Lockdown: I dropped your hand while dancing

It passes for decent sleep nowadays. After a mostly restless Friday night, I got about four and half hours uninterrupted in the early morning Saturday. Small triumph, but I’ll take what I can get.

I had to drop some DVDs in the mail, so I also picked up Hawaiian food for like the third time in the lockdown. It was really good, and super duper filling. It was breakfast and lunch, and I think I could have skipped dinner if I’d gone to bed at a decent hour. Late Saturday night, though I got a little hungry, so I made myself a quesadilla.

I spent the whole day like it was a vacation day, pretty much vegging right through the evening news.

I called my parents to see how they’re doing. They’re fine. They enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner I dropped off for them. We agreed to do something similar for Christmas dinner, and for me to drop off gifts for the rest of the family once they’re ready.

Listened mostly to Taylor Swift’s Evermore, but spun a few other albums from earlier this year so I could write reviews. Apocalyptica and Ryte.

I wasn’t super productive during my dedicated writing time, but I did okay. Journaled and reviewed the Ryte album. I don’t like the direction the reviews are going in: they’re just too wordy for what I have in mind, so I think I’m going to rethink the way I free-write them. This is how I feel and this is why, and maybe a highlight or lowlight. I don’t know; something like that. They’re taking the shape of my film reviews, which are a different creature entirely, something I generally write for an audience of me. I like reading my long film reviews; I doubt anyone else does.

Ali texted me to respond to some stuff I sent her this past week. Crush Girl and I traded a couple of texts about her week. She’s been busy so I’ve left her mostly alone. Reid texted to ask for an album recommendation. He’s spent Saturday mornings lately spinning classic albums. I suggested Crosby, Stills & Nash’s debut album, since they were a huge influence on Cecilio and Kapono (they bonded over their love for CSN when they met at a party a long time ago).

Lockdown: Hometown skeptics; champagne problems

I slept terribly Thursday night. Got out of bed a little early Friday because I thought I might hit Taco Bell for breakfast, but I got involved with my work and remembered I had all that Japanese curry in the fridge, so that was breakfast, with some leftover hapa rice. Good brekkie.

I posted the web story I was sitting on, after stitching together some photos for our header. Then I wrote the social media copy and sent it out. It was the last day for one of my coworkers, someone I really like, who started working with us a few weeks before me. She was a good coworker and a good work friend. I used to confide in her about stuff I didn’t talk about with anyone else. Haven’t seen her since March, which has been a disappointment, and now I don’t know if I’ll see her again.

We had a good-bye thing with doughnuts and pie, some of her favorite things, in the office break room. I didn’t go, of course, and wrote her a short email instead. She didn’t leave contact info in her aloha email, but she did send me her personal email directly, so that was nice. I thought I was going to have to message her on LinkedIn.

I did not finish that one nagging story I really need to finish, so that’s part of my weekend plan. Ugh.

After work I watched the news and did a couple of easy chores, then took a good, long nap. The nap may have been the best part of my day.

I spent most of my evening alternating between spins of Taylor Swift’s Evermore and Chris Cornell’s No One Sings Like You Anymore, Part I. I also spun some old Genesis albums from the 80s and Testament’s Titans of Creation, which I reviewed during my dedicated writing time.

The writing time was productive if not especially good. I signed off kind of early, hoping I’d get to bed early enough to maybe hit the beach Saturday morning, but while I did put myself to bed early, I was up again at around three and didn’t get back to sleep until half an hour later, so I just slept in.

Sharon texted me to ask what I knew about one of our coworkers. We’re doing a Secret Santa activity (I’m a sucker for these), and Sharon needed ideas for the person she drew. JB responded to my question about the new AC/DC album. He’s entirely off base with his take, though. I can’t believe he thinks Black Ice is better than Power Up.

My late lunch was some cold somen with the leftover dressing from Thanksgiving’s Chinese chicken salad. It would have been lovely but I topped it with cold kale and some radish sprouts. The sprouts were actually great but the kale was kind of a distraction. I found myself eating as much of the kale per bite as I could so I was left with just noodles and dressing near the end. Much better.

I think my dinner was a slice of strawberry guava pie. It’s good but it’s much too sweet. I’m going to have to cut myself much smaller slices, or whip some cream to cut that sweetness.

