Thursday, December 30, 2010

As 2010 Comes to a Close, Let's Look Back at My Resolutions...

On January 1, 2010 I posted the following resolutions on my blog:

1. I am going to try to eat a bit healthier. We got a toaster oven for Christmas and I'm looking forward to using it to cook some more meals at home.
2. I am going to try to exercise a bit more. Exercise bike, real bike, and my land paddling will be the ways I go about doing that. I was doing pretty well with the land paddling last year until it started to get dark earlier.
3. I am going to try to save a bit more money. I want to be able to start taking regular trips places, and I feel that the easiest way to accomplish this is going to be by saving a bit more money. I would like to get to the point where I can take at LEAST one trip a year to somewhere cool.
4. I am going to try to be a little more patient with the dogs. They are getting older and they are stubborn, but I'm going to be more patient with them.
5. I am going to continue enjoying life with Cathy.

Now, let's take a look at how well I did (or didn't do) on those resolutions.

First, eating healthier. For a good part of the year, I did very well with this. I had cut all regular soda out of my diet and was eating less junk food and more diet type foods. I even managed to lose nearly 35 pounds. So I did pretty well. But then I got bored with those foods and started eating junk again. I put a bunch of the weight back on, but I'm still down from where I started. So overall, I did well, but not nearly as well as I could have. I'm disappointed in myself for not sticking to it...and I have promised myself to get back to eating better again. Maybe for another resolution??

Second, exercising. This was another thing very much like the first. I started out with a workout program that quickly became boring. But then I started riding bicycles and was doing pretty well. Then I somehow managed to hurt my leg a bit, and it was sore for a couple of weeks. By the time it felt better, I had pretty much given up. I then started another workout routine here near the end of the year, and again I managed to hurt myself a bit, this time my back, but I'm planning on getting started on it again in the next few days. I pulled a muscle in my back a long time ago, and it seems like ever since then every six months or so I aggravate it a bit. I think it's because I never let it fully heal, so I stopped working out to make sure I'm back to 100% before getting started again. Also, I have plans for other things to do to work out this summer...so it will be ANOTHER resolution again.

Third, saving money. I actually did pretty well with that this year. I managed to have nearly $1,000 extra by the time the end of the year rolled around. Of course, quite a bit of that was spent on Christmas gifts...but that's okay, it's a good start. I don't think I had ever had an extra $1,000 to spend on Christmas gifts before. It was nice to be able to buy gifts for everyone while not struggling to pay bills or anything like that. I've got some plans to make sure I continue doing good saving...which is good, because Hawai'i will be here sooner than I know.

Fourth, being more patient with the dogs. This one was hit or miss. I think that overall I was much more patient with them this past year, but there were times when I really couldn't take it and just needed some peace. However, I would say that this resolution was a success...and that's even including the fact that Cooper has been really bad with his nails lately.

Fifth, continue enjoying life. This one was something that I know I accomplished. I had a lot of fun this past year and can't really think of anything that is a real downer for the year. Sure, some things at work were aggravating, but nothing that would really matter in the grand scheme of things. I continue to really enjoy spending time with Cathy, and look forward to a long time of having fun with her.

I'm sure I'll have some resolutions to post for 2011...and I'm sure that some of them will be the same as last year. I guess if I can continue to progress with them, then maybe by 2015 I'll actually be able to stick to all of them for the whole year!!!

My Christmas and Work Bonus Gift to Myself...

Other than going to Las Vegas, I figured I'd spend a little bit of my bonus from work on a cool gadget. I use my laptop a lot while I'm watching TV, but usually only for little unimportant things like checking my fantasy football teams, checking scores of games, looking at my e-mails, or checking out various message boards.

It is sometimes a hassle to get the laptop out, wait for it to boot up, only to use it for a few minutes then have to put it away because I want to use my table for something else...so, I have taken to using my iPod Touch for doing these internet based things recently because it's more convenient than getting out the computer. I still use the computer a lot, but the iPod has come in handy when I don't want to worry about booting up the laptop.

But the iPod Touch doesn't browse the web in the best ways. It only goes to mobile sites sometimes, even when I want to go to the full website. So I had been looking at Android Tablets...things kind of similar to an iPad. I was looking at the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but it was pretty expensive at nearly $700. I had found a good deal where you got a $300 rebate for buying it, but the small print showed you had to subscribe to a 3g wireless plan for it...so it wasn't really going to save me anything, but instead cost me $40 a month. No go for that.

I kept looking at some of the other Android tablets, and I found one that really stuck out. The Archos A70 Internet Tablet.



It's got a 7" capacitative touch screen...so it's basically like a huge iPod Touch...but it runs the Android operating system. It's got WiFi, so obviously it will connect to the internet at home and at work. It's also quite a bit lighter and thinner than most of it's competition.

I found that most of the reviews of it are positive and everybody that has one seems to like it. Some say that it feels a bit less solid than it's more expensive counterparts, but I think that's to be expected when it's coming in at the price that it is.

It's $275...less than half the price of the device that seems to be it's best competitor. that Galaxy Tab. The ONLY issue with the device is that Archos apparently isn't part of some cooperative with Google...so the device runs Android, but it doesn't have access to the Google Android Marketplace. Of course, there are hacks that will get it to work and they seem to be pretty easy to do...but...the device does have another application marketplace built into it that seems to have quite a few pretty good apps...and they're all guaranteed to work on the A70.

I went ahead and ordered one tonight from Amazon. I was going to wait, but they only had three left. I also have been reading that supplies that stores have may be all that they get for a while, because they've been selling like mad.

It should be here early next week. I'm looking forward to playing around with it!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fantasy Leagues Are Done...


So...I had two championship games, and it turned out that neither of them was even close. I dominated my opponent in both games, with both being decided by more than 20 points.

Philly's poor game tonight contributed greatly to my wins...as both of my opponents had key Eagles players that didn't get the points that they were projected to.

It's been a good season...now I just have one more week of Pick'em and then the playoffs in Pick'em and it'll be the off season. I'm still up by more than 20 in that league, and the third and fourth guys are nowhere near me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don't Look Now...


...but the Lions have won three straight. After going an NFL record 26 road games without a win, they have now managed to win two games in a row on the road.

They are finally winning some of the close games that they have lost so often over the last few seasons.

I think Trent Dilfer on SportsCenter said it best tonight, when he said "The Lions are a team that continues to grow as a group, and they just keep getting better and better."

Had they not gotten screwed over in both games against the Bears by the officials, they would be at 7-8 right now...and that's if Matt Stafford still gets hurt. I think if he doesn't get hurt this year, they end up being an 8-8 team easily.

It's finally okay to be a Lions fan...because the future seems a little brighter!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

I'll post a little bit more about my Christmas when I am not dead tired. Work was amazingly exhausting the last couple of days.

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Another New Game...


So...I know that I said I had too many games, but this was a pretty good deal.

I'd been looking at the "Dangerous Hunts 2011" game for the Wii for a while now. It comes with the game and the light gun thing for $80.

Last week I got a $20 Best Buy Reward Zone certificate for no apparent reason. The catch?? It had to be used by Christmas Eve.

So I went to Best Buy, and what do you know...the "Dangerous Hunts" game was on sale for $35...sowith my certificate I ended up getting it for $15.

Pretty good deal for a game that still sells for $70-$80.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Samsung Galaxy Tablet


So, I've been wanting something like an iPad pretty much since I saw the iPad. But I don't really want to spend the money on one, not to mention it's basically just an oversized iPod Touch, which I already have.

I got to looking at some other tablet devices, however, and the Samsung Galaxy Tablet seems to be the one that rises to the top of the list of tablets that are NOT iPads.

It's got some really cool features and is exactly the size of device that I'm looking for...smaller than an iPad but much larger than an iPod. It also runs on Android, so a lot of the Apps that I can get for the iPad are also available for it. I also like that it's got the widescreen on it for movie watching.

I found a great deal on them on a website. You get a $300 Visa gift card for purchasing one, which sweetens the pot even more.

