No More Cable TV


This past Tuesday I did something I've been threatening to do for years: I turned off my cable tv.

Over the past few years I've watched less and less tv. Most series programs I watch I buy on DVD when they're released since I like watching shows at my leisure and without commercial interruption. While recuperating from surgery I've spent more time than usual watching tv. In that I found that I would watch:

To be honest, except for the wrestling shows I've been hooked on all my life, I don't really like the other shows. They're interesting enough to stop on when I'm flipping channels, but I don't really care about them.

I've gone back to reading more, especially fiction. I used to read a lot but over the past decade my reading has mostly dwindled to reading comics/graphic novels during a bathroom break. I might read a book here and there, but nothing would really stick with me. Over the past few months I've read a couple of books that I really enjoy: Ready Player One, Evil Genius, and Reamde were all fun to read. So with that, I've decided that instead of absently flipping channels I'll just plop down and read for a bit.

I'm also mad at Charter, my cable company. And maybe all cable companies, but Charter is the only one that will service my house. They tend to switch around the channels and take something away I watch (Travel Channel went away from whatever tier I subscribed to 2 months ago) and then go up and their prices although when I bought in on whatever bundle I have it was for a specific price. Pay more for less. I still have their internet service (again, the only internet provider I can get at my house), and I'm sure the price will fluctuate, but if my internet service is interrupted I'll call and bitch hard and loud since at that time I'll be paying them for providing me absolutely nothing, and I didn't sign up for that plan.

So now I have no tv. Unless I go buy an antenna I won't even have local tv. And that's ok. Back in the trailer park days I remember when cable had finally been run to the park. Everybody was excited. No more snowy local channels. The best part for me was channel 17 out of Atlanta and watching Georgial Championship Wrestling. Except for my freshman year at Birmingham-Southern, I've had cable/satellite tv ever since. I wonder how different this will end up feeling?

At least I can still watch wrestling at Matt's!


Zombie Mall - Clock is Ticking


I think I've mentioned before that I've had an idea for a zombie boardgame set inside a mall. Yes, I know it's not an original idea. It's not even an original boardgame idea. But I have some play mechanics in mind that I think would make for a fun game.

I've had rules ideas in my head for a couple of months. In my list of getting things done, the game made the list. Thanks to Jer, I know have my first deadline. Jer leaves for a Scuba trip on Wednesday. My task is to have a playtest-able version of the game ready by the time he gets back (which I think is in a week, or a week and a half). Not knowing exactly when he gets back helps to keep me from pushing the work off too far.

The playtest version won't be pretty to look at. I originally envisioned a 3D, cardstock mall with painted zombie miniatures roaming around. Right now I think I'll be lucky to have a printed map that has individual stores and colored chits for the zombies. But that's ok, this is testing. All of this will be thrown away afterwards because my ideas aren't as perfect and fleshed out as I think they are.

I don't have time for blog typing, I have zombie killing rules to whip up!

zombie mall

$12 I'm keeping!


A couple of weeks ago I ordered from Amazon 3 monitor desk brackets so I could maximize some room on my computer desk. I ordered 3 because I was, at the time, trying to set up my old graphics card & monitor from the computer that's been sitting in a closet for 3 years as my 3rd display. Sure, 2 monitors is enough for anybody, but if I've got a 3rd why not use it?

I should have waited to place the order for the brackets until after I got the 3rd monitor working. It turns out that the old video card isn't compatible with my current video card, i.e. unless I want to buy another comparable video card, I'm only going to have 2 monitors. Ah well, lesson learned. I could have used 2 of the brackets and still cleared up some desk space, but the whole monitor fiasco took the wind from my sails. I logged into Amazon to process my return of all 3 brackets. Since there was no defective product involved, just that I no longer wanted it, it would cost an estimated $12 to ship the brackets back. Once again, lesson learned. I printed off everything, boxed it up in the same box the brackets were shipped in, and dropped the box of for return at my local UPS store.

Today I received an email from Amazon with the subject Undeliverable shipment received for Order XXX-XXXX telling me that A shipment from your order (#XXX-XXXX) for the following item(s) has been returned as undeliverable. It then listed the 3 brackets. From the email, it looked like they were telling me that they had tried to deliver the package, but it was returned to Amazon instead.

Roughly 2 hours later I received another email from Amazon, this time telling me that my refund has been processed on my order of the 3 brackets. I usually get an email like this when I return something. The email listed the price of the refund, which happened to be the purchase price of the brackets. They didn't charge me the $12 return shipping fee.

I'm going to chalk this one up to me getting lucky for once. Maybe my weekly orders from Amazon garner me 1 free return shipping fee?


Return to Hobbies, Part 1


While convalescing for the past 6 weeks, I originally had grandiose dreams of what all I could get done. Little did I realize how much I would have to lay around partnered with how little desire I would have to do anything but lay around. But times are a'changing.

I've had a hobby/things-to-do list for a while. It helps me stay organized both with the things I want to do and with my time. Over the past few days I've been revisiting my list. Actually I trashed the old list and started a new one. Right now the list isn't in a scheduling time mode, but instead trying to figure out what all I'm actually trying to do.

Case in point: Over the past year I've enjoyed painting gaming miniatures more for fun than for any particular game. Along the way I've started to lean more towards zombie/horror figures since I've seen times where they could come in handy. Part of the fun of any hobby is getting the supplies, and painting is chock full of supplies. Besides the obvious of paint and brushes, there are all kinds of little tidbits that make the process easier or better. I've gotten 95% of the supplies I can think of, so I'm ready to paint.

But what to paint? As is my way, I've amassed a lot of figures to paint. Just last week I ordered a batch that had been sitting in my Cool Stuff Inc Wish List, using "Hey, I'm feeling better" as an excuse. Right now I've got 4 figures in various state of paint that I last touched 2 months ago. Why do I need more? How much more do I actually have?

That question prompted me to count for my list. If I'm going to schedule time to paint, I need to know what I have and how long it might take. So after gathering up the figures from the various spots I was storing them, I made a list of what all I have to paint. 2 big groups of figures are from Dust Tactics and Starship Troopers, with the latter being out of production. I left these out of the count because I'm saving these for when my painting skills have peaked. When my count was done, it included 3 batches of boxed zombie hordes (which accounts for 84 figures) and some Colonial Space Marines from a start up (which counts as another 25). Even with that 109 of generic, mix-n-match figures, I still have another 85 loose figures for a total of 194.

194 is a lot of figures to paint. I had no idea I had that many.

Now to properly come up with a plan and timeframe to paint these little bastards. And pics, I need lots of pics. Not enough pics on the blog lately.

gaming miniatures hobbies

Back to the workforce - marginally.


In June I worked 5 hours. So far in July, I have worked 3½

Today was my first "doctor allowed" day back to work since coming down with my post-surgical infection 2 weeks ago. My goal was to take it easy and work half a day. I'm going to round up and say I actually made it half a day.

It's weird how fast I will suddenly feel fatigued, especially given that all I'm doing is sitting in front of a computer or sitting and talking to someone. Luckily I can feel it coming and manage to not overdo it. Maybe I'm paranoid about overdoing it? When I got home from my 3½ hours of work, the first thing I did was take a nap for almost an hour. After Gina came by and changed my bandages, I ate lunch and then proceeded to take another nap, this time for 2½ hours.

3½ hours of work. 3½ hours of nap. I'll have to see if this ratio continues.


Blog Archive

As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).

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