Tuesday, January 29, 2008

30 second skip for Comcast remotes

I switched to HD and to Comcast. Tivo they are not. One thing I loved about Tivo was that with the push of one button, you'd skip 30 seconds ahead. Perfect for commercials. Here is the sequence:

Select, Play, Select, 3, 0, Select.

You'd hear 3 bings, then you'd have the good ol' 30 second skip programmed. Good times.

With the Comcast remote, specifically for the Motorola DCT3412 box, there is no skip button. There are simply 5 levels of fast forward, which was not too precise. Also factor in that the Motorola box seemed to respond slow to the remote and you'd have many moments of aggravation. That aggravation led me to Google and by typing in "comcast 30 second skip", it took me here which allowed me to program my new Harmony 360 remote.

After a few button presses and some downloading, my Comcast box has 30 second skip back. This is a good thing. This is a very good thing.

Gym log

2.29 miles
30.13 minutes @ 5.0mph
forgot to enter weight for calorie burn

3 sets sit-ups
4 sets bicep curls

Rip City Here I Come!

Gym Log

2.5 miles
30 minutes @ 4.6mph
270 calories burned

Sunday, January 27, 2008

HDTV: Where have you been all my life?

This thing is amazing. I got it out of the box Tuesday night and, with the help of a friend, set it up. Initially I wasn't too impressed, but then, I had just hooked it up and hadn't tweaked anything yet. Plus, I was a bit overwhelmed what with the new cable boxes and stuff. But it definitely was an improvement from SDTV.

Over the next few days, I spent a lot of time plugging and replugging cables and components, learning a lot about the TV online, and adjusting and tweaking settings. After doing that, it all came to fruition over the past few days. First off, I got my 360 plugged into the TV via component, with the audio going directly to the AV receiver. I set the 360 up to 1080p and, voila! Instant amazement! I tweaked a bit more and, I must say, I am completely satisfied with the results. My camera is dead, but here's a picture I snapped the other night:

I set it up for the HD signal as well, via HDMI, with the audio going to the AV receiver. Here's a shot from our poor Sonics the other night:

I played around last night with the On Demand stuff from Comcast and I'm pretty amazed. I've been watching a lot of the HD music shows. Checked out SNL last night. Even watched half of Field of Dreams in HD before falling asleep. The picture I'm getting from everything is freakin' amazing!

Sadly, my DVD player is a simple $49 Toshiba. It doesn't even have optical out, only coaxial! It is functional and now, it's merely a stop-gap until I can save up the $$ for a BluRay player. I did watch some Raiders of the Lost Ark today and, after tweaking, it looked pretty good as well. It makes me wonder what an upconverting DVD player would make it look like, but since the BR players do that anyway, buying one anytime soon won't happen.

I'm also wondering if maybe a PS3 is in the cards. After all, it IS a BR player, as well as a gaming machine. Don't know how I'd slip that past Marci though, what with the Wii and 360 taking up shelf space downstairs.

Anyway, this set up is fantastic. All I need now is a universal remote to control it. As luck would have it, my Logitech rep called the other day and I proceeded to ask him about Harmony remotes. I already have one, but that one has been gifted to Marci for her new 32" HDTV upstairs. So I've been using 5 remotes the past few days. Anyway, the Logitech rep was kind enough to send me a Logitech Harmony remote for the Xbox 360 to "demo". In other words, I get to keep it and all I have to do is sing Harmony's praises. If you go back far enough, you can see that I did sing Harmony's praises way back in 05.

I'll try to post more pictures of the bad boy later. All I can say now is I am glad to be in the HD community and look forward to spending lots of time with Sammy (the Samsung).

Friday, January 25, 2008


A Ford Expedition parked across the street at the Barnes and Noble lot. For the past 10 minutes, its horn has been honking. Thankfully not non-stop, but like morse code, so equally as annoying.

Luckily, though, it sounds like the horn is fading. Should be interesting when the owner comes out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I am spoiled

A few weeks ago while my in-laws were in town, my dad called me from Houston. He went on about an over-the-air antenna he bought for his HDTV. It was quite random, but he was very excited as it only cost him $50 and now he had OTA HD. I wracked my brain to see how this applied to me as I don't have an HDTV. My 8 year old Toshiba SDTV is doing ok and I can't justify replacing it until it fails.

