In 2008, when my parents sold the house I grew up in and started cruising the world in an RV, they gave me their flatscreen television for safe keeping. The expectation was that they’d do the On The Road thing for a couple of years and then take it back when they settled down. They’re still doing it, and the TV is now hilariously out of date. And a couple of weeks ago, the antenna connection stopped working, meaning it was time to upgrade.

The main requirements were: about 40 inches, wide viewing angle, at least 3 HDMI inputs, and never ever ever a Samsung. I was hoping I could also purchase it from a local brick-and-mortar store (instead of online) for an insignificant premium. We don’t need a 4k screen (at that size, and with our couch 11ft away from the screen, it wasn’t necessary. I spent lots of time reading Wirecutter, Rtings, and 4k.com.

The Wirecutter recommended TV (Vizio M43-C1) was very very close to what I needed, but it didn’t have a great viewing angle. I ended up deciding on a 43-inch Sony X830C. Great viewing angle and plenty of HDMI. Rtings felt the contrast wasn’t great and the surface was too reflective, but 4k.com didn’t really agree and general picture quality wasn’t super high on our list — I was sure it would be better than our old free screen.

Anyhow, it’s on the wall now. Six inches larger than the old screen, but covers up less wall. Definitely good. More detailed thoughts coming after I get more time to watch it.

Ever since my parents have been living within spitting distance of Fort Myers, I’ve sent them a quick list of Red Sox storylines going into Spring Training. Seeing as pitchers and catchers report today, I figured today would be a good day to do it. 2016 is going to be an important year for the Red Sox.

  • There’s a good chance that manager John Farrell is on a relatively short leash. His World Series victory in 2013 has given him a little benefit of the doubt, but the last two seasons have seen last-place finishes and declining attendance. General Manager Ben Cherington was replaced with his assistant Mike Hazen, so it’s clear that ownership is willing to make changes. I’d bet if we finish in last place again, Farrell would be gone.
  • We’ve got lots and lots of young talent, mostly promoted up through the farm system. Mookie Betts (RF) is probably the most prominent, but Jackie Bradley Jr (CF), Xander Bogaerts (SS), Rusney Castillo (LF), and Blake Swihart (C) are all promising kids, too.
  • We signed the premiere pitching free agent in December: David Price. He’s making $30 million this year, and then also for the 6 years following that. He won the Cy Young in 2012 and was 2nd in voting and led the AL in ERA last year. He won 18+ games three of his last five seasons and we haven’t had an 18-game winner since Lester in 2010.
  • We also picked up a big name closer: Craig Kimbrel. Led the league in saves for 4 years (4th place last year). Both he and Price are solidly in their prime, too: 28 and 30, respectively.
  • As for last year’s big signings that didn’t perform as expected, well, we’ll see how they go. There were rumors of trade attempts for Pablo Sandoval ($17M/y) and Hanley Ramirez ($22M/y), but nothing panned out. Ramirez was moved from his usual shortstop (where we’re overloaded) to left field last year (where he looked lost at Fenway, especially compared to the young guys) and this year will be at First Base, where he’s never played.
  • The rest of our starting rotation is pretty stable from last year, which is to say: mediocre. Buchholz will look amazing through June like usual, but then will go to 15-day DL and stretch that out to missing a dozen starts. (We exercised his option for this year, and we’ve got another one for next year, but I wonder if we let him go if he can’t stay healthy. Again.) Porcello will hopefully live up to his 4-year $20M+/y extension. E-Rod, Kelly, and Wright will probably get through the year with 4ish ERAs and we’ll have to hope that’s good enough to keep us in games.
  • And last, but definitely not least: this will be Big Papi‘s last season. By most advanced metrics (WAR, OPS+, RE24), he was among the top hitters on our team yet again last year and hopefully he’ll go out on top too.

Most statistical projections have us favored to win the division or be in the running for a wildcard, both of which depend on some luck and few injuries. Hopefully it’ll be an exciting year.

Go Sox!

The number 2016 is 11111100000 in binary. Years whose binary representations are just 1s followed by 0s have been rare for a thousand years, but we’re going to get more and more in the next few decades:

2016 11111100000
2032 11111110000
2040 11111111000
2044 11111111100
2046 11111111110
2047 11111111111
2048 100000000000

And then no more until the 31st century. So enjoy them while they last!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens had a pretty big opening weekend. It broke the records for domestic opening weekend ($247.9M, over Jurassic World‘s 208.8M) and worldwide ($529M, also breaking Jurassic World‘s 524.9M). But that’s not all.

  • Largest Thursday “preview” day
  • Largest Friday, largest opening day, largest single day
  • (Not the largest Saturday, it was 3rd, behind the first Avengers movie and Jurassic World
  • Largest Sunday
  • Largest Monday (in this case breaking Spiderman 2‘s 11-year-old record)
  • Highest per-theater average (this record is probably the craziest — it broke Jurassic World‘s previous record by 22%)
  • Fastest movie to $100M (in fact, the very first movie to break 100M in one day, so this record will never be broken, only tied) and the fastest to $250M
  • Largest domestic and global IMAX weekends
  • Biggest December opening weekend (by a factor of 3! $248M, compared to the previous record was the first Hobbit at 85M)

There are more, too, but they’re all implied by the above ones (largest PG-13 opening weekend! Largest holiday weekend!).

And for the record, my review:

Our Sign With Stars On It

It’s morning now.
That thing we saw last evening — can you see it?
It was on the other side of that wall.
We could see its colors even though there was a fight happening.
In fact, the fighting gave off light that let us see it all night!
So, is it still there?

(Inspired by XKCD’s Up-goer Five and repeated singing of The Starspangled Banner to my infant daughter.)