Saturday, March 21, 2015

A sound system journey

After many attempts and configurations the Back Room of the house is finally set up as my little Man Cave. At the very least the audio components are finally in place.

About a year ago I replaced an old pioneer belt drive turntable with an Audio Technica AT-LP60. There have been no problems with it at all. It delivers solid performance. For the price, it's probably the best turntable you can get.

My thirty year old Onkyo receiver was losing a channel frequently. I still have it and if anyone can fix it, come on over, I will pay you in beverages. I picked up a Lepei LP2020A amplifier. This amp about the size of my hand, has a jack to plug in my computer or iPad. I could not be happier with the sound. Obviously it's not a high quality amplifier, look at the price. But for my needs, in a mud room of the house that is only used 2-3 seasons of the year, it's perfect and fills the room with good noises.

This left the speakers. I have shelves up high in the room that are perfect for bookshelf speakers. It may not be the best placement for sound quality but it's a good use of the spacial limitations of the room. I jettisoned a pair of basement warped 30 year old speakers that were the kings of mid-range. Scoured thrift stores for decent speakers. Thought I found some nice old Radio Shack Omnibus speakers but it turned out they were old and messed up. Pro tip: check under the grill for torn and blown speakers before purchasing. Also, check the heights of the speakers. After paying about the same amount in thrift stores for speakers, I finally bit the bullet and bought new Dayton Audio B652s.

These are the speakers I should have had all along. They fit perfectly in the space, deliver very good sound. I tested them with Queen's A Night at the Opera and was very pleased with the separation and depth of sound. They pack a good punch and again, these are not three or four figure speakers. For my purposes though, I love them. Finally, after twelve years of fits and starts, I have my built a sound system I'm happy with.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

An update of sorts

This morning's coffee is an odd blend of Peruvian (of which there was not enough to make a whole cup) and Costa Rican (which is a very underrated country for coffee). Paired with one of the many world class pastries from Pistachia Vera, I'm off to a good start on a late winter Sunday.

It's been a long wait for spring. There are going to be a few more days of fits and starts this week, but it looks like the sub zero temperatures that highlighted this miserable Central Ohio winter have gone away for another year. This is not a guarantee, if it's five below on April 2nd, do not come here and blame me. I've already been yelled at one time too many for missing things this week.

My son's caregiver of the last two summers has agreed to come back. This is very good news as they have a familiar rapport. She's really good with him and well worth her salary. The peace of mind this gives all of us is profound. This enables my wife and I to be able to take a vacation to Scotland in June. Not going to be able to catch any soccer matches as the season is over but I'm very interested in seeing how late the sun goes down since we are there on the solstice, and my birthday. I'm thinking these three months are going to go as quickly as the first three months have gone. It's the Ides of March already!

Thinking of playing around with form poetry for awhile. Maybe there's some writing discipline (which has been missing for a long time now) in crafting work that way. Maybe I'll get back to work with a template instead of a prompt. It really cannot get any worse that is has been. A couple of hot new pieces at my Dayton feature in May will go a long way to boost my ego a bit.

I might be hate watching The Fall. I like the acting, and it's great to see Gillian Anderson in a meaty role. It's a damn shame the scripts are so cliched and predictable. If I can call a plot twist, there's something wrong. I did not mind The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. There were too many uncomfortable racist jokes though. I did not like the main character, but the casting of the rest of the ensemble (Carol Kane is wonderful) and cameos were excellent. It's supposed to be renewed. I wish programmers could get into the mind set that too much of something is not necessarily the best idea and know when to end a series on a high note then stop. I'm mostly talking about Broadchurch here! It's all about the money though, I'm not that stupid. If there's a profit to be made there will be people riding that horse until it drops, then using every part for sustenance until it's completely vanished. Such is the world. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Life in Hyperlink Freewrite

I got a link.
You got links.
I got links.
Someone else has links.
You have links.
That doctor has links.
I got a link.
A link to a lawyer.
You got a link.
I got links.
You got links.
That link is funny.
My link is not credible.
Your link is out of date.
You see this link?
I have not seen that link.
Where did you get that link from?
You got a link.
I got a link.
And together,
between all our links.
We have a blank page.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Happenings ten years ago

This happened in my workplace.

