Preordered iPhones!

I was determined to order my new iPhone today, so much so that I even checked their website when I woke up a bit before 6am. But apparently everyone else on the planet was also determined to order a phone. By noon I was still unable to make any progress with Apple’s site and conveyed my frustrations to Sean via IM.

Apparently there were several people at his office also trying to order a phone. Sean said that someone had just managed to get through the ordering process with AT&T’s site, so I started trying (and failing) there as well. After a second successful order at his office Sean also took up the fight.

Somehow after my hours of trying, Sean managed to succeed within 30 minutes. That was irritating. But we ordered phones! Yay!! I really hope we get them on the 24th.

Our Spoiled Doggies

For a while now we have been looking at the big dinosaur Tuffy toys at Unleashed, thinking it would be fun to see our dogs play with them. We weren’t sure they would though, since they are practically the same size as Jack. Recently we got a few 20% off coupons though, and decided to try them out.

Originally we were going to get the purple stegosaurus, but we chickened out and bought the smaller, cuter (cheaper) pig instead. Jack had a ton of fun with the pig! Eddie tried hard to play with it too, but it was hard for him to get a hold of it. A few weeks later I talked Sean into getting the dinosaur with our remaining coupon.

They absolutely love this toy! It is so much fun to watch little Eddie try to shake it, or get shaken by Jack. I am glad they are enjoying it, especially since Jack doesn’t really play much anymore. Considering the price tag of this thing we only let them play when supervised, but I think it was definitely worth it!

Animazement 2010

My Japanese teacher from last semester runs Animazement. So I was recruited to help out. Along the way I was promoted to Jr-Staff or Staff, cause I have both badges in the holder. Anyways, it’s quite different to go at 33 vs 24 vs 19. They all look like kids now, and it’s neat to see them all dressed up in the costumes.

Back in my day – there were no Otaku, we were just a sub category of geeks and nerds. You got to see the same 10 tapes in the corner of the video store and that was it. We didn’t have anime clubs, we had to make them. I’m so glad the next “generation” has lots of Anime to experience and places like these cons to visit and express themselves. I’m not saying we didn’t get to do that in college, but now the con attendance is young, and I saw nearly as many parents chaperoning for kids as I did teenagers and college students.
Anyways, here are photo’s from Saturday of Animazement 2010,
 enjoy!

Updates

Thought I would take a moment to write some updates on previous topics, and let you know how things are going. There really isn’t much new going on. For a little over a week now I have been pretty sick, but I am feeling better now for the most part. If you care for the whole tale of my illness I will give it after the short updates.

Garden –
Our container garden seems to be going mostly well, and our roses are also in bloom. The one exception to the “going well” would be our bok choy. I knew we had it too close when planting it, but thought we could always move it later on. For a while it was thriving, but was bunched pretty tightly. Well, the caterpillars got to it before we could move it. They have pretty much destroyed all but two plants, and those are riddled with holes. I hope I feel up to pulling them out of the planter tomorrow. We will try to save the last two, but I don’t hold much hope. Everything else seems to be going well for now though! And I am excited to see how well the roses we planted last year are doing. The Joseph’s coat is full of flowers, and the knockouts are starting to catch up. I am also surprised at how large the plants around our front walk have gotten. Next weekend I will have plenty of work to do I think!

iPad –
It is still a fun gadget, although I am still not happy with it as an e-reader. At least, not completely happy. It is great for reading in the dark. That part I really like. And it is an e-reader, that is good. But… I am still unhappy with the iBook app’s lack of color options and there will be no iPhone companion for it until this summer. The iBook Store also has a somewhat limited selection. The Kindle app is nice, and I love that it syncs with the iPhone app. However, Kindle book pricing isn’t as good as Barnes & Noble. Unfortunately, B&N still hasn’t released their iPad app. And the iPhone app doesn’t sync with Nook, so I am not sure that the iPad app will either. Syncing between the iPad and iPhone is a necessity in my opinion. I really hope the recently updated Nook firmware has this feature hidden in it somewhere. But my main problem? I can’t read in the sun. Or, at least not easily. There is too much reflection, and the screen gets washed out. Plus, while trying to read in the car on a sunny day the darned thing over heated. Who ever expects to see a temperature warning on an iPad?? So reading in the car is pretty much out. Plus it is so reflective the driver could be distracted/annoyed/blinded by it. This is irritating! I like reading on the deck and I want to be able to read on car trips. And did I mention it is a bit heavy? This leaves me tempted to buy a Nook, but it has that whole inability to sync issue… which means I might have to get a Kindle.

