AndyO Blog

Monday, April 20, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Game distractions

At the beginning of the lockdown, I favored playing games on my iPad mini. Two in particular were Tail Gun Charlie and Crash Dive, Both of which are produced by Panic Ensues Software.

Tail Gun Charlie is an adrenaline rush of blowing WWII aircraft out of the sky as a (wait for it!) tail gunner. The genius part of this game is the  endless customization, including type of aircraft and delay between when they appear.

Crash Dive is a sophisticated U-boat simulator that also offers multiple game types and customization. As a commander, you get to prowl the Atlantic in search of prey. It’s always fun when aircraft carriers show up.

But iPad games only go so far. Currently, I’m replaying Star Wars Battlefront 2. Every time I play the space battles, I’m in awe of the graphics. In addition to being able to fly around detailed Star Destroyers in an X-wing, the lighting is absolutely stunning. I suppose it helps to be playing in 4K.

posted by AndyO @ 10:50 PM   0 comments

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Snappy Dragon takeout

Tonight, we ordered takeout from the Chinese restaurant just up the street: Snappy Dragon. It’s been in the Maple Leaf neighborhood longer than we’ve lived here (23 years!). And in all that time, while we might have taken a few breaks from ordering in or out, it still remains a favorite.

Eating Snappy tonight was like visiting an old friend. Even if they didn’t seem to get the “1-star” heat rating for two dishes, I didn’t really care. Mouth on fire, I ate it anyway—dousing the blaze with two glasses of lemonade.

Speaking of fires, sometime in the early 2000s, Snappy Dragon almost burned down. We came back from a Thanksgiving break to discover that the area that contained Reckless Video, a coffee shop, and a Maple Leaf Bar and Grill was a smoldering heap. My next door neighbor, Pat, an ex-fireman, told me about how he tried to help put out that blaze—but because it was at the top of the hill, the water pressure was low, making it more of a challenge. Even so, they somehow managed to save Snappy Dragon.

Fortunately, both Reckless Video and Maple Leaf Bar and Grill found new buildings within a block or so of their old locations. And where the parking lot and Maple Leaf businesses once stood, there are now multiple condos. This has added more cars to the street—especially near Roosevelt.

I heard that fire was arson, though I never found out for sure. I just know that the sale of the land for condos made someone a lot of money.
posted by AndyO @ 10:55 PM   0 comments

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Amazon delivers TP

Today, we finally got our Amazon Subscribe and Save order of Charmin TP. It had been delayed for about two weeks, and then this morning I heard a “ Shave and a Haircut” knock at the door. The delivery person actually stayed with the box of TP until I answered. Surprised he didn’t have an armed guard with him to protect the 24 Mega Rolls.

In a weird confluence of events, I actually bought an inexpensive Tushy bidet during the holidays, so the need for toilet paper has diminished significantly. I bet after the COVID lockdown many more people will be going the way of the bidet.


posted by AndyO @ 1:06 AM   0 comments

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Car stolen!

On an otherwise relaxing Saturday, Brenda went out to the car this afternoon to drive Cameron to Bellevue—only to find there was no car! Our brand new Subaru Crosstrek gone (okay, we bought it last September, but I think that still counts).

I went outside to look at our other car, also a Subaru, which was parked on the street as well. I clicked to unlock, but there was no beep. I found the driver’s door open, the contents of the glovebox spilling out onto the passenger seat, along with my coat.

So that’s where my coat went...

Then I thought about how I hadn’t been able to find my key for the Crosstrek. And I got a bad feeling  that the thieves had gotten the key right out of my coat. Once they broke into the Outback, I’d basically given them the car. I locked the Outback and went back inside. Now I had to admit to Brenda, Cameron, and Drew that the key might have been in my coat.

After several calls to the police and insurance, I went back out to the Outback and tried to unlock it with the key. But the lock didn’t work! The thieves had broken it. I called AAA, and an hour later a guy with no personality showed up and opened up the car.

Now that I had access to the Outback, I popped the hood and started charging the battery. As I was doing that, I remembered that a friend on Facebook had said his sister’s car was stolen recently, and it just happened to be the same car as ours. I asked if she got it back, and he said she found it not far from her house. Also, my next door neighbor Pat said when his car was stolen years ago, he found it a few blocks away. He said, “Sometimes people just don’t want to walk.”

I looked to the end of the block, which is about a quarter mile away, and saw a white Subaru Crosstrek. I asked Brenda to go for a walk to see if we could find the car. I told her about the car down the street, but she seriously doubted that it was our car.