"_______reported that a man walked past her in the adult fiction shelving and
she felt something on her coat. It was a white substance (most likely
semen). The woman could not identify the man. The back of the woman's
coat was covered with the substance as was the floor. I used the
bio-hazard kit to clean area and threw the coat away. I let _______
use the staff restroom to clean up. _______ wanted to know if she
would be reimbursed for her coat. The coat belonged to her husband who
is now deceased. ________ was visibly upset."

Monday, March 2, 2015

Night of an American Spirit

As I age, winter gets tougher to endure. It gets harder to want to leave the house to socialize. A warm house is here along with a broken couch, a comfortable spouse and the internets. Plus I'm old, cranky and do not like driving at night in the cold, inclement weather.

A few weeks ago an internet acquaintance invited us into a local bourbon group on Facebook which turned into a bourbon club night at someone's house. At first I was not going to go because I was supposed to be reading in Pittsburgh the night of the party. Then I messed up my car and could not justify the travel expense after paying for the repairs. So bourbon club it was. Now me and social phobia was entering the home of a stranger, surrounded by people I mostly do not know except for online with a lot of liquor, and my wife does not really drink bourbon - what could possibly go wrong?

Nothing did! We had a great time. Met some wonderful new people. Had some good snacks and drank some really fine bourbon.

Part of admission was bringing a bottle. My contribution was Even Williams' Single Barrel which was good, but not my favorite of the night. The two that were exciting were Four Roses' Small Batch and its pleasant vanilla finish and one from California I knew nothing about.
Breaking and Entering is not distilled in California but blended there, from a blend of many different sources in Kentucky. A very full, rich and flavorful blend.

Two different people brought a bottle of Michter's Small Batch. There was a bottle of High West, which is distilled in Utah. A disappointment was Basil Hayden's which was all heat and no flavor. The surprise was Wild Turkey 101, which gave me the opportunity to tell about Mennonites who bought it back in the day at East Main Liquors in Fredonia. It's a very flavorful and powerful drink, at a very reasonable price.

It was a fun night. Can't thank our hosts enough. They let a group of friends and strangers invade their home with liquor and nothing got broken! I gave myself very small pours over the course of a few hours, got to try everything and was able to drive home with no problem. Can't wait for the next one, and there may be a sidebar gin party!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reading and repairs

The number of books that I read to my son has now increased to a rotation of four. He lines them up on the floor, and when he decides to put them away he takes them, one at a time, to the bookshelf. We've been in the house a lot because the weather has been extremely cold. There's been a lot of reading.

Last week was only a two day school week with President's Day and two days cancelled due to cold. I'm sure next week will have at least one cold day. Temperatures have been below zero in the morning.

After swimming last week I was driving home in a light snow on a side street and hit a patch of ice. I was only doing about 15-20 miles per hour and slammed into the curb tire first. I knew I knocked the car out of alignment and managed to limp the short distance home. There I saw the tire had some chunks chopped out but it was not flat, yet. Limped to a repair shop that is open on Saturdays and hoped for the best, which did not quite happen. Needed a center arm and ball joint, which they could not get that day, in addition to the alignment so we had no car last weekend.

Picked up the car Monday afternoon, after waiting for the bus downtown in some freezing cold weather and was told the rim on the tire was bent, but they moved it to the rear so the car is drivable. Had to cancel a reading in Pittsburgh after getting the bill and have to make arrangements to get a new rim next week.

Today we had about half a foot of snow, which is equivalent to two feet in just about any other northern city. Roads were a mess. The temperature did get above freezing for most of the afternoon so the heat pump activated. I had to pour water on the blades to get some of the snow off as the fans were not moving. I also noticed this.

Steam freezes into interesting shapes, eh?