Monday, August 11, 2014

Summertime [And the Livin' is Easy]

[Uh, it's August? Already? Wasn't it June, like, yesterday? I'm pretty sure we were all just starting to enjoy our summers ... and then I turn around to find that the stores are threatening us with Back to School Sales. Say, wha ... ?!?!?]
Hi. My name's Stephanie. And you may think I've forgotten about this little corner of the interwebs.

On the contrary, I assure you.

You see, life here with Mr. Dude and Little Guy is just as nerdy as ever ... I just have seasons where I'm paying more attention to the "wife" part of my title than to the "almost nerdy" writer half.

Here's our rundown of summertime shenanigans:

Visiting CA: Um, this one makes me feel old. My high school class had its ten (10!) year reunion, so we took the opportunity to visit grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other random relatives. [Actually, I'm fairly certain that all of my relatives are random, so perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we visited various other relatives? I digress ... ] Highlight of the trip: Nana and Papa taught him to walk from Point A at one end of the house to Point B on the other end of the house. Prior to the trip, he had only been taking a few steps here or there. I'm still undecided as to whether I want to thank them for teaching him such a skill, or if I miss my baby who crawled everywhere ...

[Playing with a Mickey Mouse fire engine at his great-grandparents' house that my sisters and I played with when we were little. Vintage toys FTW.]
Family Reunion: Every year, Mr. Dude's family gets together for a family reunion. The location changes based on which one of the siblings is planning it. Constant themes: There is always way too much food [because everyone in that family can cook, bake or both]. There is always a hilarious game made up by the hosts that we all play together. The weekend always seems too short. And this year, we got to watch our son bask in the attention of a multitude of cousins - he was absolutely fascinated by watching them on the swings, the see-saw and running around on the grass. Running around after them made for one tuckered-out Little Guy.

Southern Oregon: We city slickers visited Mr. Dude's aunt and uncle on their ridiculous-number-of-acres ranch for a weekend full of hiking, tractors, learning to drywall, and waaaaaayyyyyy too much food. [You'll notice that's a theme of life in general, I suppose, since I keep on mentioning it ...] We also played an old-school game called Therapy and Jeff Foxworthy's You Might be a Redneck If ... Both ... were ... uh ... interesting ways to get to know your family better. And it's kind of scary how good Mr. Dude's family is at being rednecks when they want to ...

[Mr. Dude's uncle took Little Guy out for a ride on the tractor.
Cutest. Thing. Ever.]
Housing Projects: This one has kept us the most busy. Something about homeownership creating its own massive "to do" list? Anyone else have that issue? In Mr. Dude's world, though, the most exciting thing has been making our walls look like Swiss cheese. And by that, I mean we had an electrician come and replace all of our 1916 home's knob and tube wiring with modern-day electricity. Let's hear it for the 21st Century! And insulation!

No, really. Let's hear it for insulation! You can't have insulation in walls with knob and tube wiring because the wires are exposed [yup, it's that old] and would catch fire if they ran alongside insulation. So heating our home without turning it into giant bonfire is ... um ... fun. Oh, and it helps that all of Mr. Dude's electronics won't short out every outlet in the house when he tries to run them all at once. It's the little things in life, people.

[Swiss Cheese. Because we must needs feed the electronics.]
What shenanigans have you and yours been up to this summer? Anyone else bringing their house into the 21st Century? Or discovering you married into a family full of red necks?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Double Pi Day Shenanigans



[Food Day Friday ... where I show you what I've been tinkering with in the kitchen. Mr. Dude gets a lot of air time on here about some of the projects he's working on or the things he's reading or thinking about. But rest assured, my entire life does not revolve around Mr. Dude's nerdiness - so here's to the foodies!]

Can I please do some lamenting right now?

Food is really important at Casa de Larsen. Or at least to me. We tend to have a busy schedule, but we somehow usually find time to make and eat great meals as a family and with friends.

Tomorrow, Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an event of truly epic proportions that we can NOT attend and we can NOT do anything about, no matter how hard we try.

And it makes my little foodie heart so very sad.

Double Pi Day.


Ask any nerd, he'll say 3/14 is Pi Day, and pi day means pie. Ask any nerd who wants seconds, he'll just say multiply by 2. 6/28 is Double Pie Day. Double the pi, double the pie.

On June 28, come out to our place for some pie. Hors d'oeuvres will be provided, and don't worry about coming late—we'll have a fire out on the deck for some s'more pies.

Also—don't trust your pie buying or baking, abilities? Come with a bottle of wine, and we'll hook you up just the same. We'd rather have two buck chuck than a five dollar pie anyway.

Party starts at 6:30pm, pie judging at 8pm. Blood sugar testing available upon request.

Sigh … doesn’t that just sound heavenly?

I mean, nerdy implications aside, a get-together with friends that just features PIE?!?!?!

My mouth started salivating just from typing that.

And then my long time friend who majored in math reminded me that Tau is the proper term for 2π.

Potato, potahto. I just want the pi[e].

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

LOTR + Strawberries = Saturday Night Fun

Last weekend, Mr. Dude's mom called me up and invited me to go strawberry picking.

Mr. Dude was out with his own dad to celebrate Father's Day [something about a brewery tour and a viewing of Godzilla, neither of which I was interested in], and Little Guy and I were about ready to go on a run.

But strawberry picking?

