Fun outing today…A logical solution for load shedding!..Thanks, Gerhard!…

Who’s in the garden this morning?

  • 13 warthogs – inc. Little, Lonely Boy, Lonely Girl, Fred and Ethel, and others
  • 12 bushbucks – inc. Chewy, Thick Neck, Bad Leg, Spikey, and others
  • 5 kudus – inc. Bossy, Big Daddy, and others
  • 41 helmeted guinea-fowl
  • 2 Frank and The Misses

Today, Rita and Gerhard are picking us up at 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs., in their newly purchased vehicle, and we’re all heading to the Crocodile River for game viewing, photos, and sundowners. As soon as darkness falls, we’ll head to Jabula for dinner. There’s load shedding tonight from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm, 1900 hrs to 2130 hrs.

Since we’ll be at Jabula for dinner, most likely, it will only be a short time until we have power, when later they’ll drop us off at our bush bouse. We usually sit at the bar for an hour or more and dine around 6:30, 1830 hrs. It’s easy for us to entertain ourselves for several hours.

An oxpecker on the back of a kudu.

Recently, when load shedding ramped up again, I thought, if we could download some movies or TV series, we could watch a few shows during the outage. However, after trying several possibilities, I realized how difficult it is to download movies or tv series on a Chromebook.

As mentioned in a prior post, we can no longer use Graboid, a straightforward monthly fee download site. It just doesn’t work for Chromebooks. As it turns out, for the same reasons, Graboid doesn’t work, nor do Hulu downloads, and many others available online. This was frustrating.

Had we known this when we purchased Chromebooks, we undoubtedly would have stayed with Windows 10, although we weren’t keen on that operating system with its weird nuances. So, here we are, with what we have. Tom’s new device is also a Chromebook; since he disliked Windows 10 so much, he didn’t want to start that up again.

This morning, Big Daddy stopped by to see what was on the menu.

Gerhard doesn’t use Chromebook. However, he had read our previous post, where I mentioned our inability to download movies, and he surprised me while we were out to dinner at Bos. Restaurant here in the park. He handed me a flash drive with approximately 50 movies on it from 2016 and 2017, all Academy nominees, and offered to let us download them and return the flash drive to him when we’re done.

This way, during power outages, we can watch movies in the dark. How do we do this with no power? Simple. Our Chromebooks have a massive advantage over any other operating systems and devices; the batteries may last as long as 14 hours since a recent charge. This was a big motivator for us in choosing Chromebooks.

Of course, playing downloaded movies may reduce the available charged time considerably. But, with the inverter Louise and Danie provided for us in this house, if our laptop or phone’s batteries are low during load shedding, the inverter will recharge them. The inverter kicks in when the power goes out.

At times, bushbucks nibble on these plants in the side yard.

The inverter doesn’t provide enough power for the entire house, only one lamp in the bedroom, two-floor fans, and sufficient power to recharge our phones and laptops. Nevertheless, it’s all we need during load shedding. So, when Gerhard gave us the movies, I downloaded them onto our external hard drive, which fortunately had enough room for all of them.

Then, a dilemma presented itself. There was no sound in any of the movies, although the video quality was good. Unfortunately, Chromebooks have lousy sound systems. We’d downloaded an app, Ultimate Volume Booster, from the Google store for our regular viewing. It works excellent for Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon but wasn’t available to use for Gerhard’s movies.

Then, I downloaded the app, VLC Media Player, and finally, we had sound, easily adjustable for Tom’s loss of hearing. Next, the challenge was finding all the movies on our two terabytes hard drive that is almost full after adding the movies. I needed to know each movie’s name to find it or spend at least 30 minutes or more scrolling through all the files.

Little and some friends.

Yesterday, on an app on my phone, entitled “Keep,” I created a list of every movie. Once we watch one of the movies, I’ll make a note next to each item, “watched.” That way, we don’t have to recall what we’ve watched. In going through the list of approximately 50 movies, there were 8 to 10 of them I know we’ve already watched. Tom rarely remembers the names of movies or TV series we’ve seen in the past.

Now, when the power is out, I open VLC, type in the name of the movie we’d like to watch (from my phone app), watch it, and mark it as “watched.”  Easy peasy. Of course, all of this took a few hours to set up. But, now, when there’s no power, we have an easy solution to keep us from staring at our phones, playing the same dumb games over and over again. Thanks, Gerhard! We so appreciate the movies!

That’s it for today, folks. We hope that you, too, find workable solutions for the challenges facing you!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today,  June 12, 2020:

After returning from Kruger on a Sunday, we headed to Amaazing River View, Serene Oasis, to watch the sunset and wildlife on the Crocodile River. This waterbuck was busily grazing on the vegetation as we captured his reflection in the river. For more photos, please click here.