Paying to watch Game of Thrones

March 31, 2013 ~ 02:53pm

For fans of the show, it should be no surprise that Game of Thrones was the most pirated show of 2012. Though I had absolutely NO interest whatsoever, during my seasonal cable usage I received 3 months free of HBO and decided to watch Game of Thrones. And ... now I'm hooked. I surprised myself, as I didn't expect to enjoy this genre of television.

So today (3/31/13) is the premiere of Season 3 of Game of Thrones. I do want to watch it, but subscribing for HBO (and the update to my cable) does not sound appealing. I thought through my options:

  • Subscribe to cable and HBO for 10 weeks. This comes out to apx $75 total.
  • Wait for the Bluray: This comes out to apx $45. However I have to wait till apx 1 month before the next season. So that would be around February/March of 2014.
  • I could purchase it through some streaming method (Amazon VOD/iTunes). This comes out to about $40 and has a similar delay as the Bluray.

The down sides to each of those options:

  • The cable companies are downright evil. Paying for cable annoys me.
  • I personally don't like to own unnecessary physical items. If I had Blurays I doubt I would actually ever watch them more than once.
  • Streaming, while great in general, is lower quality video. (Though to be fair some cable providers do a poor job encoding their HD television broadcasts.)

So my compromise is to sign up for HBO only for the last half of the season. Since Comcast provides OnDemand playback of episodes of the current season, I can easily watch all 10 episodes over the course of a month or so. The cost would be closer to $25-35 depending on when exactly I sign up. And overall, the delay of another month or so seems reasonable.

I'm not sure why I didn't consider this in the past. I've been paying for Showtime for 10 weeks out of the year to watch Dexter and probably will do the same.

Yes, I know that I could join the piracy, but I choose not to.

Picking Sides on the Job

April 14, 2011 ~ 08:59am

When I look back at my days working for a Fortune 500 (actually 10) company, I learned that often business can be just personal - the people, not the principles. A well informed employee sometimes needs to determine with which "side" they need to align in order to get their job done. As an engineer, it was not uncommon that neither side really wanted to do the right thing. They were just taking positions.

A previous manager of mine came to rely on my opinion on some technical matters. Of course this wouldn't preclude me from commenting on non-technical matters. Whenever I wound up sitting by her in a large meeting or conference hall, I would be quick to provide advice on the potential impending situation. I tried to determine that if a battle broke out between the different sections of the hall, which side we should join in order to be victorious. Also where best to hide if a big robot tore off the roof and started snatching people up. And equally as important: which co-workers would last longer against zombie bites before becoming zombies themselves. ... She never out-right admitted it, but I know she appreciated the anticipatory brilliance of my non-trivial suppositions.

This is just another example of how no previous co-worker, team or business unit has ever regretted having me on their side.

A Late New Year Reset

January 31, 2011 ~ 09:31pm

Today started what I hope will be an end to my meandering thoughts on life. The month of January has been quite an exhilarating 31 days. A few weeks ago, in a surprise even to myself, I left the cubicle culture of the "mega-corporation" that I gave over 6 and 1/2 years of my life. (I have plenty of reflections, but I will save those for another post). And this morning, I stepped into a more demanding role at a smaller company where the work is more challenging, the hours longer and most importantly the rewards are much better. ... While I'll still be sitting in a cubicle, the environment, people and responsibilities have little semblance to my past setting.

... I had been planning a trip to Spain (to visit my cousin) for February, but due to the circumstances I decided to go ahead in January as a treat to myself. I came back last week after touring Barcelona, Seville and Madrid. In a sentence: one of the best trips of my life. I could write novels on that, but again, some other day.

So apologies in advance, my inbox has been flooded since December and work/life/etc. has just been a total mess ... my computers are in boxes :( ... I hope to be situated and back in some sort of rhythm in the next month or so.

And to conclude this positive post: the net effect of the recent set of events (trip included) is that I feel like a totally different person. I am so looking forward to 2011 and beyond ...

St. Patrick's Day

March 17, 2010 ~ 08:16pm

I've always found it a bit ironic that St. Patrick's Day occurs during Lent. Some Catholics (not all) typically forgo some indulgence as a form of discipline and self denial in the 40 days prior to Easter. And some Catholics (not all) create an excuse to allow this holiday of sorts to be an exception to Lent. It can be a further disappointment when St. Patrick's Day happens to coincide with one of the Fridays in Lent - which in NO uncertain terms are deemed as days of fasting and abstinence. Luckily this year that did not happen.

One such season where this it did occur was in the later half of my university years. By chance the Bishop granted dispensation for that Friday in Lent. One could make up their fasting on their own, but essentially everyone could interpret this as a "free ticket". Not considering how silly this may sound to a non-Catholic, I casually mentioned this to my colleagues waiting for lecture to start one morning. Perhaps I added a bit of enthusiasm, I don't know, but I will never forget uttering the sentence that began with: "The Bishop says...". And they didn't allow me to forget it either.

Till the end of the semester, the response to anything I said would always begin with: "Don't worry, the Bishop says it's okay" (or something to that effect). ... It's fine, they weren't really mocking my religion (my Hindu buddies would never do that). Honestly, I thought it was pretty funny too, even though it got on my nerves sometimes.

Anyways, while many surrender their attention to a pint of Killian's, wearing green or perhaps kissing the Blarney Stone - on St. Patrick's Day I am left to ponder what the Bishop might say.

A Modest Look Back Over 2009

January 1, 2010 ~ 06:27pm

Happy New Year! I started writing this yesterday, but didn't get a chance to publish.

This last year was quite an revolutionary year. Lots of up's and down's, hello's and goodbye's and some serious shakeups in the workplace. I want to list some of notable points about the last year. There is really no major order, anything and everything that came to mind I added.

Some of the positive things...

  • Had 4 memorable fun trips this year.
  • High point: U2: 360
  • Best CD I purchased: Coldplay: Prospekt's March off Amazon (actually 2 CD's)
  • Best DVD I purchased: The Departed off Ebay (I'm cheap)
  • Smartest purchase: some running shoes
  • Musical talent I found most fascinating in 2009: Lady Gaga (yes, I admit it)
  • Best 2009 Movie I saw: Up from Pixar (so sad, but yet so sweet)
  • The "family" grew not once, but twice
  • Someone I thought for sure would never get hitched actually tied the knot - there is hope after all
  • Old friends: 1 engagement announcement, 1 baby on the way announcement and 1 yes!-i'm-finally-a-daddy SMS!
  • I took the time to really learn something about investing
  • I finally tried Netflix, I feel stupid for waiting so long - and they have so many bollywood/hindi flicks
  • Along the lines of Netflix, also came to enjoy Redbox - how can you beat $1/day rentals?
  • I got Windows 7 Ultimate for free, and I hate to admit I really like it
  • Coolest gadget I should have bought much earlier: Playstation 3, so many things you can do with this thing
  • I DID NOT get laid off from my job

And some of lower points...

  • Sad farewell to my Uncle
  • Missed a chance to visit China (major bummer)
  • Realized I need to be more careful on my diet and lifestyle ... the gut is here
  • Lots of disappointing movies in 2009
    • Terminator: Salvation - had such a b-movie feel to it
    • The Hangover - previews were much better
    • Star Trek - Star Trek should not be sexy!
  • Not many good places to eat outside of the new office location
  • Most annoying personality of the year: Glenn Beck
  • Many friendly intelligent colleagues disappeared from the workplace, hope they learned something
  • I DID NOT get laid off from my job (there's a flip-side to everything)

Of course there are many things that I can't quite categorize. I had a few personal epiphanies (many go beyond the scope of this blog).

  • I realized in the past that I have been quite the luddite. I can't beleive how often I have resisted change.
  • I realized I have no concrete goals. (That's probably the nicest way to put it)
  • I don't really know anything about investing. Years of reading still seem like you're missing something.
  • Deadlines really do make the world go round.

And about this new decade that begins with 2010, I have some hopes and fears. Sadly, they start with health care. America you really messed up. When HR says things like "consumer driven options" it is code for "you are screwed". I can deal with that since I am relatively healthy and not in any position that something will bankrupt me, but others? I'm not so sure. ... And will the movie and music industries get a hint already: adapt or the torrents will destroy you! ... Netflix, Redbox and on-demand streaming: maybe cable TV is no longer necessary? ... And the real gem for this coming year: more Android phones! (even though Google is beginning to scare me).

And in conclusion, I did actually pick one real resolution: I resolve to stay single for 2010. Tougher than I originally thought...

Happy New Year