2018 Travel is not starting out well

Well 2018 travel is so far a bust. I thought this year would be good since I have status and stuff but turns out that isn’t the case at all. I’m trapped here in NJ until Saturday essentially because of a huge ass snow storm that came out of nowhere essentially. There isn’t really that much snow on the ground so its not like there’s over a foot of snow that needs digging. There weren’t any flights leaving Newark so I’m going to have to drive all the way down to Philadelphia tomorrow evening so I can catch a Saturday morning flight. What weakness!!!

Now I’m here back in the Embassy Suites in NJ eating Wendy’s (because Jersey has terrible eating options and I’m not in the mood to drive far for better food) typing up this blog post since I don’t have a lot of other things to do other than watching YouTube or surfing the internet. I’m not looking forward to the drive tomorrow after work and even less of staying near the airport which is so close but my flight is so far away in terms of time. If my luck holds I might not be coming to Jersey for much longer and instead will be going to California again which I don’t mind. At least its not nearly as cold and I will rake in the miles since I’m American Airlines platinum pro. I’m not going to get free upgrades but getting 80% bonus miles is definitely a huge plus.

I’m hoping the drive tomorrow is uneventful. At least my rental car has CarPlay and a nice powerful engine to speed down I-95. Here’s hoping my flight on Saturday isn’t all messed up.

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First blog post of 2018!

Just to make sure that I don’t miss the month of January for my blog, I’m writing this now on the very first day of the new year. Last year I unwittingly missed an entire month of not writing anything which was unusual for me. I at least write ONE thing a month and its far from my goal of 100 posts a year but there has not been anything interesting to write about lately.

Let see, there will be no New Years resolutions again this time around, why make promises to myself that I have no intention of keeping? It makes life less stressful that I’m not meeting some personal goal, if I feel strongly about something I’ll end up doing it eventually anyway. There are some good vacations that the family has already planned for 2018 so I have at least that to look forward to. It’s just counting the days between vacations that will be difficult since it will be filled with a pesky thing called work that I can’t wait to retire from. No matter how many blogs or articles I read that say “you should work in retirement because you’ll get bored” are full of bullshit because the article is obviously are written by people that are not retired. The only real reason to work in retirement would be for money and insurance. And even then, I’d try and find a way to avoid work at all costs, why do I want to work when I’m old?

Tomorrow starts another short week of work, the bag is packed, the flight and hotel are checked in, and I’m definitely not looking forward to going to New Jersey of all places on this planet. Anyway, thats enough ranting for the first of the year, time to enjoy the rest of the day with my family ūüôā

First dog bath complete!

I should have taken a picture of Melody as we gave her a bath but today was the first time we ever gave her a bath since we got her back in late November.  The breeder and most websites say to bathe your pooch once a month and this is about the one month mark so she got a bath.  All the fluffiness was gone when we put water on her and we used some shampoo to get her clean but man she still smelled like wet dog after the whole ordeal was done.

After some drying and brushing, she’s just as fluffy and doesn’t smell like wet dog but the house did. ¬†Some mopping was required but at least the dog is clean. ¬†Next step is the hair cut for the eyes since it looks like its getting a bit long. ¬†I’m going to let a professional groomer do that, I don’t want to be anywhere close to her eyes with something sharp, knowing me I’ll end up blinding my dog.

Echo Dot – Not too shabby

For Christmas, my sister in law got me an Amazon Echo Dot which is my first foray into the voice assistant world. ¬†I decided to ask for the Echo Dot since it was tied to a lot of the services that I already use with Amazon (mainly Prime). ¬†For the past few days I’ve been able to hook it up to Pandora but thats about it since I don’t use Spotify or iHeartRadio. ¬†Using Prime Music has been pretty neat to. ¬†I keep the speaker in the great room downstairs since I have to spend a lot of time down here with the dog and I sometimes let the Echo Dot play music while I’m away.

As a voice assistant its not bad, its almost the same thing as asking Siri for stuff but I don’t have to have my phone close by to activate it. ¬†I’ve asked it stuff like the weather, stocks, and of course to play music. ¬†Beyond that, I haven’t done much else with it. ¬†I think I’m going to primarily use it for playing music in the living room. ¬†My daughter already knows how to interact with the Echo Dot by driving us crazy by saying “Alexa, play frosty!” which then starts the Echo Dot playing Frosty the Snowman. ¬†I don’t know how Alexa knows to play Frosty the Snowman by just hearing the word Frosty but it seems to like doing it.

