I think the cat had the most fun, getting into boxes and then laying under the tree, chewing on it.

Black Friday was never a thing growing up. Maybe it's because both of my parents had worked retails, or that there was never really any object that my parents wanted to fight crowds for. Whatever the reason, we never went out.

When I started to get older my dad started cooking a turkey on Black Friday. Mostly because when you travel to someone else's house, you don't really end up with leftovers. And my dad loves turkey leftovers. So having a second Thanksgiving, while it wasn't every year, started to become a thing.

Since my extended family doesn't do a large get together any more, my parents have stopped this tradition and they just cook a regular Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. And over the years I've taken a fair amount of turkey home with me, although I have on occasion actually cooked cranberries at home (because I love cranberries).

This year I decided to cook most of a thanksgiving meal at home on Black Friday. There are only two of us, so I cooked a turkey breast instead of a whole bird. I made way too much stuffing (and I didn't even add the sausage), well over a dozen dinner rolls. Plus cranberries and some vegetables.

I'll probably keep cooking a second Thanksgiving meal, trying different recipes each year.

Now to start making turkey soup, thanksgiving won tons, and all other types of leftover recipes.

We drove over to the east side of the state today to spend Thanksgiving with my parents. As usual, there was plenty of food for everyone. My dad loves turkey leftovers, so I wouldn't be surprised if they're intentionally cooking a slightly large turkey so he has delicious sandwiches for the next several days.

Anyway, we had a good time, and even got to talk to Jeff on the phone and see how his holiday was going.
Dayzee was happy most of the time, but she did get a little bummed out that more delicious table scraps didn't make their way into her food dish.

We both had a shortened day at work today, so I spent part of the afternoon tinkering with an arduino and a proximity sensor. I haven't tested it yet, but I should test the proximity sensor with the cat. The ultrasonic device I have doesn't work to well detecting his movements, no doubt because of his fur. I'm thinking this might work better.

Maybe I'll build a device that buzzes at him every time he jumps on the counter. I know he does it as soon as we leave for work, the stinker.

It's chilly outside. So I curled up with hot chocolate, a fake fire, and a cat's butt. Not a bad evening.

I will have to start remembering to bring my boots so my toes don't get so cold when I go out walking on my lunch break.

Chris really likes pecan pie, so I'm always trying to find ways to make a pecan-pie-like dessert without actually making the pie. I went a little crazy and I made three pans of pecan bars for Thanksgiving this year, although the two smaller ones on the side are really the same recipe.

On the left is a graham cracker chewy bar with a vanilla wafer base, while the one on the right is actually made with graham crackers. I made this recipe a few years ago and it does taste similar to pecan pie.

I also decided to try a new recipe (to me) called pecan pie bars.

Admittedly I made a lot of pecan-pie-like bars for four people, three of which aren't fans of pecan pie. But Chris enjoys them, so I know they'll get eaten.

Today marks the 3rd day of medication for the cat's asthma. So far he hasn't had any issues with the medication and he hasn't been coughing. Now, that could be from the weather turning colder or it could be from the medication. When the weather creeps back up into the 40s I'm hoping he doesn't start having problems again.

Since his asthma is mild, the vet suggested putting him on Cerenia first. It's for nausea in dogs (anti-emetic), but has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to treat asthma in cats.

While Leki is no fan of medication, he's taken to having medication shoved down his throat much better than some dogs I've done it to.

I've always had a soft spot for the Legend of Zelda series. Back in the 1980s when my brother and I received our first console (the NES of course!) Legend of Zelda was one of the games we played frequently. We were both pretty young so it was a little complicated for the two of us at the time.

My mother really liked it. She played the whole game, beating it before either of us ever did. And she was so enthralled with the game that she drew every screen on a sheet of continuous form paper. Every secret bush that needed to be burned, or rock that needed to be blasted with a bomb was drawn out.

With the help from our mother's drawings, we were able to advance further and further in the game. Mario was wonderful, but this was magical. There were so many puzzles and dungeons to explore!

So every time a new Zelda game comes out, I've made a point to try and play it. There have been two handheld games I've missed (which I will circle back to), but for the most part I've tried them all. I've not been a fan the more recent games, but I've still tried to trudge through them. Admittedly I quit pretty early on in Skyward Sword.

Anyway, the latest game is for the 3DS and it's a sequel to the SNES game, A Link to the Past (which was a really good successor to Legend of Zelda) called A Link Between Worlds. Since it takes a page from the older games, there are plenty of  top down camera angles, an open world to explore, and very little of the more recent trend to long introductions and game play tutorials.

So far the game has been wonderful. Being able to explore anywhere I want was always a big part of the early Zelda games, so that was the first thing I did. And I didn't have to sit through an hour of being told how to use a sword or my menu. I'm sure it will be a little jarring for younger players that are accustomed to play tutorials built into the plot, but I really appreciate not having to trudge through another one.

I know this is a lot to read through just to get to the part where I say I like the game. And I do like it. At this point the only thing I need Nintendo to do to really make things complete is to make a quality Metroid game. I'd even settle for the first person ones that Retro Studios did in the mid-2000s. Just something open, focuses on playing alone and exploring (lets not count Other M, shall we?).