Anyway, I told Dad that it was nice that he got an antenna that worked for him, but I had no HDTV. He told me to go get one. I said I couldn't justify it. He said he'd pay for it.

Huh? Come again?

I just left it at that, though, as he was in Houston for a few more weeks and I felt kind of sheepish about having Dad buy me a TV. But I didn't forget about the offer, though.

Fast forward to today. They got back in town yesterday and wanted to see us today so we went to lunch after church. He brought up the TV thing and asked if I'd gotten anything yet. I said no and asked if the offer still stood. He said that it did, so we headed to Best Buy to look around.

I ended up talking to an actual helpful salesperson at BB and he answered some questions for me. I usually do some research when looking into these kind of things, but Scott at BB was really helpful and hooked us up. With some cajoling from Dad, we pulled the trigger on a 52" Samsung LNT5265F. It's pretty badass, but I won't see it until Tuesday. We've called Comcast to get the digital boxes, I have the wall mount. Now I just need to get rid of my TV down here. We have one potential taker, so we'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, it will be quite exciting to join the HDTV masses. I may never leave my home again.

Thanks Dad!

Guess who's coming back to town??

May 31st at the Gorge. My favorite 3 dudes:

I may just have to go again. First Indy IV, then Rush again? Plus Marci's birthday? May is looking to be an expensive month!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Geek alert

Was goofing around tonight and found this killer Portal video. If you haven't played it, don't bother. But if you have, hilarity ensues!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cloverfield, or Puke Fest 2008!

I should have known better. Embarassed

With a history of nausea at watching home videos, and, more recently, playing Super Mario Galaxy, I went into Cloverfield with a false sense of security. I thought the movie itself would distract me from feeling sick.

I. Was. Wrong.

I heard a woman behind me say she was glad she took Dramamine before the show. Had I known just how jittery the movie would be, I would've taken a whole package of 'em.

So, aside from the fact that I missed about 10 minutes of the movie because I was puking in the bathroom, and aside from the fact that the rest of the time I was viewing the movie either through my fingers or with eyes closed, what I did see I enjoyed quite a bit.

I thought the first 10 minutes were entertaining, but a little boring at the same time. Add in that that's when the nausea began and you have the ingredients for a fabulous evening.

Heck, when the *hit started hitting the fan after the first 10 minutes, I was already reduced to peeking through my fingers or looking away from the screen. Ugh.

I thought the SFX were excellent. The audio was incredible and SUPER LOUD. The acting was adequate for this type of movie (I was expecting Lost-style acting, IE: annoying).

I would've liked to see more action in daylight, but alas, tis not the case. Also, you are left hanging quite a bit so looking into back story on the web will help flesh things out. I hear there's a lot of stuff out there Wink.

Go see this!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Last night at the gym

Nothing terribly exciting. I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes at 4.7 mph. I did a 5 minute cool down and headed out of there. Didn't weigh myself, but the running felt better. My legs were a bit sore and the 20 minutes seemed to take forever to pass, but once I was done, it was pretty cool.

No running tonight. I'm heading to Seattle to see Cloverfield. No spoilers!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Back on the horse

We have a gym/swim club membership. Why? Who knows? Because we certainly don't use it. Well, I don't. Marci and the kids went a lot in the summer for swimming. Heck, even I went to the gym a few times.

More recently, though, none of us have gone. We had tons of excuses. Family in town. Holidays. Too cold/dark/wet.

I got my hair cut on Saturday and as I sat there in the cape, staring at myself in the mirror, I realized how bloated and round my face was. I mean, I know that I'm a bit chubby, but when all I could see was my neck, chin and face, it just amplified the effect.

Anyway, long story short, I went to the gym for the first time in about 6 months. I ran for 20 minutes and walked about 5. I bought some push up bars the other day and did some then (still sore!).

