i <3 electronics. car going boom? not so much.

a couple of weeks ago i ordered a griffin journi. it's a portable ipod speaker system. it sort of looks like a leather-bound planner. you unwrap the leather outside and it gets used as a stand for one-piece inside which houses the speakers. the ipod fits in it and stays in it the whole time (i.e., you can wrap up the leather and the ipod is snugly wrapped inside). it has rechargeable batteries, and a mini-usb connection for charging. it also charges your ipod. i'd seen one at target, but they didn't have a floor model and i didn't want to pay $100 for something if it wasn't loud and didn't sound decent. when i got home i looked online and read some comments about it. it sounded pretty cool. then while searching prices i found it on buynow.com for about $55. not refurbished or anything, just almost half the price everywhere else was selling it. so i bought one, figuring if i didn't like it i could give it to someone or something. i used it some over the weekend. it'll get pretty loud, and the sound quality is pretty good, but it's not amazing or anything. still, not bad for $55 i don't think. and i can wrap the leather and slide it under the seat easily whenever i stop somewhere, unlike a lot of the more bulky or oddly shaped speaker systems. hopefully this will do until i get a real car stereo.

friday a few of us from work had lunch with the hrc (olive garden), and since i knew she had some time to kill in the afternoon she went with me while i took a couple of hours off of work and went by the tweeter store on kirby again. the prices were the same but they'd added an extra 10% off (the discount price). the deals on the tvs still weren't very good. but i did end up making a purchase. so...the thing is...my sony receiver (str-da2000es) has no hdmi inputs. it came out barely before hdmi became common. so...knowing i now had a blu-ray player with hdmi, and would be getting a tv with hdmi, if i wanted to pass everything through my receiver like i do now then i needed something with hdmi. they only had one model of sony left, but it was a pretty good model, and better than my current one, so i bought it. i got a sony str-da5300es. it has 6 hdmi connections, up-conversion, and more connectors and power than my previous receiver. and it's black. i got it for around the best price i could find online (around $1100 after tax), so it seemed like a reasonable choice.

to thank the hrc for driving me around and waiting at the tweeter store, i pointed out a shop right around the corner from tweeter that has a bunch of modernist and modern furniture, house wares, etc. it's a small shop, but they pack it pretty full. i think she may have o.d.ed.

i spent friday evening pulling all of my connectors out of my old receiver and plugging everything into my new one. there was some amount of deliberation on my part to figure out how to connect everything back up. i got it all set up, then spent some time reprogramming my logitech harmony remote for my new configurations (new receiver, plus some new options on input sources and such).

saturday i ended up going to the tweeter on westheimer, just to see if their selection varied much from the one on kirby. i had asked about panamax line conditioners on friday at the kirby tweeter, but they only had one they'd been using. this tweeter had one (m5100-pm) that had no box or cables or anything, but at $200 (after tax) it was about $60 cheaper than the cheapest online. i bought it. i also realized that at 1/2 off plus 10% (so 55% off the original price), the cables were a pretty good deal. i bought several audioquest cables -- three hdmi x 2-meter cables, two pair of sidewinder 1-meter rca cables, and one optilink-1 1-meter toslink cable. my receiver can up-convert any video connector (rca, s-video, component) to hdmi, but can't down-convert from hdmi, so i won't need the hdmi cables until i get a new tv.

when i got back home, i spent some amount of time redoing all of my power cabling to go through the panamax, plus replaced some of my old cables with the new audioquest cables. in the process, i bent the mini-optical to toslink converter and heard a crack. the plug was loose. but the itures streaming still worked through it. *shrug* also, the panamax and the ups i'd been running power through did not like each other at all (can you say infinite power cycle loops?), so i removed the ups. all power to all components on my tv stand is now going through the panamax. now if only this old house actually had 3-plug grounded wiring in it. :)

today i went by tweeter on kirby again to perhaps pick up a few more cables, but they were about to close to i left without buying anything. probably just as well. i settled on eating at goode company bbq to console myself (this was later in the day from the vehicular event below).

last week sometime i used netflix streaming to watch the documentary helvetica. it's a documentary about the history and usage of the ubiquitous font called helvetica. if you are any level of font-whore, or find the art of fontography interesting, or just think it might be interesting to hear the history of one of the most commonly used fonts ever along with comments by well-known font designers, you should watch this. i really enjoyed it a lot, but i find fontography very intriguing so your mileage might vary.

yesterday evening i met up with the potts. evidently when one of their kids loses a tooth they called it "tooth day" and the child who lost the tooth gets to pick where they are going to eat that day. dietrich lost a tooth, so it was his day and he picked alamo draft house. so i went with them and saw madagascar 2 (even though i'd never seen the first one, i don't believe). i went to their house and went with everyone but jack, who was somewhere else and meeting us there. humorously, i got a call from jack while we were in the theater ordering our food. he asked if we were already in the theater and i replied we were, then he inquired if we'd gotten him a ticket and i said i didn't think we had. at which point he replied "well, they're sold out." haha. one of the waiters heard me and asked if we'd saved a seat for him and we said yes so he said he'd go let him in. the movie was pretty good. afterward, i went back to the potts house and we watched snl.

today i did some laundry, then sue got in touch with me to see if i wanted to join them around 2:30pm to eat. i hopped in the belair and went off to meet them. as i was driving down 59 toward 610, my engine started making some funny rhythmic sounds. i pushed in the clutch and was coasting, but every time i gave it gas it made bad sounds. then it made worse sounds and smoke blew out of the engine compartment and my engine stopped running. i coasted to the exit before 610, down the ramp, through the light, and maybe 100 or so yards more, then came to stop. when i got out i could see a trail of fluids behind me. i was trying to figure out what the fluid(s) were. i could definitely see antifreeze. i popped the hood and i could see liquids dropping from the bottom of the block. i didn't see any popped hoses or the radiator. i called aaa and they requested a flatbed for me. then i waited in the feeder lane, walking around trying to make sure no one plowed into me or my car. the tow truck showed up and took us back home.

once the tow truck moved the vehicle, and on the bed of the tow truck after i got back to the house, it was easy to see i had both oil and antifreeze leaking. not a good sign. even though i've had no one look at it yet, my current theory is that i cracked the block and i need to buy a new engine. i'd been planning on buying a new engine anyway, so it's really not upsetting. although i hadn't been planning on it right now -- i was planning on rebuilding the pickup engine first. oh well.

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