We’re wearing masks now.

April 3rd, 2020

We’re wearing masks now.

It’s something we’d been thinking of for awhile now, but a combination of the CDC discouraging their use and a desire to not disrupt the supply chain of medical-grade protection kept us away from it. But it seems as if the federal guidance is about to shift to recommend some sort of face protection, with a basic cloth mask covering the nose and mouth seeming to be prudent.

Some have derided this action as unnecessary and insufficient to protect against the disease completely, but the’re full of shit and I’m ready to tell them so now. Any protection is better than no protection; this is what doctors have been told in the absence of PPE, and in the face of the sick and dying, no less. And since we don’t even know if we’re sick due to the high rate of asymptomatic infections, and since someone with COVID-19 can disperse it just through the saliva that expels from breathing in the presence of others, a mask feels like a perfectly reasonable precaution to limit the spread, even if only marginally.

Other countries have figured this out weeks or months ago. Americans need to get onboard and normalize the wearing of masks by healthy people. The curve will never flatten if we don’t start taking this much more seriously, much more quickly.

I’ll see you at the supermarket. When I desperately need supplies. In my mask.


Data collection in times of sickness both personal and global

March 23rd, 2020

Two weeks ago, I caught a sinus infection on the return flight from Disneyland (before the parks were closed down for health concerns; the trip feels like a lifetime ago). Since hospitals and doctors’ offices are getting slammed right now, I knew that making an appointment would not be prudent, so I called and requested an antibiotic prescription (they seemed grateful to have me not clutter their office and get others sick).

Throughout the entirety of my medication period, I took my temperature, sometimes several times a day. I wanted to keep tabs on how my illness progressed, and of course look out for possible COVID-19 symptoms in case my infection was weakening my immune system enough for another viral invader to take purchase (fortunately, this was not the case, and my typical old season-and-travel-influenced nasal drip ran its course as expected).

In the course of taking my temperature and adding the results to the Health app on my iPhone for tracking, I wrote up an iOS shortcut that I could trigger the temperature input via Siri. Maybe someone else will find some use in this, so here’s a link (requires permission to write health data, obvs).

Since I was recording my temperature like crazy, I now have fun visualized data!

Examples of my body temperature readings in the iOS Health app from a few weeks in March 2020.

Got a lot of high 96°F ratings which felt a bit low as a baseline, but then again, I never have this volume of body temperature data available to me, so perhaps I run cooler than I thought. Only got to 99° once and that was after a much-needed outdoor walk, so I’d chalk that up to a slightly elevated heart rate. Average of 97.44° is within expected ranges and also happens to align with the average temperature in recent studies.

So after all that, no fever (and no COVID-19; I’ve been sheltering in place since I got off that plane, especially as the global pandemic started to ramp up). Only some fun with data collection. Which, as self-quarantine activities go, isn’t the worst way to pass the time.

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Manual Apple Store Gift Card Link Creation for Apple Wallet

January 4th, 2019

Just because this took me way too long to figure out:

If you have an Apple Store gift card you’re unable to scan into Apple Wallet via the iPhone camera (in my case, because I had a digital gift card from a third party that just provided card number and PIN, no QR code to be found), manually create a URL formatted as follows:


Replace ################ with the gift card number, and AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA with the PIN, then click the link on your Mac or iOS device to generate the Apple Wallet confirmation prompt. C’est fait!

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MoviePass update

October 28th, 2018

It’s a garbage fire of a service and I cancelled my subscription months ago.

But I bought Helios and Mathewson stock first because it was slime-mud-on-fire-dirt-cheap, so I guess I still support them by being an investor or something?

But now they’re being spun off into a separate company, so the shares won’t even be connected to the concept I found so fresh and intriguing in the first place.

But Cinemark Movie Club looks like a more reasonable setup since the local Cinemark is the only place I see movies nowadays, due to comfy recliners, reserved seating, and very close proximity.

Don’t do MoviePass you guys.

DM Diary – Adelia’s Gift

September 16th, 2018

I’m running my own Dungeons and Dragons campaign! After several years of not being able to figure out scheduling with my existing gaming group, my desire to play D&D again finally won out over my fears of putting on the Dungeon Master hat. It’s a little daunting, especially since I’ve chosen to write a 100% original campaign and story (this may end up being a mistake), but the players are all new (playing 5e) so at least we all get to go through the learning process together.

Though I don’t think the campaign I’ve written is anything exceptional or original, I’m happy enough with how it’s gone so far that I wanted to share our experience at the table, in case other would-be DMs out there need a little extra push to start running their own games.

Continue Reading »

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Get Out

January 28th, 2018

MoviePass is pretty great you guys. Found myself with an open afternoon so I figured I’d stop by my local Century Cinema 16 today to see newly-Oscar-nominated-but-really-I’ve-been-wanting-to-see-it-anyway Get Out. It was really good it turns out! I guess sometimes the self-congratulatory circle-jerk movie awards organizations happen to pick productions of actual quality and not movies engineered specifically to sway judges. A broken clock, amirite?

And it turns out, they still do trailers before movies, and many of them are for movies that are derivative works of a prequel/sequel/remake/adaptation nature. Hence, the HUR returneth. It’s not the metric of original storytelling we want, but something about great responsibility. Continue Reading »

Custom Disney Pin Trading Display Board

November 30th, 2015

Jenny and Mario's Disney Pin Boards

Confession: I have fallen victim to the Disney pin trading fad.