The plan is to do a few sets of push ups every other day, with running on the other days. Yesterday, after running, the gym scale said I was 176lbs. Yow. I hope to keep this up and we'll see what happens.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Other stuff

Music: nothing is happening. Sean is out with a recuperating toe (he had surgery a few weeks ago), so I'm left with listening to a recording I made of LB practice a few weeks ago. It's been great for learning the songs, but it makes me want to play that much more. Hopefully Sean is back so we can hook up soon. In the meantime, I've been in touch with some other bands trying to hook up some shows. So much fun.

Home: the kids are alright. Haley has been kind of a butthead lately. She's had these horrible moodswings where she goes from sweet little Hay to COMPLETE RAGING BITCH. It's kind of annoying. We're pretty sure it's because she's hungry, but she just goes bananas. Even when we tell her to eat, or give her food, usually by that point, it's game over, man. She's sobbing, irate, screaming, just plain nuts.

Poor Riley just stays cool and does his thing. He and I have been getting along great lately. He's listening and doing what I ask and generally just being a cool dude. He still can be a pain in the ass at bedtime, but, even that's not too bad, considering the alternative.

Marci has been One Hot Mama lately. I find myself looking forward to every morning so I can see her and what she's wearing. It's a treat. She's been super busy with the kids and the house and taking care of everything. We got a chance to go out last Friday on a date (what's that?) and saw a movie and went to happy hour at Manzana. That was a good time. I'd love to do that more often, but finding babysitters can be a pain.

Misc: playing too many video games. I guess it's ok, though, with the writer's strike and all. No The Office. No, well, that's it. I guess that's all I watch. Luckily, Friday Night Lights has about 5 more episodes left before they call it a season. BTW, if you're not watching FNL, you're dead to me.

Happy new year and stuff. I'm heading out.

Let's Blog!

So we're 10 days into the new year and I haven't blogged. And I hate it when people start sentences with the word "so". Unless it's necessary.

I digress.

New Year's came and went without a hitch. I actually fell asleep at about 11:50 or so and missed the big changeover. Big whoop, right?

It was nice having two 3 day weeks to end the year, even though my in-laws were with us. I think it went pretty well with them, actually. Contrary to popular belief, I get along pretty well with them, especially my father-in-law. I can handle my MIL, but only in small doses. She is a special lady, that's for sure.

Marci's new car, of course, didn't come with an AUX input for the radio, so we are unable to plug in her mp3 player to listen to tunes. No problem, right? Just buy a cable, plug, something to add the jack. I researched. I read. She bought a dreaded FM modulator and we promptly returned that sucker.

I ended up buying an FM modulator as well, only this one transmits directly to the radio through its antenna. Plus, it was cheap, and it apparently wasn't too difficult to install. In hindsight, I should have spent a few extra bucks as the solution I purchased has been a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME!

In reading the reviews of this device at Crutchfield, it seemed that it would be a totally easy install. Tap into the stereo's antenna, find a power source from the radio harness, ground the sucker, voila! Instant connection. Yeah, right.

First off, it took me some time to figure out how to tear open the dash. After a few trips to Google for research, I was able to find out how to get the dash open (remove bezel around gauge cluster, remove trim next to that, remove bezel to radio, remove radio). Once I got it open and the radio unplugged, I realized that I needed cable adapters for the modulator. Great! I put the car back together and took the rest of the night off.

The next day I hit Fry's and found the 2 cables I needed. I also bought some tap-in connectors (which turned out to be incorrect, dammit!), so, even though I was able to plug in the cables, I couldn't tap into power.

Which led me to the next day, when I hit Radio Shack to buy some different connectors, as well as a multimeter to measure voltage from the radio harness. So (see? Here's a good place for a "so") I took everything home, and after dinner, proceeded to take the car apart again. I tapped into the power and ground, hooked up the modulator, plugged in the mp3 player and hit play. And then?

Nothing. But. Static.

I was so mad. At this point, I didn't know if I hooked something wrong (completely possible) or if I had a defective part (impossible to tell). I called a buddy tonight to see if he could help, so we're going to try to hook up on Sunday to do some testing.

Wasn't this an interesting post?