Book Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

November 30, 2017

Brain Candy for Firefly Fans

Problem: Solved

Ok, so I had a real weird problem while I was away from home.

Of course, as of this writing, they still haven't answered me. Nothing I could find related to Microsoft, OneDrive, or any of the other MS apps worked either. This means I had to figure out a solution myself using the tools at hand.

Problem Solving Methodology

On my Pixel C, VLC wasn't working the way I needed it to, but the other option to view the videos was Plex. Plex???? For playback of videos in OneDrive? Ok ... Hit Plex, voila! Video lesson played flawlessly. No buffering, no other issues I was experiencing with VLC. But I still really wanted a playlist, ya know.

So I remoted into my home computer (because who doesn't, and I couldn't create the playlist in the Plex app, that would have been lucky),

grabbed the files from OneDrive, made a PMP Video Lecture Library for Plex, loaded videos into there and ...

Hey, look at that, I now have my video lectures, in a playlist, on my tablet.

Now I can watch my videos, in the order that I need to, without going back into OneDrive to select the next one in the series.

Somewhat related video that turned up while I was looking for a gif for this post.

Book Review: Artemis

November 21, 2017
Image Credit: Audible.
Click through to see all the amazing extras that audible has put together for this production.


Artemis by Andy Weir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A little science/chemistry heavy...

But I expected that since it is Andy Weir. Rosario Dawson makes an amazing narrator for the character of Jazz. Thoroughly enjoyable on multiple levels. I was laughing out loud on multiple occasions and quoting bits to friends in random text conversations. I wouldn't mind listening to it again. Weir did a fantastic job creating a strong female character who is not (technically) a Mary Sue, she just has a lot of wasted potential and I found her to be relatable. The Lunar society he creates is very believable, and he goes so much into the science and chemistry that my eyes may have glazed over a bit.

View all my reviews


Audible also has a bunch of cool additional material like a map and unofficial guide to Artemis. Interactive dome maps and more.

Review: Pixel Buds!

November 17, 2017



  1. Google Assistant in my ear. It also showed me that I really need to clean out numbers for everyone on speed-dial. Took entirely too long when speaking because Assistant kept asking me which number to use for the various contacts I wanted to call. Instead of, you know, the one that I text and call all the time. So for all you conspiracy theorists, Google does not know all, even when it's on your phone. Either that or the AI needs a lot of tweaking.
  2. Google Pixel Help - Can it be broken? Just hand it to me. I'll QA that thing in ways you never imagined.
  3. via GIPHY The Google Chat help techs were good, even if I did eye-roll once or twice (because, help desk, and I am contacting you because I couldn't figure it out on my own and I am not a normal user).
  4.  I haven't had a chance to play with translation, but the Babelfish ability was the main selling point.


This list was surprisingly easy to come up with starting within just the first few minutes of wearing the Buds. Software and audio-wise, I have no complaints. The issues below are just my opinion and my special ability to break things came into play again.
  1. They hurt like a mofo! I kid you not. I can stick most things in my ears and use the default gel cover, so I know my ears aren't terribly abnormal. I mean, I even find the JBL Connect comfortable for a few hours. After I got Assistant set up and got over the giddiness of trying new tech, I realized that my ears hurt. I would not be falling asleep to Moby's Long Ambients wearing these anytime soon. 
    This is supposed to be the correct configuration
    so that they don't fall out of your ear.

    If I wear them slightly incorrectly,
    I can stand a few hours.
    Why hasn't anyone come up with gel pads for these things?????
  2. I'm female. I know that Google hires women. I would hope that there were some women on the development and product testing team for Pixel Buds. Or even a man smart enough to do the research on how people actually treat their headphones and where we put them. Maybe even a man with long, thick hair that things get tangled in? Or anyone who has to deal with the lack of space in what passes for pockets on women's clothing and skinny jeans???? Judging by some lacking features, I would say not. Back to the female part, sometimes I wear clothes without pockets. I know, INCONCEIVABLE!!!!

    Most headphone makers have addressed this (I'm looking at you LG and Samsung). I even have some "hidden jewelry" type BT headphones for certain occasions. But these, these, what am I supposed to do with them???? I can't hang them around my neck because they will fall off and/or get tangled in my hair. Not a proper neckband, the earpieces don't cleverly stick together to form a functional if slightly tacky "necklace", you can't loop together to form a bracelet (trust me, I tried, they fell off).
  3. And if I don't have pockets, there's no point in carefully putting them back in their case (because let's be honest, that is the only way to get them back in so it closes) to carry around with me. I need a better solution in order to be able to wear them on my body all day.

