Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter and the License to Print Money

I picked up the latest Harry Potter book Sunday. I was worried that everyplace would be sold out, but our local grocery store had stacks for the cover price of $35.99. Even for a hardback, that's a lotta lettuce. Sunday's newspaper had a Target ad that had the same hardback for $17.99. How could I afford not to get it? I've been careful to avoid spoilers, but I had my own theories on certain plot points.

I read about 120 (out of ~780) pages Sunday night and went to a doctor's appointment Monday morning. The receptionist and one of the nurses were all atwitter about my book (which I took with me, naturally), checking my progress and wishing they could have stayed home to read all day. I agreed, and regaled them with my tale of saving half the cover price. The nurse told me that The Beast had a similar deal for a similar price.

Later that day I was picking up some lunch at another grocery store...again with the book in tow as I was using every spare moment to read it. A lady behind me asked if I had skipped ahead to the end to read it. I had to resist rolling my eyes - who would do something that ridiculous? I told her no, and that I was trying to avoid hearing any details before I finished the book. Internally I was preparing my "na na na na IDON'THEARYOU" defense in case she dropped a spoiler-bomb, but she just looked off in the distance wistfully and said that she kept hoping someone on the news would reveal the end. I was like, "Okay...." and checked out.

I finished it Wednesday, and I liked it. I'll avoid any kind of review and won't reveal anything.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My high def woes

So I really want to jump on the high definition movie race, but I have a small problem.

Our main TV is downstairs in the living room. We have another TV in the master bedroom. We watch movies on both of these, and have been known to start a movie downstairs and continue/finish it upstairs. We also have a portable DVD player for the car to keep some sanity (ours as well as our kids) on long trips.

Let's say I get a high def disc...I'll need to get at least two players! Limiting ourselves to only watching some movies downstairs won't score very highly on the WAF.

If it's a kid movie? Fuhgeddaboudit! I'll need some way of watching it in the car. You try disappointing your kids and see how that goes.

Even though, personally, I think Blu-Ray will eventually win the format war, I want to hedge my bets right now. I could always get a combo player, but right now I only see the LG BH100 as being able to play both HD DVD and Blu-Ray discs, as well as conventional DVDs. Bad news - Google Product Search shows those bad boys almost hitting $1000...and don't forget I would need two!

Still not too many details on the rumored Samsung Duo HD BD-UP5000.

Right now there is no compelling reason to drop that amount of cash when normal DVDs in progressive scan mode look just fine.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Death by...Home Depot

We just spent over nine hours across two or three days in Home Depot (with some excellent customer service from Bruce, Daniel and Kent) agonizing over carpet choices. Believe me - our kids thought the agony was much worse than we did. I can make only so many laps around the store with them in the cart waving DANGER flags before they get bored.

Our current carpet is getting a little threadbare in a few places, and kids running around with juice usually isn't good for carpet. We knew we wanted a speckly carpet, as the mixture of colors hides spots very nicely, but it doesn't change the overall color too much. At first we were gung ho for Berber, which can take a lot of wear and doesn't get frazzled, but everything we saw looked like either industrial or indoor/outdoor carpet. Not what you want in the bedroom, much less the living room.

Then we looked at Frieze (free-zay, naturally). This was a good combination of long and short loops that gave a good texture to barefeet, and it looked like we could get one that held up well. The problem was that the Frieze we wanted was coming out to over $1000 more than another one we wanted.

We settled on some light-colored speckly carpet from the Plush family. Now we have to wait some amount of days before the measuring people arrive, and then a few weeks before we move all our furniture out of the house, have them install the carpet and we move everything back.

This was a grueling exercise, and hopefully we won't have to make any more decisions like this until our next house. I know more about carpet now than I thought I ever would.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Taco Meat

Not on this last vacation, but a few weeks ago we went to my parents' house and visited our family farm.

We have a small herd of Longhorns, and they are delicious! Here is my Uncle Jay being the Bull Whisperer.

We were able to get pretty close, and we drove up in trucks and got out and walked around a little, with the kids on the back/roof of the truck. Not all the Longhorns are agressive, but they can inadvertently cause some damage just turning their heads around.

Here's the origin of the post title, if you haven't seen it yet.

Back from vacation

Wow, I'm finally back online. Taking a vacation for us can be tricky. Sometimes we have "working vacations," where I take time off of work and we work around the house on projects. Even with the best of intentions we seem to have less time for projects than we expect.

My time off has also let me experience purchasing my first box of wine.

All in all, not that bad - I think we may just have it too cold. Great for cooking, though, and the no-mess...spigot? great. I agree that a lot of the "wine experience" is the presentation, uncorking, and pouring from a glass bottle. Cardboard storage may be a buzzkill for purists, but for my special spaghetti sauce, box wine is fine by me! At least there are games built in to your purchase....

We also started Phase 2 of our playscape, watched a few movies and are preparing for our youngest's third birthday, which will be Toy Story-tastic!

If I'm so "rested" from being off, why haven't I been getting up so early? Unfortunately we found a Jackass marathon just about every night this week.