Happiness. Short-term, stupid, self-interest.

This is a Triumph

I’m making a note here:

Sometime late November 2006 I disappeared from my blog. The reasons are all good as I had finally made a decision on my HDTV. The TV I chose was the Sony Bravia 46” LCD KDL-W3000. More on that later…

Here are some of the steps of how it went up.








Once it was all installed and my cable service was upgraded I was glued to the TV. The Time Warner DVR is great. Originally, I was very anxious to put in a media center PC to record high definition, but not only are there technical problems with that due to restrictions by Cable Labs on Cable Cards (they can only be used in a certified system; i.e. a manufacturer like Dell would need to have the model certified which eliminates the possibility for home built PCs), I didn’t need it; the DVR is very functional and easy to use.



Then, after Christmas, I had even more reason to never leave the Barley Room… the Wii. I have been playing Wii sports, Madden 08, and watching everyone else play Super Paper Mario, Smooth Moves, and snowboarding. We have had several, very successful, Wii parties.



I’ve also been watching movies in my NetFlix queue that I have been waiting on until I got the TV. (by the way, Spiderman 3 was not very good) On top of all that, the home theater itself had just so many things to play with… calibrating the sound and picture, learning the remotes, watching my favorite movie scenes in high-def and surround sound, and lots more.

One of the greatest SuperBowls ever…


It is hard to truly describe and show how well this room works. My wife keeps saying, “what would we do without this room?”

The home theater experience really showed itself when we watched Transformers. I had already seen the movie in the theater, and I don’t know if it was because it was the second time around, or if because I watched how they made the movie, but I concluded that this movie is now one of my favoroties, ever. The sound, the comfy seating, the picture… it was just off the hook. (Did I mention the sound???)


It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.





February 25, 2008 Posted by | Family, Gaming, Home Improvement, Home Theater, Movies, Music, Tech, TV | 5 Comments

Sony Wins! (or do they?)

After Time Warner, NetFlix, and Wal-mart moved to Blu-Ray only, they drove Toshiba to do the only sensible thing which was to cut their losses and bend a knee to Blu-Ray. Sony has won the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD war. So what are they going to do next…? From BBSpot.com, top 11 Ways Sony Plans to Celebrate their Blu-Ray Victory:

Ways Sony Plans to Celebrate Their Blu-Ray Victory
11. Add rootkit code to all Blu-Ray DVDs.
10. Send solid gold fruit basket to Time Warner.
9. Change name of Blu-Ray to something more meaningful. Like HD-DVD.
8. Get unused “Victory for Betamax” banners out of storage. Edit them for the party.
7. Call guys at Toshiba, and play Beck’s “Loser” over the phone.
6. Watch Rising Sun on their HD-DVD player.
5. Release next generation of Higher-Definition video.
4. Get T-shirts printed up that say, “The HD stands for Hopeless Despair” and send them to engineers at Toshiba.
3. Raise price on Playstation 3 by $100.
2. Release Gigli on Blu-Ray.
1. Savor the brief moment of victory, while preparing for the next embarrassing defeat.

The war may be over, but we will be counting the losses for at least a year. Here is how I see it… Sony has spent millions (billions?) to win this war. The losses will take a long time to re-coupe. The remaining Hollywood studios need to get Blu-Ray savvy. The Blu-Ray specification needs to be ironed out and made as good as the HD-DVD spec. Manufacturers need to incorporate the new Blu-Ray specs. Prices need to come down which will now take longer since there is less competition. The Sony PS3 will only gain a small boost in sales as it still needs games, and game makers won’t make games until people buy a PS3. Microsoft can come out with a Blu-Ray add on drive and sell that drive to its 10 million XBox 360 owners.

In a couple years, Blu-Ray will become the popular disc format. Too bad the “disc” format will no longer be the most popular medium… as I’ve argued before, it still doesn’t matter.

February 20, 2008 Posted by | Home Theater, Movies | Leave a comment

An Evening Out

Catch up over at Hop-Talk.com…

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Family, Food & Drink, Music | Leave a comment

Marketing Speak

I love marketing… (you should be able to smell the sarcasm in that statement)

For example, my Verizon Wireless cell phone plan has a feature service “included for free”, called Mobile Web 2.0 Access; that costs $1.99 per Megabyte. However, I could upgrade to “Unlimited Free Mobile Web 2.0”; that only costs $15/month.

So let me get this straight… I can either access the web for free and just pay per access, or, I can pay to access the web for free. How can I lose?

I have another term to describe marketing and sales people when they talk like this… Shit Speak.

