I was so busy involved in getting my notes on Webster House straight that I forgot to mention a major grief spasm, the first after several days of calm. As I left the house to head for my meeting, my eye was caught by the azalea under the front window, which is covered in pink blossoms. This was Marian’s favorite plant, selected by her and carefully nurtured for many years, and its blooming — which always seems to come unexpectedly, one day bare and the next day blazing with pink — delighted her every year. I was just swept with a wave of pity and regret that she couldn’t enjoy its blooming now. I tried to talk it out to my steering wheel as I drove to my meeting, and couldn’t keep my voice from breaking. Still feel it, as I write.
At the game, Stanford rolled over Cal, winning by 25. This seemed to me like a great demonstration of the power of the home court advantage. Based on the record this season up until this week, Stanford should be about a 10-point winner over Cal every time. Cal has lost to several teams Stanford has beaten. However, playing at Cal, the teams played virtually even, were tied several times, with Cal finally winning by a single point on a buzzer-beater. Cal shouldn’t be that good, nor Stanford that bad! Then, at Stanford, Cal conceded a 10-point lead to Stanford in the first two minutes and lost by 25. Cal shouldn’t look that bad, nor Stanford that good! Location and crowd support would appear to provide a 10-15 point swing in favor of the home team.
That said, following the game Tara talked to the crowd and, asked about the difference, said approximately this: “We watched a lot of film of the last two games [both were losses] with the team, and pointed out all the places where a little more effort would have made a difference, and I think everybody stepped up today.” So, you know, maybe coaching has something to do with it…
Stripped the bed and sorted and started the laundry before heading out to coffee. Tried a new coffee shop, Mademoiselle Collette, which had been pointed out to me by Joan, as a feature of living at Webster House. Meh, not impressed. Well, impressed to this extent: they actually know what a macchiato is, and a cappuccino. Pastries ok. But the place is too small. All the four(?) small tables were in use when I arrived at 8:15. I had to sit at a narrow counter in the window, not very comfortable for reading the Sunday paper.
Back home I did a lot of inconclusive thinking and shopping. This will be boring for anybody but me.
Thinking about TV
First shopped for a TV. Looking ahead at The Transition (see yesterday), how much of my aging home theater setup should I carry over? Practically none. I’ll be dropping DirecTV for whatever the chosen ILF has (probably Comcast), so, different DVR. I’ll probably drop the receiver at the center of the system because, (A), I only use it to switch between the DVR, the Blu-Ray player, and the laptop; and new TVs all have at least three HDMI inputs, so can do that. And (B), its other purpose is 4-channel sound from various devices, which I don’t really need; a modern sound-bar unit driven by the TV will do just fine. So a new TV can do all the useful functions of the receiver. Good, one less box. The TV itself? It’s ok but there is better new tech. However, the really good new TV tech, OLED, is only available in sizes 49in and up, about 5in wider and 2in higher than the present TV.
Suddenly I realize that very likely, I want to take the TV stand/room divider piece along to the new location.
Thinking about a laptop
Second, shopped for a replacement laptop. My 2013-era Macbook Pro (MBP) is aging; there’s an annoying little split in the cover of the screen and the keyboard is acting wonky, and so on. The house is full of macs, two iMacs and two Airs and this laptop to which I often seem to be joined at the hip. (How many of them go to new location? Just one iMac, the “big” (27in) one, and one laptop. The others can go back to Apple for credit.)
Anyway, in 2017 Apple screwed up the design of the MBP with a redesigned keyboard that is pretty universally reviled; by replacing the row of function keys with an illuminated “touch bar” that nobody likes; by dropping the USB, HDMI, and SD-card ports; and by dropping the “magsafe” magnetic power connector. New ones have only USB-C, aka “Thunderbolt” ports for power and connectivity, which means you need a “dongle” to connect to an HDMI cable, another for your old USB devices, another to plug in an SD card to get photos off your camera.
But wait: I have adequate USB and SD card connectivity on the big iMac. All I really need from the laptop is to connect via HDMI to the TV screen, which I used to do fairly often. But wait, I only did that so Marian and I could both watch a streamed basketball game. If I am not sharing the experience with anyone else, I can watch a video stream on my personal lap. The laptop screen, on my lap, is the same size as the TV at eight feet. Doh, maybe I don’t even need one dongle!
Still, I hate the touch bar and am suspicious of the latest keyboard. So option one is to buy a refurbished 2015/16 MBP off eBay; ones in “mint” condition are about $900. Or, two, to buy a new Macbook Air, the latest redesign of that model; it doesn’t have the touchbar. $1400 for a new one. It comes down to the latest keyboard; can I tolerate its feel? If so, I think I’d rather have the newest machine. I need to go and put my hands on one at the Apple store.
Well, the laundry is finishing up. I’ll wrap that up then drive to the Apple store; then it will be time to watch the superb owl.
Later: bought a MBP
Went to the Apple store, tried the current Air, didn’t like it. I could use one if I had to, but the keyboard has very little travel, half the travel of the one I’m typing on. The trackpad also has extremely small travel on a click. In both cases the machine provides a “haptic” click or tap feeling to reinforce the feeling you’ve typed or tapped. But the impression is of being very stiff, yet highly sensitive. There’s no play in the keys; the tiniest random pressure from a fingertip and you’ve typed a letter. So I came home and ordered a refurb 2015 era model.