Instead, I’ve decided to post some pictures from around the house and a few words about how the year has gone. Most of the pictures have already made an appearance on Facebook- apologies for folks who follow me there as well. But the words are mostly ‘new’…
I’m configuring a new PC for Irene. I’d love to move her to macOS, but she has too much ‘history’ with Windows. So I went with this:
A neat little computer- the Msecore machines have a good reputation as a ‘no-name’ brand. But there was definitely some strangeness in setting it up, which ultimately I blame on Windows 11 and its ‘secure BIOS’ technologies.
Elden Ring is a new game from FromSoftware. They are famous for their ‘Souls’ games that established a whole genre of their own: games with gigantic boss enemies and unforgiving combat. Basically, these games were the origin of the ‘git gud’ meme.
Elden Ring is that “Souls-like’ concept writ large. I have proven once again that I don’t like this style of gaming: but once again it taught me some things about why. It isn’t because I’m ‘not good’ or don’t know how to play. I’ve been playing computer games for over 40 years and, although I’m not claiming any great skill, I can work out the basics. Elden Ring just appeals to a very specific player which isn’t me.
I’m still a few years away from retiring, but the years pass fast- and I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Retirement scares some people. What will they do, they wonder, when every day isn’t filled with the job that currently occupies their time? How will they define their value in the world? Some of these folks retire, then pass away a year or two later. Or sit in their house, watching sitcoms and gradually wasting away.
I don’t think I’m really like that. I’ve had things I want to do, things I want to learn and experiment with, for decades. Not to make money or ‘prove’ myself: that’s what a job is for in my mind, I guess. Just things that interest me, that likely produce little obvious value. I’ve even tried to work time for these into my life pre-retirement, but have never been able to balance them with my job.
I have had an Xbox since not long after they first came out: back when ‘Xbox’ was the entire name of the console. I’ve been on the Xbox Live service nearly as long: over 16 years.
So it goes somewhat without saying that I wanted to get the latest iteration of the console: the Xbox Series X. Unfortunately the global chip shortage for ‘advanced’ technology components meant that getting one wasn’t so easy. The Xbox Series X was (and still is) very hard to come by: any that appeared online were bought up in seconds, and then offered for sale via Ebay or Amazon ‘resellers’ at several times their retail cost. I fought this battle for about six months in ever-increasing frustration.
I finally got an Xbox Series X in November via the ‘All Access’ program: more on that later. A month later I realized my fancy new console was defective. This is my story.
The cold has done some mischief to our plumbing here.
The same laundry room pipes as last year froze up first. Not great, but increasing the house temperature from 20 degrees to 28 degrees C and setting up some directed heaters will (I hope) eventually unthaw that. But then we made things worse.
There were a few things we knew we wanted to improve when we bought our home in Castlegar. Irene and I identified replacing the outdoor stairs to my office (the suite over the garage) as being the most ‘urgent’ of these.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like getting these stairs replaced is in the cards for 2021. But at least I have engineering diagrams!
Back in 2013 I began paying attention to my health metrics a bit when I started wearing a Fitbit Flex. I found I enjoyed ‘keeping track’ of basic data and I upgraded that to a Fitbit Charge HR in 2015 to add my heart rate to what I was collecting. None of this particularly encouraged me to ‘improve’ my health, but at least I was able to keep an eye on some basics. Along the way I started looking at the Apple Watch, but the Fitbit was working well enough for my purpose so I held off.
I started to notice some hiccups with my Charge HR this year: the battery wasn’t holding its charge very well, and there were some cracks appearing in the display. Nothing serious- it was still working fine. But I decided I’d take this as an opportunity to upgrade to the ‘next’ version of the Apple Watch. Apple shipped the Apple Watch 7 on October 15, and I got mine delivered on October 22. Now I’m drowning in data: my first impressions follow.
My mother, Margaret Adams, passed away in early August. Her passing was not a shock- dementia had largely taken her from us several years earlier. Even so, it has taken me a while to get my thoughts in a row and post this.