It was a little bit of a bummer of a day. I think I’m unhappy because of my not finishing my work quickly enough for my peace of mind. Need to get on that.

What do you have going on? If you need someone to share it with, feel free to reach out in the comments. I’ll send you contact deets and you can text me all about it.

Lockdown: No hurry, beef curry

I don’t know what’s going on with my sleep this week but it’s been terrible. I dragged myself up Thursday morning and got to work. Posted a new webstory, then left it unpublished while we chased down some photos large enough for our format. We had a department Zoom meeting that went pretty well. We’re doing it weekly now instead of twice-weekly as we’ve done since the lockdown in March.

Breakfast, at my desk as usual, was a turkey-bacon-avo sandwich from Machete’s I picked up after running an early errand. It was delicious, and this place might be my favorite sandwhich spot now. It’s edging out Earl of Sandwich.

After work, as I watched the news, I made Japanese curry in the Instant Pot. Came out pretty great, ‘though I keep forgetting to use Yukon Golds instead of russets, so the potatoes fell apart. It’s kind of amazing to make a very large pot of curry in just fifteen minutes of cook time. The pot takes time to come up to pressure, so there’s that too, but this time it felt very quick.

That was a late lunch. For dinner I was kind of full, so I just had some of that steamed kale on leftover mashed potatoes. I ate the whole thing cold, which probably wasn’t the best idea from a culinary position, but I just wanted to get something in me. And I wanted to finish off those awful oniony potatoes. And I’ll be adding kale to a great many meals for the next few days. I bought a whole farm of it.

I was spinning AC/DC’s Power Up for the review I wrote during the NaNo Skype session, but Sharon texted me to say the new Taylor Swift was already up, so of course I switched to that. The first song, “Willow,” is so good I didn’t even get to the second track until I’d listened to it four times. Maybe five.

The second and third tracks are also great, ‘though the album does lose a little bit of momentum as it proceeds. Still a terrific album. Moody and melancholy, and she records one track with Haim (a murder ballad, I think!) and one with the National, which suits the vibe of the album perfectly. Sharon was unfamiliar with the National, so I turned her on to “Bloodbuzz, Ohio,” which she loved.

Enlightening young listeners, one awesome song at a time.

I used my dedicated writing time to write my AC/DC review and my The Beast Player review. Neither is my best work, but I was happy about the productivity. I had a lot more to say about the AC/DC album than I expected.

When I wrapped, I wasn’t ready for bed, so first I did all the cleanup from making curry, and put my leftovers away. Then I just kind of zoned a little. Finally turned in close to three. Bleah!

In addition to the SMS listening party with Sharon, I sent a few texts to JB about the new AC/DC album, then the Julie-Cindy-Suzanne group text about the new Taylor Swift album. No responses except Suzanne, who’s on a Kpop thing lately, who said she’s still only spinning the new BTS album. Great. I need new friends! I knew Julie’s bould be fully immersed in it eventually. She’s on Rhode Island time so I didn’t expect her to respond until later. Oh yeah, I also told Sylvia I went to Machete’s for breakfast. No response.

You need connection? Hit me up in the comments. I’ll send contact details. Don’t be alone!

Review: The Beast Player

The Beast Player (2006; this translation 2019)
Nahoko Uehashi; translated by Cathy Hirano.

The coastal village of Ake is a breeding and training ground for the Toda, ferocious seadragon-like creatures handled with utmost caution by select caretakers.  Elin’s mother is descended from a different people, rumored to have a dangerous magic enabling her to control the Toda.

Elin’s green eyes give her away as descended from the same people, and she seems to have inherited some of the same abilities, but when she’s orphaned as a little girl, she has nobody to instruct her in the lore of her mother’s ancestors or in their abilities.

Nahoko Uehashi’s The Beast Player series, published between 2006 and 2009 in four installments, inspired a manga series and an anime series.  This 2019 English translation by Cathy Hirano combines Uehashi’s first two novels in one volume, and was a Printz honor book and a Batchelder honor book (for young adult literature and translated juvenile literature, respectively), a dual recognition inspiring my purchase.

I was immediately drawn into Uehashi’s elaborate fantasy world’s politics, mythology, and geography, but it’s Elin herself who kept me turning pages.  The young, abandoned woman applies her problem-solving intelligence and innate sympathy for animals to developing profound relationships with a few very kind people.