I posed the question on that social network the all-knowing audience [aka, "Facebook"]
Exercise Option: Do you think I'll choose my normal run with a stop at a park to let Little Guy play, or going to pick strawberries with my mother in law where Little Guy can play in the mud with us?

I'll give you a hint: I'm a foodie who hates running, and a mom who doesn't mind dirt.
Bonus points if you got the right answer before I show you this:
Grandma had a fabulous time with Little Guy, showing him how to find the strawberries and pull them off the plants. I'm pretty sure her plan was to get time in with her grandson whilst her daughter-in-law did most of the picking.
Cute baby in a strawberry basket in the middle of a field. Ridiculously cute? I think so.

Also, there was a lot of dirt. C'est la vie. 

Once we got home, though, the real work began. Washing, slicing, sorting and freezing two whole flats of strawberries is no picnic, people! It called for a marathon of something to entertain my brain.

[Fellowship to the Rescue!!!]

It was rather odd to be slicing something so sweet and yummy whilst Ring Wraiths attacked poor Frodo at Weathertop, or whilst nine members of the Fellowship fought off hordes of angry goblins and a cave troll down in the Mines of Moria. But it was nice to have the distraction.

Mr. Dude came home from time with his dad and paused the movie to tell me about his day. I think he may live in the meme-world a little too often, because he stopped it right here:


["So I walk in the door and Steph had this going. It seems I paused it at EXACTLY the right moment. One does not simply pause a 3 hr movie at the opportune time."]


Seriously?!?! How does he do that?!?!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

White and Nerdy ... Strikes Again

All in favor of Weird Al videos, say, "Aye!"

["Aye!"]

Mr. Dude appreciates that I appreciate Weird Al. Of course, Mr. Dude has been listening to Weird Al's CDs since forever, whereas I just point out the fact that Al did most of a college education at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, near where I grew up.

It's not what you know, but who you know, people.

Or who's famous from your hometown.

But I digress.

Our favorite Weird Al video is "White and Nerdy".

Let's just say it's spot on for how I think of Mr. Dude, except that he's not quite that awkward.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, you should probably watch it, too. It'll make your day.


Why am I thinking of this?

Two reasons:

1. Mr. Dude sent me a new "Epic Rap Battles of History" video to watch, with Weird Al making a cameo as Sir Isaac Newton. Internet gold, I tell you. [And whist you're at it, go ahead and just watch everything in that series. Again, it'll make your day. And take up a lot of your time that you could be using on, you know, useful things in life. But again, I digress ... ]











2. I've been sitting on my own treasure trove of internet gold with footage of Mr. Dude and one of his fellow nerds attempting to play DDR. I'm not sure if the game had them attempting to do the same steps or not because I couldn't actually see the screen, but I'm pretty sure that makes it even better. So allow me to help you meet your laugh quota for the week:


God bless the nerds!

Excuse me while I go clean up the Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. that just spewed out of my mouth while I was laughing so hard ... 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Greek Shrimp Bruschetta ... Opa!

[Food Day Friday ... where I show you what I've been tinkering with in the kitchen. Mr. Dude gets a lot of air time on here about some of the projects he's working on or the things he's reading or thinking about. But rest assured, my entire life does not revolve around Mr. Dude's nerdiness - so here's to the foodies!]
Ever since the arrival of Little Guy, Mr. Dude and I have found that date nights at home are easy-peasy: no finding a babysitter, no prepping Little Guy to be with said babysitter, no rushing to get out the door on time to wherever we have reservations or tickets for ... not to say that we don't get out at all - it's just our M.O. to have "date night in". Heck, after our standard college $10 coffee date for so many years, eating a nice meal and sharing a bottle of wine feels extravagant!

On my selfish side, "date night in" gives me the chance to make food that's a little more elaborate or time-consuming. Sometimes it's more expensive than how we'd eat for the rest of the week. Usually it just requires a little more concentration to be sure I'm following the recipe as I should be.

That's difficult to do if you've got a munchkin attached to your jeans as you try to move around the kitchen.

Did we mention that Little Guy likes to be wherever we are? It can make simple house chores take at least 100 x as long as they should. Good thing he's cute!

But I digress ...

Where were we? Oh yeah. Date night.


This recipe isn't really difficult so much as it just feels fancy. Pair it with a good red, plate it well, and you feel like you're at happy hour at a nice neighborhood restaurant.

Greek Shrimp Bruschetta

Coastal Living July 2004
Yield: 2 Dozen [feeds 4-6]

[Ingredients]
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
3/4 pound small fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 large plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
1 French baguette, cut diagonally into 1/4 inch-thick slices

[Preparation]
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté shrimp and garlic 3 to 4 minutes until shrimp are cooked.
  2. Transfer to a small bowl and chill.
  3. Combine tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in shrimp. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Place bread slices on a baking sheet; brush bread with remaining olive oil. Bake at 375º for 8 minutes. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon shrimp mixture onto each bread slice.
[Steph's Notes]
  1. I used the shrimp from Trader Joe's - no peeling or deveining! And I didn't have time to chill them in the fridge since I started dinner prep so late, so they sat in a bowl in the freezer whilst I prepped the veggies and bread. 
  2. Small sugar plum tomatoes took a little more work to de-seed, but were easier to dice into smaller pieces. And they had more flavor than large plum tomatoes, in my opinion. 
  3. Trader Joe's crumbled feta with herbs mixed in meant that I didn't worry about not having "Greek seasoning" on hand. Most companies use some combination of garlic, onion, oregano, mint, thyme and/or lemon. I'm cheap, so I buy all of those separately and then combine them as I need to. 
  4. We were both full after 3 of these [I put a very large heaping spoonful on our baguette slices], and the leftovers lasted for a couple of days. Bonus: we used a slice of toasted Dave's Killer bread when we ran out of baguette slices, and it was super tasty! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Computer Thief ... Or, Why It's Helpful to Have Lots of Browsers

