Welcome to 2016.

Here we are! We’ve made it another year. With the Presidential election coming up in the fall I’m sure it’s going to be a doozy, but my more immediate concern will be getting back into the rhythm of working as my vacation has come to an end and I return to the grind wheel this morning. After three weeks off I’m sure I’m going to have a ton of stuff to dig through. Not to mention there’s a big swap of company phones and a refresh of older PCs that are probably ready to go. Alas, my plans of hitting the lotto over vacation didn’t come to pass so I’ll have to go back, but at least it’s to a job I enjoy and where I seem to be appreciated. That’s a lot more than some folks can say.

Beyond that I didn’t have a lot to say other than Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable holiday season, whichever ones you were participating in. As for myself, I think this picture of Cuddles, the official SEB cat, sums up how my vacation went pretty well.

cuddlesnapping

Merry Christmas from all of us here at SEB.

We’ve made it to another Christmas. Whether you celebrate the season or not, here’s hoping you and yours are healthy, happy, and together.

In honor of the day, here is this year’s Lil’ Bub’s Most Magical Yule Log for you to run in the background while unwrapping your presents from Santa:

The day before the day before Christmas

Haven’t posted anything in awhile so I thought I should toss something up. I’ve been on vacation for the past week and a half which means I have a week and a half to go before going back to work. I’ve been taking the last three weeks of the year off since I started in my current position mainly because I can. It’s one of the few jobs I’ve had in my career that offered any amount of vacation time and being able to spend three weeks doing nothing in particular is a kind of bliss. The only problem with being on vacation is that I lose all track of what is going on in the world. I get out of the habit of reading blogs, I fall behind on my webcomics, I don’t share as much stuff on G+ or Facebook, and I blog even less often than I do when I’m working. I am, however, much further along in both Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Metal Gear Solid 5.

All of my Christmas shopping has been done for a couple of weeks now, but there was some concern that one of my gifts for my wife wouldn’t arrive in time. That one finally showed up yesterday and it’ll be wrapped and placed under the tree today.

christiansbelike

Lastly, my Christmas gift to myself — a new 16GB RAM kit for my desktop — arrived last Thursday… to my old address in Ann Arbor. I hadn’t purchased anything from Newegg in a while and, despite remembering to update my credit card info, I failed to remember to update my shipping address. I drove over there once I realized the mistake, but no one was home. Left my contact info and called the apartment office the next morning who also reached out to the tenant. Then didn’t hear much of anything for the whole weekend. Tried driving over again Monday afternoon and finally caught up with the fellow. He’d been out of town and his fiancee had been collecting his mail so I had to come back again on Tuesday to get the package. It made for a bit of a stressful weekend. I gave him a $10 gift card for Biggby Coffee as a thank you. Fortunately he likes Biggby coffee.

So that’s pretty much all I’ve been up to the past couple of weeks. Getting ready for Christmas, stressing over a mis-shipped package, and spending too much time playing video games. What about you guys? You all set for Christmas day?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksjesusI’m often asked around this time of year, what with me being an atheist and all, just who it is I’m thankful to on Thanksgiving. My answer is simple:

I’m thankful to my wife who not only puts up with me and loves me when I’m at my best, but takes care of me and still loves me when I’m at my worst.

I’m thankful to my daughter for turning out to be a wonderful person despite having me as a father and the rather unconventional childhood she had to go through to reach adulthood.

I’m thankful to my mother for all the things she’s ever done for me which are too numerous to count.

I’m thankful to my brother and sister for their love and support over the years even when they didn’t always agree with my choices.

I’m thankful to my in-laws for so wholly accepting me into the family some 14 years ago.

I’m thankful to my friends for their friendship. Whether it’s someone I’ve known since I was in grade school or someone online I’ve never actually met, but have been hanging with virtually for years.

I am solidly middle aged at this point and there’s plenty of things I thought I would have done by now that will likely never happen. I’m not anywhere near where I thought I’d be in terms of owning a home or the amount of money I’d be earning and we often live paycheck to paycheck. However, I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge and gas in the car and two kitties who are spoiled. I may not have everything I want, but I have the things I really need and I am grateful for that.

I don’t believe there is an all-powerful deity providing me with anything. I do know there are people who have made it possible for me to provide these things for myself. So I don’t thank an imaginary friend for the things my real friends and family are due credit for.

Thank you.

Happy Halloween 2015!