I've been reading reviews and such and they seem to be pretty good products...maybe I'll go ahead and snag one up!!

Fantasy Update...

In my Pick'em league, I managed the exact same amount of points as the guy in second...so we stay in the same positions as before with only two weeks to go.

In my fantasy leagues, I am going to the championship in two.

In the SBN League, Ray Rice picked me up 35 points en route to blowing out the number one seed in the league, and securing a spot in the final.

In my first Yahoo Public league, I am going to go up against the guy that was in second place and right behind me all season for the third time this year. We split the regular season series 1-1, with my win coming by about 5 points and his by 7...so basically, he and I are pretty well matched up.

Hopefully I can bring home some trophies!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Shopping All Done...


Other than just a few tiny things for stockings, which can be picked up at pretty much any store for a couple of bucks, I'm completely done with my shopping.

I picked up the final gift at the store tonight. I was going to get it on Wednesday at another place, but saw it at the store and figured I'd just go ahead and get it.

Now?? I've got some wrapping to do...and I'm not very good at that, so that will be a project!!!

Taurus Tune Up Update...

So, I got the tune up done to the Taurus today.

And, although the problem is slightly less noticeable, it's still there. The hesitation is still readily felt, but it's not as bad as it was before. I had the plugs, wires, fuel filter, and air filter changed.

I'm at a loss for what it might be, now. I guess I'm going to talk to the mechanic at work again and see if he's got any other ideas...maybe a PVC valve replacement or an EGR valve replacement.

I'm starting to wonder if it's the coil pack in the car. It literally only does it at certain RPMs and certain speeds. Basically, when you are accelerating from a highway speed to a higher speed to pass a car at 4,000 RPM.

The thing that is annoying about it is, I think I've only had to accelerate to a speed at that RPM once since I've had this car, and that was the time I noticed it. So it's a problem that doesn't really have any effect on the driveability of the car...but since I know it's there, I feel like I should take steps to rectify the problem.

Maybe before I put more parts in I'll just run a couple of tanks of premium gas and some good injector cleaner into it to see if that does anything to help with the issue.

Hopefully I can get it all worked out for not a ton of money...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vacation is All Set...


Tonight we reserved our hotel room. It was actually a couple of dollars cheaper today than it was when we found the deal we wanted the other day, so that's always good.

We also purchased our plane tickets. Surprisingly, flying out of Lansing was a good $100 or so cheaper than flying out of Detroit...which actually makes it nearly $200 less because we get free parking at Lansing. Sure, we'll have a layover in Detroit, but that's not that big of a deal...especially if it's saving us a couple of hundred dollars. Not to mention, I know we can get checked in and through security in Lansing in less than 10 minutes, so for a 3:25 flight we will only have to get there about 45 minutes early...where in Detroit it's always good to be there a few hours early.

Right now it's looking like it's going to be a great trip. It's going to be our most nights in Vegas yet, but we've both got our bonus money from work to spend on the trip, so we should be able to have quite a bit of fun.

So now all we have to do is wait until February...which can't come quick enough!!!

Fast Five

will admit that I am a sucker for "Fast and Furious" movies. I absolutely love them. They are a guilty pleasure of mine, and I watch them every time I see any one of them on...

This one looks like it brings back a LOT of the cast from previous movies...
Vin Diesel
Paul Walker
Jordana Brewster
Ludacris
Tryese Gibson
Sun Kang (that's the dude that played Han in "Tokyo Drift" and "Fast and Furious")

It's also got Dwayne Johnson in it, better known by the name The Rock.

I know it's going to be horrible, but I'll love every second of it.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tune Up Time for the Taurus...

The other day on the way to work, I went to pass a car on the highway and had to give it quite a bit of gas. When I did that, the car got to about 4,000 RPM and really hesitated badly. I realized that I don't normally get the revs that high, so I tried it again and again it hesitated quite a bit.

I talked to the car guru (he's an ASE Certified Mechanic) at work about it, and he thinks it's probably just time for a tune up. He asked if it was doing anything else odd, and it hasn't been, so he said it shouldn't be too much of an issue.

He mentioned that a car that is 8 years old that only has 64,000 miles on it actually could be in need of some tune up type things that would normally be done at higher mileage. He said that typically the mileage suggestions for maintenance are based on an average driver driving 15,000 miles a year. So if it says you should change your fuel filter at 60,000 miles, it's a good idea to change it at four years if your car hasn't been doing average driving. So basically, even though my car has pretty low miles on it, it's probably time for some of that tune up type maintenance...especially since I'm pretty sure it sat on the dealer's lot for a good long while before I bought it.

So, I'll be handing the Taurus off to him on Sunday for him to do the work. I'll be getting a new air filter, new spark plugs, new spark plug wires, and a new fuel filter.

The mechanic told me that these four things should take care of the hesitation, as it is more than likely being caused by an old fuel filter that isn't flowing very well any more. He told me it should also help increase my fuel economy a little, which is always a good thing when you've got a 90 mile daily commute!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This is Great...

Last night I was looking for "shoulder puppets" on Ebay, and I stumbled across this thing called "Dave the Funky Shoulder Monkey."

I thought it was hilarious, and I did some looking around. Turned out, the Toys R Us near my house had a few left in stock, so this morning I got up early before work (yes, I actually got up more than 10 minutes before I needed to leave for work) and headed to the store to get one.

I didn't get to play around with it until tonight, but it's pretty awesome. Works like a charm.

Basically, it's a small robot that has what is almost like the remote key fob for your car that you hide in your pocket. This key fob can command the robot to do any one of 30 different actions all while hidden from view.

Here's a quick video to show him off. This is the promotional video from the company.


Monday, December 13, 2010

A HORRIBLE Fantasy Week...

So this wasn't my best fantasy week. Not by a long shot.

I went 1-4 in my leagues this week...and worst of all, that one win was NOT in the league that I was in the playoffs in. So I'll make an early exit from that playoff, which isn't really that bad. One less team to worry about setting up for the next few weeks.

It looks like I'll only be making the playoffs in two of my leagues. But the good news is I ended up finishing .500 or better in every one of my leagues.

I went 7-7 in my ESPN League.
I went 8-6 in my SBN League
I went 10-4 in my TSA League.
I went 7-7 in my first Yahoo Public League.
I went 11-3 in my second Yahoo Public League.

That puts me at 43-27 for the season, which isn't too shabby.

The only good part about this week?? I gained another point on the guy in second in the Pick'em League...so I'm slowly but surely pulling away from everyone in that league.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One Down...Nine to Go...


I finished the first of my many games that I need to finish today.

"Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" took me about 12 hours to finish, but in truly awesome style, it only took me two sittings. When I first started the game, I didn't even notice it, but nine hours later I finally quit. It was that engaging.

I finished the game tonight, and I have to say it has rocketed right into the Top 3 of my all time favorite single player games. It was absolutely amazing.

The best part?? I finished it today...and Sony announced, officially, "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception" this afternoon.

How's that for timing??

Next up..."Enslaved" for the Xbox 360...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sin City, Here We Come!!!


We got our bonuses from work, and although they may not have been quite what we were hoping for, they still will be plenty to have an absolute blast out in Las Vegas.

We're going from February 14th to the 19th. It will be the first time that we are staying five nights, but the hotel is a good deal so we figured we might as well stay the fifth night.

My parents are actually helping us pay for the hotel as a Christmas gift, and my grandparents are paying for our airfare...so the trip is going to be relatively inexpensive for us, which means that we'll have plenty of money to do fun stuff with.

I'm looking forward to going...I love it out there!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Still Hitting the Training Camp...

I've had it for over a week now, and today I did my seventh workout in "NFL Training Camp" for the Wii.

So far, so good.

I've really enjoyed the program so far. It's got a diverse amount of workouts. I have it set on "moderate" so it's not working me too hard, but so far each time I've done it I've ended up pretty sweaty. I didn't even use to get sweaty with my Power 90 program.