[We interrupt this broadcast to tell you about this awesomeness in a jar: Trader Joe's Lemon Curd. Put it on toast and enjoy with a cup of Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Or drizzle over plain yogurt, then toss in some sliced almonds and dried cranberries. Better yet, put it on top of ice cream. Trust me, you'll be glad you spent the $3.99, and I'm not even getting paid to tell you that.] 
Look at me. The post hasn't even started and I'm already digressing.

If you've been paying attention, you've noticed that I'm somewhat addicted to having lots of internet browser tabs open. As a visual processor, it's just how I function, okay? I know that the browser tab's inherent "to do" item is completed when the tab is closed. Until then, it stays open. Deal with it.

So, some days the top of my browser may or may not look like this:

[Pay no attention to the fact that my arrow via Microsoft Paint is horrendous. I know that. If you'd like to get me a subscription to Adobe InDesign, then I'll make pretty graphics for you. Until then, you get the cheap stuff. Or you can pretend that Little Guy was helping me with the illustrations. :D]
[Also, you know you're married to a nerd when ... you see the Lifehacker tweet and exclaim to your husband, "You can randomize your MAC address?!?!" ... because you actually know what a MAC address is and some of what it's used for ... ]
But telling Mr. Dude that I need all those tabs open to work on my projects just makes him shake his head and sigh. It also makes him require that any machine we purchase for me needs to have as much RAM as possible. [I haven't maxed out the 12G of RAM on his super computer yet ... perhaps that should be a personal goal for the summer ... ]

Anyways, whenever he needs to use my computer, he's just learned to open a new browser. Not a new window for whatever browser I had open - no, a new browser entirely.

What?

You're surprised that we'd have Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer all on one machine?

You must not know us very well.

So while Chrome chugged along with my 46 [!] and counting tabs, Mr. Dude pulled up Firefox to start Pandora since we had friends coming over for the evening.

As I was shutting down the computer for the night [and this is where I thank whoever had the brilliant idea to make browsers capable of resuming where you left off when you turn your machine back on again - hurray for saving all the tabs!], I noticed this video was the other tab he had opened up:


Surprising? Not in the least. It's one of his favorite franchises, all kinds of previews are coming out for games with E3 going on, and he's easily distracted. So of course he was watching that while pulling up Pandora.  

I right-clicked on the video to get the link so I could share it with all of you, and I started giggling. Bonus points if you see it in under 10 seconds: 


Did you get it? Oh, c'mon!

"Stats for Nerds". 

REALLY?!?!

I have no idea what stats it pulls up - I was laughing too hard to bother looking. And I have no idea if that's a standard option on the right-click menu, if that's special to Chrome, or if Mr. Dude was messing with my machine again.

To be honest? It's getting hard to tell anymore.

In the meantime, I'm off to enjoy my toast and lemon curd with Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. while the Little Guy sleeps. And who knows? Perhaps I'll get enough done so there are only 30 Chrome tabs open at the end of the day.

Hey, it could happen!

Monday, June 9, 2014

NinTeethO

[Near Gear Mondays. Where I tell you all about the random gear that Mr. Dude - or I - may or may not own. Or gear that we may or may not plan to own. Or gear that we may or may not find interesting. You're welcome.] 
Once upon a time, a long time ago, baby gear was all about what baby actually needed

And then along came things like dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners and electronic baby swings ... suddenly, people had time on their hands for more than the bare minimum. So they started coming up with things that would be cool for baby to have, which usually coincides with "things baby definitely doesn't need to have". 
[As a long time babysitter and nanny, I've seen my fair share of the ridiculous things that people could swear they "need" for their kid. Wipe warmers, anyone? But I digress.] 
There are some baby items which - admittedly - baby does not need

BUT! Mom and Dad find them cool. 

Bonus points if Dad finds them cool, because supposedly that makes Dad more interested in hanging out with baby ... or at least feeling like he has a say in some of the gear that you buy. [Let's be honest. Most dads don't care about decorating the nursery or picking out a diaper bag.]

Enter: Geek Teething Toys. 

God bless the Canadians on Etsy who designed this: 




Bonus Points: It's even made of maple. How very ... um ... Canadian of them, eh? 

Whenever Little Guy gets a Little Gal or a Littler Guy to teach about all things nerdy, I can almost guarantee you that we'll buy one as a teaching prop for him to use. You gotta equip the next generation, you know. 

Can you hear the conversation now? 
Little Guy: Here, baby. This button helps you jump and this one makes you go faster. This one helps you get the extra star ... No, no, no! You don't eat it! That will make Mario fall down and die!
Future Little Sibling: [blank stare, blink blink, continues chewing]
[Sigh. This is the part where I resign myself to my fate of always living in a house of nerds ... in case you hadn't caught on to that yet ...]

Friday, June 6, 2014

PAX Drama for the Mama

If you've been hiding under a rock, you may not have known that Mr. Dude is just slightly excited about PAX Prime.