Boo!I’ve not posted in quite awhile so I thought I’d take a moment to drop a Happy Halloween on everyone. Here’s hoping you have a fun and safe spooky holiday.

I started the day watching The Lazarus Effect and laughing at how stupid it was. Tonight we’ll find out if we get any kids trick or treating at our new apartment. Most of the apartments I’ve lived in didn’t see much in the way of kids to hand out candy to, but we’ve got quite a few in the area so I’m optimistic we might see a decent number tonight. At least I hope so, because the last thing a diabetic needs is a lot of left-over Halloween candy.

Not sure when to expect kids as it doesn’t appear Canton sets specific hours, but I’m anticipating they’ll probably start around 6PM and last at least a couple of hours.

Happy New Year 2015!

It’s a brand spanking new year! A time for hope, optimism, and resolutions to be better people that we’ll break before the month is over. I stopped making new year resolutions long ago because I’m a terrible person and have little hope of ever maintaining them, but when I did try to make promises I knew I couldn’t keep I’d often resolve to have a higher opinion of my fellow man.

Then I’d go on Twitter and see tweets like this:

And my resolution would be broken instantly. You can’t have a worldwide population of 7,285,099,800 (as of two seconds ago) and not have a few folks out there who are, to put it politely, clueless about certain things like the age of the world. In case you thought David was an isolated case, well, nope:

There’s tons more of these tweets out there and it’s clear that many of them are meant to be jokes or are simply attempts at getting retweeted for the attention it’ll garner them. (Some folks will take whatever Twitter fame they can get no matter how stupid it makes them look.) The ones I posted above I couldn’t confirm for certain weren’t jokes, but there wasn’t anything to indicate that they were. Indubitably there are certainly some folks out there who are this clueless and the fact that it’s often difficult to tell the jokers from the serious ones makes the number of folks who really think this is true uncomfortably large for maintaining faith in mankind.

In short, my cynicism is pumped up yet again. There’s a part of me that hopes that all of these folks are just yanking our collective chain and no one really thinks the Earth is a mere 2015 years old, but given how common lazy thinking is I’m sure that there are some out there who do. On the bright side, it gives me something to blog about in the new year.

Hey, who the fuck keeps messing with my Christmas blocks?

merryshitscram

Whatever. Have a happy one anyway.

Still one of the best Christmas songs ever…

Checking in with the 2014 Christmas light shows.

It seems that every year the number of folks doing synchronized Christmas light shows on their homes grows. So much so that there are a number of television shows on the air this year such as the Great Christmas Light Fight.

In fact, one of our first videos tonight is from a family that was on that show. The music is the Christmas Can Can by Straight No Chaser and is an impressive use of the lights they’ve put up including a row of spotlights along the apex of their roof. They’ve got another video featuring a melody of Star Wars songs worth watching too:

Next we go to El Paso where we find another entrant on ABC’s show that won this year:

Let’s swing over to Trinidad for a light show that wasn’t on TV, but still deserves a mention for its use of quotes from various Christmas movies. Not sure why, but Dubstep seems to work well with these sorts of displays. Bonus points for the confused dog that wander through about half-way through the show:

The Delaney family may not have the most lights in their display, but they make good use of what they’ve got with a melody of recent hits and dubstep remixes:

It’s not Christmas until you’ve watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the Kremer Family in Minden, Nevada have put together an impressive display using a pixel tree and some projection mapping to honor that venerable animated special:

So many of these light shows seem to be in southern states or places with no snow to speak of. So it’s nice to find a family in a snowy area who are joining in on the fun. Christmas lights look best when they’re surrounded by real snow. Bonus points for the projection mapped Santa in one of the windows:

Let’s head out to Iowa and the obligatory light show using songs from Disney’s immensely popular Frozen:

One of the growing trends is to forego lights altogether in favor of doing full projection mapping on your home. This has become very popular for Halloween light shows, but not as much for Christmas so far. At least not outside of big productions by companies such as Macy’s in New York. Here’s one example I did find on a home if you can handle some more music from Frozen in addition to some Jesus torture video:

So how do you top that? By going bigger, of course. Which brings us to our final video this year. What it lacks in novel light patterns it makes up for in sheer size. This is what you get when you talk all your neighbors into letting you sync up their lights to music. A display so big you have to use a drone to film it:

You gotta admit, that’s damned impressive.

Guy with portable mistletoe gets loads of kisses.

You wouldn’t think this would work, but it appears to work amazingly well: