Postmodern Jukebox

On Friday evening, Jill and I went to see Postmodern Jukebox perform at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. (Her Christmas gift to me!)

It was wonderful to see them perform live – so much energy, so much fun! There was no program distributed, so I kept track of the songs they performed. To make sure I had the right songs (hey, I’m not up on Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift) I looked them up on YouTube, where PMJ has posted videos. And as long as I had the videos in front of me, I figured I’d link ’em here so you can get a taste of PMJ’s versions of them. (These videos aren’t exactly the same as the songs we saw them do on Friday; there are different performers and different interpretations.)

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2018-01

Jill and I celebrated New Year’s Eve at home for the first time in years.

We usually go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios early (around 10 AM) and camp out at a picnic table in front of Min & Bill’s (to the left of the end of Hollywood Boulevard) all day. Back before DHS became one big construction zone, they used to have DJ Elliot alternating with Mulch Sweat & Shears all evening, culminating with MS&S performing a live show synchronized with the fireworks at midnight. It was a great experience. But this year the midnight show at DHS was the usual Star Wars fireworks show that we’ve already seen several times. Magic Kingdom is insane on NYE (you’ve got to try it at least once in your life, but you don’t need to do it any more than that), Animal Kingdom closes before midnight, and Epcot doesn’t have any particularly comfortable places to sit for fourteen hours.

Jill made us lunch reservations for Via Napoli at Epcot, so we went there … and almost wished we hadn’t; driving distance was about 10 miles, but the roads were packed and traffic was at a standstill so it took us nearly two hours to get there. At one point we were stopped in traffic beside a parking lot tram which was being brought in from another park. But we went and dined and got New Year’s hats (paper this year) and got home safe.

At midnight we Skype-chatted with Eve while we had the Dick Clark celebration on TV and the Magic Kingdom fireworks on Jill’s laptop. We then heard our neighbors out front so we joined them for a little while in an impromptu street party with lots of sparklers.

I’ve had the past week off work because I was maxed out on vacation and I hadn’t used any of my floating holidays. I feel accomplished – I tackled lots of things on my to-do list. Fixed, upgraded, restocked, and otherwise tended to anything that needed attention around the house. So I feel a little bit centered, balanced, as we go into twenty eighteen.

StreetPass

Jill and I each have a Nintendo 3DS. They’re great little systems for some quick gaming now and then. She likes the Mario games, I like puzzle games (especially Professor Layton and Ace Attorney), and we both still visit our Animal Crossing villages every now and then.

One of my favorite features is StreetPass: when I carry the 3DS around with me for a while, the number of steps I’ve taken and the other 3DS owners I’ve walked past will “power up” some minigames. It’ll give me the names and home states of the people I meet this way. Carrying one around a Disney park will usually get us a few connections, though not as many as it used to.

Best Buy stores have something called a “Nintendo Zone”, where bringing a 3DS into the store will “meet” other 3DS owners who’ve been there recently. (This used to also be offered at McDonalds and Starbucks as well as a few other places, I think.) But I’ve long been curious about how exactly this works, and how to set up a Nintendo Zone in our own house so we can make lots of these connections much more often.

Turns out it’s easy! In short, all it needs is an open access point named “attwifi”, with a MAC address that’s set to the same thing as being used by other access points. More detailed instructions at “https://www.reddit.com/r/3DS/comments/1k0g58/setting_up_a_streetpass_relay_at_home/“. It can be done with a laptop, or a wireless base station, or a Raspberry Pi, or a wide variety of other devices.

I set one up yesterday and I’ve already “met” people from Canada, France, Japan, Australia, and lots of other places.

Cheese

Jill and I have become cheese-curious!

Growing up, I had only ever known slices of American and sharp cheddar, mozzarella that comes on pizza, and Parmesan sprinkled from a can of Kraft. But then one night at the Yachtsman Steakhouse, Jill and I decided to order an artisanal cheese sampler. Our eyes, and our palates, were opened. Especially, this was the first time I ever tried blue cheese; the veins of blue mold in it had always put me off, but I closed my eyes and – wow. Where has this flavor been all my life?

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Protest

Today I attended a counter-protest at Planned Parenthood. I’m glad I was there to be a part of the group supporting the clinic, but for a few reasons I was somewhat disappointed by the experience.

I decided to go when Jill told me about it. She’s fed up with the direction that our government is headed; never before has she felt motivated to take a stand, but she felt that now is the time to do something. So when she heard that Nessa feels the same way and was going to support the local Planned Parenthood during an anti-abortion protest, she immediately volunteered, and as soon as I heard that, I volunteered too.

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Away

Jill runs (or walks) a lot of 5K and half-marathon races with her posse, the Sparkle Sisters. (See sparkleskirts.com.) A few times each year, she’ll go away for a weekend at Disneyland or the Space Coast or even at the nearby Disney World resorts with her friends.I stay home alone with the cats and the dog, and I take advantage of the time to tidy up and tackle some home projects.

This is the first time we’re doing it the other way around, though. She and her friends ran the Pro Bowl 5K at the ESPN Wide World of Sports this morning, and they’re running the Celebration half-marathon tomorrow morning. So Jill and seven of her friends are staying at the house … and I decided it was my turn to get away.

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Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, 2016

Our annual trip to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

I was maxed out on vacation time at work (couldn’t accrue any more until I used some), so taking the week off worked out perfectly for me. Jill and Eve had walked the Space Coast Half Marathon together on Sunday morning, so they were definitely ready for plenty of relaxation too.

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Bed and breakfast

Near the end of January, Jill and Lily Pup walked the Pet Rescue By Judy 5K. (Well, Jill walked it, and Lily rode in her fancy puppy stroller.)

At the very end of January, Jill walked the Lady Track Shack 5K and the Celebration Half Marathon. It was a crazy weekend because, in addition to a special guest appearance from Valerie, we had lots of visitors spending the weekend here:

  • Indiana Eve
  • Heidi
  • Tami
  • Miami Eve
  • Jen Litwin

We had one person in the small guest bedroom, three people in the large guest bedroom, and poor Jen got a sofa and had to put up with the cats bothering her.

Indiana Eve then stayed an extra few days with us, and I had some time off work so we got to spend some time catching up on a list of things I wanted to show her:

  • Windows 10 (she was unimpressed)
  • The “Kaiju Fury” virtual-reality video in Google Cardboard (she was impressed)
  • The Stanley Parable (after having played Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald, she enjoyed this)
  • 1Password (in an attempt to keep her sanity)
  • Elegy For A Dead World, a video game that’s really a creative writing story prompt (she enjoyed it more than I did)
  • How to set a custom Minecraft skin (so she no longer looks like Steve)
  • Both soundtracks to Minecraft (they’re really quite good)
  • The second season of the TV series “Galavant” (we caught up on the whole thing)

And I also took her on a trip to Let Us Frame It to pick up some posters we’d had framed, to Track Shack to get her fitted for a new pair of running shoes, and to Skycraft Surplus because they just have all kinds of neat electronic and mechanical junk.

The only thing we had to save ’til next time is that we’re going to teach her how to play Settlers of Catan.