I'm still really enjoying the Pebble Watch. It's nice to get little alerts, like when Chris is on his way to pick me up, without being worried and checking my phone constantly. Since I always leave my phone on silent in public, I' have to actively check my phone to see if any new messages have come through since the last check.

With the Pebble Watch the whole experience is more passive. Any messages that come to my phone get passeed to the watch and then from there I can decide to read more or just ignore it for later. It's not an Earth-shattering difference in my life, but it is nice and does change how I interact with my phone. That is, I check my phone far less now for texts, emails, and other alerts, than I did before having the watch.

It's also still pretty convient to use to stop and start audiobooks. When I'm out walking around on lunch or doing something it's nice to be able to pause the book easily without pulling out the phone, fiddling with the lockscreen, and then navigating to the app to pause the book.

It's hot and muggy out. The fountains spraying misty water at Rosa Parks Circle probably aren't helping, but it's too bright out to stay locked up on lunch behind a computer.

Some days I really appreciate how easily entertained the cat is.

It's been a rainy, dismal day all day. I would have much preferred this weather yesterday, on my day off, than on a day I want to walk around downtown and enjoying spring.

I know that sounds backwards. That I should want great weather on my day off and rainy weather when I'm cooped up at work anyway. Sometimes yes. But as the days grow longer its hard to justify staying locked up indoors for nine hours at a time at work. And when it rains during the day that means wandering the skywalk with the rest of the office workers that just have to get out, but don't really have anywhere they can go to.

Hopefully the skies will be clearer in the next few days.

What better way to spend the extra day off this week than catching up on some Guild Wars 2.

With the recent storms and flooding there's been some damage to the boardwalk at Palmer Park.
As a result, they've closed the boardwalk indefinitely.

Here's hoping everything gets straightened out soon.

A cute Final Fantasy themed Pebble Watch face.

It's the start of a three day weekend, so what better time than today to sit back and enjoy nature.

It's another rainy day, which means pacing the halls of the skywalk instead of enjoying the outdoors.

Rain or no rain, I was going to eat my lunch outdoors today!

Luckily the Grand Rapids Art Museum has a nice covered seating area.

Apparently labeling clothing with sun protection rating is a thing now.

It's hot out, which means it's time to start using the grill as opposed to the oven. I was already making some tasty steaks so I thought why not make some breakfast pitas for tomorrow morning.

They wont be as tasty as they would be fresh, but it's still great to have something prepared the night before. That means sleeping in!

Maybe it's because of the sunburn, or maybe it's because of the heat. Whatever the reason, I've been pretty unmotivated to leave the house today.

We did go out. We caught the cheap show of Star Trek: Into Darkness. It was ok. I'm not a huge fan of the reboot, but as far as an action movie in space it was fine.

After we caught the movie we went out to eat, where Chris had all the peanuts he could want.

We took a long walk this afternoon at Millennium Park this afternoon. I'm not actually a fan of the park, but it's a change of pace from the parks that we normally walk at. Most of the path is open. There are hardly any trees that actually cover parts of the path. I'm assuming because they leveled virtually all of it when they were building the park.

Anyway, it was a good long walk around the mini-lakes and we both managed to get sunburned. But it was worth it. I miss weather in the 50s and 60s we should be having this time of year, but I guess 80 degrees is better than 30 and snow.

It's been a few weeks since I've launched and spent any time in Guild Wars 2. Sometime between then and now I've been experiencing a strange issue. When the game launcher would first start, it would immediately crash and telling me there was a load handling issue. Essentially it was this message.

So I tried a few different things. I tried re-downloading the software and running it normally and I continued to get the same error message.

Strangely, like in the forum post mentioned above, if I ran Guild Wars 2 in Windows XP SP3 compatibility mode, the game would launch.

I rebooted and tried a few different things and no matter what I could no longer get the game to run normally on my windows 7 machine.

Then a few hours later - no issues. Now it launches just fine without having to be run in compatibility mode.

So...that was an annoying thing to troubleshoot that occur and resolve itself with no real action on my part.

Sometimes the cat is determined to snuggle, despite what you want.

Adam and Comfort are in town on their way to ACEN. So what better opportunity is there to see a comic book movie?

So we headed out after work and met Dan, another awesome friend of ours, at the mall to watch Iron Man 3. Then out to a restaurant to deconstruct the film and discuss our likes and dislikes.

It's a beautiful day and an excellent one to take a stroll downtown while on lunch.

As we were leaving for C2E2 a few weeks back, Chris accidentally cracked the touchscreen part of his 7 inch tablet, rendering it unusable. So when we got home I did some research online and saw that you could purchase replacement screens.

Fast forward to a few weeks later and the screen has finally arrived. So Chris and I spent a little while this evening dismantling the tablet and replacing the screen. Even though I have smaller fingers, I'm less steady with small parts, so it's great that Chris has an easier time snapping things in, like the horribly obnoxious plastic piece that snaps the ribbon cable down.

Aside from that small piece of plastic, the replacement was pretty simple. Since it's just a screen that rests on top of the LCD, it's pretty easy to remove and replace.
Soon Chris was back up and running on his little Onda v701.

My parents came out this year for Mother's Day. It's kind of a pity the weather wasn't as nice as it was earlier this week, but at least it wasn't raining.

So I grilled some chicken outside and we hung out in the kitchen for a tasty lunch.
After lunch everyone too a quick break to check and interact with social media...
 Then it was on to gifts!
We also took a walk at the local park. Their dog Dayzee really enjoyed all of the new smells. We have a lot of different wildlife here so I'm sure she enjoys taking in all of the new smells.

