Hobby Break For Movie Time


I'm taking a little bit of a hobby break. After wrapping up the gas station, and it taking as long as it did, I just haven't had the gumption to finish up, well, anything. I could force it, but a hobby is supposed to be something for fun, not because I have to.

I've been catching up on watching TV, which for me is Netflix and Amazon Prime. The great thing here is that I no longer feel guilty when I start to watch something and don't finish, after deciding I don't like it. On the other hand, I'm more likely to watch something I'm iffy about in case I like it. After wrapping up season 5 of Agents of SHIELD, I was in the mood to watch some movies. While this may not make sense to common folk, there are times I want to watch something that's a story encapsulated within 2 hours, and other time I'd prefer the serialized adventures of a TV show to develop characters and story. Also, there's a fresh batch of DC and Marvel shows on Netflix (7 shows, I think) to watch, and I while I don't binge I like to keep a steady trend of watching so I don't forget what's going on. I've taken breaks from Game of Thrones and Walking Dead to where I don't know if I could remember what's going on or who's doing what at the point I left off without going back and re-watching more than I really want to.

So with that, here's some of what I've seen recently.

I'm not just vegging out in front of the TV. Hard to tell with that list, I know. I'm reading Crucial Conversations in an effort to better myself while not biting the heads off people I think are trying to sass me. It's a good book, but I'm rueing my slow reading speed on getting through the 240 pages because I can really use this stuff at work!

This weekend also sees Dr Blondie turn 50. The first of my "school friends" to hit 50. I have to push down urges to give her hard time about her elderly status. Mainly because it's my turn in March.

movies/tv/dvd random

Mandatory Pic-less Random Update: The NAS Chronicles


After the picture-fest of the last post of the Walking Dead game, I feel obligated to balance it out with a non-gaming photo-free post. So with that...

Stupid Netgear NAS enclosures!

In 2009, I bought a 4 bay NAS to use random hard drives I just couldn't find myself willing to part with. I set up whichever RAID level maximizes disk space and enjoyed the thrills of having too much disk space. 2½ years later the enclosure died, and I learned that the RAID striping used was somehow proprietary to where only another ReadyGear NAS would read the drives I had RAIDed. Like everybody else, I don't back anything up. So I got 4-bay enclosure by the same company. Once I got the drives accessible again, I set up the NAS to RAID things differently. The 1st 2 drives were mirrored with stuff that's just a pin to track down again but seldom used, the next 2 drives were mirrored with important, day-to-day stuff. Last year I moved to laptop(s) only at home, so having networked drives for the important stuff was actually kind of handy. Plus, they're mirrored! If 1 drive goes bad I can always stick in another. Right?

Last week, during tornadic activity where I got a little rain, there was enough of a brownout to flip the house GFI circuits. In a coincidence, RAID-1 drive #2 (with the unimportant, just hard to track down again data), was flashing a warning. Looks like I have a drive going bad. I'll order a replacement as it is unimportant. Being trained in the ways of PCs since the 90's (fine, 80's), I decided to reboot the NAS just in case that would magically fix it - maybe the brownout just skewed a sensor setting. Reboot away! After reboot, I found that my problem of 1 bad drive of unimportant data...

... had just gotten a lot worse. Now the 2, extremely important, mirror RAIDed drives (because what are the chances 2 drives will go bad) were showing up as dead.

Well. Shit.

I removed the drives from the NAS and rebooted it again. I felt a little better (just stay with me) since after reboot the NAS system was still reporting 3 bad drives, yet only 1 drive was plugged in. Odds are good my data was still in there. With my 1 (unimportant) drive still recognized, I started transferring the data off to one of the bajillion USB hard drives I've got laying around. What followed for the next 3 hours was trying, very unsuccessfully, to get data off the other drives without using the NAS. Things I learned include, but are not limited to:

That last bullet was Plan D, or whatever next-to-the-last plan letter I needed. Once the unimportant drive was copied off, I was going to try switching an important disk to the 1 recognized functioning bay. The plan after that would be to order another ReadyGear NAS from Amazon, copy my crap off, and then return it and never buy anything with "Ready"Anything in the name. Luckily, the plan of using the 1 working bay worked. Over the course of 2 days, data got copied off. Right now, I have a NAS with 1 functioning bay, 9 hard drives of 1.5-2.0 TB (that's a story for another time), and a USB hard drive cradle sitting in a box "in case I need any of it". All of the important data is spread among 3 USB hard drive + my most used laptop.

I still have a NAS drive. I got a Seagate drive (which they no longer sell the 8TB version I picked up) 2 years ago. I was using this to store media files. Files I don't really access that often. Of the important files that were rescued, a handful truly are important but only updated every once in a while (budget files, tax stuff, etc). While Googling "how to get data off a RAID disk on Windows" I came across some pretty good instructions for backing up modified files on Windows. Every other time I've made Windows backups I could never get the file to restore. After my adventure over the past week, I think it's time to try again. If I use a NAS to store the backup, and the backup can be restored, that should cover my Important Files scenario. Hopefully.

