Thursday, June 04, 2015

Streaming As An Alternative To Cable And Sattelite Is Coming

I watched a movie on my 7" tablet the other day.  No, really, I did.  I never thought I would ever, EVER, be a person that would actually look at a small screen for two hours.  I am forever a cable person.  Or so I thought.  I am now victim to a residence that has Direct TV, with no outlet to my room.  Mind you, the living room sports a 55" (or something that size, I didn’t take measurements) Samsung television, so I am not necessarily complaining here.  But the sudden forced withdrawal from watching my Dodgers play baseball on television made me look at alternatives to cable or satellite feeds. 

I had been experimenting with the various streaming sources trying to see what was offered to me live, even as a paid subscriber (thanks to a few friends who generously offered their passwords to their accounts).  The pickings were slim for direct streaming offered from companies such as TWC and Direct TV and their apps.  But it was a chance viewing of “Aliens” on my tablet as I was checking out what was streaming live that
Who wouldn't continue watching?
captured my interest, and resulted in my watching the entire movie on the tablet.  Like most people, I have seen the Alien movies countless times, so much so that even though I know the basic premise and endings, I was surprised while watching the movie how much of the little details I forgot.  Watching it on the tablet alleviated the need for my glasses, and the pictures and details were fascinating to see.  I did not intend to watch the whole movie, but with no commercials, I could not stop watching.  There were only a few buffering issues and a few “you do not have enough bandwith” notices which interrupted the flow for a few seconds.  I have enough bandwith, damn it, 100 Mbps.  Although, for some reason, my tablet, laptop and cell phone only register 72 when connected to my TWC Internet connection.  Ultimately, the experience was a pleasurable one, though, and it has sparked my interest to the possibility of foregoing cable for my television experience.  I could switch to streaming and just pay for a good high speed connection, and purchase a television that will act as both a viewing screen for my devices and for streaming my television favorites and movies.  I have already hooked up my little laptop/notebook computer to my 32" television in my room, and I can now watch MLB baseball, with the exception again, of my Dodgers.

The announcement recently that Showtime will offer an app for purchase of their programming, coupled with HBO’s release of their app for $14.99 a month, is reason to rethink this.  I am liking the concept of ditching my cable habits.  I do not have the time at this point in life to sit mindlessly in front of my television, scrolling through 500 channels just for something to watch.  Pairing down to a monthly subscription of programming will definitely be cheaper than what was assembled for my viewing with cable, which at times, was over $220 per month (although, that did include high speed Internet and $20 for a land line telephone, but still!).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


New radio
    The lack of televised Dodger games has forced me to listen to them on the radio.  And on AM.  It has been a long, long time since I had no other media with which to watch the team.

    The standoff between Time Warner Cable and every other television program provider only just hit me this year, when I moved into a house that has Direct TV.  My last 20 years of residency was within a two mile radius, of which, Time Warner (and its earlier iterations) was the primary cable provider.  As such, when SportsNet LA became a channel, I paid little attention to the fact that it was “exclusive.”  It was just a different channel on which I watched the Dodger games the past 20 years.

    At first, I panicked!  How was I going to survive my nightly ritual!  How was I going to handle not seeing Puig, or Gonzales for that matter, hit them out of the park?  What about guessing who is sitting in the first row?  Ok, that’s a throw away! 

    I thought that if I purchased the MLB package, I could at least see the Dodgers, but at a hefty price.  I figured I could watch them on my tablet, or better yet, on the TV.  But, that option was not available I soon found out.  Direct TV had a free preview of MLB games on opening day, and the week thereafter.  However, the Dodger game was blacked out.  Serious frustration began to set in.  (I have already read about people who have bypassed the MLB restrictions, but I have not made up my mind if I will utilize this approach).

    I tried to see if I could stream the AM radio station, but again, the dreaded black out notice.  I had to finally dig up this tiny Sony portable AM/FM radio, circa the 1980's, plug my Bluetooth speaker in (obviously, no WiFi connect!) and locate the damn signal.  Once I was able to put that all together, I started listening to the games every day the team played.  Then the radio broke, and I had to wait a week before my new one came in the mail.

    What a difference listening to the game on the radio is. I love it.  I know enough about baseball that between Vin Scully and Rick Monday, their calling of the game is easy listening.  I find myself sitting out on the front porch with the bug candles lit (!!) and my radio on the window sill, spending the early evening with the game pictured in my mind. 

    I listened to the Dodger games when I was a youngster, teenager and young adult, on the radio.  I had my trusty transistor radio back then. Took it to the beach when I was laying out for a tan.  I lived two blocks away from the beach, so this was a regular past time for me.  I was listening to the game on the radio in 1968 when Drysdale pitched his 58 perfect innings.  Ironically, I was listening to the game on the radio in 1988 when Hershiser broke that record with 59!
Old school transister

    I really don’t understand the Dodgers' apparent unconcern about the lack of television exposure that is going on its second year, in the Los Angeles community, as expressed by Magic Johnson recently. Baseball is, in many ways, a dying game. It has been pointed out many times that the mean age of the baseball fan is now in the 50's. The game is slow and methodical; it is not fast paced like hockey or basketball. Having a 55,000 per game attendance is certainly sustainable for a while, but bringing in the younger new fans will be a stretch without television.


I have been having a dilemma with my coffee as of late.  Finding the right cream for my coffee has proven to be more difficult than it should be.

I drink strong coffee, preferably a dark roast, ground fine for use in espresso machines.  I don’t always make espresso in the morning.  I generally use a drip system with a filter.  The finer the grind for the drip, the stronger the coffee.