I have yet to hook it up to my Bluetooth speaker thats sitting in my kitchen but I’m not sure that I’m going to do that. ¬†I might keep that one just tied to my iPhone so that music can be playing in the great room and then separate music playing in the kitchen while I’m watching dishes. Not everyone appreciates my 90’s gangsta rap music or my Hawaiian radio channel. ¬†Is this thing necessary or a life changer? ¬†Of course not, its just another toy for me to play with until I get more home automation in, but thats not likely to occur any time soon. ¬†As a voice assistant toy, its pretty fun to use. ¬†If no one uses it down here, maybe I’ll let my daughter use it in her room so she can ask it random questions about the world like she does with Siri. ¬†The difference being is there is no screen and she likes asking for pictures on the internet.

Twas the weekend before Christmas….

And all throughout my town, holy crap there were a lot of cars jamming up Pines Blvd with crazy last minute shoppers! ¬†Yeah I’ll admit I’m no poet but there seemed to be an extra amount of people trolling the shopping malls and regular strip malls with people trying to get that last minute gift for their loved one before Monday. ¬†I decided to brave the roads in my trusty minivan to run some errands (non-Christmas ones) to get food and get my dog checked out at the vet.

This was one of those rare times that Waze told me not to take the Main Street home and go around using a side street that has a lower speed limit. ¬†Even though the posted speed limit is lower, that didn’t really slow me down but the lack of cars was definitely wonderful on my way home. ¬†Less cars means less road rage and less morons that I have to deal with. ¬†The Mrs. and I finished our Christmas shopping a while ago and most of it was done online anyway so for us it was like Christmas all the time with packages arriving at our door step. ¬†The packages were gifts for others so we didn’t get to keep them.

I saw a crazy amount of people trying to get into Walmart, there must have been some awesome last minute deals there but I don’t want to wait in the checkout line at a Walmart if its busy, that would take up 30 minutes alone! The neighborhood is all lit up and all the parking spaces are taken (my car isn’t probably moving from its spot until January 5th). ¬†I didn’t put up any outside lights, I was a little lazy this year and I didn’t have a desire to try and power wash the balcony either. ¬†Its nice enough inside though, the tree is up, the stockings are hung, I just need a chimney for old St. Nick to come down and give me a winning lottery ticket or something so I can stop working.

I was thinking that maybe tomorrow it might be ok to go out on my motorcycle but since its a Sunday before Christmas the roads are going to be jam packed with nut jobs. ¬†I can’t wait until self driving cars is a reality and most of my town uses them, maybe traffic will flow at around the speed limit, I’ve noticed that holiday shoppers are some of the SLOWEST drivers on the planet. ¬†Although that begs the question, what do motorcycle riders like myself do in a world where everything else drives itself. ¬†Having my motorcycle take me on its own from here to there by itself kind of takes the fun out of it.

I’m staying in as much as I can tonight and tomorrow, I want to be nice and calm during Christmas instead of filled with road rage ūüôā

My motorcycle is an expensive traffic cone

The design of my townhouse community is unfortunately flawed by over crowding and a general lack of parking.¬† When the original builder, WestBrook Homes, designed the community, they assumed that there would only be 2 cars per townhouse and that those with garages would at least park 1 car in the garage.¬† Man how wrong they were.¬† It is a constant struggle to find parking on the street.¬† I personally have to park on the street because I already have a car in the garage and my motorcycle is parked in there too.¬† There is also the issue that I put in new shelving which would prevent me from parking my car in the garage now.¬† Truthfully its the van’s fault for being so damn wide.¬† Even with no shelving I still don’t think my car would be able to fit in the garage.¬† The crash of 2008 killed all the assumptions the original designers had.¬† Most of the townhouses have multiple generations in them and they bring with them more than 2 cars per townhouse which makes parking a real nightmare.¬† I think parking is one of the most contentious things in my community with people constantly trolling the streets looking for a place to park or not even going out so they don’t lose their parking space.¬† Kinda sad.

Anyway, on to this evening!¬† On weekends I normally leave my car where it is, left alone in its parking space so that I can see it from my home and also so its ready for me to use to get to the airport.¬† Tonight the wife and I had different events to go to, I had to get a new iPhone from Apple and she had to go to dinner with some friends of ours.¬† That meant that I had to use my own car and potentially lose my parking space!¬† However since it wasn’t raining tonight, the wife suggested that I move my motorcycle into my parking space.¬† I’ve done that before on occassion but I don’t like to do it, I have to drag the motorcycle out of the garage, then move my car, then the bike into the space and then do the reverse to get my space back for my car.