I like the QB challenges the best, but the kicker drills and receiving drills are also really fun.

The only thing I do NOT like about the program is the amount of squats it wants me to do. I had to do a ton of squats in the Power 90 while I was doing it, but this leaves that in the dust. It sometimes seems like I'm doing squats for 20 minutes straight. It never is really more than 2 minutes, but after several sessions of different squats in one workout, it seems like a bit of overkill.

I'm really having a good time with this workout, which I think is the key to having success. So far I've looked forward to doing it every time I've been scheduled to do it, which is the exact opposite of any other workout program I've ever tried.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Buffet Time!!!

Today Cathy and I went to the Firekeeper's Casino Buffet.

We hadn't been in a while, and she wanted to go before the weather started to get too bad to worry about driving 30 miles for dinner.

We got there right before five and got in for the lunch price. That's the trick at the buffet there...get there just a few minutes before dinner and you pay the lunch price, but get the dinner food. It saves you a couple of bucks.

I had a bunch of good stuff...but the thing I liked the most was some blackened catfish that they hadn't had before. I had several pieces of it and I really liked it. I'll have to keep my eyes open for it in the future when we go back.

After we were done eating, we went to the gift shop in the Casino and surprisingly, they had a lot more good stuff than they had in the past. Both Cathy and I ended up getting a few things. I got a pretty cool Firekeeper's tee shirt and a piggy bank, and Cathy got a bar of soap that has a dollar bill inside of it. The thing is, you don't know WHAT the bill is...it could be a one, a five, a ten, a twenty, or a fifty. It's pretty cool.

We had a really good time going there, and I'm guessing won't be going back for a few months.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Another Picture of Cooper...

...taken with the new camera. This one has a ton of detail in it if you view it in full screen.

I'm liking this new camera quite a bit. It takes pretty amazing pictures.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fantasy Football Update...

So, it was an up and down week for me this week.

I ended up losing a few and winning a few.

First off, in my Sportbikes.net league, I ended up losing. I sat Big Ben because I figured with his banged up foot and going against the Ravens he wouldn't have had a good game. I started Brett Favre. Obviously if you watch any of the NFL, you know how that turned out. Big Ben ended up getting 12 points...Brett ended up throwing a pick on his first pass and then got hurt...so he got -2 points. Go figure, I lost the game by 10. Had I started Big Ben like I was originally planning, I'd have won by 4 points. Oh well. I fall to 8-5 in that league, but I've got a playoff spot locked up. I'm in fourth right now, and I play the guy in third next week, which will determine which of us ends up third.

Then, in my TSA league, I was losing by 8 going into the game on Monday night. I had Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes. Should have been an easy win, right?? Well, Sanchez's three picks didn't help, but I managed to get NINE points and come away with a one point win. I will climb to 10-3, have the second seed going into the playoffs, and play against a guy who's team is pretty beat up.

In my first Yahoo Public league, the one that I was tied for first (but in second because of points) I ended up getting a win. I will climb to 11-2, and the guy that I was tied with lost to fall to 10-3, so I will be alone in first place again. I've already locked up a playoff spot in that league, so we're just fighting for positioning now.

In my second Yahoo Public league, I came back on the Monday night game to get a win to climb to 6-7. Believe it or not, I'm still technically not out of the playoffs in that league. I don't think I'll end up making the playoffs, but I would really like to fight back to 7-7 in that league. I started 1-3 and was 3-7 in that league, so getting to .500 would be awesome.

In my ESPN league I got trounced, and I will fall to 7-6. I don't think I'll be making the playoffs in that league, but it's lame because overall I think I'm fourth...but I'm third in my division, which means I'll miss the playoffs...but had I been in the other division I'd probably be in.

So that makes me 42-23 on the season...not bad considering how in a couple of those leagues I was under .500 after the first six weeks. I've made more roster moves this year than I have in the past, and luckily some of them have paid off big time.

On top of all of this, I had the best overall record in my Pick'Em league for the second straight week. I actually gained TWENTY points on the guy in second...so I'm now up by 23 in that league. In three weeks I went from second place and down 22 points, to first and up by 23. I'm 72 points ahead of the guy in third, and 76 points ahead of the guy in fourth. So basically it's looking like it's going to be a match between myself and Scott (the guy in second) for the last four weeks.

Overall, a pretty solid performance this week.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Some Fun With The New Camera...

So I've been playing around with the new camera.

Getting the gist of things with it. Like, is it better to use a flash in low light pictures or to let the shutter stay open longer?? I've found that if the image stays still, the pictures seem more natural if you let the shutter stay open longer. I've also found that I have no clue what an f-stop is...and I really don't know how to use it.

But one thing that I learned tonight was really cool. If you set the camera up and leave it's shutter open for a good long time (like 30 seconds) you can go in front of the camera in a dark room and then "write" messages with light and they will end up showing up on the image.

This was just a quick one, mainly because I didn't have much room to work with...but I think you'll get what it's saying.



I'm going to try doing a couple more of them tomorrow night when I can set the camera up in an area that I know I have more room to work with. This seems like a really cool way to take some pictures, and even though it wouldn't really do any good for actually capturing scenes, it does make for a pretty interesting looking image.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

BCS Championship Is Set...


...and I'm rooting for Oregon.

I'm tired of the SEC winning the National Championship. It's getting a bit old.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The New Camera...

The new camera came the other day, and I got to play around with it a little bit.

After getting used to the zoom and some of the features, I started taking some photos. I found that it does photos at night really well with the aid of a tripod. I can take the photos in the "Auto" mode where it sets everything for me, or I can take them in the "Scenery" mode with it set to night. Both come up with really good looking night time photos. I took a few pictures of our house and some things in the neighbor's yard while you could barely see them, and they came out really well. It was really easy to tell what I was taking pictures of.

Next I tried the macro settings out and got some good VERY close up shots of some really small items. I have some "Halo" video game figures that stand about an inch tall. In the macro mode, the details of the item in the photo were incredible. I was really happy with the way the macro photos came out, and I was taking them in light that probably wasn't really ideal.

Last, I took some pictures of the dogs. One of Cooper in particular stood out as a really good photo. The zoom brought him right into the center of the photo, even though he was a good 8 feet or so from me. What really struck me was that you can actually see the dog hair that's covering the slip cover on the couch that the dogs always sleep on.

Here's the photo here.


Overall, I'm really happy with the initial photos. I'm really looking forward to getting out with the tripod and trying out some longer distance shots during the day time to see how well they turn out.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Too Many Games...

Right now I'm in game overload mode.

I'm the type of person that normally only has one or two games that I actually play at a time. I generally try to have less than a total of five or six games in my collection at any time. I usually figure if I've finished a game and moved on, the chances of me going back to play it are really slim, so I might as well just trade it in or sell it and move on.

But right now I have WAY too many games...and most of them I still need to actually finish...or even start as I haven't even opened a few of them.

The list goes as follows:
For the Nintendo Wii
1. Goldeneye
2. Epic Mickey

For the Xbox 360
1. Saboteur
2. Enslaved
3. WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010

For the PS3
1. Fairy Tale Fights
2. Little Big Planet
3. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
4. inFamous
5. Killzone 2

So, right now, I actually have TEN different games that I need to play. That doesn't include my workout game, "EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp" or the fact that a HUGE update for "Battlefield 2" is on the way, and I've recently gotten back into playing "Battlefield 2" online, so that is taking up some of my gaming time.

Add to this the fact that a couple of these games, "Little Big Planet" and "Killzone 2," both have sequels that come out in the next few months and I have a bunch of games that I really need to get going on.

I think that I'll tackel "Uncharted 2" first, then follow that up with "Enslaved." After that I'll move on to "Little Big Planet" and "Killzone." After that, I'm not really sure.

Either way, I really need to get started on getting through some of them. I honestly don't like having so many games laying around that I need to play.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Most of My Shopping is Done...


So, I've gotten most of my Christmas shopping done already, and it's just the start of December.