We walked down the street, a cold wind against our faces. As we got closer to that white car, I asked Brenda the license plate number again. It was a match!

We couldn’t believe it.

We looked over the car. The driver’s side door was open a crack. The glovebox was open. And there, sitting on the seat, was my key! I opened the door and grabbed the key. Brenda and I both thought we needed to leave the car where it was, since we’d reported it stolen. When she called the police back, they told us to leave it for three hours. They said if we drove it and officers stopped us, they would draw their guns.

So, if you walk outside one day and your car is missing, take a walk around the block, because it sounds like this is common pattern among car thieves.

I’m just glad to have the car back.


posted by AndyO @ 6:44 PM   0 comments

Friday, April 10, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Take out food

For the first time in 5 weeks, we ordered takeout: Pagliacci’s Pizza. Funny how it just wasn’t as good as I remember. It seemed like they rushed the order, with the toppings and cheese slipping off as you ate it. I bet it will be good cold.

Spring weather has now arrived in Washington, which is a welcome distraction. The quality of light changed on Wed or Thurs. So strange how we forget about this until the earth makes its way around the sun, and the angles lock into place.

It’s almost enough to make you forget about the dangers lurking outside.

During this winter/spring hibernation, my dreams have become more vivid. It’s as if the mind needs to make up for the lack of activity and social interaction. There are times I remember what it’s like to walk into someone’s office at work and talk to them in person. No video stuttering. No audio cutouts. Real-time, real conversation. Now those physical interactions are just a memory, like a dream.

Amazing how human beings can adapt to living and working from a virtual cave. But I’m left wondering what this pandemic would have been like 10 or 20 years ago, without all the streaming services and Internet? Without Amazon being able to deliver food to your front door? It’s as if we’re all able to plug into the Matrix—only to find out we’ve been doing this for a long time.


posted by AndyO @ 11:58 PM   0 comments

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Dr. Olson’s observations

During the Covid-19 crisis, my parents, who are both in their 70s, have had to continue regular visits to their doctors. One of those visits was on Friday, when my Mom had a monthly injection in her eye for macular degeneration. My Dad gave an interesting report to brother and sister (Erik and Kristen), which I’m including here:

“Yesterday was a historical day. Kristen had face masks made for us (Erik had given us a couple N-95s earlier). When we arrived at Mom’s eye doc, we waited in the near empty parking lot until we were called to come in. We put on our face masks. We were ushered to a room to get Mom’s shot -- no waiting, nor was there any one in the waiting area. All staff wore face masks and eye protection. They were all wearing the same pretty blue protective clothing. It was a scene from the “Andromeda Strain” movie — really eerie! 15 minutes later, we were ushered back out and given a couple different face masks. Now we each have three face masks and could part with a couple if anyone needs one😃”

One thing you should know is my Dad is a scientist, so he’s always observing or looking at data. At one point we started calling him a “big name scientist,” because he was on Good Morning America as part of a story on cold fusion, and that’s how they introduced him.

If you’ve never heard of “The Andromeda Strain,” I don’t recommend watching the movie any time soon. Basically, a pathogen from space comes to earth and has the potential to kill everyone. The plot is about the scientists who are tasked with finding treatment or a cure. The novel of the same name was written by Michael Crichton, who was in medical school when he started writing stories. He’d eventually write “Jurassic Park,” which was turned into 90’s blockbuster by Spielberg. But Crichton wrote many novels that were turned into films. I think my favorite by Crichton is a non-fiction book called “Travels.”


posted by AndyO @ 11:16 PM   0 comments

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Pandemic 2020: 1 million cases worldwide

The situation grows more serious in the US and the world. Unemployment claims skyrocketed to over 6 million. Trump has relented on his plan to open the country by Easter after seeing the best case scenario of deaths at 100k. Some states are still not in lockdown, and some people think this is all a hoax. In Seattle we’ve had days of hail and rain, adding to the apocalyptic tone. I haven’t taken a walk in over a week—and somehow feel ok about it.

However, there’s some good news to report:
  • Data shows social distancing is working in Washington and California.
  • 200k have recovered from the Covid19 virus worldwide.
  • Brenda learned to make hand soap with bars of soap and a food processor.
  • Brenda has been making some amazing food: Clam chowder, omelettes, and burgers. 
  • I had at least a day off last weekend.


posted by AndyO @ 10:48 PM   0 comments