy year at work. I am currently in the certifications group at Cisco, and while it is product management, it is different from my prior roles. In many ways that is refreshing, as it brings new challenges, and opportunities.

I started the year as a contractor (or C-Worker, short for contingent worker), but in July I was converted into a full time employee, a pretty significant development. That reduced some (ok, a LOT) anxiety in my status. Being a contractor had some benefits (as in, 8 hours are done, turn off and unplug), but unpaid holidays and unsubsidized healthcare really made it touch and go. Continue reading →

The ‘Real’ Slurms MacKenzie

Lately my wife has been terrified by an invader in the garage. After hours, and well after dark, out of the crevasses in the garage, arises a monster slug, that we have nicknamed Slurms MacKenzie, the party worm.

It is pretty funny, she claims is has been chasing her around the garage. Once Slurms is out, she won’t go into the garage out of fear that it will hunt her down.

Here is the little guy who is terrorizing Vale Drive in San José

The real slurms MacKenzie

Wizzle wazzle wuzzle, let’s PARTY!

SoCal Traffic Observations – 2017

Once a year (at least), I make the trek to San Diego to visit my folks. This year, I did it for Thanksgiving (as I did last year). This time, I was traveling alone, as the boss (aka my wife) was staying in the Bay Area to be with her family. Knowing how awful traffic is on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I made the decision to shift the travel days to avoid the crush leaving on Tuesday early, and returning on Saturday.

That was a wise decision, all around.

I woke earlier than usual on Tuesday, and left the house at 6:15. Out of San Jose, through Pacheco Pass, and down I–5 all was smooth. I got through the grapevine by 10:00. Then I hit the 210.

Hoo boy. Continue reading →

Guilty Pleasure – the Resident Evil Franchise

I have a confession to make. I enjoy the Resident Evil movies. An adaptation of a 1990’s vintage video game, and an early vehicle for Milla Jovovich (who plays the key protagonist, “Alice”), the first episode in this series was released in 2002.

Having never played the game, it was a new concept to me, and for some unexplainable reason, I just enjoy the movie. Having watched the entire series, through the middle movies that were less enjoyable, I still can circle back and watch them over and over.

Set in an underground fictional city, “Raccoon City” the bio weapons lab is working on viruses that can animate the dead, and augment other living organisms. While the original video game was a first person shooter, in the “Doom” genre, where the creepy/crawlies are out to get you, the adaptation is not directly tied to the video game, and the script is surprisingly good.

That said, I can’t explain why I like this series of films, but I do. Part of it is Milla Jovovich, whose other efforts are greatly enjoyable (Fifth Element, Ultraviolet, etc) and turns into a consistent character during this series (how does she look the same over 2 decades?)

Or perhaps it is the action. Lots of violence, zombie apocalypse, and human interest themes. Not sure why, but it hangs together, and the sequels aren’t as sucky as they often are (Matrix Reloaded anyone?)

The real bummer is that none of the common video streaming services have these movies. That means I must rent or buy them. Or wait until my Tivo captures them from a broadcast. Still, that is a small price to pay for my enjoyment.

My guilty pleasures…

Netflix Original – The Killing

I have often bashed the Netflix Originals, as they in general don’t appeal to me. Either I am not the right demographic, or I am picky, or as some readers say, I have no taste. No arguments there.

But I recently found a show that is pretty solid. The Killing turned up in a search for shows similar to my last binge watching, “Broadchurch”.

If you want to avoid spoilers, you should probably stop reading now. Continue reading →