During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
Cunning Tales from a Systems Librarian
Life After Life ( Amazon | Local Library | Goodreads)
by Kate Atkinson
Kate Atkinson, along with Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde, and several other writers, are ones whom no matter what argument I make to save cash, I always pre-order their books when said boks are released. For Atkinson this year, I found out a friend was going to give me an ARC she had received of Life After Life, so I dutifully canceled my pre-order. Except, I apparently didn’t. The pre-ordere arrived before my trip to see my friend, so I kept it in the hopes I could get it finished before heading to see her so we can talk about the book. It didn’t quite work out that way for it’s two months later and I’m just now getting started on the book.
While I would describe myself as an ardent Atkinson fangirl, I’m only 25 pages in to this title and have no opinion of this offering as of yet. But at least I’m reading, and that’s something.
- Case Histories, Season 2
I found out season 2 of Case Histories was being shown in the UK by accident, even though I had thought I had tapped myself into the places that would keep me abreast of such things. I greedily watched all three episodes in two sittings, and I can’t get enough of Jackson Brodie or who he is or what he does. Sure, sure, Jason Isaacs isn’t bad to look at, but the tortured soul of a man who walks (rather runs) to his own moral code is amazing to behold. I don’t know if there are plans to show it in the US on PBS this year or if there will be a third season or if Atkinson has plans for another Brodie book. I’m really hoping all of those things become true, the Brodie world of Edinburgh is one where I want to live.
- True Blood
Speaking of tortured men with complicated pasts, True Blood started its sixth season this past Sunday. To me, TB is always the start of the summer, the days feel better knowing I have TB to watch on Sundays. As for the plot, well, what’s being set up in the first episode of S6 is slow. TheHusband and I raised several eyebrows during the hour and we’re hoping TB picks up some speed (and interest!) during the forthcoming season. TheHusband put forth the show has finally jumped the shark, but I don’t think that’s happened. Yet. I DO wish they would clarify more on Pam’s dick whipped attitude towards Eric, since it’s been made pretty clear they were never really lovers in so much as BFFs during their 100 years together. Pam’s randomly shown weakness for Eric when certain conditions apply (but not all conditions that match, just some) is annoying.
- Sons of Anarchy
I had no interest in this show, really, until Beth forwarded me a video of Walton Goggins (Boyd Crowder on Justified) as Venus Van Dam, a transvestite prostitute on SOA. After getting over myself of extreme jealous of how beautiful Goggins makes as a woman, I decided to check the show out. I had been working on finding a nice long show I can get into while I do things around the house, knit/cross-stitch, or fall asleep to and SOA fits that bill. TheHusband, on the other hand, was razzing me that I seem to be haphazardly watching all the FX originals as I come across them (The Americans, Archer, Justified, Louie (TheHusband’s choice), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (TheHusband’s choice)), but hey! That’s ok. FX has created really great content in the last few years and they are pushing the boundaries of what network television should look like. Other networks better start taking notes.
- Nurse Jackie
Just when it looks like Jackie’s life is finally getting under control, a twist. There is always a twist. While I do like this show, this season was definitely not the best and it ranked pretty poorly. Dr. Roman? She just needs to go. Though I do love Zooey’s new love interest and that made me very happy how that panned out.
Weekly watching: Burn Notice, Borgia, DaVinci’s Demons, Mad Men, The Borgias, Veep, The Vampire Diaries
- New Novel Takes Readers Downstairs at Longbourn
- Global Internet Porn Habits
- Video: The curse of the spinning statue at Manchester Museum
Lisa-mas was a few weeks ago and presents were still rolling in so I decided to divvy up the reviews over the next few weeks to not overload this post. This week, it’s the Fitbit Flex.
I know Fitbit has been popular around the social sphere for some time, but what got me interested was when Kate and I were discussing fitness regimes and she mentioned the Flex, a Fitbit product designed to be a bracelet with the Fitbit unit cleverly hidden and unobtrusive. I’ve tried pedometers in the past and found most of them lacking. I know some friends have had good luck with phone apps for sleeping and pedometering, but I found this was not a particular good solution since many pairs of my bottoms don’t always have pockets to put the phone in and the way some pedometers are designed to be clipped, also doesn’t work with how my body is shaped.
The line of Fitbit products are designed to track, learn, and help you manage:
- Fitness goals
- Food consumption
- Water consumption
- Much, much more
Much of this is done by your input on the website or app but the core information, steps walked/calories burned, is done by the device. You can manage, within the app and website, all of your health needs fairly simply and easily, which is of great interest to me. It is also shower proof and mostly water proof (though, I’d probably take it off for swimming).
What I really loved is the Flex, because it was something I could wear, like jewelry, and only time I’d have to take it off is to recharge the Fitbit unit, which is about once a week. When I wore the Flex to work, one my student workers thought it was a post-modern bracelet, another person though it was a fancy watch. Inso far as design aesthetic goes, Fitbit gets top scores.
TheHusband ordered the Flex and the accessory bands from Amazon, and the items was on massive back order until mid-late July at Amazon and at Fitbit.com. So imagine my surprise when I received the Flex a few days after my birthday! But the accessory bands, which were scheduled to arrive first, still haven’t arrived and are still marked on backorder.
The package comes with the Fitbit unit, two bracelets sized small and large in a single color (you can choose between black or slate, TheHusband ordered slate), charging dongle, and wifi synch dongle. Setting up the Fitbit was fairly easy, as well as setting up an account. I choose to create an account rather then use Facebook or Google as the login. You can also find friends via Facebook/Google but Kate and I found this was kind of a pain in the arse (Kate had ordered another Fitbit product a few weeks prior). In addition to the website dashboard, there is also an app, available for iOS and Android. You can also sync with other products, like MyFitnessPal, which rocks if you’re already using MyFitnessPal to track your food.
- You can sync your Fitbit to your phone using bluetooth when you have the app installed, and you can synch the Fitbit when the dongle is plugged into a computer, but you cannot synch it with any other mobile devices using bluetooth. This means if you want to synch it to your iPad or another device, you’re out of luck.
- The iOS app is available on the iPhone only, and while you can install it on the iPad, it’s clunky. You also don’t have all of the options available you do when it’s in its native environment.
- The Fitbit Flex system includes the bracelets, Fitbit unit, charging dongle, wifi synch dongle, and yet they did not include a pouch or any kind of carrying case for travel. I was able to find a small pouch to use to hold all the accouterments (and have space for the other bracelets), but it just seemed odd the pouch/carrying case was not included or even made available in the store as an accessory.
- Going into sleep mode, to track my sleep habits, can be a bit wonky.
- The dashboard via the web is different than the app version, which is okay, but some of the options available on the website are not available on the app, which is annoying. This always seems to be the biggest problem I run into with software developed for the web and the mobile apps come later: it’s assumed behaviors are not the same in both places, or expectations, when many of them are.
Overall, I really like the Flex. My goal is to figure out what I’m doing now and then improve on it to get more healthy. I also love that I can sync MyFitnessPal with Fitbit so that makes things easier for tracking food/exercise. Fitbit also uses gamification, which can be fun, but since I’m still pretty low on the totem pole on some things, it doesn’t seem to have the thrill yet. I do like how I want to walk everywhere to improve my total steps per day, but step count on the app is slightly off I’m a spaz and move around a lot without necessarily walking, thus the Fitbit counts those as steps. But so far, out of the other things i’ve tried, this is a really good way to get started getting fit.
This day in Lisa-Universe in: 011