The RFduino kickstarter I backed earlier this year arrived, and they're adorably tiny! Basically they're shrunk-down arduino and arduino shields, and bluetooth 4.0 enabled.
The actual arduino isn't much larger than a quarter, as you can see.

I look forward to getting these programmed and deployed in the house!

Nothing like a quiet corner in the library.

I've been really enjoying the Kobo Reader I bought earlier this year. It's lighter and more compact than the Kindle 2. But sometimes I run into an issue where I want to check out a library book or read something purchased from Amazon. And unfortunately, due to DRM, it's not always easy to get the book onto the Kobo. Even if you try to remove the DRM and convert the file, it isn't always usable. So sometimes I have to fall back and use the older Kindle 2.

It still works great, and to be honest the physical buttons for page turning are nicer than tapping a touchscreen. Even though I primarily use the Kobo during the workday, I'll still be very sad when this Kindle 2 finally dies.

Honestly, it's amazing how difficult they make it to try and read digital books. I'm still aghast at the fact that they have an artificial number of "digital loans" for an ebook. Really? I'm not entirely sure making it more difficult for people to read a book is actually working in the publishing industries favor.

I love the quiet that comes from being in a library. It's a great place to get away on lunch and read.

Awhile back a camera module came out for the Raspberry Pi. So this evening I set up the camera, which is housed in a nice little case Chris printed on the 3D printer.

Setup was pretty easy. The instructions on the Raspberry Pi page are simple. So after a quick software upgrade I was up and running.

As you can see, the video quality isn't bad for a tiny, cheap camera.
Video streaming from the Raspberry Pi to my Windows desktop was a breeze. I used the sleeping cat as a test subject again.
And the quality of the still image captures is pretty decent as well.

All in all I'm pretty impressed!

Half way through winter last year I went back to the physical therapist because my arms were bothering me so much. Of course it was because I had been raking and shoveling and being stubborn. I told myself I shouldn't do that again. So what did I do today?

I raked the front yard.

Ok, really I just made piles.Chris actually took care of the piles and raked the back yard, which is much larger. But I felt better for having at least helped with the yard work. Maybe if I could create a rake harness for the cat and train him to do the work, I'd still feel like I was helping. I wonder if he'd go for that. It would be good exercise for him.

Surprisingly, the tendinitis in my wrists and forearms haven't bothered me much at all lately. Despite playing games heavily last week and all the typing at work. But what has been hurting is my neck and shoulder. So much so that if I do much outside of the typing at work, I end up with pretty bad headaches. So I've been mostly reading in the evenings.

I did feel a little bit better today, so I squeezed in a little bit of gaming. It's hard to play a game at 20 minutes here, 15 minutes there when I'm used to hours long marathon, but I'll take what I can get. Plus, who can stay away from such a cute little pokemon?

With the weather turning cooler I've been hanging out in the Grand Rapids Public Library on lunch to read.

And the cat is fascinated.

Chris liked the lamp so much he went out and bought another one. I'm slowly being surrounded by retro-style lamps.

Today is a little less sunny than I'd like.

Chris was on the hunt this afternoon for a lamp for the office. But not just any lamp. A lamp that fits in with the 60s style of our house.

I am not a fan of this lamp.

There are a lot of leaves on the ground and not all of them have dropped yet.

Its a lazy Friday, and that's ok.

Sunny skies today, which is a nice change from the recent rain.

Under the right circumstances, even an orange cat can blend in with his surroundings.

Leki had a follow up vet appointment today. Originally we'd brought him in for a yearly checkup and about a cough he's been having. After that appointment we did some things around the house, changed where he had access and his cough disappeared for several weeks.

And then it came back.

So we brought him in for the recommended chest x-rays and the vet could see that there was some inflammation in his lungs.

Basically he has a mild form of feline asthma.

The vet suggested a pretty conservative treatment plan, especially since he just recently started having issues this summer and she thinks its possible that his issues will go away once everything starts freezing for the winter.

So far now we're working on weight loss (which should help his asthma) and seeing how it goes for the next few weeks until the ground freezes. If he still continues to have issues we'll start him in on medication.

I headed over to the Grand Rapids Public Library on lunch today. The park nearby (Veterans Memorial Park) was pretty peaceful with all of the colorful leaves swirling around.

Well, I guess I didn't hold out from getting the latest Pokemon game for very long. It came out mid-October and I decided to use a coupon and see what all the fuss was about. I'd heard there were a fair number of changes since the last game (Black/White) which I never picked up.

The last and only other Pokemon game I played was Soul Silver a few years ago. Pokemon really hit big in the 90s and I was just a few years older than the target audience for the games, cartoons, and toys. And honestly, the concept never appealed to me.

So fast forward like twenty years and here I am spending my Sunday playing the latest game. And I like it.

I don't know if my tastes are evolving or if I'm just getting desperate for decent video games. Either way, I'm having a fun time with Pokemon X.

I spent a lot of the afternoon with this as my view. It didn't matter if I was reading a book, trying to get something done on the computer, or playing a game. It was just this. Orange fur. Everywhere I turned.

They moved fast on those decorations.