Yes, Elin is held in some awe when people see her green eyes, but when she engages them, they become better versions of themselves.  This is not the story of a woman gifted with deep understanding of the world’s most feared beasts.  It’s the story of how she uses it to affect the people around her, possibly even in a way that changes centuries of political conflict.

This is the ambition the best fantasy literature sets out with.  Alienation plus special talent plus international conflict is a well-established formula, but set against this new, Japanese-flavored world, it feels special, at least to this half-Japanese reader.  Certain elements remind me of Anne McCaffrey’s Menolly character in Dragonsong and Dragonsinger, but Elin is a special heroine I can’t wait to read more of.

Friday 5: Heigh ho

From here.

  1. What do you do when it’s bedtime and you’re not sleepy?
    If it’s just not being sleepy, and not insomnia, I usually stare at my phone for a while, then lie absolutely still on my back with a podcast playing, usually one I’ve already listened to, and Darth Vader stuck to my face. I make myself not move, as agonizing as it can be: no wiggling, no shifting, just lying still. I’ll either focus on the podcast or just use the podcast as background sounds while I think about, um, doing things with whoever I’m crushing on, but not Crush Girl because I haven’t gone there in my mind. This usually works before too long. If it’s actual insomnia, I usually stare at my phone until I drop from exhaustion or until it’s time to wake up. Sometimes I get up and eat something or do a crossword puzzle until I’m ready to try again.
  2. When were you most recently bashful?
    I’m bashful by nature, so this is almost always an easy question to answer, but with no social situations these past nine months, it takes a bit of thought. The best I can do is a few months ago when I participated in a Hawaii Public Radio trivia night with my friend Sylvia. It was on Zoom, and Sylvia was the only person I knew, so I was seriously uncomfy. We won, though, and I contributed a few correct answers nobody else knew (Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar; the women’s professional soccer league was the first U.S. professional sports league to resume play after the lockdown; the titles of plays a bunch of Shakespeare quotes came from). So I got a little less bashful and made a couple of jokes, too.
  3. Have you seen a doc in the past nine months?
    I was a no-show for my appointment with my opthalmologist in May or June, and asked my GP to let me get some bloodwork in January. So, no. EDIT: For my company’s staff newsletter, I write a monthly movie column, and this month I’m collaborating with a new coworker, who mentioned in her bio that she loves documentary films. We’re working on a column about our favorite film docs, which reminds me that I saw Woodstock late this past spring. I’m counting it!
  4. What’s got you feeling grumpy lately?
    I haven’t been feeling much emotion at all lately except a bit of boredom. Oh, certain current events are totally making me grumpy, but I’ll avoid them for this entry. I can’t find my Kindle, and haven’t seen it for months. That’s getting super annoying, so I’ll go with that.
  5. What’s making you happy today?
    Again, I’m mostly only feeling boredom these days. Still, I had to run an errand this morning before work, and I picked up a turkey-bacon-avo sandwich from Machete’s, my second visit to the sandwhich shop. Delicious. At least for the moments I consumed that thing, I was pretty darn happy.

Lockdown: You’ve got kale

A safer way

Got up at 4:30 Wednesday so I could hit Safeway when it opened at 5:00. My neighborhood Times Supermarket opens at the same time, but its first two hours are reserved for seniors and other vulnerable people, which I totally respect. While I planned to go to the enormous Safeway on Piikoi, my favorite, it occurred to me that I could go a little further and hit the Manoa Safeway, which I knew would be practically empty at this hour.

I think I spent more on groceries than I ever have in my life, by about thirty bucks, and I don’t know what the difference was, except that Safeway is generally pricier anyway. I guess there were a few items I don’t usually purchase, and they added up. It’d been a while since I bought steak, for example, and I picked up some stew meat (note to self: make that tonight), a bottle of Angelo Pietro dressing, and an enormous bag of kale.

The dressing is my something different this time. I bought some potatoes and a daikon to make raw potato salad, perhaps over the weekend. I think the salad will go great with my leftover dressing from the Choi’s spinach tofu salad, but in case it doesn’t I kind of want the real thing.

Packed it all away, did some emailing, and went back to bed for about forty minutes.