I like my coffee with a fair amount of cream, enough to make it a golden caramel color.  This requires more than the “two tablespoon” amount listed as “one serving.”  Recently, I have purchased several different brands of half and half, based on convenience of shopping choices.  Once I had to purchase a non-fat version, which if you don’t already know, is non-fat because of the addition of sugar.  That one was horrible.  I am able to taste the different creams in the coffee, and the non-fat varieties are the worst tasting.  By far, the most reliable has been Knudsen, which is not sold at all major grocery chains.  The Brand X variety generic to the grocery stores comes in at meh.  Some of them are palatable, and some of them are not. I have to tell you, having horrible coffee, especially when I pay the extra for fresh ground coffee, is such a drag on my ability to get my day going. 

Today, I took a short bus ride to get some Knudsen half and half.  Made a cup when I got home.  Best cup of coffee this past week.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015


The bar will be undergoing a renovation of sorts.  Hopefully, this is good news!

Now that I have learned to deal with cancer, I can get back to normal with my political blogging.  I had to take time off from being analytical, cynical, angry, etc.  All great things for blogging, but terrible if you are trying to beat cancer!

I thought the outdated blog template needed some sprucing up.  I have had the old template for over ten years now, and with a new day goes a new template.  I am open to feedback as I tweak the changes.

For those of you who are over 18, I have another personal blog that's been in the works for a while.  You can shoot over to Diary of an Old Broad and give it a read.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rest In Peace, DJ Rix

Bob and I became friends about 10 years ago on AOL.  Together we would rile up the right wingers in chat rooms and bask in our success at bringing stupidity front and center.  We were a tag team and had many years of fun on AOL.

In 2005, I decided to start a blog.  Bob had one and I figured, hey, if Bob can do it, so can I.  My blog was extremely political, while Bob’s blog was more diverse.  I remember when he got angry after my very first post on my very first blog got accolades from a prominent political blog, and I was featured front and center. 

Bob was a mentor to me in the world of blogs.  We never met, but we talked from time to time on the telephone.  He knew me at my core, and we shared a world surrounded by depression and anxiety.  He was there for me when I was suicidal.  He was there for me when I was hospitalized.  He was there for me when I was in pain.  He was there during my cancer treatment.  We were bonded in a way only he and I could understand and enjoy.

He called me on May 4 ... I missed the call.  He never answered when I kept calling him back.

I miss him so much.  I will never forget him.  I hope he stays near me.  I have so many friends in the next world (smiling) ... they will take care of him.  I will pray that my family embraces him and helps on his new journey.  At least the depression will be gone.  And the anxiety. 

I love you Bob. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

HAIM - The Wire

I heard this group on Diddy's Revolt music channel.  I was "surfing" and passed it, but the beat lingered on, and I went back to the station.  Loved the groove.  Turns out these sisters have a background in performing and music and they are from the valley here in L.A. The back beat got me. 

I tried to upload their song for a few hours (yeah, it gets that bad these days when trying), and finally bought the damn single, twice, for $1.29.  Each single was a remix that I had already downloaded for free.  By the time this was discovered, the song I really wanted was finally downloaded.

Hope you like it.  They are performing on SNL tonight.  The single is not the same as the YouTube video.  I like the video better, but after spending a whopping $2.60 and about four hours, I am done trying to find the right download!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Almost Out Of The Woods - Cancer Update

The past four months of chemotherapy has been difficult for me. However, I have made it out of harms way, thus far. It started out as a Stage 2/3 diagnosis of cancer in one breast, and a subsequent discovery of something of interest in the other breast, with a prognosis of worst case scenario of a double mastectomy. The tumor has shrunk such that all outward presentations (i.e., dimpled breast, inverted nipple and a lump) disappeared! The activity in the other breast is a ten year period from doing any harm. So, I will have basically outpatient surgery at Cedars, by Dr. Kristie Funk, early December, to go into the breasts under the nipple, take out the two small masses and remove a couple of lymph nodes, no drastic reconstruction required, fast recovery anticipated. I cannot be any more ecstatic. 

I hope to get back to blogging at the start of the new year.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Taking Time Off

As some of my readers already know, I am battling breast cancer. 

My treatment plan is four months of chemotherapy, surgery to remove either one or both breasts (not determined at this time), followed up by radiation therapy, and then breast reconstruction approximately six months later.

Part of beating cancer is having a positive outlook.  I found that blogging interfered with having that positive outlook because I need to get into an angry space to blog about things that are unjust, unfair, wrong, etc.  I never thought about that "space" or frame of mind before because my outlook on life has always been rather uplifting and cheery (yeah, despite my suicide attempt ...).  Now I find that having to stress over the way things are in today's world brings me to a place that interferes with my ability to stay extremely positive about things.

I don't like not blogging especially since so many things are going on right now.  But I have to consider what my chances are for a future, and blogging about politics right now, for me, is not in the cards.

I hope that by the time I have had surgery the worst is over with the cancer, and I can get back to the bar and grill and do what you all love me for the best ... blog!

You can follow my cancer path on Facebook.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Loud Voice In Music Silenced - RIP Eydie Gorme

Showing my age, and also revealing that in addition to being a "hipster" music-wise growing up, I was a fan of old school music.  I LOVED Eydie Gorme and her husband, Steve Lawrence.  Their sound was unique, and I used to pride myself on being able to tell the difference between the sound of Steve Lawrence, Jack Jones and Vic Damone!

Eydie had a big hit in the 1960's called "Blame It On The Bossa Nova," while Steve had huge hits with "Go Away Little Girl," and "Party Doll."

But I enjoyed them the most as perennial guests on the Johnny Carson show!

RIP ...