Using my motorcycle to save my parking space makes it a really expensive traffic cone.¬† I actually saw someone in my community use a traffic cone to save their parking spot.¬† I was really tempted to¬† just kick it away or something but who knows who has cameras up on their townhomes these days.¬† They might have spotted me doing it.¬† Either way, pretty smart but also a real dick move.¬† Technically when I did it, I had a legit vehicle in the space which was my motorcycle.¬† I’ve seen other people on my street with motorcycles do it so I didn’t really feel bad myself.¬† Doing it at night I think is fine, that way my bike seat won’t get so hot when I have to move it later.¬† That and I’m trying to preserve the paint color so it doesn’t fade in the sunlight.¬† I think thats part of the reason why so many people have white cars, not only does it not attract heat there isn’t any color to fade.

I think the holidays will see some craziness around parking.¬† That means my car isn’t moving or my motorcycle will once again become a traffic cone.¬† They might suspend the double parking rules or the ability to park on the street where the garage are but I doubt it.¬† I know the tow truck company will be happy.¬† The people in my community seem to enjoy calling it so they can see illegally parked cars towed away.

You suck iTunes!

Now that that is out of the way, I’ll tell you why. ¬†iTunes is used for a ton of shit ¬†by Apple, by far the only thing I really want to use it for is to backup and restore iDevices that I own. ¬†The process itself is too time consuming, it literally takes hours for me to do a backup of my iPhone and it shouldn’t be that way. ¬†Tonight I’m trying to do a restore and it just keeps on telling me that my back is corrupt or not compatible. ¬†I mean seriously, wtf! ¬†Thats all the info I get? ¬†No other error code like a Windows Blue Screen of Death or something?

I’m going from an iPhone 7 to an iPhone 8 and from 128GB to 256GB. ¬†There is more than enough space on this sucker to hold all the previous data I had and most of the time thats the problem. ¬†I’ve tried all the tried and true solutions as well, I’ve restarted the computer, restarted the phone, restored the phone as a new iPhone, I’m even chatting with Apple Support as I write this blog post to see if there is something they can help me with to get my data back. ¬†Truth be told, all my data is somewhere in the cloud but its setting all that shit up again that pisses me off the most.

I literally have almost 200 apps on the phone and they’re all configured a certain way. ¬†There is also all the health data thats been collected from my iPhone 6 and 7 that I need to recover, and all the settings (although most of that can come through differently but its still a pain in my ass. ¬†The restore process itself could be way better too. ¬†There is still too much intervention needed by the user in order to get the phone up and running again. ¬†I know there are things like Touch ID, Apple Wallet, Location and Privacy BS that need to be asked but that can be asked AFTER the phone is up and running in my opinion. ¬†Just get the thing going and then have something else for a more detailed setup wizard after a restore. ¬†The restore should skip these steps and remember what was already on the phone rather than asking these questions again and again.

I hope that the backup that I chose to restore from is complete, if it isn’t and I deleted the wrong backup I’m going to be really pissed tonight. ¬†I was able to finally get the restore going on the phone, I had to update to the public beta and then presto it finally started going. ¬†Thats so weird that the operating systems kinda have to match to do a restore. ¬†I think Apple really needs to re-think iTunes and how to make this entire process better. ¬†It still reeks of the original iTunes that I used back in the 90’s with my iPod. ¬†The graphics has changed to go with the whole design language that Apple uses but the overall nuts and bolts haven’t really changed all that much and the interface still sucks.

There should be something dedicated just for iOS backup and restore and like I’ve stated in past blog posts, iCloud backups should be free if you have a device and the amount of data the device holds should be what you get for free for every device and not just the account. ¬†The largest account that you can pay for presently is 2TB for $9.99 a month. ¬†Truthfully thats too rich for my blood but Apple won’t let you backup anywhere else except for your MacBook through iTunes or through ¬†iCloud. ¬†Oh and that iCloud backup doesn’t have all your apps and shit, just your data. ¬†How freaking horrible is that?

OK rant over, this thing is going to have to run overnight and then I’ll have to get up early and do another 2 hours worth of configuration most likely before I go to church.