And that he's had me on "PAX Alert" ever since PAX East 2014 ended about a decade ago.

Or maybe it just seems that long.

Tickets sell faster than lightning strikes, so he had me turn on notifications for @Official_PAX on Twitter. And he always made sure that at least one of my thousand open browser tabs was the registration site. And he was diligent in letting me know when his meetings at work would start and end so I'd know when I could talk to the love of my life during the day so I knew when I was responsible for dashing to the computer in a frenzy in case ticket sales went live.

It got to be rather ridiculous, actually.

And then there was that one morning nap time [for Little Guy, not me - unfortunattely] where a Twitter notification came through and Mr. Dude called all at the same time.

It. Was. Go Time.

Good thing the browser tab was already set to the all-important prime.paxsite.com/registration [I may or may not have just typed that out from memory. I think I'll plead the Fifth on that one.] so I could just click on the "Badge Sales" button without thinking too much.

Do you remember when you were a small child how tempting something became simply because it was forbidden?

You didn't actually want the cookie until mom said you couldn't have it. And you never really cared about your sister's doll until your dad said you couldn't take it. And you had never even thought that the movie would be cool to watch until your mom said you weren't allowed to go see it with your friends.

That's what PAX did to me and my "refresh" button.



Seriously?!?! NO refreshing the page? The page will redirect automatically and I just have to be patient?!?! 

But ... but ... but ... 

Somehow, I knew that if I followed directions, I'd be okay. But it certainly didn't feel like it. 

The tech gurus who ran the PAX website would know better than to tell a bunch of geeks that the page would automatically redirect if the page wasn't going to automatically redirect, wouldn't they? I mean, talk about the most embarrassing tech snafu you could imagine, right? Screwing up registration for a nerd convention? 

It still took everything I had in me to not hit that refresh button, though. 

I think I just didn't trust the nerds enough. 

Meanwhile, my adrenaline system was on high alert, shaking hands, shallow breathing, accelerated heart rate and all. 

Must. Get. Tickets. Must. Get. Tickets. MUST. GET. TICKETS

Mr. Dude got into the queue just before I did and managed to snag two each of the four single day passes. 

Success! Breathe! Relax! 

Wait. No four-day passes? 

Nope. They all sold out. In FIFTY SECONDS

[Can we just pause right here? ... What kind of crazy world do we live in where there are so many nerds desperate to get to a conference that they stalk a site so that over 80k tickets are gone within just a few hours? Not all of these people are the stereotypical kids-posing-as-adults living in mom's basement and playing WoW all day. Lots of them actually have families, really good jobs and friends. But I digress.]

So, if you want to know where Mr. Dude will be for all of Labor Day weekend, you've got your answer. If you actually want to see him that weekend, then you'd better have scored some PAX Prime tickets. If you're lucky, you'll be there the day that Mr. Dude, Little Guy and I all show up in our cosplay. More on that to come. 

Meanwhile, I think I need to go make myself a nice cup of tea to calm down again after reliving that harrowing experience. I'm getting too old for all these adrenaline highs. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June Bugs*

In the computer world, "bug" is a bad, bad word. [This is where all the coders start shuddering.]

Within the confines of my house, "bug" means "pest that's only alive because the cat isn't doing her job or Mr. Dude hasn't killed it yet even though I asked a whole 2 seconds ago".

For my garden, "bug" means "that thing that's trying to eat all the plants!"

As far as my to do list is concerned, "bug" refers to the verb, as in - "I haven't done Item A [or Item B, or Item C, or Item D, or Item E ...] yet, and it's starting to bug me".

For the purposes of this blog, "bug" explains the content of this post, and I'm going to refer to all of the above.

Let's go in reverse order, shall we?

To Do List: Let's just say that mine has been rather long, without much progress and without enough coffee. [For the record, there's never enough coffee. You'll be my best friend if you bring me some good coffee. Promise.] We've had lots going on with Mr. Dude's work schedule, Little Guy's sleep schedule, and my manage-our-home-behind-the-scenes schedule. Thus, the blog fell off the "highest priority, must get something posted today" radar. Hard to blog about life when you're too busy living it, right? Don't worry - it gnawed at me. So we're back.

Garden: The bugs in the garden have been watching us pull up undergrowth, kill off the moss that was eating our lawns [oh, the joys of living in the PNW] and set up all kinds of accessories. Our backyard is now sporting some awesome garage sale finds and hand-me-downs: patio table and chairs, solar LED umbrella [oooh! blinky lights!], fire pit, and gas bbq grill. [Can you say "neighborhood cookout"?!]

If you thought Mr. Dude's only hobbies were building and modifying computers or finding random videos on YouTube featuring reviews of the Goat Simulator game given by a gal who just ate a habanero pepper stuffed with ghost chili pepper sauce, then you were mistaken.

He ALSO loves sprucing up a much-loved grill to make it shine like new and filling up the gargantuan yard waste can with vines and dandelions and blackberry bush clippings. Not the stereotypical nerd who never sees daylight, I tell you.

[Although, did I tell you about how he worked in the basement at our university's IT Help Desk, and they had pictures of windows overlooking sunny landscapes on their computer desktops in lieu of actual windows? Apparently the nerds thought their virtual UV rays were sufficient ...] 

But seriously, when he's not doing yardwork, he really is looking up Goat Simulator game reviews.