This is good, because now I can take my couple of paychecks this month and put them towards the credit cards that I need to get paid down.

I have my mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa all done. I have my nephew almost done and my sister and brother in law will be done in a couple of days.

As far as Cathy goes, I have all but one of the things I was planning on getting her, and of course I will need to get some stocking stuffers as well.

It's nice to be able to say that I pretty much have all of my shopping done with more than three weeks left until Christmas. It means that even if I need to come up with something else at the last minute, I'll still have the time (and more importantly the money) to do so.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Good Fantasy Week...

This week in fantasy was good to me...in all but one of my leagues.

In my public league that I was in first place in, I was down by 10 going into the Monday Night game with Frank Gore. Gore got 52 yards in the first quarter, and then must've gotten hurt or something...as he didn't get another touch the entire game. So I ended up losing by 5 points...and it was to the guy that was in second, so he and I now have the same record...with him getting the nod for first place because he has more points scored. I am now 10-2 in that league.

In my other public league, I got a win and climbed to 5-7. I'm still in the playoff race in that league, because EVERYONE has a horrible record. The guy in first is only at 8-4, and everyone ahead of me is 7-5.

In my ESPN league, I also got a win and climbed to 7-5 and I'm now in second in my division, which means I am currently in a playoff spot.

In my SBN league, I picked up another win to climb to 8-4, and I'm pretty sure I locked up a playoff spot with the win. The guy in fifth has fallen to 5-7, and with the playoffs starting after two more games I can't possibly end up worse than 8-6, which means the playoffs are a lock for me right now.

In my TSA league, I got another win and pulled into a three way tie for first place at 9-3. Playoffs are locked up in that league as well.

So right now it's looking like I'll probably make the playoffs in at least three leagues, with the ESPN league still being up in the air.

That brings my yearly record to 39-21, which is good for a .650 winning percentage. Pretty solid showing considering I had a couple of weak teams to start this season. Mid-season pickups in a couple of leagues of Peyton Hillis and Dwayne Bowe have really paid off in the last few weeks.

To top all of this off, I broke 100 points for the second straight week in the Pick'em league and got my second "Best Score of the Week" award for the season. I actually passed the guy that was in first and now lead by 3 points in that league...which is great because I was down by over 20 just two weeks ago. I've got quite a bit of distance between myself and the third and fourth place players, too...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Congrats...

...are in order, to the 2010 Michigan State Spartan football team.


I have to say, you guys did a LOT better than I thought you would. I was hoping for an 8-4 season with a trip to a decent bowl game. But you guys gave us fans so much more. You gave us an 11-1 season with a win over a team that will probably end up in the Top 5 this coming week in Wisconsin.

You gave us thrilling comebacks that would have had you rolling over to die in years past. You gave us an overtime win over Notre Dame (with an amazing fake field goal). You gave us more than we ever expected, and we're all happy and proud that you did.

Now comes the part where you end up getting screwed though, because the BCS is about as useless of a system as you can possibly get. You're going to finish 11-1 with a Co-Big 10 Championship...but because of the fact that you lost later than Ohio State and Wisconsin, both of them will be ranked higher than you in the BCS, which means that Wisconsin will likely win the Big 10's trip to the Rose Bowl and Ohio State will get an at large bid to another BCS game, which means that you'll be blocked out of a BCS Bowl Game because of the stupid rule that only two teams from one conference get to go to a BCS game in one season.

Never mind the fact that you beat Wisconsin. Never mind the fact that the winner of the ACC is going to go to a BCS game with 2 or 3 losses (Va Tech is 10-2 and plays for the ACC Championship against 9-3 Florida State next week which means that the winner of the ACC will have either two or three losses). Never mind the fact that the winner of the Big East is going to go to a BCS game with three losses (West Virginia), four losses (UConn), or five losses (Pitt). Never mind the fact that it's looking like UConn will probably win the Big East and go to a BCS game with four losses, one of which was a 30-10 pounding by Michigan...yup, that same Michigan team that you yourselves pounded 34-17.

Never mind any of that, Michigan State Spartans. Because you can paint 2010 Big Ten Champions on your stadium next year. You can party like you deserve to go to a BCS game, because you do. But most of all...take the fact that you're probably going to get screwed and use it against whatever unfortunate team you end up getting to play in what will most likely be the Capital One Bowl. Use it, and come home with one more win...it's all that's left for you to do.

Go State.

NFL Training Camp...

My "EA Active NFL Training Camp" arrived today, and I tossed it into the Wii and gave a few of the drills a shot.

I have to say...after about 10 minutes, I was literally dripping sweat and could really feel the burn. The best part, though?? I didn't even notice it while it was happening. I was WAY too into trying to get good scores on the drills.

Every other time I've tried to workout, almost with the first routine I've felt that it wasn't for me...but this had me going, and I was pumped up after doing it!!

I'm really looking forward to getting started on the 60 day challenge...I think it's going to be a great workout that I'm actually going to enjoy!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some Black Friday Deals...

I ended up purchasing a few things from Amazon for their "Black Friday" deals.

I got "Two Fast Two Furious" and "The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift" for $2 each on DVD. I like the Fast and Furious movies, and I didn't have either of those ones on DVD, so for $2 it's hard to pass it up...especially with free shipping for being an Amazon Prime member.

I also got a couple of video games for the PS3. They are both games that have been out for a while and they are Playstation Classics or whatever it's called when a game has sold a bajillion copies.

Either way, they were both still listed for $29.99 and I got each one of them for $10 with free shipping. So basically, I got two games and two DVDs for less than the list price of one of the games.

Here is the first game I got. It's called "Infamous."


And the second game is called "Killzone 2."


They should both be here on Tuesday, but I'm not sure when I'll get around to playing them. I still have to finish "Uncharted 2" for the PS3 and "Goldeneye" for the Wii. Couple that with the fact that I started playing "Bad Company 2" again and I'm not sure when I'll get around to playing these...but they were too good of a deal to pass up.

Friday, November 26, 2010

New Gift for Cathy and I...

...an early Christmas present if you will.

We have a pretty nice digital camera...but it's kind of limited because it's one of the point and shoot style ones. It's only got a 3x zoom on it and it's kind of limited for taking pictures of anything that's at any distance at all, really.

I had thought about taking it to the UFC Event and the Red Wings game, but I simply figured it wouldn't get very good photos because of how far away we were going to be.

So I started looking around for something that had a nicer optical zoom on it...which put me into the SLR style cameras.

I found this one, a GE X5, on HSN for a great price.


It's a 14.1 MP camera with a 15x optical zoom. It got great reviews on the HSN site and I found it on Amazon with some really great reviews, as well. The only difference between this photo and the camera I actually got is that the one I purchased has a dark red body.

It's not a true SLR camera, but the zoom will be nice. I think we'll still use the point and shoot for those quick photos we need to take, like of the pets and in the house, but I think this new one will be great for special occassions and trips. We'll test it out when we go to Vegas this winter, and we will definitely need to get batteries to spare for the trip to Hawai'i in 2012.

Going to Training Camp...

Tonight I ordered my copy of "EA Active NFL Training Camp" for the Nintendo Wii. It should be here on Saturday.

I'm really looking forward to getting it. I had such great success losing weight this past summer, but I hit a major hurdle. I just wasn't having fun working out. So much of the weight that I have lost I have put back on. I'm still lower than I was when I started, but I didn't keep the weight off like I wanted to.

Hopefully the new workout program will be enough to keep me interested and having fun. I think it should, most of the reviews I've read of it have been pretty positive.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

900...


The last post that I made, the one wishing everyone a Happy Turkey Day, was my 900th post to my blog.
I can't believe that I've made 900 posts to this thing since I started it just a couple of years ago. I've slowed down my posting over the past few months, partly out of laziness and partly because there really wasn't much to post about, but I look forward to continuing to share my random thoughts and such with anyone that's reading.
I'm guessing I'll be up to 1,000 posts by my birthday in April.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!



Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What???





I love it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Do You Get When You Take Two Awesome Things and Put Them Together???