A wheel pain

Tried to drop the car off, but when we went into the inspection, the person helping me asked me for the wheel lock key. I didn’t know what she was talking about. She explained it to me, I asked what it looks like, and we looked in the usual places. No dice. It’s entirely possible it was in one of the usual places when I bought the car, but when I gave it a first cleaning, I might not have known what it was and just tossed it.


I brought the car home, looked again and didn’t find it, then looked at online options. I didn’t know what I was doing here. The woman at Firestone had suggested a quick trip to Sand Island to get a replacement key from Ron’s Performance, a store I’m familiar with. I’m glad I went home first, because when I looked it up, I learned it closed early last year.

The worst part of all this is not that I didn’t get any work done on my car, but that if I’d had a flat, I would have been powerless to change the tire. This is super annoying.

If the wheel locks are the ones that came with the car, I can order a replacement set with a key from almost any auto parts store, but there’s a lot of stuff on this car that isn’t stock. Since I’m taking the car to the dealer anyway Monday morning for the airbag recall, I’ll take a moment to ask the dealer for advice. Then I guess I’ll take it from there. If the wheel locks are original, there shouldn’t be a problem. Famous last words.

Nap out of it

Work was okay. My boss had to keep postponing our one-on-one, which affected my flow, but honestly, my flow wasn’t flowing very well. I have to get this other (late) story drafted, dang it. Thursday for sure. A good Taco Bell breakfast, some caffeine, and maybe a little prog metal, and I’ll be amped to fill the narrative gaps.

I was comatose tired. I wrapped up my workday (not that there was much to wrap), watched the news, did a couple of chores, and took a deep nap, getting up at about 8:00 to think about dinner and get some writing done.

The nap was the most successful effort all day. I woke pretty refreshed and got to work on the enormous bag of kale I brought home. It wasn’t going to fit in my tiny fridge, and my only real solution was just to cook it all, so it would shrink down, then pack it in zippered plastic bags, which are better than plastic food containers for fitting into available spaces.

This is one place where the Instant Pot is brilliant. A couple of cups of water, a steamer basket, several large handfuls of kale. Pressure cook for two minutes (which takes five minutes or so, since the pot has to come up to pressure first), dump onto paper towels, and repeat. It took five reps to get it all cooked, and I munched on the kale throughout the process. It’s good when it comes right out of the steam.

Took a while to get rolling when the NaNo Skype started, but stuck with it when the others retired, and wrote the review of New Kid I posted last night. Didn’t speed-write that one since I had to be careful of a few things.

Wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend

So dinner was leftover wasabi mashed potatoes with a bunch of steamed kale. Not a lot of food, but I’d had a large lunch, which was a steak, cooked with Mitchell Street seasoning (a gift from a coworker). Also a mess of instant mashed potatoes with wasabi oil and some super-oniony butter. Breakfast was an Egg McMuffin combo from McD’s, picked up on my way home from the supermarket.

Sylvia texted me to ask if I was ready to dine out. There’s a new saimin spot everyone’s buzzing about, in Penny’s neighborhood. It was a nice gesture, but I told her I’m not ready yet. Let’s all get vaccinated first. I sent my coworker Stacia a photo of lunch, since she gave me the seasoning a year ago and I finally took it for a spin Wednesday. She totally forgot she gave it to me: her response to my text was that she loves spices from this company. I had to remind her that this was a gift from her, which was kind of funny.

Sharon and I texted about a possible job lead for someone she knows, with a friend of mine who runs an alternative school. It led to some conversation about the new Kina Grannis cover of Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper,” a song I love. The Cindy-Suzanne-Julie group text buzzed a little but then petered. Crush Girl and I texted a little about the art of workplace gift-giving, which gave me an idea for an article. Filing it for next year, since it’s too late for this year.

Good interaction with friends and coworkers today, and I got my fridge stuffed with interesting experiments for the coming week. I’m calling it a push, since I was stymied on the car wars and made no progress on stuff I get paid for.

Review: New Kid

New Kid
by Jerry Craft (2019)

Jerry Craft’s New Kid won the 2020 Newbery Medal.  It’s the first graphic novel to be awarded juvenile literature’s most prestigious honor, so it’s worth checking out simply on these merits.