It was a great visit and I enjoyed seeing everyone!

Sometimes the squirrels outside like to climb the screen...because they can.

Awhile back I watched the amusing Robin Thorsen guest host The Flog. In the video, Robin discusses, and drinks, an amusing amount of Stack Wine. So when I stumbled across the wine at the local grocery store, I had to get some.

The wine broken into four single serve glasses which equal the quantity of a bottle of wine. It's perfect for me, since a lot of the time I open a bottle and then can't finish it (tragedy, I know).

Anyway, I've been enjoying the wine so far. Plus, when I'm done, I'll have four adorable little glasses to use for something else. I'm sure I'll come up with a project or something.

The other day xd1936, tweeted about Ingress. I was aware of the game but I had no idea that it had launched and was actually playable. So I signed up for it, received an invite today, and spent my lunch hour messing around with it.

Ingress is an augmented reality game that uses google maps to layout various portals, XM (like PAC MAN's pellets), and I'm sure other things that I haven't figured out yet. The whole thing is played on your phone, tablet, or laptop. Basically anything that's mobile.

There are two factions and you choose which one you want to be a part of. Then you basically walk around collecting the little pellets (XM) attacking things (portals). It's kind of like a real-time tower defense game, using a real city and real buildings and statues (as portals). Of course, there's more that you can do in the game, but that's the basics gist of it.
Portals are landmarks like buildings and statutes. And they can be controlled by either faction. If they're not controlled by the faction you're in, you can "hack" the portal and gain items.

If you own the portal I assume you can upgrade it to reinforce it against attacks. When I was walking downtown I didn't run into a single portal that was controlled by the faction I chose, so I just walked around hacking stuff.

There's a chat window that also serves as an activity feed, so you can see what is going on all over the place in the game. People can also chat with each other. I haven't used it too much, but I did see stuff going on in Wisconsin and Chicago as well as the Detroit area.

You level up by doing things; collecting the pellets (XM), attacking things (portals), and what not. It's a really neat concept on a mobile platform. I can see this really being more engaging in a large city where there are a lot of players.

The whole thing reminds me a little bit of Majestic, which I never had an opportunity to check out. Of course, this isn't a real-time thriller, but they both layer a game on top of reality instead of a traditional game where a whole new world is presented to the player.

Anyway, since I work downtown I look forward to poking around with it some more.

I met my friend Shelly for dinner and drinks at a local tasty restaurant this evening. It's always good to catch up and see how things are going.

Finally we have arrived at that point where the weather is glorious each day at lunch.

Soon enough it's going to be sweltering, but for now it's wonderful.

I'm in my third week of an online Interactive Programming in Python class and having a lot of fun. I've watched several tutorials and talks on Python and worked on a few projects such as the Hue Weather Lamp, but I wanted something a little more structured and interactive to fill in some basic gaps.

So far the course is very amusing. The lectures are in good bite-size chunks that are informative and funny. Of course, the amount spent with this free online course is less than if I was taking the class back when I was in college, but it's free and a good pace for someone who works full-time.

Anyway, the third week project is to create a stopwatch with a game tucked into it. Rather than just printing out the stopwatch values, I thought I'd add an image of a stopwatch.

Awhile back I picked up a few packages of tofu because they were on sale. I've tried to cook with tofu on and off with little success. I've liked tofu most times I've eaten it at restaurants, but I've had little success replicating anything at home. Since I had the whole day before me, I decided to split up a package of cubed tofu I had and try two different recipes.

This time I pressed the tofu for a few hours instead of twenty minutes.

The first recipe I tried was Fast and Easy Tofu Lo-Mein. I've had a package of ramen noodles sitting in the back of the cabinet for awhile, so this seemed like an excellent opportunity to use it.

I followed the comments from the "most helpful critical review" that recommended adding spices and vegetables directly in with the noodles instead of using the seasoning packet.

Then I coated the tofu in cornstarch and sauteed it in some sesame seed oil. The whole thing came out pretty tasty!
The second recipe I tried was Baked Tofu Bites. As the name suggests, this involved baking instead of pan frying the tofu. Since the tofu was already cubed, I just tossed everything in to a bowl and marinated the tofu for around ten minutes.

Because the cubed tofu packet had smaller than the recommended cubes in the recipe, I ended up with pretty small bites. But they're very tasty. The combination of liquids looked a little gross to me at first, especially since I'm not a huge soy sauce fan, but everything mixed together was delicious. I certainly wish I'd made more of these little things. They'll make a great snack in my lunches over the next few days.

Today is Free Comic Book Day! That means heading out to the local comic book stores to see if I could get my hands on the Archaia Mouse Guard (and more) book in physical form. Last year it was an awesome hardcover book, and this year it's a normal floppy. After popping in at a couple of comic shops, we found the book I was looking for.

A lot of the comics you can get digitally at places like Comixology and those free comics that get handed out aren't free to the comic book stores, so I really just wanted to get what I was going to read and not everything in sight. Besides, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to read Sesame Street or Sponge Bob, free or not.

So hooray for another adorable Mouse Guard book and for all of the other free comics I read this afternoon on my tablet.

The weather is still warm and it's Friday. What better day is there to take a walk to the local park and enjoy dinner outdoors?

We squeezed in a quick walk before the dark clouds finished rolling in this evening. Lots of deer out, grazing at the local park.

Eighty degree weather on May 1st. Why not. At least it's sunny!