One VERY awesome looking movie trailer.




It's based on a graphic novel, and it looks pretty cool to me.

Comes out July 29, 2011.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Good Fantasy Week, So Far...

Well, it looks like I'm going to win all five games in my five fantasy leagues this week.

Barring any Mike Vick-like 56 point performances in the game tomorrow, I've gotten every game taken care of. My smallest lead is 27 points, but in that game my opponent doesn't have anyone left to play.

In the league that I'm in first place, I lead by 27 points. He has Antonio Gates left to play tomorrow, but Gates is listed as being questionable, and most sources are saying he's not going to play. If I hang on, I'll be at 10-1 in that league and I'll wrap up a playoff spot tomorrow.

In the league that I'm in last place in I lead by 61 points and he also has Antonio Gates. That will take me to 4-7 in that league. I'll stay in 8th place, and the playoffs aren't looking very good.

In my league at work, I lead by 60 points and he has Phil Rivers to play. I really don't see Rivers putting up 60 points tomorrow, so I'll probably move to 8-3 and be sitting in third place.

In my SBN league I lead by 50 and he has Brandon Lloyd left to play. Again, I'm pretty confident that Lloyd isn't going to put up 51, so that will move me to 7-4 and I'll be in third place.

In my ESPN league, I lead by 28 points and he has nobody left to play. I still have a running back to play, Mike Tolbert from San Diego. So I'll move to 6-5 in that league, third in my division, and fifth overall.

So that puts me at 35-20 on the season, which is pretty good considering that I have the one team that's really doing not so well. If you take out my worst team, I'd be 31-13. The playoffs are looking pretty good in a couple of the leagues, and I should clinch a spot this week in one of them.

Couple all of this with the fact that I posted the second best score in the Pick'em league this week and everything went well for me this week. The only guy that had a better score than me is the guy that's in last place, so I'm not too worried about the fact that he beat me this week. The bigger deal is that I believe that I have really closed the gap on the guy leading that group. I outscored him by 14 so far this week, and I can gain even more on him tomorrow. So his lead that was looking pretty solid just a week ago has now been cut to less than 10.

A good week...

Wow, It Was Awesome...

Wow.

That's really all there is to be said about the UFC event at The Palace.

We got to the airport and met up with everyone right around 4:30 or so. We were on the road by about 4:45, and we arrived at the Palace right around 6:00. Yah, we were going pretty fast to get there.

We found our way to our reserved parking lot...yup, there is a private parking lot for suite holders, so we didn't have to worry about finding a good parking spot...then went inside to the area that checked you in for your suite. After getting our tickets scanned (which had face values of $400 each) we were led to an elevator. The elevator attendant then took us up to the fifth floor where we got off and wend right into our suite. There was a couch, a fridge, a TV, and a private restroom. Awesome. Then we opened the curtains and saw that we were right at the middle of the octagon, about 70 yards away. The view was INSANE. We were easily able to see into the octagon and also easily able to view ALL of the monitors in the building.

The fights started at 7:20 and lasted until about 12:15 or so. Some were amazing, some were a bit less than spectacular, but all of us had an amazing time the whole time.

The suite was packed with food and drinks, and we all ate and drank to our hearts content. One of the two main events was absolutely spectacular.

Overall the entire time was an absolute blast. We left The Palace at about 12:50 or so and headed home. Cathy and I made it all the way back to our house at about 3:15 in the morning.

It was an awesome time had by everyone...and I think that we should really try to get the same group together to go back the next time that they show up...even if we all have to pitch in a couple of hundred bucks.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Day is Here...


In about 12 hours, my friends and I will be heading to the Palace of Auburn Hills to watch UFC 123 from a luxury suite that Alex has purchased for everyone for a Christmas gift.

It's going to be an absolute blast!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Blowout!!!

Well, we went to the Wings game last night after going to the Hockeytown Cafe for dinner.

Alex guessed where we were going about halfway there, but I lied and told him we were going somewhere that had something to do with the Wings, but not the game. We finally gave him the shirt and the ticket when we were getting ready to pay.

We got to the game plenty early and wandered around for a little while. It has been a while since I've been at The Joe, so it was cool to see what was in there these days. After making it all the way around the arena, we found our way to our seats. We were WAY up there, but not surprising, every seat in the arena has a good view.

We ended up being pretty lucky because a bunch of seats near us weren't sold, so we were able to spread out a bit and find the best spots to sit where we didn't have to worry about people in the row in front of us blocking our view.

The Wings scored first but St. Louis scored really quickly after that. That's been a problem of the Wings for a while now...they let teams score goals to even the game up very quickly after they score. The Blues scored the next goal and were up 2-1 before the Wings came back and took a 3-2 lead. Again, of course, the Blues scored to tie it at 3-3 going into the third period.

Twelve minutes or so fo the third period went by with no goals, and it was looking more and more like we were going to see an overtime game. Then the Wings scored to go up 4-3...and in the next 3:14 they scored three more goals to go up 7-3 and make it not even close.

We stayed to watch the Three Stars and then hit the road. Overall it was a really fun night, and it was cool to see the Wings win. I think Alex had a great time. I know I did.

The tickets were only $25. I think I may have to go see some more games every now and then!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Red Wings Later Tonight...


When we bought the tickets to the Wings-Blues game, we had no idea that it would end up being the two top teams in the Central Division.

It should end up being a pretty good game, and I'm really excited to go.

Best of all, Alex still has absolutely no idea that we're taking him to the game...so it should be a great surprise!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Home Theater is Finished...For Now...

My Sony SS-B1000s showed up bright and early today, and after some other errands I ended up hooking them up.

I have to say, for $50 for the pair, I am absolutely blown away by the sound they produce. Everything that is supposed to be deeper sounding sounds better than it did before, and the highs now sound crystal clear.

I'm really impressed by the overall setup now. It sounds amazing and has the looks to match.

Coupled with the Klipsch center channel, the sound from the front is simply astounding. I really think it actually sounds like a movie theater now.

To test everything out, I once again popped in the scene "Lobby Shooting Spree" from "The Matrix." The overall scene is really intensified by the new speakers.

To top that off, I watched the scene from "District 9" where Wickus takes control of the Prawn mech machine thing. The part where the machine stops all of the bullets in mid air is just insane. The highs from that are, quite literally, ear piercing.

I'm really happy with how everything turned out. The only thing left to replace are the rear surrounds, but right now those seem to do a fairly good job, so I'm not really worried about replacing them yet.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some Great New Games...

So, with the PS3 comes a whole new world of exclusive games that I could never play before.

The console that I got from HSN came with a free copy of "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune" which was a third person action game that I had wanted to play for quite a while.

It was the first game I started playing when I got the PS3, and I have to say that despite the fact that it's three years old already, I was more than impressed with every aspect of it. The thing that stuck out the most to me, however, was the story itself. Well told with great acting and some awesome twists.


I would easily place it into my Top 3 Single Player games of all time.

So, what's awesome about getting a three year old game that instantly becomes one of your favorites?? Easy, the fact that a sequel came out in 2009 that is supposed to be even better.

So as I type this, "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" is on it's way to my house. I look forward to playing through the story, as my friend Alex has told me that if I liked the story of the first one I will love the story of the second one. The second game also adds what is supposed to be an excellent multiplayer suite...so that will just be icing on the cake.


It's pretty awesome to finally have the PS3 in the house. There have always been about five games for it that I REALLY wanted to play, and I knew that eventually I would have to get one to play them. I'm really looking forward to getting "Uncharted 2," I'm sure it's going to be an absolute blast!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Rounding Out the Surround Sound...

So, I had been planning on paying Cathy back for the Klipsch center channel this week (she put it on her credit card) but she told me tonight that she figured she would just go ahead and pay for the speaker seeing as I was planning on paying for the other speakers.

So that gave me a good reason to start shopping for the new front left and front right speakers.