Told episodically over the course of a school year, New Kid is the story of Jordan, an African American teen sent to a private school by his mother, who works in the business world, and his father, who runs a community center.  Jordan’s parents are fully aware that the adjustment is difficult for their middle-schooler, but they value his chance to attend a highly regarded institution, like any parents would, and they do their best to help him get through.

click to view larger (and read text)

There are only a handful of Black students on campus, and they don’t necessarily become Jordan’s best buddies, even while they all experience seeming built-in microaggressions aimed at their otherness.  One teacher never gets Jordan’s name right, a running gag through the novel, and a secret joke for Jordan and one of his Black classmates.

It isn’t only the color of Jordan’s skin that alienates him.  He’s a teen, after all, so alienation is built right in.  Add his newness and his desire to attend art school instead of college prep, and there is plenty of separation for Jordan everywhere he turns.  One of the best things about the novel is an occasional excerpt from Jordan’s sketchbook, where we get a first-person glimpse at his subjective teen experience.  They are hilarious and clever and add a dimension to the narrative you don’t often see in traditional prose.

I’ve spent my life adoring the Newbery, mostly as a reader but also as an educator.  I wrote my Master’s thesis on it, and I therefore have all kinds of biases about what’s Newbery-worthy and what’s not.  I sort of can’t help it: my favorite novel is a Newbery winner, and several other Newbery winners are among my most cherished books.

Graphic novels are a different kind of literature, and it’s silly to pretend they aren’t, with advantages over prose fiction and disadvantages too.  I had to be won over the way I expect every book with the gold medallion on its cover to win me over, but I admit this one had a few additional speedbumps to get over, just because it’s the first of its kind.

It delivers.  Hard.  It’s engrossing, amusing, entertaining, contemporary, emotional, and loaded with attitude.  Craft’s terrific illustrations guide the reader’s attention across the page like the best-crafted verbal narrative.  The artist-writer tells you when to slow down, when to speed up, when to scrutinize little details, and when to take in everything at once.  It’s beautiful and a total joy to read.

Lockdown: Captioners running amok

I took the first half of my Tuesday workday off, to address my car situation. Set an appointment to have the defective airbag replaced, at the dealer on the edge of Kalihi. I kinda hoped, unreasonably, there would magically be an opening first thing Tuesday morning, but it’s finally going down first thing Monday.

Then I made an appointment for an assortment of services at the Firestone in my neighborhood. First thing Wednesday.

So I had a few hours to do whatever I wanted. Used it to clean the car out and then took a nap.

I got to work at around 2:30, doing some housekeeping stuff and then the background for a new story about 13th year programs on the Big Island. I have a major soft spot for these programs, which have been successful at community colleges across the state. I’ll enjoy working on this one.

Yes, I watched The Bachelorette again. I have nothing to say except stuff I’ve already said.

Did a little bit of writing with the NaNo Skypers, mostly speed-wrote the review of Secret in Their Eyes I posted yesterday. I’m trying to find a balance between accepting any productivity at all as a positive and not letting myself just cruise. If I’m going to sit down for dedicated writing time, I should write. But I’ve been distracted by stuff like making dinner and taking out the trash and stuff.

I went to bed early-ish, setting my alarm to hit the Safeway when it opened, in case I have to leave my car longer than planned. Needed to make sure the fridge had enough Diet Pepsi, you know.

For a late breakfast, I had corned beef hash with hapa rice and a couple of eggs. It was enough food that I thought I’d skip lunch. Then the meal I considered dinner was canned mackerel and hapa rice. But I got hungry late, and there was still hapa rice, so I had canned chili, causing the mackerel to be lunch instead. Retronaming my meals.

Not a lot of texting. Jennifer sent me a photo of her TV, a still from the local news displaying the caption, “Monkey runs a muck in Japan.” Siiiiiiigh. I did a little of FB messenging with a former colleague. That was pretty much it.

Work tends to slow down after mid-December, ‘though I certainly have stuff to keep me busy. Still, we’re being encouraged to take time off. I can also certainly find things to keep me occupied on vacation, but why? Maybe I’ll feel differently once I get some of these car things finalized. I’ll be more likely to jump in my car and go for long drives, which I miss. I’m trying to think of safe ways to deliver Christmas gifts, too.

