being sick: boo, blu-ray: yea

| 2 Comments

well, i spent most of this week feeling like crap. the last half of last week i had that feeling like you're possibly about to get sick, then sunday i started feeling kind of sick. i was thinking it might pass so i figured i'd take part of monday off, but then i ended up feeling worse as the day went on. i spent most of monday and tuesday asleep. i went in to work on wednesday, but still felt bleh. i took thursday morning off. friday i was better but still somewhat ill. today i finally started feeling pretty close to normal. i guess i had a flu bug or something, i don't know. it never developed into a cough or went into my chest, but i had sinus problems and fever on and off, along with tiredness and general body aches and a complete lack of energy. i ended up going through several theraflu packs and several rounds of dayquil. i guess they helped alleviate the symptoms some, but not as much as i thought they would. usually i don't take anything and just let my body work its way through it.

yesterday was downtime at work, so i got to sleep in and go into work in the afternoon without having to take sick time or anything. they also recently finally gave us our marching orders as far as cube reassignments go. in my numerous years at my current place of employment, i've gone from an office with no windows, to a cube against great windows (building move), to an office with windows (promotion), to a pretty large cube (building move.) (the office with no windows starting point was kind of a fluke since they were in temporary digs when i started due to flooding from hurricane allison. still, it was nice. that building gave free garage parking to tenants.) now -- due to an influx of new employees -- they are going to be doubling up the large cubes, so i am moving into a small cube. in every place i've been dropped, i've manipulated the environment to better suit my needs. for some reason, companies or upper management or cubicle makers love to make it so the worker's back is to the entrance. i understand it can be seen as more simple and efficient use of space, but it creates a work environment i hate -- i hate having my back to the door, i hate people walking up behind me and peering over my shoulder. so i jump in and take apart the cubicle pieces and reassemble them in some less efficient pattern that lets me face the entrance (or at least not have my back to it). so that is what i did friday afternoon when i got to work. i didn't finish, but i got everything pulled apart, and i have a general idea of how i'm going to piece it back together. we'll see how management feels about my creative transformation. usually with the stuff i do, they are uneasy and unsure about it, but when no one above them complains about it they accept it. so far i haven't had to undo much of the many things i do to push the envelope.

i finally got around to trading in my mummy sleeping bag and one-person tent. i upgraded to a sleeping bag that is sort of like a hybrid between a mummy and a standard square bag, and i went with a two-person tent. a couple of days later i went to r.e.i. and picked up a waterproof compression bag to stuff the sleeping bag into. that will help make it take up less space. compression bags are cool.

amazon sent me my country legends jerry reed cd (buddha/rca). now i'm just waiting for the criterion blu-ray bottle rocket to be released and shipped. i almost bought some other blu-rays while they were buy two get one free, but i forgot to actually make the purchase before the offer expired. oh well.

and speaking of blu-ray...last week on thursday or friday i went to best buy and picked up a samsung bd-p2550. they had it on sale for $350 instead of $400. it's a blu-ray player that does hqv. dvds are supposed to look pretty nice. it also has a network connection. once home and hooked up, i used that to download the latest firmware upgrade. which then gave me the ability to use my netflix account on the player to watch streaming netflix movies, as well as log into my pandora account and play my pandora channels. the bd-p2500 will do netflix, but the 2550 does pandora also (and appears to be somewhat exclusive to best buy?).

my old rca 36" tube tv is now the weak link and will need to be replaced. but i've been planning on that for some time. the samsung blu-ray doesn't seem to understand how to display pandora on a 4:3 exactly, so some of the data is off the screen. but pandora sounds good. the netflix...i watched high fidelity as my first test, and it was visually low fidelity. sadly. the "quality" meter showed one of four dots -- the audio was fine, but the video was fuzzy and low quality. a couple of days later i watched maxed out. the "quality" meter showed two of four dots -- both the audio and video were good. i immediately tried high fidelity again...one dot, and fuzzy video. i'm not sure what factors are involved in determining that, so i'll have to experiment some more to see if it's network bandwidth, the encoding of the movie, both, or something else, or what.

all of that also means i spent a good amount of time rewiring a lot of my entertainment center. since i wanted to use digital audio optical (i don't have hdmi on anything yet), i ran the blu-ray to the tv/sat input. i moved the old rca plug from the dish satellite input to video 1. i kept my old dvd player on dvd input with its digital coax audio line. and my airport express is still doing digital audio optical to the md input. based on cables i had versus what i needed, i ended up buying a new fiber optic (toslink) digital audio optical cable and a component video cable (since component quality is better than composite - which is the old rca plug -- quality). i had thought i could use the component in and my receiver (a sony str-da2000es) would downgrade to the rca plug monitor out to my old tv (the tv only has rca video in). but no, evidently my receiver can do s-video/rca conversion, but not component. (my dvd player had component, but i'd never tried it.) upon learning this i searched around for another rca video/audio cable, but i ended up having to go buy another one. *sigh* it's kind of sad, since once i get a new tv i'll be able to do component as well as hdmi -- then several of my cables will become unnecessary. i also purchased a package of those velcro cable ties for organizing and bundling things. we'll see if i use them.

the other thing all of the reconfiguring meant was that my harmony 676 universal remote was all out of whack. i spent some time reprogramming it so that it would do the right things with the right components. i think i got it pretty much worked out. it's still difficult to know how some buttons map from the original remotes, but for most basic functions it's pretty easy to figure out.

today when i was having a couple of bagels at einstein bagels, i noticed a guy with a sandwich board stating that the tweeter store nearby was closing and everything was up to 50% off. since i'm in the market for a new tv (and who knows what else if it's a bargain) i figured i'd drop in. but of course, their prices weren't that good. yeah, yeah, they're below retail. so is pretty much everyone else, even when they aren't going out of business. plus all sales are final, no refunds or exchanges -- so it's basically like buying from an online company. you run the same risk of having to deal with the manufacturer directly if you have problems. and unfortunately, their prices weren't any better than online shops. although in some instances they were close to the best online prices. plus you have to pay sales tax at tweeter. and i'm betting on some of the cables and accessories, the prices went up before they went down. i thought it was funny when i overheard an employee tell a customer these prices were below cost. or perhaps they define "cost" differently than i would think...like they include operating expenses and other things that are not the actual price they paid to the maker of the product. (or they were just getting ripped off by the manufacturers.) still, the stuff left in a couple of days might actually become decent price-wise when they're further marked down.

i think i'm actually going to turn the heat on for the first time...

2 Comments

Speaking of getting sick, have you ever tried Zicam? I know that sounds like a commercial, but if you take as soon as you feel like you're going to get sick, it really reduces the "duration and severity" of your cold symptoms. My mom bought it for me last time I was in Austin and it worked better than a charm. Anyway... just thought I'd pass that along.

i can't remember if i've tried zicam or not. i used some things a year or two ago that i don't remember the name of: one was a spray, one was a salve on a q-tip you swabbed in your nose. i don't really remember much about them though. sometimes i start taking cold-eeze. i'll try to remember to look at zicam next time i feel like i'm getting ill.

my twitter feed

stuff about me