Illness –

The saga of my illness started last Thursday, April 15. Throughout the day I had a cough that got a bit worse as the day went on, and by dinner I felt a sore throat coming on. By that night I had a full fledged sore throat. Having been around someone with strep, and having an unhappy history with bacterial throat infections (but not in years!), I decided I should probably visit the doctor before the weekend. I stayed home from work and went to the doctor, not knowing how sick I would get before it was all over.

Friday the doctor said the culture was negative for strep, but we needed to wait three days to see if it grew any bacteria. At that point my only problem was the sore throat, a cough, and the beginnings of nasal congestion. The doctor said it was probably viral, and I happily tried to believe him… although I knew it wasn’t.

By Monday the sore throat was much worse, as well as the congestion and coughing, and my voice was mostly gone. My ears also felt funny. I felt miserable, or at least I thought I did. The real misery was still a couple days off. The doctor called to say bacteria had grown, and called in a prescription for me. I took that and by the next day (Tues) my throat was already better. Although while my throat improved, my ears had progressed from funny to painful and my eyes were puffy and red. Sean told me I looked like a zombie. I made an appointment for the next morning.

At that appointment it was confirmed the infection had spread to both eyes and ears. The doctor opted for “all night bender” rather than zombie. So basically everything above my shoulders was infected at that point. I got even more drugs and was sent home to suffer. I e-mailed the bosses to say there was no way I was coming back to work before Monday.

The eye drops worked wonders and the next day (Thurs) I went from zombie to bloodshot, by Friday they were mostly clear. At that point my throat was only sore from the coughing, but my right ear was still (and is still) pretty painful. The left ear also hurts, but is overshadowed by the pain in the other.

After 9 days I am still sick, but definitely better than I was a few days ago. My voice is still hoarse, but at least I can talk without pain. My appetite is a bit better, and my eyes look pretty normal. I am also still pretty low on energy, but that is getting better too. Now, if only I can get rid of this cough and the bum ear!

Today I even ventured out of the house. It was a short outing to drop Sean’s car for an oil change, put gas in mine, eat a lunch of 5 chic-fil-a nuggets, then grab a few things at Target. The Target part was pretty tiring even though we weren’t there long, and I was hit by a coughing fit so bad my eyes were streaming and I had to go outside. Now I am back home, fighting the urge to nap. I need to get back on some sort of schedule before work on Monday.

Jack Turns 4

I am making an effort to blog, see? Really I am. It isn’t my fault if this is boring! I just decided I should come up with something to write about, so here goes.

Yesterday was Jack’s 4th birthday. No, we aren’t the type that makes a huge deal out of our pet’s birthdays… but I have always thought it would be cute to put a birthday hat on Jack. So, we did :)

It is hard to believe he is already four years old. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that we were carrying him down the stairs at our Cary apartment because he was too small to go down on his own. He definitely isn’t small any more though!

For his birthday Jack got some new treats and a couple toys. Jack seems like a tired old man these days though… he played with the toys for a few minutes before losing interest and just letting Eddie have them. Jack doesn’t seem to care much about toys these days unless they have food stuffed in them.

iPad!

Yes, I am one of the people that actually wanted an iPad. Yes, it has a stupid name. And no, it isn’t a laptop replacement.
I had been wanting an e-reader for a while, but was unimpressed with them. My iPhone e-reader apps were great, but I was growing tired of reading such a small screen. The iBook demo immediately appealed to me though. Finally there was an e-reader that worked just like my iPhone and did so much more. So, I reserved one just as soon as I could.

I really don’t know why everyone had to rush out and line up first thing in the morning for these things. That is why we reserved them right? To avoid that sort of thing? Which is why I was in no particular hurry today. I think we got to Crabtree around 11:30 and went directly to Robeks for a treat.

Of course then the Robeks dude, who was alone, said he had to run to the back for more frozen yogurt before he could make our tasty smoothies. “The back” for them really means leaving their kiosk and going all the way across the food court to that little access hall in the corner, and then going who knows how far beyond that. At that point I told Sean I was going to peak around the corner, and get in line if there was one. I figured there was no point in waiting at Robeks just to wait longer at Apple.

I was surprised to see how much space they had roped off for lines; I am not even sure where it ended! And there were two large coffee dispensers from Starbucks on a table outside the door. Glad I had enough sense not to go first thing in the morning. Even 2.5 hours later there was still a short line. Still, I was in the store with iPad in hand before Sean arrived. Apparently since he had two cups the employees manning the door believed him about delivering a drink to his wife and let him pass without standing in line.

