It’s on, Fire.

Here’s my status update on why I love the new Fire HD 8+ that I just wrote on Facebook:

I upgraded my HD Fire 8 Plus tablet to the newest release, and I am seeing less and less use case for the 10-in except watching movies in bed… and I already have a new TV that came equipped with Roku and a FireStick 4K (for Zac now), plus a FireStick Lite on the living room TV. I have a feeling I’ll either like the 10 again when they upgrade it to the same version of Android that the new 8+ has, or I won’t. The smaller form factor makes all the difference, especially when texting on the screen. If they could manage to put their top of the line hardware into the 7-in Fire, I’d be a convert to that. The iPad mini is the last time I’ve had this much fun with a tablet, because there are so many creature comforts in native Android that FireOS has incorporated, like Dark Theme. I wish I didn’t have to hack it, though. I wish that you could get every piece of software in the Google Play store natively, because they don’t even have the most popular password managers (the problem being that most apps on Android require Google Services Framework). It’s too frustrating to have used Android before and had to hack my way around all it’s pretty huge annoyances. Luckily, XDA has done all my work for me. With the 8-in form factor and 3GB of RAM, the bottom line is that the extra gig on the 10 is missed, but not enough to take away the joy from not having to carry a Bluetooth keyboard if I don’t want to lug it. It’s also lighter and thinner than the old one. I am an Android person. I have an iPad Pro 10.5 that supports an Apple pencil and all that jazz that an Apple person gave me. I haven’t used it in two years.

In that moment, I was right, and I was wrong. The extra gig of RAM allows me to do serious work, like having a web browser, an e-mail client, and an office suite open at the same time. It’s got extra power, and I use it like a laptop. I just can’t use it like a tablet. Too clunky to type, even though video calls are better. But we’ll see. I might do a test vlog and see if the camera is capable of capturing me without me having to hold it. That would be a nice thing.


Unexpected Pleasures

Last night, my sister and I ended up at Chaplin’s, another ramen house closer to her DC hotel. The restaurant we originally planned for that I couldn’t think of yesterday is called Toki Underground, but is closed on Sundays. I recommend that if you come to town, try them both. As I said yesterday, you can’t go wrong with the tsukemen style ramen at Toki Underground, and at Chaplin’s, it’s the miso that is so over-the-top delicious that there isn’t even a word for it. Lindsay also had a matcha pina colada that was delicious, but after one sip, I was convinced it would kick my ass. I had a bit of house sake and ice water instead. Even the basic house sake was top shelf- smooth.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and I asked Lindsay if I could make a cup of coffee in her Keurig. She said “sure, but I’m about to go to bed.” I said, “well, I still have to make it home.” She invited me to stay. In less than a second, I was in bed with the covers pulled up to my chin. “Staycation” might as well be my middle name. In fact, I was taking a marketing survey the other day and it said to describe your dream vacation. I told them I wanted to go to Washington, DC. Even though it’s my own city, it never gets old. I am a perpetual tourist, albeit one that knows all the local customs. I have often said, and I mean it, that I could see one incredible thing every day of my life and by the time I died, I still wouldn’t have seen it all. And let me tell you, even if you’ve traveled to and from DC a hundred times, the view of the monuments from the air never gets old, either. I tear up every time on the approach at night.

This morning, it was announced on local news that the Obamas were having their portraits revealed at the National Portrait Gallery. I nearly threw on my clothes and ran, but didn’t for two reasons. The most important was that I didn’t have my psych meds on me, and withdrawal from them is getting the shakes, a massive headache, chills, sweating, and crying because of all the other symptoms. So I really didn’t have any choice but to come home. I also knew that because the Obamas were going to be there, if the event was open to the public the line would be an entire neighborhood’s worth of people and if I wanted to get in, I should have left last night with a tent and my Kindle. I will, however, turn up eventually. The NPG is probably my favorite so far of the Smithsonians I’ve visited, because they have everything from Lincoln-era photos to modern art. In fact, the portrait of Bill Clinton looks like it’s made up of multi-colored hamburgers and hot dogs (you have to get close to see the shapes). How’s that for knowing the president’s personality? 😛

Yes, I know Clinton is now a vegan. But that does not mean that there aren’t incredible vegan versions of all types of junk food. I know, I’ve tried them. There is nothing in the world I love more than healthier versions of “bar food.” Two words, people. Daiya. Nachos.

Back to you, Bob. Let’s go to the phones.

My “staycation” also included watching the Olympics on TV. A Canadian whose name I cannot remember (comment, would ya?) stole my heart both with her technique and skating to my mother’s absolute favorite piece of music, Rhapsody in Blue. Quick flashback- when my mother and I both sang in the same church choir, we always ended with a devotional by a different member. She had come to see Alejandro Vela play it at HSPVA, and her talk was about watching his technique and seeing how a particular figure was done, and it being a light bulb moment for her.

The last unexpected pleasure was coming home and having to deal with Amazon customer service. A book that I’d ordered for a baby shower on the 24th (the twins, who I now know are boys [!!!!]) hadn’t arrived yet, and when I told them that, they not only sent me a replacement, but I told them I needed it by the 24th and they threw in same-day shipping for free. They did all of this through web chat, which was spectacular. I didn’t have to go wait in line, and I didn’t have to wait to talk to anyone. Being put on hold is a special kind of hell, but through chat, the response was immediate. Five stars, highly recommend.

I’ll tell you which book I chose after the shower is over as not to spoil the surprise. I will tell you, though, that it was one of my favorite books when I was a toddler, and it’s not a book that is popular today, so I know it’s a likely possibility that it will be a unique gift.

Hopefully an unexpected pleasure for the babies and parents alike.