November 28, 2007 Posted by | Life in general, Pet Peeves | 1 Comment

Home Improvement – New Furniture

November 2007 

Just a quick handful of photos of the new furniture for the Barley Room. We are very happy with how nice it looks and how comfortable the sofas are. We will probably rearrange by the season, but this is how we are starting. It allows for the warmth of the stove and a cozy social sitting area around the Tavern cocktail table. The pub table has plenty of room to open up in the back. We may add other pieces in the future.






Now we are looking at blinds for the windows and starting to add in decorating touches. (oh, and that HDTV…)

November 26, 2007 Posted by | Home Improvement | Leave a comment

Don’t Pay Too Much for HD Cables

An HDTV is coming soon and so I want to make sure I have all the right cables for all of my toys. The home theater room I built has conduit in the wall so I can completely hide all of my cables but because of that, some of the cables need to be a little longer than a standard 6 foot cable.

I could just pick up the cables at the store, but buying online at the right place can save a bit of money. How much money…? Check out these two shopping carts:

Bust Buy


I first heard about MonoPrice.com on the HTGuys podcast… with that savings, I’m going to buy them a cup of coffee.

November 3, 2007 Posted by | Home Improvement, Home Theater, TV | 2 Comments

Home Improvement – Where we started

In case anyone forgot, this is where we started…


October 30, 2007 Posted by | Home Improvement | Leave a comment

Home Improvement – It’s Done!

October 30, 2007

Welcome to the Barley Room…


Word has it it will just be called the new family room…






Monopoly has the monopoly on the pub table…


The infamous carpet that finally made it…


Note the trim/threshold between carpet and tile…



And at night…




A closeup of the faux paint that looks like real wood…





Going to need some decorating in here…


And get rid of that TV!


OK, the new TV won’t be that big…


We are currently furniture shopping and have already bought one new piece. The TV and new credenza will also be coming sooner, rather than later, because my wife can’t wait for the new flat screen TV. (no really, she’s pushing me to just buy something!) There are other components that will also eventually be coming, like the HTPC (Home Theater PC). Last, but not least, there is the next home improvment project which I hope to break ground on in the spring of 2008.

I will post more pictures along the way!

October 30, 2007 Posted by | Home Improvement | 2 Comments

Home Improvement – Post Octoberfest

October 26, 2007

Octoberfest was a success. The room was perfect and we didn’t even stain the newly installed carpet.

There was still finish up work to be done, which despite a deadline, I made sure I kept moving forward. I needed to install the base trim, fill all the nail holes, and make a transition threshold between the tile and the carpet.

I finally finished all of that yesterday and now I’m in the process of taking some final photos. We are using the room with the old furniture and the old TV and we love it already.

So, here I am, sitting at the pub table in the Barley Room at 8:00 in the morning, stove warming the room, and now, after years of all that work, I think I can finally say it…


October 26, 2007 Posted by | Home Improvement | 1 Comment

Rom-OH MY!!!

f100906a.jpgOctoberfest weekend turned out great, despite the logistics we all had to juggle. We played many games, ate great tasting but not-so-healthy food, and got little sleep. It was a great weekend, but it was exhausting. That exhausted state I was left in Monday evening was not a good state to be in for the football game I was about to watch, especially because this Cowboy’s fan had no idea what was coming.

The teams the Cowboys had defeated up to this point were not much to talk about. I thought the Bears game would be a real test, but it didn’t turnout so. The Bills certainly can’t be their real test.

I was worried about Romo because I felt he needed some humbling. Well, I think he got that and then some. Six turnovers by one guy… the Quarterback… I can’t believe it!

As always when losing a night game, there is the temptation to turn the game off after half-time if things don’t start to get better. Which, they didn’t. But, I stuck with it knowing the Bills had not yet scored an offensive touchdown and that Dallas’ half-time adjustments in their first 4 games were always positive.

The emotional rollercoaster that was the fourth quarter nearly killed me. One second we had a chance, the next it was blown. There would be a close call, then get overruled. There would be almost catches, then a drop. The jobs by the referees were good, better than most games I’d say. (their were a couple of missed calls and a couple of non-calls, but it went each other’s way) I don’t like the rule about calling a timeout as the ball is snapped, especially before a kick, but it is within the rules.

I won’t try to rehash the game… either you saw it, heard about it the next day, or don’t care. But let me tell you, the ESPN Sports Center coverage can’t relay the intensity, or incredulous, that happened live in Buffalo. That was one of the most entertaining games I have ever seen. Ever.

Romo came through in the end, the rest of the team stood by his side and they stepped up to win the game. But, I’m still wondering if the Cowboys are for real even with a 5-0 record. However, in less than one week, I will know as they play the Patriots on Sunday. If they can just hang in their and make it a game, win or lose, then, I can start believing…

October 10, 2007 Posted by | Sports | 1 Comment