It was lucky that Sean showed up when he did. Bank of America decided the purchase was “irregular check card activity” and blocked my card from further purchases. Yay. But that is a different story that subsequently involves calling them and spending a hour on hold before giving up. At least BoA didn’t seem upset at Sean’s card making the purchase though. I wonder how they make decisions on what counts as suspicious activity considering his card goes to the same account. But I digress.

Apple Employee No. 1 rang up everything for me (32GB iPad, dock, case, and Apple Care) while I stared at iPhone cases, then handed us off to Apple Employee No. 2 to activate the iPad. I let him borrow my knife to open the package, we got it activated, the iPad slipped into it’s case, everything bagged up, and we were happily on our way. It wasn’t until we were pulling out of the parking deck that I realized he still had my knife. I just wanted to be home setting up my new toy though, so we didn’t go back until later. At which point I got that iPhone case I had been eyeing!

The case I ordered from Etsy arrived today too. Great timing! I am not that excited about the colors, it looked much better in the seller’s photo. But I do like the design, and it fits over Apple’s case which is nice. Here is the iPad in it’s case, laying on top of the case from Etsy. And a shot with the iPhone on top for size reference.

So what are my early impressions, thoughts, likes, dislikes, etc? Hmm…

  • it is disappointing there are no screen protectors
  • the screen picks up fingerprints way too easily, I have stashed a microfiber cloth in the etsy case’s pocket
  • the screen is very smooth and your fingers glide easily on it; it seems smoother than the iPhone… but I have had an anti-glare screen protector on it so long my impression of that might be skewed
  • love that you can put six icons on the dock, and happy that you can arrange app icons 4×5… but think it could really be 5×5 or even 6×6. Hopefully this will change with a software update.
  • the screen is very reflective, the thing could double as a mirror, so beware of glare
  • apps designed for the iPad are wonderful, a world of difference compared to iPhone; I look forward to seeing more of them pop up in the app store
  • apps designed for iPhone/iPod work but are a bit pixelated, some worse than others; games like Katamari look pretty good, but B&N’s e-reader and other text heavy apps aren’t so great
  • if iBook has a white-on-black text option I haven’t found it, which is disappointing… hopefully they will update it soon, and hopefully whenever B&N finally releases their iPad reader this option will be there (it is for iPhone). Kindle, at least, does offer this option. And considering Kindle also syncs with the iPhone app to save where you left off, I might be using Kindle’s app rather than iBook.
  • it is pleasingly fast, with screen transitions being very smooth… quite happy with it’s performance, it makes my iPhone 3G seem a little slow and clunky
  • will probably be taking the dock back, considering I can’t use it without taking the iPad out of the case
  • immediately wished I had the 3G version, but I can probably learn to live without it; I didn’t realize exactly how much I took that for granted with the iPhone apps
  • the case is nice as a stand and screen cover, but the material picks up dirt easily and will provide little to no protection if dropped
  • That is all I can think of off the top of my head, and this post is much longer than intended. I think I am going to go lounge in bed and read an e-book now ;)

    Spring is here!

    I am once again going to try to be better about blogging. And yes I know I have said that before. We have been really slack about it for the last year or so.

    So… here goes.

    Spring is here! This year we have decided to try growing vegetables in containers. The above picture is our first onion sprouting. Containers seemed the easier way to go. Our yard is full of rocks and we don’t really have a good space to make a real garden. Maybe one day once we are more practiced at growing veggies we will try planting a garden for real, but it most likely won’t be at this house.

    An added bonus of the containers is that there is less chance of pests and disease. Pests of course include our dogs. We did plant some asparagus in the flower bed today, as well as a couple extra strawberry plants, but I really think Eddie is just going to see them as tasty noms just for him; I swear that dog is vegetarian. That is, if Jack doesn’t dig them up before they grow. Our dogs aren’t really diggers, but something about freshly turned soil must be irresistible to dogs.

    So far we have planted rosemary, chives, strawberries, onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic, and bok choy. I think that is enough to start out, but I am tempted to try out some bell peppers and shishito peppers too. I also got a few flower seeds while we were at it, mainly to give the hummingbirds some more options.
    Well, that is pretty much all we have been up to lately. Just spending a lot of time enjoying the weather while we plant things and grill out. Not much exciting going on really.

    Oh, yeah, Sean got a new car since we blogged last. I will let him post about that though. And we went to a Ben Folds show the other night, and will go to Experience Hendrix tomorrow. Maybe I can blog about that soon :) And my cousin gave birth a couple days ago, so next weekend will probably include a trip down to Greenville to meet the baby. This is little Audrey Gray Horne.