Checking In, Checking Out

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It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on stuff I do in my off-time, so I figured I’d do a round-up entry to catch up.

Since Phoenix was born it’s been harder to get so-called “free time” to do much. Probably more accurately put: There are a lot of things I like to do, and I have a lot of time to do things if I can involve my toddler, but most of the stuff I want to do isn’t toddler-friendly so I don’t get to do it. I mean, toddlers plus RC helicopters equals disaster.

Jenn’s been helping out a bit trying to get me a bit more time to do stuff on my own. She’ll take Phoe to the zoo or something so I’ll get a chance to pick up some of the activities I used to enjoy but don’t get to as much anymore. What am I up to?

I’m switching up my comic book subscriptions. I’ve had a comic box at Things From Another World for many years and for most of those years I’ve subscribed to the same stuff. I’ve finally started getting caught up on my comic reading (“That 2011 Annual story was great!”) and some of the titles I’ve been subscribing to seem to have jumped the shark, so I’ve been trimming up the list. I’ve canceled Witchblade, The Darkness, and all of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer titles. I’ve been in on those from the beginning, but the stories are feeling played out and stale, and at $3 – $5 a pop, I can find other titles. I’m trying out a couple of new ones like Ten Grand, and I’m keeping Daredevil, Powers, and the myriad Grimm Fairy Tales titles.

I’m getting back into RC helicopters. A few years back I bought the original Blade CX coaxial helicopter from the local hobby shop to start getting into flying. It’s been fun, but I’m not very good at it, and it requires a lot of space with zero wind. Here and there I’ve been upgrading it, adding better blades and so on, but I’ve not really gotten it dialed in. I recently picked up a Blade MSR and a Spektrum DX6i controller and I’m starting to get back into it. The MSR is much smaller so it’s easier to fly indoors, though I still think I need to tweak some of the settings. I’ve also upgraded my Blade CX with a new receiver so I can control both helicopters from the one transmitter. All that, plus I got this monster battery charger so I don’t have the problems getting my batteries properly balanced/charged/stored and I’m good to go.

I’m having fun with frisbee golf. The weather has been really nice this summer so my team at work went to a local course and I played frisbee golf for the first time. I’m not very good, but it’s fun, so I’ve been back a few times since. I picked up a starter kit of discs for myself and one for Jenn. This is something Phoenix can participate in, too – we give her a disc and she throws it all over. (She also runs and fetches your discs after you throw them so you have to watch where they land because they’re not going to stay there long.)

I’m burning hours playing Skyrim. I got Skyrim for Christmas and started playing it a couple months back. That’s a time-sink, right there. It’s kind of relaxing and compelling at the same time. There’s just enough tedium to take my mind off the troubles of the day and enough missions to run that there’s always something to do.

I’m taking online bartending courses. I picked up a membership to Bartending College Online through Groupon a while ago and I’ve had fun watching the videos and learning the various techniques and recipes. I’m not going to quit and go be a bartender, but it’s fun to learn something new that doesn’t have to do with computers.

I haven’t gotten back into electronics with my Snap Circuits yet, but I hope to do that, too. Once it turns to Autumn and the weather goes to crap, frisbee golf will be out and I’ll see about getting into the electronics again. I really enjoy working with them, but about halfway through the exercises that come with the set I realized I don’t have a good grasp of the fundamentals, so I took a pause on it to read a book on the math and basics behind why the components behave the way they do and that’s where I stalled out. It’s not a book you want to read when you’re sleepy, but I think it’s important to understand the basics so I can go beyond what the pre-printed exercises show and maybe make electronic inventions of my own.

I’m trying to migrate my blog to WordPress. Subtext was fun while it lasted, but development on it has pretty much ended and I’d like to be on a supported platform. I honestly thought I’d use my blog as more of a hobby, someplace to try out new code and ideas, but there’s really not any plugin mechanism in Subtext and, while that was the plan, it never came to fruition. Rather than move to another smaller platform and go through the growing pains again (and possible abandonment of the platform) I’m trying to get into WP. That means I have to figure out how to export my content in WP format, though, which isn’t going to be easy.

I’m trying to get my images out of ImageShack. I had a paid account with ImageShack for a year or two to host my images and reduce bandwidth consumption on my hosting provider, but ImageShack randomly deletes or loses images all the time. Like, constantly. Links break, the images disappear… today I found that they’ve “lost” my blog skin images, so my blog doesn’t render right. I’m going to switch to a simpler/lighter-weight skin until I can get that fixed (probably until I move to WordPress – it was time for a change anyway).