House: I've been doing my own geeking out over things like design, function and decorating. I may or may not have spent most of a sunny day outside, lounging in our new-to-us patio furniture and reading this:

 

Mr. Dude likes the "DIY" concept for building computers; I like it applied to cooking and decorating. Also, I appreciate bloggers with a sense of humor, so I follow them on Bloglovin'. [Note: You could follow The Almost Nerdy Wife on Bloglovin', too. Just sayin'. #shamelessselfpromotion #justkiddingIhateselfpromoting] 

The only downside is that I can't actually do most of the project ideas in here: we're waiting on even basic things like paint and hanging pictures until our walls are demolished and rebuilt. No, we're not knocking our entire house down. Yes, we have to redo most of our electrical work.

[1916 House 

Nerd with Excess of Electronic Devices 

Supply and Demand Imbalance]

Actually, we needed to do the update anyways [hellooooooo, knob and tube!], and I'm too lazy to paint walls that are just going to be torn up in a few months. But it's so much more fun to point out Mr. Dude's wattage consumption. He won't mind, though. He willingly measures how many watts his machines pull out anyways.


This is actually pretty low, especially after we had legit outlets installed downstairs, in addition to the lightbulb-to-outlet conversions he had done. Otherwise, he had a ridiculous number of devices daisy-chained to a single extension cord running off one outlet in the mudroom/pantry just up the stairs from his man cave and it was consistently up in the 400s. We really need to get the electricity finished, folks!

Where were we?

Oh yeah. Decorating. Or not. At least not until Mr. Dude's machines can't cause a shortage throughout our entire house and blow every fuse in the box with one fell swoop of overclocking.

Excuse me. I'm off to go stock up on batteries for the flashlight in case of Wattage-gate.

Maybe I'll buy a can of paint while I'm at it.


[*Bonus Points for those of you who ever watched the Cartoon Network "June Bugs" specials where they ran a marathon of Warner Brothers' Bugs Bunny cartoons. Ah, such wonderful childhood memories.]

Friday, April 25, 2014

Xbox One vs. PS4 ... GO!

Mr. Dude used to have a collection of consoles.

When we got married, he had an original Xbox and a PS2.

Then came an Xbox 360.

Then, somehow, he weasled his way in to buying a PS3.
Mr. Dude: But, Stephanie, we need a BluRay player. The 360 doesn't have one.
Me: And why should I care about that?
Mr. Dude: Because this:
[Image via Amazon.com]
Mr. Dude: And because it's available on Amazon Prime. 
Me: Ooooooohhhhhh ... well that's different. Fine. Get the PS4. BUT! New rule. For every console you purchase, you must get rid of one from here on out. And, there must be some benefit to me, as well.
Mr. Dude: DONE!  
[BluRay comes in handy for all sorts of things like the LOTR Extended Edition Trilogy, the bonus features for Enchanted that aren't available on the DVD, Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth ... you know - the important stuff.]

Then sometime this year ... last year? ... [the timeline is foggy because we have so many discussions about what gadget he's going to buy next and why] ... he started musing on whether to get an Xbox One [which was confusing, because that's what we had been calling the original Xbox over here] or a PS4. Fortunately for him, he had already sold off the PS3 in favor of playing BluRays via his computer, so there was "room" for another console.

Want to see that conversation played out in real life? Here, we took video:


Okay, so really that's Sheldon and Amy from The Big Bang Theory. But you get the point.

I think I've mentioned before how it seems that the writers must just follow my life story for materials because I've had so many of the exact conversations that go on in that show.

It's getting kinda creepy, Chuck Lorre ...

Thankfully, we've put off buying anymore consoles for the time being. Mr. Dude believes that the consoles must be advanced enough technologically beyond the last generation to justify the price, so we're safe.

For at least the next five minutes.

Until he actually makes up his mind.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

On The Surface

The Microsoft Surface, that is.

Yesterday was a two-fer day for blog posts.

I kinda felt bad about leaving you in the dark on all the funny things that happened over the last week, so you got an extra one. Part of my radio silence was from giving our poor sick Little Guy lots of extra attention.

And part of it was because of conversations like this:


Yes, I know how to tell when my display driver crashed. I know what a display driver is. And I know how to update them.

I also know that if my GPU is becoming akin to burnt toast, then I have to replace the entire laptop sooner rather than later [the one upside of a desktop, in my opinion - your GPU isn't soldered onto the motherboard ... wait, did I really just type those words?!].

I'm also too lazy to do my own computer maintenance sometimes.

Besides, why deprive Mr. Dude of some time to tinker around, à la car mechanic?

So in the meantime, I'm dealing with a slightly cantankerous machine that thinks it's getting too old for the likes of 30 internet browser tabs being open at once, despite the fact that this multi-tasking mama needs it to keep chugging along.

And then Mr. Dude brought home a Microsoft Surface that a friend had let him borrow.

I think my little HP notebook could tell that I was oohing and aahing over another machine, and it must have gotten jealous because it is running ... as ... slowly ... as ... molasses ... in ... January ... today.

Maybe it just needs another cup of coffee?

Nope, that'd be this mama who needs another cup of coffee.

This machine is gonna get Windows 7 reinstalled and all the drivers updated by my personal Geek Squad this weekend. And then we can all celebrate its restoration to good health.

Oh, the joys of owning PCs and being married to a PC tech., no?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Meanwhile, From the Prize Box

Remember how you used to have days in class where the teacher would do a review session for an upcoming test, and he'd pass out small prizes for the right answer? You know, like pencils, stickers, bookmarks and the like?