    Update 11/20/2017

    And lastly, they don't multi-pair. At least not for me. I was able to pair them to my Pixel C and that dropped the connection to my Pixel 2 XL and then I had to go through the whole rigamarole of re-pairing them back to my phone when I wanted to switch devices. 
  • Realize that headphones aren't paired. 
  • Hit "Connect" from the phone. 
  • Try to force the pairing from the case. 
  • Remember that buds have to be in the case in order to pair.
  • Put buds back in the case and press button for 10 minutes until they finally re-pair, maybe -- because simply pressing "Connect" doesn't work! Eventually, I had to forget the buds and try re-pair from scratch. Lesson learned.
  • When that didn't work, contact Google Help. Get disconnected from chat. Have the Google Help tech call me back and walk me through the reset process. 

How-to Reset Your Pixel Buds

Y'all, there's a reset process for the Pixel Buds!
  • Place buds in case.

  • Hold button for 60 seconds or until the light flashes amber. Yes, your thumb(nail) will get sore.

  • Let go and wait until light flashes green (you may have to press again after the light flashes amber) and then go through the documented manual pairing instructions.

  • Always make sure that you have a green light when you open the case (if your Buds are fully charged). That is apparently the indicator that they are ready to go. No light = no joy.
    And there you have it. Now, I am going to back to listening to Rosario Dawson kick ass on the Moon. These are good for audio books.

    Photo Friday: Weather

    Storm clouds over a field
    Storm clouds over a field
    Went for a hike. It started beautifully if a little humid. Opted to take a trail instead of staying on the paved loop. Hear a roll of thunder, hope it's just the train. If only we had been so lucky. I had just been contemplating my success at not getting muddy while at the park. Mother Nature has a sick sense of humor. Not only did I get muddy, we got drenched through! My shoes were squelching while running with Pluto who was having none of it. Just as I would get him down to a walk, another roll of thunder or flash of lightning would send him dashing off again! After the storm the clouds looked pretty awesome though. Only had the iPhone SE on me. Does that count for #shotoniphone?

    Originally posted on my instagram.

    The Final Countdown?

    November 13, 2017
    I certainly hope so! I don't want to even think about having to take this test again! And if that unfortunate event should occur, I will have to take it before March 2018 when it switches over to the 6th edition of the PMBOK. I'm not sure my mind could handle the overload of information.

    via GIPHY

    But we're not going to consider that right now. I'm going to join the ranks of people who pass on the first try.

    via GIPHY

    They've even published their how-tos. I'm just trying to do it in a quarter of the time. Yeah. This is going to be epic.

    via GIPHY

    Wait, positive thinking. I know I can do this.

    via GIPHY

    I am so nervous. I keep forgetting that I have a study plan and that I have been studying, and yet if the test were tomorrow, I am not 100% confident that I would pass. So I need to study more until I hit that "know-it-all" level that my family loves me for.

    via GIPHY

    And then there will be much rejoicing.

    via GIPHY

    Menu Plan Monday: Fall Feasting

    November 6, 2017
    The plan this week was to cook everything on Sunday and reheat throughout the week because evenings this week are hella busy. That didn't happen (but the house is clean!!!) I mean, look at those floors...

    I managed to menu plan and place my grocery order on Friday for Saturday delivery (yes, my time is worth the cost) so that was an organizational win. Maybe you'll have better luck with AmazonFresh. I'll be able to make and prep at least two meals tonight, probably have leftovers on Wednesday, and we'll have to see how the week works out. Adjusting to being out of the house for 10+ hours a day is still happening.

    Menu Plan Monday - hosted by

    Monday: Shepherd's Pie (recipe adapted from Caveman Casserole)
    Paleo Shepherd's Pie
    Paleo Shepherd's Pie

    TuesdayMoroccan Chicken Stew
    Apparently, when I nuked G+ I lost the photo to this one.

    ThursdayBlackened Chicken & Avocado Sauce--Over Zoodles
    This one is quick and easy. I'll probably cheat with some guacamole instead of making the avocado sauce. Finding good avocados in MA is getting harder and harder.

    Friday: Paleo Spaghetti - using spaghetti squash instead of zoodles. And GF noodles for my daughter, who has a thing about the texture of the squash.

    Now that fall is in full swing, what are you eating?

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