My girlfriend and I told ourselves we would be able to just buy a few collectible pins and be done with it. We picked up WALL•E and EVE, plus some Star Wars characters. Then grabbed some hat pins for trade fodder. Then I bought the Inside Out set. Then we splurged on a Diamond Anniversary medallion set. Before we knew it, our lanyards were weighed down with metal baubles and we needed a place to keep the ones we didn’t want to trade.

Pinterest to the rescue! Continue Reading »

Thoughts on Furious 7

April 3rd, 2015

Furious 7 — and the entire (The) Fast and (the) Furious franchise — doesn’t seemingly merit the praise I laud upon it. As an action series, there’s an expectation for it to hit specific beats and move on. And it certainly does that with aplomb; fast driving here, explosions there, punches aplenty, attractive women looking attractive… But at the same time, this series packs more heart into it, more appreciation for its characters and their diverse personalities and quirks, more respect for the audience than we would ever expect of normally-mindless action flicks.

Are there crazy physics-and-logic-defying sequences that stress the limits of suspension of disbelief? Certainly, and possibly more in Furious 7 than anything prior (and that includes Fast Five’s giant-safe-tethered-to-two-cars-driving-at-speed-being-used-as-sliding-wrecking-ball). If that’s going to be a problem for you, I might suggest sitting this one out. (The guy who sat next to me at last night’s IMAX screening was quite vocal in his disapproval of the stunts presented onscreen; I fear he may have been in the wrong theater. Or state.)

But at the same time, there’s a movie-long romance arc about Dom and Letty’s relationship (I assume you’re all equally on first-name basis with the characters) being strained by Letty’s persistent amnesia (let’s all just move on from that bit), and a respectful farewell for Brian’s character that doubles as a teary-eyes goodbye to Paul Walker.

There’s a revisiting of the scene and characters from Tokyo Drift — a film made ten years ago with none of the characters from the previous films as a crazy effort to breathe new life into a waning franchise, no forethought of an ongoing story, but which became the springboard for an arc spanning five films — to dovetail Han’s death/funeral with Owen Shaw’s drive for vengeance. No action movie I can recall has story seeds running through the veins of a decade of films; most exist movie-to-movie, trying to reboot a series with every release to sustain public interest, keeping only one or two actors in to maintain audience recognition (and probably to keep the budget down).

James Wan had a difficult task of taking over for Justin Lin, who had directed films 3-6 and established the long arc, and continuing those story threads into their next phases. He successfully weaved Han and Gisele’s death, Walker’s struggles with the doldrums of domestic life, Shaw’s defeat in Fast and Furious 6 acting as ghost from their past for a new antagonist in Jason Statham, and the aforementioned Letty amnesia into a beautiful tapestry, while still giving everyone in this (now slightly smaller) ensemble cast appropriate screen time to continue to develop their characters and simultaneously kick ass. He even brought in new faces such as the brilliant hacker Ramsey and the mysterious US government agent/benefactor/plot driver Mr. Nobody, both of whom I expect to see in future endeavors.

And there’s no doubt in my mind that there will be future endeavors. Although the actors got to pay their respects to Walker in character and let his character sunset in as fitting a way as I could have ever imagined, it’s also clear that their love for Walker motivated them to give this movie a proper heartfelt ending. That same motivation, that shared experience amongst cast and crew, will no doubt continue to drive them to keep telling their story as long as there’s a story to tell. They’ve lost someone special to them, and instead of throwing in the towel and canceling the film they can now be catalyzed to carry on. The cast, like the characters they portray, are family.

That mutual love, adoration, and respect is ever-apparent onscreen, and serves as yet another indicator that this series is special. The cars, the jet-setting, the action, the spectacle… It all hides something much more profound and powerful than I ever expected to find in movies like this. In the end, that heart is what will keep bringing me back.


Steamrollers Game Results

February 16th, 2015

Today I watched the San Jose Steamrollers play power soccer (a soccer variant played with power wheelchairs), and figured I’d do a sports writeup on their two games. Because I can!

vs. BORP: 1-0
vs. Hollister Free Wheelers: 2-2

Jairo Solorio scored a fantastic goal against BORP. The Strike Force chairs are generally superior on the court when it comes to maneuverability, but Jairo’s chair packed more mass and allowed him to simply push through the defenses and nudge the ball over the goal line.

Hollister’s Chad Bojorquez squeezed in an early first goal for game two, but San Jose quickly retaliated when Ryan Connolly pulled off a slap-shot from halfway down the court, too fast for the Hollister goalie to respond. The Steamrollers then pulled ahead after Matthew Arensdorf passed the ball across the goal to Jairo, who nudged it in before Hollister could intercept, but Hollister tied it up again when Bojorquez knocked the ball through a gap between players. Despite Hollister’s aggressive push for the goal, some near-misses on their part combined with blocks from Steamrollers goalie Jenny Mitchell helped maintain a tied score at the end.




I Like-Like You! Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 13th, 2015

My sometimes-yearly tradition of making store-bought-style Valentine’s Day cards based on things I like… continues! This year I went with The Legend of Zelda for NES. Personally I prefer Zelda II, but it’s hard to deny the cuteness of square-aspect-ratio-3/4-pseudo-isometric-view Link from the original.


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