You thought I was talking about elementary school .

Nope. This happens in adult world, too, folks. Your wildest dreams have come true!

Mr. Dude's right answer during the SharePoint training seminar earned him some swag:

 

Seriously?! 

Tacky? Or awesome? 

Discuss. 

[Side Note: I don't even dare ask Mr. Dude what the question was. Otherwise I'll suddenly discover that he's rattled off about all things SharePoint for an hour and I'll know more about it than the general population. I know better than that, folks!]

No, Seriously. What About Second Breakfast?

Little Guy turned one earlier this month, and my family made the trek all the way from sunny CA to celebrate with us.

They took the opportunity to give him some ... um ... appropriate gifts.

One sister, for example, created these:


It's what happens when you have access to the interwebs, a printer, and iron-on patches. So now my kid can go around proclaiming on his shirt what his general M.O. of life seems to be:
"But what about second breakfast?"

The other sister gave him what I call the "maniacal bumblebee" and what Mr. Dude has proclaimed one of the most awesome toys ever.

Want to see their ad for it? Watch the overly cheerful video. And then wonder if the video editor lost some hair while working on that project. Auntie's "Operation: Bug the Momma, Please the Nephew" is a complete success, y'all. Because Little Guy LOVES it.

[We have a dichotomy in our parenting philosophies, by the way. Mr. Dude thinks that loud, noisy toys make childhood more fun. I, on the other hand, am the one at home all day with Little Guy, so I hear that noisy toy a LOT. And I think a kid needs to learn to be entertained without all the flashing lights and sounds. But hey, he loves leafing through his board books and playing with blocks, so we'll call it good.]

I'm just worried about what's gonna happen when Mr. Dude gets around to building that DOS Pentium II off-line machine that our kids will get to use.

Too. Many. Flashing. Lights! Aaaaaauuuugggghhhh!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

But What About Second Breakfast?

Or in my case today, what about a second cup of tea?

There have been a lot of second "cuppas" this past week as both I and this blog fell off the face of the earth. That's what happens when you've got one very sick Little Guy who decided that a fever meant lots of snuggling with momma and sleeping. I took to calling him a "Clingy Monkey". But at least he was a cute clingy monkey.

So, we're back. He's back to causing mischief, I'm back to writing, and Mr. Dude is the same as he ever was.

Well, except for today, when his company sent him to a SharePoint training this week instead of his normal work routine.

Know what he's most excited about?

Free, unlimited Mountain Dew.

You know, the kind of soda he used to drink during multiple weekends of playing waaaaaaay too much Halo in high school. He claims it's how he stayed out of trouble.

[I'm guessing his mom is grateful her couch got a little beat up by crowds of teenage boys working their way through endless levels of video games on the "Legendary" difficulty, rather than have her son get mixed in with the wrong crowd. I wonder if they thought to buy stock in Mountain Dew since they were probably single-handedly keeping the profit margin high?]

But back to real life outside of Mr. Dude's nostalgia trip today ...

I'm back on "PAX Duty" since he's out of WiFi. And back to real life chores after spending most of my weekend doing this:


Ever seen Meryl Streep's amazing performance in Julie and Julia? Holy cow. The movie is based on a mix of this book and the blog of a gal named Julie who learned to cook by working her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I'm wondering if anyone can read this book without getting drool all over their face and not getting up at least three times to go scour the kitchen for something, anything that could be even a fraction as tasty as all the food she describes in her book.

The mug, by the way, is full of Earl Grey. Hot. Make it so. [Yeah, that was a Star Trek reference. I know.] Because every good book needs a good mug or glass of something yummy to accompany it. One friend suggested that I have a good glass of wine, some fantastic crusty French bread and a really creamy Brie to savor while I read. I agreed, but I was fresh out of all three. And too glued to the book to go to the grocery store. So I settled for the tea. Much more British than French, but still tasty.

So that's what I geeked out on this weekend. Mr. Dude may be writing PowerShell scripts for this and that, continually locking down our network, and waiting for PAX Prime tickets to go on sale. I'm learning how to cook all sorts of tasty things.

C'mon. 'Fess up. What hobbies did you do instead of chores this weekend?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Stalking PAX Prime

Last night, I was all settled in for a lovely semi-marathon of BBC's London Hospital. Little Guy was down for the count. The house was reasonably clean. And Mr. Dude was out with friends to watch the new Captain America movie.

[As an aside, I was supposed to go to that movie, too, but we couldn't get a babysitter in time. So I couldn't watch the latest iteration in a never-ending parade of superhero/comic book-based movies. Oh darn.]

And then I get this text message:


Grammatical errors aside [because I'm one of those annoying people who try to make sure even my text messages have proper capitalization, punctuation, etc.], this pretty much sums up my weekend. 

Stalking PAX Prime tickets. 

Mr. Dude [who really is listed in my phone as "Yours Truly" ... and who chose a ridiculous profile picture based on a meme] knows that historically, PAX Prime tickets are announced very soon after PAX East in Boston has concluded. 

So the man who has a Twitter handle and never uses it turned on notifications for @Official_Pax a week ago to be sure he could rush to a computer at a moment's notice to get one of the coveted 4 Day Passes. Since PAX East was this weekend, there's been a tweet every. freakin'. 30. seconds.  

