12 to Midnight, Family and Friends, Movies and TV

I’m back–didja miss me?

03.19.07 | 1 Comment

As some of you know, my day job (when I’m not slaving away with 12 to Midnight) is at a university. Last week was Spring Break, so I stayed home with Tadpoles 1 & 2 while Mrs. Flametoad went to work at her real-world job where concepts like Spring Break are mere fantasies. Watching (and playing with) two tadpoles doesn’t leave much time for surfing the web, and what time I did have on the computer was spent working on our new online store. This means that I fell far behind on my blog reading. I caught up pretty quickly on the ones in Google’s rss reader, but I’m 280 posts behind in LiveJournal. If you LJ’ers posted something last week you think I should read, by all means please point it out.

I’m also a bit overwhelmed by all the things I could write about How I Spent My Spring Break. Tadpole 2 is this* close to walking. I went to a surprise birthday party for someone in Houston the weekend before last. He’s got a great girlfriend with an awesome bunch of kids. Fun was had. Midweek I took the kids on a trip to the local museum of natural history, and I think this is probably where we’ll have Tadpole 1’s birthday this year. He has a summer birthday, so the prospect of air conditioning is quite tempting. Oh, and the prospect of the kids learning something during a birthday party is a nice fringe benefit, too. They have live reptiles like snakes, turtles, and an iguana, so it should be lots of fun. Saturday we went to a WWII battle reenactment. Living here in the South, I’m used to the idea of civil war reenactments (even though Texas didn’t see much action, comparatively, and doesn’t hold many such events. We tend to focus more on reenactments involving the Texas Revolution. Anyway, this was quite cool. People were dressed from helmet to boot in authentic reproductions and several restored jeeps, tanks, and other combat machinery took part in a small-scale skirmish. Most of the machinery was in pristine, off the assembly line, condition. The tanks and machine guns actually fired, albeit blanks. When one of those tanks fired, you could feel the shockwave from the boom pass right through your body. Pretty cool stuff.

I also worked most of my way through the first season of Supernatural, thanks to Neal5x5, who loaned me the DVD set. I’m down to the last disc–the last four episodes. Hopefully I’ll finish those soon. When I do I’ll write a mini-review, but I’ll go ahead and share one big gripe now. These are the first DVDs I think I’ve ever encountered that didn’t come with English subtitles. Almost every time I watch a disc, I turn on the subtitles, so this is a BIG disappointment for me. Why do I turn on the subtitles? Two reasons. First, my tv is hooked up to a stereo system, but because I’m a cheap bastard I only have four speakers and no center channel. Most dialog is on the center channel. The system has a mode that “fakes it” by spreading out the center channel on the left and right channels, but it still tends to be difficult to hear sometimes. Especially when you factor in the second reason– the tadpoles. Sometimes the only opportunity I have to watch movies is when one or both of the tadpoles are in the room playing. With the extra noise and the abovementioned technical complexities, subtitles insure I don’t miss important dialog. These discs had subtitles in four languages other than English, which doesn’t help me at all. That means I’ve only been able to watch them after the kids are asleep, keeping me from finishing them sooner than I would have otherwise.

I’ve already alluded to the other thing I did over the break. My goal last week was to get all our titles added to the store and conduct some test transactions. I did manage that goal–getting all 50+ titles added, but I ran into some problems on the transaction side. We’re trying to use Google Checkout, but something isn’t working right. Google records the transaction and passes information back to x-cart, but X-cart isn’t reading it. Google says the transaction went through, but reports “We encountered an error trying to access your server at [my server] — the error we got is: Unrecognized SSL message, plaintext connection?” The end result is that X-cart says the transaction failed and Google says it succeeded. I’ve got to troubleshoot the problem this week because we want the store live by the end of the month.

* this = really, really

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1 Comment

Comment by Jerry
2007-03-19 15:28:44

The wee ones will definitely keep you busy.

I watch everything with subtitles. Everyone in my house yaks during the movie, so this gives me a chance to know what is said.

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