I had been planning on getting some Klipsch satellite speakers to go along with the Klipsch center channel, but after doing some more research I found that I should try to go with a bit larger speakers because the center channel is more of a standard center than a satellite center.

So, I found these...


They are Sony SSB-1000 model speakers. They have 5.25" drivers with 1" tweeters, so they are a good bit larger than the satellite speakers that I was looking at.

They are only $49 for the pair with free shipping from Amazon, but they are a very highly rated set of speakers for the price. They have TONS of great reviews all around the web, so I have no hesitation buying them even though they come in at about 25% of the cost of the Klipsch speakers that I was looking at.

The reason that I was originally looking at satellite style speakers was because I like having the speakers next to the TV on the TV stand. We don't really have a setup in the room that allows us to have optimum surround sound speaker setup, so I do the best that I can...and the best that I can dictated that the speakers be placed on the TV stand.

So, despite the fact that I would have originally liked to have some larger speakers, the room on the stand is about four inches, so in order to have them fit on the stand without hanging off of the edge the speakers had to be less than 4" wide.

What I determined tonight, however, is that I can take the two speaker stands that I have and set them next to the stand with the legs underneath the edge of the stand...and this would allow me to put some larger speakers on the speaker stands and have them actually be a bit farther away from the TV while still maintaining good angles and good looks.

These speakers should be the perfect set of front left and right speakers for the setup, and should match the Klipsch as far as audio output goes.

Now all I need to do is wait for them to show up and get myself a decibel meter so that I can get the entire setup fine tuned perfectly.

Going to be Getting Back to Working Out...

So, this spring I did a really great job of cutting calories and working out...but then, to be honest, I got bored with it and just kind of gave up. I'm still at a lower weight than I was when I started, but I'm not anywhere near where I want to be...so it's time to get back into working out.

This week a new game comes out for the Nintendo Wii that is a workout game. Cathy has another version of this game and actually said it's pretty good for a basic workout, and this one is getting good early impressions.

It's "EA Active NFL Training Camp."
It comes with a game disc that has workouts that have been designed by NFL trainers, and it also has some wireless gadgets that track movements and heart rates.

It will hopefully be just the thing I need to get back into working out. I don't think it will be nearly as boring as the workout that I was trying to do before, and I am really optimistic that it will be a great way to kick start my way back to losing weight.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fantasy Update...

So, last week turned out to be a really good fantasy week for me.

I went 4-1 in my five leagues, and that one loss came in the final game as I watched T.O. and Cedric Benson score point after point.

I lost a few points to the leader in the Pick'Em league, but he and I both put even more distance between ourselves and the rest of the team.

The biggest difference, however, was that in our league at work we voted to lock and force losses on the two teams that have made ZERO roster changes in the last several weeks. One guy hasn't made any roster changes since week two, and the other guy hasn't made any in three weeks, and has missed making changes in five of the nine weeks of the season thus far.

Locking those teams out and erasing all of their points changed everyone's standings a little bit, and actually put me in better position than I had been in.

So my standings are now as follows:
5-4 in fourth place in my SBN league
5-4 and in sixth place in my work league, but there are four guys ahead of me at 6-3
8-1 and in first place in my first public league
3-6 and tied for last in my second public league
5-4 and in fifth place (third in my division) in my ESPN league

That puts me at 26-19 for the season through week 9. Not too bad, and things are looking up in most of those leagues. I've made some roster changes and acquired some pretty good players. Hopefully I can make a push for the playoffs in at least a few of them!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Center Channel...

So, with all of the new stuff for the home theater, I decided to start looking to replace the speakers.

I hadn't planned on replacing the speakers, but the new receiver seems to just beg for some new ones...so I started looking.

I decided I would try to replace them bit by bit...and the one that would start would be the center channel. Why? It's the most important part of a surround sound system, and I think that the center channel in my current setup was the most lacking...

I started looking around on Amazon for center channels. I found a Sony that got good reviews, but then when looking at the "Other People Who Looked At This Bought" section, I noticed a speaker by a company that I know makes EXCELLENT speakers.

There was a closeout on the Klipsch C-1 Center Channel speaker. The C-1 is the 2004-2010 model speaker, and it is being replaced by the Klipsch C-10. This is a $200 speaker, and Amazon had the C-1 on clearance for $65. We have Amazon Prime, so shipping is free. So basically, I found a $200 speaker for about 66% off.

I went ahead and ordered it, and it should be here by Wednesday at the latest.

Here's the speaker right here...I will end up following this speaker up with a set of Klipsch left and right speakers. I'll be going with the Quintet III for the front left and right, and then I will end up leaving the current speakers for the rears. I don't think the rears are in need of being replaced, but the front left and rights will probably need to be replaced sooner or later. I won't be getting them right away, but sometime in the near future. This is what the Quintet IIIs look like...

Slowly but surely, I am creating a really nice home theater system. The TV is top of the line, and the receiver is a really good one. The subwoofer is great, and now I'm working on getting the speakers up to par with the rest of the system.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fantasy Football Updates...

So, I continue to trudge along in this fantasy football season. It hasn't been going so well, but surprisingly I'm in good position to make a few playoff runs at the midseason spot. I probably would be doing even better, but this past week I forgot to adjust my rosters. I normally do it on Saturday night right before going to bed, but we had this past Sunday off for our anniversary and I didn't even think of doing it. Oh well, it didn't hurt me too bad.

The thing it hurt me the worst in was the Pick'Em league. I went from first by a good margin to second. I'm only down by 5 points, but I'm sure that I would have not lost out on those five points if I had made my picks. I ended up not being able to pick seven of the games...so I guess I should consider myself lucky that I stayed in second and didn't fall even farther back.

In my SBN league, I'm currently 4-4 and in fifth place. That is a league that I would have been 5-3 in had I changed my rosters last week, which would actually put me in third place.

In my TSA league, I'm 2-6 and in dead last. I simply can't seem to buy a win. I've got solid players, but it seems like every week at least two of them end up putting up a goose egg. My main problem in that league is I keep putting faith into Brett Favre, and he keeps letting me down.

In my first Yahoo public league, I'm 7-1 and in first place. Oddly enough, I have quite a few less points scored than the other Top 5 teams...but hey, wins are wins.

In my second Yahoo public league, I'm 3-5 and in 8th place. That is another league that I would probably be 4-4 in had I not forgotten to adjust my rosters. Strangely, though, almost every team in that league is 4-4...so I'm not really out of position to make a run for the playoffs. In fact, if I win this weekend and get some help, I could move all the way into fourth place at 4-5 because I have quite a few points scored.

In my final league, my ESPN league, I'm 4-4 and in fifth place overall. I'm one game out of first in my division and in a good spot to make a playoff run. I have to say, however, that I'm not a big fan of the ESPN league. The guy that's running it set it up so you could have 3 running backs, and with 10 teams each having three starting backs, it makes it REALLY hard to find a suitable replacement if you have a guy on a bye...and you might as well just give up if you've got two guys on byes. I would rather have that league have been a CBS league, but maybe next year.

So, after all of this...with one team in first, one team in last, and three teams somewhere in the middle, I am actually 20-20 overall after 8 weeks of football. Pretty crazy, really.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The New Entertainment Stuff...


So the new home theater stuff is all here and installed, and although we might not have exactly what's pictured in this image, it sure seems like it.

I got the receiver hooked up the other day in about 45 minutes. Running all of the components to it via HDMI and then hooking it up to the TV is awesome. It's seamless and runs perfectly. I really like how the receiver upconverts all of the images to 1080p as well. Good stuff. It sounds amazing, as well. I really can't believe how inferior my old receiver must have been. Even with the same speakers, it sounds completely differently. I'm sure the powered sub is a HUGE reason for that, but overall the sound quality is just great.

The PS3 was hooked up at the same time, and it's pretty awesome. I'm really impressed with the system overall, and the couple of games that I have for it are fun. I'm really enjoying "Uncharted Drake's Fortune" and look forward to finishing it and getting the sequel.