That's a lot of notifications on his phone, people. 

And a lot of times for my heart to start racing, waiting to hear him yell out, "To the interwebs!" 

And a lot of times of not knowing when I'm going to have to drop everything [except for maybe the 1 year old Little Guy ... I love my husband, but I draw the line there] to run to my computer and basically live out this scene: 




Key Difference that Mr. Dude would like you to note: They're trying to get into Comicon in San Diego. Not PAX. 

I actually offered [!!!] to go to Emerald City Comicon last month and he refused. 

Why?
"That's for a bunch of nerds, Stephanie."
Riiiiiiiiigggggghhhhhhttttt ... 

[Updated: Apparently I should use the interwebs for some of my proofreading. You know, so that I can discover that it's spelled "Comicon" instead of "ComiCon" ... like I tried to do the first time around.] 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nerd Status Panic Attack

In the world of baseball, going 2/3 in a game is a great batting average.

In the world of being almost a nerd, going 2/3 means I haven't gone over the edge. Yet.

But oh man, did I get a scare.

Scrolling through my FB newsfeed ... saw a post by Mr. Sulu George Takei that a friend shared ... and almost had a heart attack.


OH CRAP. I KNOW WHAT ALL OF THOSE ARE.

Or at least I thought I did.

The ways of the force? Easy, that is. Star Wars.

The One Ring? You mean the One Ring to Rule Them all? LOTR. Duh.

Muggles? Wow. Talk about a reference out of left field. They brought in Puddleglum from The Silver Chair? Random, but okay.

Except NOT okay because I know EXACTLY who they're talking about and so according to the totally legit authority of the some(e)cards meme, that makes me a full-fledged nerd!!!

Aaaauuuugggghhhhh!

Oh wait.

That said "muggles". Not "marshwiggles".

[Insert my quick Google search here.]

Oooooh. Those are from Harry Potter.

Never read the books. Only seen clips of the movies when other people have had them on in the room.

Never mind. I'm not a complete nerd.

[Yet.]

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dating Windows XP

Found some more treasures at the consignment shop for Little Guy, just in time for the M's home opener on Tuesday:



Does this Giants' fan get bonus points for buying M's gear for our son? I mean, seriously.
[Mr. Dude asked me to wear M's gear to the game, and I think I almost laughed in his face. I reassured him that I love him. A lot. And then I reminded him that this is baseball we're talking about. I only wear black and orange, no matter who is playing or who my husband is cheering for. The "leaving and cleaving" may apply to my family, but it does not apply to my baseball team. Just sayin'.]
Also, I'm claiming bonus points for the R2D2 and C3PO shirt. Because what nerd's kid's wardrobe is complete without something from Star Wars?

I digress.

The day of said home game where Little Guy sported his Griffey gear, Mr. Dude and I were filling out paperwork at the doctor's office for the [insert trumpet fanfare here] one year appointment.
Me: What's the date today?
Mr. Dude: The 8th. Do you know how I know it's the 8th?
Me: Because it's our dating anniversary?
Mr. Dude: No. And yes! But today is the day that Windows XP support ends.
Me: And you know that more than you know that it's our dating anniversary?
Mr. Dude: Hey, I had to live and breathe that deadline! 
In all fairness, our dating anniversary is something more like a three day stretch, because it took one day for him to ask me to be his girlfriend, one day for me to think about it, and a third day for me to say "yes". April 8th is the day I said "yes". So sometimes I have a hard time remembering which one we celebrate [answer: we kinda, sorta celebrate all three].

And in all fairness, his massive project at work as a "Sharepoint Farmer" [as he calls himself] has been to migrate everything on their servers to a new OS so that everyone and their mom couldn't hack into the system. So the countdown to April 8, 2014, has been on his work desktop for the last couple of years.

Oh, widgets. What did we ever do without you?

Even so, the ordinals in his head for April 8th events went something like

[Windows XP end-of-support, M's Opening Day, 8 year dating anniversary, SQUIRREL!, Little Guy's appointment].

If he's not careful, I'll start calling him Szalinski.

[And he'd like you to know that he's proud I'd even use a reference from a 90's movie.]

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Awkward Family Photos and Verbal Analogies, SAT-Style

[We interrupt this broadcast to bring you this important bulletin: Today is "Family Harmonica Day".]

The Awkward Family Photo calendar said so.

"Why on earth", you ask, "do you have an Awkward Family Photo calendar?!?!"

Good question.

Have you ever heard of "photo-bombing"? Usually, it's a practice where someone jumps into another's scene while a photo is being taken, without the primary subjects noticing. Benedict Cumberbatch and squirrels alike have been known to take up the hobby.

At our house, it's what happens when you ask friends to babysit whilst you attend a wedding, and they see fit to grace our walls with said calendar's presence, without you noticing until after they had left for the night. In this case, the calendar literally "photo-bombed" our wall.


Fortunately, it's turned out to be quite the useful calendar with so many helpful holidays written in. Today is "Family Harmonica Day", and "Dress Like a Hobbit" comes later this month. And then there are other important occasions such as "Polyester Jumpsuit Day" and "Family Sweater Day". If you haven't gotten your harmonica on yet, though, you'll want to hurry. The day is almost done!

Know how Mr. Dude and I are celebrating this year's "Family Harmonica Day"? We're sitting side by side working on our respective computers while Little Guy sleeps. Ah, the life of a nerd and his wife. He's doing PowerShell scripting for work and I just finished up a freelance gig wherein I kinda-sorta-not-really played the part of a web developer.

