Cuckoo for Roku

I’m not a huge fan of TV. I can’t binge watch anything unless it’s mindless. I won’t catch up on missed episodes of a show. In fact, I will likely abandon the program altogether, but I will watch hours of guilty pleasures like Lockup and Hoarders. I’m not a huge fan of TV, but a little purple stick is changing that.

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I wasn’t exactly sure what it did or why we needed one, but the premise seemed cool. Our old flat screen has two full HDMI ports, so a trip to the electronics store was in order. I asked if they had something that could increase the number of ports, but when I asked this same question years before, there was no such thing. Until now.

There was an HDMI splitter and an HDMI selector. They sold me a splitter, but somehow I knew I needed the selector. After a failed installation, I was correct. I exchanged the device, smug in my knowledge that I knew something that the kids in the store got wrong. My smugness wore off as I realized I needed to purchase a $70 part (plus another HDMI cable) in order to use a $40 streaming stick.

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Once home and properly configured, it was magic. While my spouse added about four horror channels and Mutant Sorority Pictures (a channel devoted to B movies), I chose A&E, History, and CBS News 24/7. Roku has the greatest channel ever, Documentary Depot. I love documentaries, and I love that I can add watchlists to A&E and History (not so with Amazon’s streaming device).

About a week before we acquired the Roku, we bought an Amazon Fire TV Stick. It was great at first, until we got the Roku. The Firestick lacks the content we enjoy compared to the Roku. The Firestick is good for Amazon Prime members, it’s easy to locate free programs through it. (We are still in the free 30-day trial period of Amazon Prime, which we intend to keep after the free trial is over. We held off for a long time, but the increasing minimum purchase for free shipping and access to the lending library for Kindle made the leap a no brainer).

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It’s not possible to switch between different Amazon accounts on the Firestick, unless you deactivate to sign into another account. Unfortunately, deactivating means that everything that was saved to the stick will be deleted. Instead of returning the Amazon streaming stick, I use it for Prime shows, and I am able to watch my Netflix and You Tube accounts on it, while hubby has his separate Netflix and You Tube accounts on the Roku. It does save us the hassle of having to login to our separate accounts.

Who knew our dumb TV could be turned into a smart TV? Had I known, I would have splurged on these devices sooner. Another advantage of the Roku over the Firestick is the remote. The Roku’s remote uses alkaline batteries, while the Firestick uses the sometimes harder to find button cell batteries. However, there are apps to control both units with a smartphone, which is handy in the event of a misplaced remote (or dead batteries).

I would love to get these streaming sticks for the bedroom TV, but that TV has no HDMI inputs. It’s a 12 year old 32” Sony HDTV, an early high definition unit that has a tube, and not a flat screen. It was our family room TV until the Sharp Aquos came along. The Sony is a hefty 200 pounds, does anyone want to help me move it?

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Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Loretta.

It’s been far too long since my last post. The end of 2015 was not kind to me. In fact, it was downright rude.

My mom was hospitalized and in a rehabilitation center for two months, until her release right before Thanksgiving. We had an enjoyable meal at home, with so much to be thankful for given all the recent events. Her homecoming would be short lived, as she returned to the hospital for more surgery after just a week.

We weren’t sure where we would celebrate the holidays, home or hospital. Fortunately she was sent home the week before Christmas, and as of this writing is home and doing reasonably well, all things considered. The clothes I hung on the back of the bedroom door in the event I had to make a quick hospital run have finally been removed. I don’t panic as much when the phone rings. This is my new reality, as anyone who has a chronically ill parent can understand. I am fortunate to live seven houses away from my mom, which is a blessing since she lives alone and is wheelchair bound.

After one of Mom’s many surgeries, her doctor gave us some sobering news. He told us that she has actually lived longer than most people with her disease, and anything now is bonus time. I was blindsided, it was something that never occurred to me. Information like that has a way of changing your priorities and perspective on what’s important in life.

Not only was I dealing with a sick parent for a couple months, at the same time I was dealing with a sick cat, our beloved Ozzy. When I wasn’t visiting mom wherever she was, I was at the vet’s office. They were both in bad shape at the same time, and I admit there was time when I thought I would lose them both. I’m happy to report they are both on the mend.

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Mom and Ozzy – Both Recovering, Thanksgiving 2015

I finally had some dental procedures completed, my troublesome wisdom tooth was extracted last year, and root canal #2 is in the books. I’m annoyed with myself for both procedures, if I didn’t have a fear of the dentist both teeth would have been just fine with early intervention. When I was getting the root canal, the endodontist discovered that I also had a sinus infection. Roots of some teeth go into your sinus cavity, and when he was working my tooth was “leaking.” Gross. My tooth is much better, this is the first time I’ve been pain free since before October 2015.

So what have I been doing besides running to hospitals, rehab centers, vets, and dentists? My 9 to 5 has gotten busier. I am still volunteering for the animal shelter, and last year received a service award for my 12 years with the organization. I have been reading much more. Spending more time with Mom is also a priority. What I haven’t been doing is writing, and I hope to change that. Spring is coming, and things are looking up.

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Tiki – One of My Adopted Shelter Cats

Mirth and Madness, I didn’t forget your birthday. On February 24, 2016,  you turned three years old. You’re my platform to dump my random thoughts, and you have been therapy for me, a bargain at 56 bucks a year. I hope to start treating you better, too, and get back to our weekly schedule.

I hope 2016 is going well for everyone so far. I wish good health and happiness for every one of you!