And finally, the TV. There really isn't much to say, other than it's the most amazing image I've ever seen in my life. I'm not really sure what it is, because the old Vizio was a 1080p TV, but I think the difference in contrast ratio is HUGE. The old set has, I believe, a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. This new one ups that to 4,000,000:1. That's four million. The image is simply stunning. When viewing the TV in the store you can never really tell what it's going to look like in your house...but the easiest way to describe the picture is that it doesn't even look like it's on TV...it looks like the actors are right there in front of you live. Simply astounding.

I'm really happy with the setup now. I would like to get some new front and center speakers, but that's not really a priority unless I find an amazing deal on them. The main problem with thinking about running some new speakers is I'm not really sure where I would put them...but oh well, that's not a big deal right now.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two Years Ago Today...

...Cathy and I got married.

It's hard to believe it's already been two whole years.

I guess time flies when you're having fun. It's been a great two years...I can't really think of anything bad from the whole time.

I look forward to many, many more.

I love you Cathy!! Happy Anniversary!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Been Busy Building a New Theater System...

So, the other day Cathy mentioned that the 32" LCD TV that we have in the basement was acting up. Normally this wouldn't be too big of an issue, but Cathy uses that TV every day for her workouts and to play her Nintendo Wii. Because of that, the TV down there going bad is a pretty big deal. I think it's still got quite a bit of life left in it, but getting it taken care of before it NEEDS to be taken care of is always a good idea.

So, we started looking around to find a good deal on a TV to use to replace that one. Here's the thing, if the best deal was on something to replace the bigger TV in the living room, that would work just fine and we could move the 37" LCD TV that's in the living room into the basement.

I normally buy Vizio TVs. I have two of them and have had amazing results with them. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one in the future.

But, we were in Sears and they had some good financing deals on the Sears card, and they don't have Vizio TVs. But they do have some good brands.

What we ended up with is nothing short of awesome.

That is a Sharp AQUOS Quattron LED LCD TV. It comes in at 46 inches. It's an LED LCD, so it's ULTRA thin. It's probably only about 1.5" thin. It's got the Quattron technology, which is the new fourth pixel in yellow so that the yellows appear brighter and more natural. It also has all of the online App type things that are popular on TVs right now...like you can watch Netflix right on it and other things like that. It's an amazing TV, and it will replace the TV in the living room, which will find it's new home in the basement.

Now that we have a new TV, what else do you need to go with it??

How about this...
I got us this 320 gigabyte PS3 with the Move controller system as a bundle from the Home Shopping Network. It comes with the 320 gig console, which is the largest PS3 hard drive, the Move controller and the Playstation Eye, an HDMI cable, and three games...which is awesome because all three of them are games that I would want. Normally when you get a bundle, you end up with some games that you want nothing to do with...but all three of these will be games that I enjoy.

I have been wanting a PS3 for a while now for a few of the games that it has for it. What made me make the plunge, however, was a trailer for a new game coming out called "The Last Guardian." It looks like it's going to be absolutely fantastic, and it's only on the PS3, so that was basically the last straw and the order was placed.

Well, now we run into a bit of a problem, though. We now have the PS3, the Xbox 360, and the HD cable box all upstairs. All of them provide Hi-Def pictures, which we can accommodate. However, they all also use the new Hi-Def sounds...such as DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD. These are all sound codecs that can NOT be sent over the optical cables that my current receiver uses. They must be sent over HDMI (not the Xbox 360, but the other two) in order to have the actual true 5.1 surround audio. We actually have a Blu-Ray player right now that we never use because the audio isn't as good as I would like it to be during movies.

So, what's the solution to that??
A new receiver, of course, courtesy of Cathy. She got us this because I got us the PS3. This is a Pioneer VSX-520-K surround sound receiver. It's 110 watts into the five channels. It's got EVERYTHING that we'll need to make sure that we have the best possible sound and video from all of the devices that will be hooked up to the TV. It's got 3 HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, so we'll be able to plug the PS3, the HD Cable Box, and the Blu-Ray player all into it. It will then decode all of those new fangled audio codecs and give us true 5.1 surround, even with the DTS-HD and the Dolby TrueHD sounds that my current receiver doesn't use. The HDMI output will then transmit the video via passthrough into the TV. The Xbox 360 will still use component video connections to the TV and it will use an optical cable to connect to the receiver.

This new receiver uses all of the speakers that I currently have, so those don't have to be replaced, save for one. The subwoofer with my current receiver is a passive subwoofer, which means it's not powered. The new receiver only has an output for a subwoofer, not an amplifier. So that means we needed this...
That's a Sony SA-W2500. It's a 100 watt powered subwoofer that will sit behind the TV stand and provide the bass and low frequency effects that complete a home theater experience.

So basically, we're revamping our entire living room theater experience. You may be wondering, why do we spend the money on things like this?? The easiest answer, because we really enjoy our TV watching. We both watch quite a few shows and movies, and I really enjoy playing video games. So basically, the TV and surround sound is an integral part of a couple of our major hobbies.

The nice thing, too, is that even though it is quite a bit of money we still got great deals on everything. The TV was $350 off and came with 12 months no interest. The PS3 was about $40 less than the sum of it's parts and came with 9 months no interest. The receiver was $50 less at Amazon than anywhere else at $179 and came with 6 months no interest. The subwoofer was on sale on Amazon for only $79 with free shipping. So basically, we got pretty good deals on everything and basically upgraded our entire TV viewing experience.

We should have everything here and in place within the next 10 days or so. I'm looking forward to getting it all set up and enjoying some games and movies...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Go Green...

This is what I was talking about before, when I said that this Spartans team is different.

Even just two years ago, down 17-0 in hostile territory, the Spartans would have rolled over and played dead.

Not now.

Now they are different.

Now they come back and win the game.

Go green. Big game next weekend. Go white.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Watch...

If you've been following my blog for a while, you may remember that a while back I purchased an Invicta Russian Diver watch. It's a big 52mm watch face that looks great.

Problem?? Well, I was shopping one day and almost got run over by someone who wasn't paying attention, and in my dodging out of the way I scraped up the face of it on the concrete wall that I basically pushed myself up against. Now, it was barely noticeable...but I noticed it, and I think almost subconsciously I decided that it wasn't as nice as it had been. I started looking around for something not to really replace it, but to supplement it.

I looked and found things, but never anything that really fit my budget.

Well, last night I was watching the watches on ShopNBC on TV and I saw some that I liked. So I came down to the computer and started looking around. What I found was a GREAT deal!!!

If you go to Amazon's site, they list the Invicta Sea Spider II as being a $695 watch. They sell it for $229. I've learned that Invicta's "MSRP" are generally WAY over what the watch is actually worth. However, if Amazon is selling it for $229, you can be pretty sure it's a $229 watch.

So, I would say it's a fantastic deal if ShopNBC has the exact same watch on sale for $110. I went ahead and snatched it up with the 5 payment option, so I'm only paying $20 a month for the next few months to get this awesome watch.

Here's the Sea Spider II.


It's a great looking watch. Those small dials on the face chronograph functions. It also has a date function near the 20 second mark.

The best part?? It's actually LARGER than my Russian Diver, coming it at 55mm across it's face not including the dial. It has a Swiss Quartz movement, and comes with a great warranty.

It should be here within the week, and I'm really glad I stopped on the ShopNBC channel when I did. Had I not, I probably wouldn't have found this deal. And it's not available now, so it sold out in the last 12 hours or so.

Awesome.

A Nail-Less Dog!!!

Today as I was leaving to go get dinner, I heard Cooper yelp.

I came back into the house to see him hopping around, which isn't that uncommon for him. He's a drama queen and he's been hopping whenever another dog gets near his paw.

So I looked around and saw something on the floor. I picked it up...and it was his last nail!!! I called him over and checked his paw, no bleeding and the bit left over looked like all the rest of his nails.

So he has now lost all 20 of his nails, and none of them have grown back. I think that we still might not be 100% out of the woods, as some of the leftover quicks still look like they might break off, but those don't seem to be quite as bad as the nails coming off. So I think we're seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

I like that he seems to feel better when they fall off. It's like he actually doesn't have any pain in that paw for a change.