If you’re going through the season without enough connectivity, please leave a comment and I’ll send you my contact details. I’ve been preparing my whole life for a holiday season like this, but not everyone’s so happy to crawl into a cave. I’m here if you’re not the type.

Review: Secret in Their Eyes

Secret in Their Eyes (2015)
Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor.  Written and directed by Billy Ray.

I’ve mentioned many times that I’m no fan of thrillers.  Yet I’ve seen a few movies in recent years that either qualify as thrillers or were marketed this way, and I survived mostly intact.  While I doubt I’ll ever seek them, I think maybe for a time I will no longer avoid them if other factors draw me in.

Such as Julia Roberts.  In Secret in Their Eyes, a remake of a 2009 Argentinian movie reviewers seem to like better, Julia is out-prettied by both of her costars, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor.  Kidman as a Los Angeles prosecutor is just gorgeous, equal parts uptight, straight-shooter, and professionally flirty.  Ejiofor, whom I don’t think I’ve seen before, (edit: he was in The Martian but I don’t remember him) is charismatic and handsome in a tortured way.

As most films in this genre, this one’s difficult to review without giving anything away, so I’ll say what I like and what I don’t like as safely as possible.

The premise is intriguing.  Roberts plays a cop whose daughter is murdered.  Ejiofor is a counter-terrorism FBI agent assigned to LA to work with the police, as driven as Roberts to find the killer, but reasonable factors about the prime suspect make pursuit complicated and difficult.

However, we’re meant to care about the story’s relationships, and here’s where the film fails.  We get barely enough of the Roberts-Ejiofor relationship to explain the characters’ actions, but the Roberts-Kidman and Ejiofor-Kidman relationships are never established or developed, while certain parts of the film rely on them.

It’s too bad, because the acting is very good.  I don’t mind where the movie goes, but I’m not given enough to embrace it or reject it, so all that’s left is a kind of icky, hollow feeling and an affection for the actors.

You could do worse, but you could do a lot better.


Lockdown: Her love’s so heavy, gonna make you stagger

I got decent sleep Sunday night, crawled to the desk, and immediately got busy with some editing, first on something for the medical school and then for something on Maui. Turned them around quickly and drove to Taco Bell for breakfast. It was yummy. I worked on a couple of other stories, neither to completion, and then posted a press release to the website. Late in the day, the med school thing came back with new content, so I suggest more edits. Not my most productive day, but busy enough. And the two DOs I worked with were thankful for my help, so that was nice.

Amazon Claus brought the Jimi Hendrix Live in Maui double CD. I pretty much listened to that all day. Then I listened to the football game until the news came on.

It was trash-to-the-curb night and I hadn’t done any decluttering work all week, so I let the NaNo Skypers chat with each other. I went though a large box of file folders and tossed almost the whole thing, then did a sweep of the house, just grabbing stuff and throwing it in the trash. Also cleaned out the fridge, tossing a few things that had outstayed their welcome. It wasn’t a full bin I rolled to the street Monday night, but (again) it was heavy, and the visual difference it made on my living space is pleasing.

Finally wound down and did a token amount of writing, but nothing worth hanging onto. I tried to set up a reservation via texting to get the defective airbag taken care of, but operators were only at work beginning at eight in the morning. Then I made an appointment to take the car in for an oil change and not a safety inspection, but a general inspection. I mostly want to know how much I have left on my tires and brakes.

Went to bed around one.

For lunch I had the rest of the tofu-spinach salad. There’s a good amount of the dressing left, which I think I’ll have with cold somen in a day or two. I had a very late dinner of a couple of quesadillas. Used the scorpion pepper Tabasco on the first, then just plain cheese in the second. This may be dinner Tuesday too, depending on whether or not I go to the laundry this week, which I don’t think I will. Gotta drop the car off at nine and then walk up the hill or (more likely) grab takeout and take the city bus up the hill. At that hour I think there will be enough distance, if there are other passengers at all.

Jennifer texted me an article about Thermos-branded soup bowls and rice bowls, Japanese style. It’s a great idea. I want to try one for ice cream.

Ali sent me a photo of the bulgogi she made. I checked in on Crush Girl who had what sounded like a good, fun day. It was nice to hear.

It was an okay day. Not especially productive or exciting, but not bad at all. I’ll take it.

Offer for connectivity is still good. Look at the bottom of literally any other post in this category for the info.