I like the "here's what I painted" posts better. Keeps my blood pressure from racing.

computers hate me random

Old School <> Streaming


Back in the days when tv stations had numbers, tvs had knobs, and nothing could be watched on demand, the local Fox station (which was and may still be channel 54) would theme a block of movies on Saturday/Sunday afternoons if there were no weekend sporting events going on. A batch of 3 action or sci-fi movies was common. They were never the best movies, but if it weren't for watching during the weekend I may never have learned I actually liked the Robert Urich space epic Ice Pirates.

As most know I have plenty of movies taking up shelf space. I've got more than a handful purchased since Black Friday that I've not yet watched. My whole reason for buying movies has always been "when I'm in the mood to watch (whatever movie) I don't want to bother with going out and renting it, I want to just pick it up, put it in the player, and start watching." My penchant for buying physical discs doesn't hold as much merit these days since it's admittedly easier to just click a button to stream said movie, but a habit started in 1989 is hard to break. The supplementary reason for buying movies instead of renting them is that I will often watch a movie more than once. Back in the video rental days, if I watched a movie 3 times it was more cost effective to buy it than rent it. These days I've been training myself to wait for a good sale on a movie than rushing out and buying when it's initially released.

Enough of that rambling tangent. I still like movies I've seen plenty of times. Part of me misses the days of turning on channel 54 and finding "Hey, these are some good movies they've decided to show today". To the chagrin of my old boss when I was working at the video store, I would often leave the tv on 54 on Sunday afternoon that play movies to tempt people to rent - but it still worked, people would rent what they saw playing on broadcast tv anyway. The other day Spaceballs popped into my head for some unknown reason. Well that would be a fine movie to watch. Spaceballs was not present in my movie collection. I could stream it for free on Hulu. I could rent it for $3 on Amazon, or buy the digital version for $10. Instead of any of that, I bought the disc for $10 and had to wait for it to be delivered. Saturday, sandwiched between Wonder Woman and Spiderman: Homecoming, I watched Spaceballs. While not one of those channel 54 weekend movie blocks, it was still a good batch of movies to watch together.

Next weekend it may be time to revisit Ice Pirates.

movies/tv/dvd random



Like most years, I try to save up some of my DVD shopping for Black Friday sales.  If it's not a movie I'm dying to see right when it's released on DVD, starting around September I push these to my "wait for Black Friday" wishlist.  There were a handfull on that list that I ended up buying 3 weeks ago.  Target was running a pretty good sale on most of what I was wanting, and I talked myself into "is it worth a few extra bucks to not stand in line and put up with crowds?" so that I thought I was going to indeed miss those crowds.

Like normal, come Thanksgiving & Black Friday there was price matching galore online.  I could have picked up that handfull of early-purchased movies for a lot less had I waited and bougth them online (have to remember that for next year).  There were sales on other movies that were on my long term "wait until it goes on sale" list, so I racked up on them, too.

The one movie I had been waiting for a really good deal was Guardians of the Galaxy 2.  Disney movies have an added $3 MSRP premium these days, putting the sale price in the $20-$23 range VS the $15 I was hoping to get it for.  The Target ad had advertised $15, but that was for in store/doorbusting.  I was on the lookout for an online match.  Amazon was listing it on Thanksgiving for $23.  Later in the day it dipped to $18.  Wal-Mart had it listed for $18.  If I entered my zip code to find out about in-store pickup, there was a listed price for $9.96 in-store only.  I guess this was their in-store/doorbusting price?  I couldn't add it to my cart for in store pickup for that amount.

If my hope was to avoid crowds whan I made that first Target purchase 3 weeks earlier, I really didn't want to deal with Wal-Mart Black Friday crowds.  Maybe there would be online price matching later?

Thursday I went to my cousin's in Killen for the familial Thanksgivign feast.  On the way back home, around 8PM, I neared the Athens Wal-Mart.  It'd been 2 hours since the doorbusting started.  I wonder if the craziness had died down?  Unlike other stores, Wal-Mart is always open and didn't have to bother with funnelling people in when the doors open.  I spied the parking lot as I neared to see it wasn't packed.  Oh hell, I'd give it a chance.  I parked and went in through the garden center.  There were 3 people checking out.  Not crazy at all.  

Making my way to the back of the store to find the DVD I was after was another story.  Aisles are not spaced for multiple people with buggies to stop and see what's on sale up there, down there, and over there.  Like a ninja I made my way to the back!  Ok, like an old man without a buggy I made my way to the back.  I found an ample stack of Guardians of the Galaxy 2.  I made my way to a barcode scanner and sure enough, it was a $9.96 blu-ray!  I went back to the garden center to checkout and became #3 in line.  10 minutes later I was checked out and on my way home.

If I ever have to go Black Friday shopping at Wal-Mart, I know the right time to do it.  And not having a buggy makes life easier.  That actually sounds like a horrible way to Black Friday shop at Wal-Mart.  But if you're after 1 precise thing, then THAT'S the way to go!


What Kind Of Blog


I haven't said anything in about a month it seems.  Mosts of my posts these days are about boardgame prep - painting minis, scenery, etc.  Sure, I do other things, but not enough of anything of interest worth writing about.  Maybe I should just dedicate/convert the blog section to be dedicated to boardgame prep?  Most of what I read for fun these days is dedicated to that.  Maybe I'll ponder that until the next post here.  Or another month passes?


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