The Guys Came Down...

...to go to Rocky Top again today. It was the same group as before, but our friend Li also came along. So we had five total people and it was a great time.

Tonight there were a couple of girls there promoting a new drink. It's a malt drink like a Mike's Hard Lemonade but it was Iced Tea. They had regular tea and a half and half like an Arnie Palmer. We all ended up buying one, and we all got free tee shirts for it.

The food was great again. After dinner our friend Li wanted to see the biker club that one of our coworkers is always talking about that's near my house, so I took him by it.

After that, we went to a store and got this:


We then came back to the house and had a good long game of flag football...with only the street lights to see by!!! It was an absolute blast. It's the most running I've done in a while, and I'm sure I'm going to sleep really well tonight.

We all decided that we should get together sometime soon during the day and play some more on an actual field, instead of in our tiny street in the dark.

All in all it was a load of fun. I'm sure we'll be going to Rocky Top again soon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Good Fantasy Week...

So, I went 3-2 in Fantasy Football this week...not the absolute greatest record, but good enough. I will actually be in the lead or tied for the lead in two of my leagues, despite having a mediocre overall record.

I also picked correctly in my survival league, and ended up getting the second most points in the pick'em league, which keeps me solidly in the lead in that.

It's been a pretty frustrating year in EVERY league. Players that are normally automatic aren't performing, and teams that should be winning a lot of games (I'm looking at you Chargers) aren't doing much of anything. Meanwhile, teams that shouldn't be winning (that's you Rams and Chiefs) are surprisingly doing well.

I hope that as bye weeks start coming around the teams that are supposed to be winning can start to pick it up a little bit and get the ball rolling, so that I can start getting even better records in my pick'em leagues.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dream Job...

So I think I know what my dream job is.

I would absolutely LOVE to be one of the team members that helps Josh Gates travel the world looking for cryptozoological creatures on the TV show "Destination Truth."

It looks like it would just be an absolute blast.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finally...

...a good Fantasy Football week.

This week I actually went 4-1 in my leagues, which is by far my best performance so far this season.

I did, however, get a strike in my Survival League. I had San Diego over Oakland and that didn't pan out.

Oh well, overall it was a pretty solid week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Still Working on Puppets...

I finally sold my fourth puppet this past week. It had been a while since I had a sale, and this one kind of caught me by surprise.

I signed in to check my e-mail and noticed that I had an Instant Payment from PayPal. Turned out someone had bought the Dart puppet in the middle of the night.

It's kind of a relief. I had began to wonder if any of the puppets were ever going to sell again.

Now that the fourth one is sold, I need to make another one to replace him on Ebay...so I'll be doing that in the next few days.

I actually have three puppets that I really want to get made in the coming couple of weeks. One of them I think is going to be great!!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Victory for MSU!!!!

The Spartans go to 6-0 after beating Michigan today.

It's the third straight win over Big Blue for the Spartans...which hasn't happened in a LONG time. The last time the Spartans won three straight was more than 40 years ago.

The Wolverines came into the game with "The Leading Heisman Candidate." Denard Robinson had rushed for nearly 1000 yards in his five games so far, and passed for about that much as well. However, he hadn't played a team even remotely as talented on defense as the Spartans, and it became evident early that his yardage totals might have been a bit inflated by playing poor defenses. The Spartans held him to 84 yards on the ground, nearly 110 less than his season average, and dominated the Wolverines for most of the game.

To celebrate, I made this quick picture...GO STATE!!!!

An Interesting Idea...

I was watching a show on PBS or History the other day about Civil War Reenacting groups, and it seemed like it was a lot of fun. You get to meet people, go to "musters," perform battles, and learn a lot about history.

I've always been a history buff. I enjoy history, and for a long time I thought that being a history teacher would be absolutely awesome.

I also know that right here where I live, in Jackson, they have a HUGE Civil War reenactment every year. So I figured that there must be a group around here that's involved in it. I started looking around online and quickly found The 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company B.

I contacted them about some information and got invited to one of their Members Meetings, free of charge. The cost to get a membership is only $16, and they have a ton of options for things that you can do with the group.

I figure I might stop by one of the meetings and see what it's all about. I started browsing for the clothing and equipment necessary to actually be an actor, but it seems to be fairly expensive so I'm not sure I would really want to get involved in that...but that doesn't mean that there isn't something else that I could do for the group that would be enjoyable.

The meetings seem like they are monthly on Sundays...and I work on Sundays...but they are in Lansing so it's possible that I could take a few hours off of work to attend one.

Either way, it seems like it could be interesting and fun.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Garage Blood Bath...


I forgot to mention this on the blog, but the other day there was a blood bath in our garage.

Cathy was taking Cooper and Gordon out to go to the bathroom in the morning, and on the way back in Cooper yelped. He's had his issues with his nails for a long time now, and he was down to only two of them left. One of them was getting long and really ragged...I had been hoping it would fall off for a while now.

So anyways, he yelped. Apparently Gordon had stepped on his foot...and low and behold...it ripped the nail right off, completely at the paw. Cathy came and got me up...I was still asleep...and I went out and started trying to stop the bleeding. It wasn't working very well. I finally got it slowed down quite a bit so I bandaged him up and put him in the house.

Surprisingly, even though it must have hurt him quite a bit, he seems like he felt better now that it was gone. He was moving around just fine and seemed pretty happy. I went back to bed and got up a while later and checked. We noticed that it was still bleeding very slowly...and after he walked around a bit it started bleeding a bit mroe. So we took him to the vet.

They ended up cleaning up the wound and then they put some antibiotic powder on it to make sure it wouldn't get infected. After that they bandaged him up and sent him on his way.

That was on Tuesday afternoon. The vet told us we could take the bandage off the next day, or leave it on for a while longer if it didn't seem to be bothering him. Well, it's not bothering him so we're going to leave it on until Friday morning. Ever since he's had this nail issue he's been really bad about licking his nails when they are bleeding a bit, and that causes them to not stop bleeding. The bandage doesn't seem to be bothering him, and it's definitely not as much of an inconvenience as putting his Cone Collar on, so we figure an extra day in the bandage will be good for him.

That...and it's kind of funny to watch him hop around on three legs!!!

Now...if only that one last nail would just fall off...he'd be good to go, no nails and all!!!

Three Episodes In...


...and I'm absolutely in love with the new "Hawaii Five-O."
It's great. I've enjoyed each episode immensely...basically having a smile on my face throughout the entire show. I'm really liking the scripts for the shows. They are well written and just plain fun.
Couple that with the couple of jaw dropping action pieces in each episode so far and you've got a show that I simply can't get enough of.
I'm really glad it's getting so many viewers...that probably means it will stick around for a while. Which is good, because it's quickly become my new favorite TV show.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Horrible Season...

My fantasy season is going HORRIBLY.

I can't believe how bad my teams all seem to be. I'm 2-2 in one league, 0-4 in one, 3-1 in one, and 1-3 in another.

That 3-1 is just a fluke, as well. Why do I say that?? Because my team is the lowest scoring team in the league by about 30 points. So basically I've managed to have my wins come when other teams have their worst weeks.

So my record for the season so far is: 6-10

That's pretty bad.

The only thing that's keeping me going is the fact that I'm doing really well in my Pick'em leagues. I'm leading in the actual Pick'em, and I still have a one strike lead in the Survival League.

Oh well...I guess you can't have good seasons every year, right??

Monday, October 4, 2010

Magic...


So it's starting to get cold outside again, which means that more and more of my time will be spent just hanging around the house. Not that I really do much outside of the house anyways, but I'll be inside even more.
What does that mean?? It's time to start getting some magic going again. I've ordered a couple of tricks in the last week or so and I'm looking forward to getting them. They are tricks that I have had on my Wish List on Penguin for a while now, so it's cool that I'm finally getting around to getting them.