Actually I was migrating content from one website to another, which really just means I was a glorified copy-and-paste wizard. But a wizard nonetheless, mind you. I'm working on getting my staff and a horse as cool as Shadowfax.

[#LOTRreferenceFTW]

What's that you say? You're surprised that I dove into the world of web development?

Me, too. Sometimes these things just land in my lap and I take them - always good to learn new skills and earn a bit of extra cash, right?

Mr. Dude, however, was more focused on the fact that I was uploading content into a WordPress site.
Mr. Dude: "That's not web development, Stephanie!"
Me: "Well, you're just doing PowerShell. That's not really programming."
Mr. Dude: "Yes it is!"
Me: "Then working with WordPress sites is web development. So there."
Very sophisticated arguing, I tell you. But a valid point, unless of course you agree that
HTML : WordPress :: C++ : PowerShell

If that's true, then WordPress really is nothing like "true" web development, whatever that means. I'm still accepting the title of "Copy and Paste Wizard", though.  

Happy "Family Harmonica Day"! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Halo: Taking Over the World

[One cell phone and Atari console at a time ...]

In this week's [or maybe just today's?] edition of "news Stephanie notices now only because she's married to a geek", I saw an article from TechCrunch about Microsoft's answer to Siri.

I know we all want some sort of personal assistant who knows what we need, when we need it, and can get it for us. Heck, if I had someone who could bring me coffee and do my paperwork and clean my house while I just played with Little Guy all day, that would be fantastic. And I know how hard it is to find a good assistant - I've actually worked as an admin assistant on several occasions, once for an executive director. [Do you know how hard it is to stay one step ahead of a boss who we all joked had more energy than the Energizer Bunny?!]

For some of us unfortunate souls, the closest we get to having a personal assistant is being good friends with apps like Remember the Milk, Evernote and Google Calender. [God bless those developers!]

Apparently, there are some people want a pseudo-friend who will organize their lives and talk to them, too, even if it's their OS wearing those shoes [wasn't there a movie nominated for an Oscar this year about that?].

Video gamers, say goodbye to Siri. Your new best friend [as long as you like Windows Mobile] is now Cortona.

Oh wait, she already was, wasn't she? For all those years you played Halo? [Or still play Halo?] 

Yeah, she's that creepy AI that helps you with the crazy amount of information you have to store whilst you're beating the bad guys.

Um, methinks I already have enough video games in my life without having my phone talk to me like a character from a giant gaming franchise that I'm pretty sure Mr. Dude could play through while blindfolded.

Thanks anyways, Microsoft. I'm sure it's the thought that counts.

In last week's edition of "news the family only pays attention to because they have a geek for a son", Mr. Dude's dad dropped off a photocopied article from the Smithsonian magazine. [Yes, he can be old-school like that. Photocopiers do still exist, people!]


The Scrabble rule in Mr. Dude's family is that if you can use it in a sentence, it's a legit word.

So now, thanks to someone who wanted to "demake" Halo by cramming it all into just 4KB of memory on an Atari 2600, I have a new word to use and hopefully score triple word points on. If only I could get Mr. Dude to play a game of Scrabble without taking 10 minutes for each turn ...

There. Now don't you feel so much more informed about the important events of the day?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscar [!!!!!] Moment

Last night, I threw Mr. Dude for a loop.

Little Guy goes to bed fairly early, and Mr. Dude was sick in bed. So I decided to make myself dinner and watch the Oscars.

Guys, I almost NEVER watch the Oscars. I'm not interested in celebrity gossip, or the red carpet, or even in seeing the latest movies.

Heck, I realized that I hadn't even seen most of the movies that were nominated in any of the categories for this year's awards. That's probably because I never get to the movie theater anymore. Or remember to rent the movies later. Or even know that the movies are coming out to begin with.

[We call that living in the "Parenthood Bubble".] 

But I digress.

Let's suffice it to say that watching the Oscars is a little out of character for me.

You know how they have different celebrities come on stage to introduce the next category and announce the winners?

In my head, I'm usually seeing the actors as the various characters I've seen them play. Or I'm scratching my head trying to figure out who they are.

[Enter Whoopi Goldberg.] 

She's been in a lot of stuff that are family favorites: The Lion King. The film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Sister Act. Sister Act 2.

And what comes to mind first when I see her walk out on stage?

"Hey, she played Guinan."

Guinan.

As in, a character on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Really?!?! REALLY?!?!

I LOVED The Lion King. I thought Sister Act was hilarious, and that the sequel was even better. And she redeemed Brandy's performance in Cinderella.

And the first thing that comes to mind is her role in Star Trek?!

I have a disease, people. Mr. Dude's forever ruined me with so much exposure to Star Trek that I may never recover.

I'm pretty sure the only cure for it is more cowbell. Or coffee. Or chick flicks. Or ... something.

Suggestions?

[UPDATE: Mr. Dude has informed me that Guinan only appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation, not DS9. I'm not sure if I should give myself a proverbial slap on the wrist for making such a rookie mistake, or a pat on the back for not being as well-versed in the Star Trek universe as I thought, thereby having some hope at "normalcy". Either way, I informed him that he will NOT be getting me to watch them again. He still hasn't watched multiple seasons of Downton Abbey, The Big Bang Theory or Sherlock with me.]