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 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.


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... 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


...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 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 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


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.