Sunday, September 30, 2007

Last September Entry

Well, my old Pioneer receiver/amplifier finally gave up the ghost last week. I’ve had it for years, and it’s been teetering on the edge for some time, but it finally expired. So now, it’s time to begin a search for a replacement.

I had several other components attached to the Pioneer. I had two cassette decks (and no, I don’t plan on recording to cassettes any longer), a turntable, and I also had the audio output from my main computer connected to it. It had two speaker outputs so I could have music in the computer room and my shop as well. Plus, I had it set up so I could record music on one of my old computers, in order to create my own music mix CDs. I could also record music from my Yahoo “radio station” that is part of my DSL service.

So far, my search for a replacement system capable of doing everything the old one would has been discouraging, to say the least. It appears that all the major manufacturers have discontinued the 2-channel component stereo systems in favor of what’s referred to as “home theatre” systems. I purchased one of these from Walmart yesterday after being assured by the salesperson that it had everything I needed. It didn’t. When I got it home, I discovered it had an overwhelming total of three inputs – my old Pioneer had seven. It had absolutely no “record out” jacks to record to cassette, tape, CD, or whatever. It had 5 speakers that came with the system, but the connections for these was set up for “surround sound” – which is great for your “home theatre,” but not for what I need. I ended up taking it back this morning.

I e-mailed a local audio-video store last night, and they said that Yamaha still makes a really good component system that would do everything I needed and more. (See it here) It looks like a great system, but at $550, it’s a little more than what I was hoping I’d have to pay. Oh, well…

I guess I’ll just have to keep searching for a while, or just save up the money and get the Yamaha. You know, sometimes I have to wonder just how great all this so-called “progress” really is. Home Theatre would be great if you want to set up a room with a big, wide-screen plasma TV ( and yes, I’d love to have a setup like that), but it falls seriously short if all you want is something to listen to music in more than one room, or convert all your old 33-1/3 LPs to digital to put on CDs.

Other than the abortive attempt to revitalize my old stereo system, not much out of the ordinary is happening around here. Tomorrow starts a new month, and with it a badly needed vacation in a few weeks. I’ll have a special photo album set up in my Picasa Albums for vacation photos, and I’ll post a link to it so you can follow our adventures.

Last week, I was tossing some old stuff into a recycle bin, and noticed a catalog in the bin with a beautiful Tiffany style lamp on the cover. Being me, I just had to recover it, and take a look. It was a catalog from Kichler Lighting, and it had some of the most spectacular Tiffany fixtures I’ve ever seen! I must try my hand at creating some Tiffany style items.

Well, that’s about it for now. I’ll have more later.

Elen sila lumenn omentilmo. (A star shall shine on the hour of our meeting)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New T-Shirt Design

I've been doing some experimentation with T-shirt graphics lately. I've posted a photo of my first attempt (copyrighted image, 2007 by Rod Shelley). I should have made this years ago!

Cooling Down…

What a great weekend it was! And way too short, of course.

The temperatures last weekend were wonderful – low 70s at the highest. Mostly they were in the high 60s, which was perfect for working on my patio a little more. I put in the window frames, in preparation for the screens and plexiglass windows. I hope to get the screens and windows finished up soon, then I’ll need to get – or more likely build – a door. I’ll add a porch light over the door, then I’ll need to trim and paint. I hope I can get all this done before the cold weather sets in. I’ve posted a few photos in the September page (in the left frame if you’re on my website – if not, just click the title above).

It’s been pretty busy at work the last few days. I guess that’s good – job security, and the days go faster when you’re busy. Seems like they’re going way too fast anymore.

We’re looking forward to vacation in October – there’s less than a month to plan, and we’re still not entirely sure where we are going. I was looking at some stuff in Hot Springs, Arkansas last night. Looks like it might be interesting; lots of nice scenery to photograph. Then again, maybe we’ll just spin a bottle in the driveway, and head off in whatever direction it’s pointing when it stops. We shall see. It’s just wonderful to be able to actually have the chance to get out of town for a few days.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering Another Tuesday Morning in September

It's an absolutely beautiful morning, clear and cool. Very similar to another Tuesday morning six years ago. I hope we all take a few moments to remember those we lost, and those who are still making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Never forget that there are powers of darkness that will not rest until they have covered the entire world in shadow. They must not prevail. They will not prevail.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Another Weekend Streaks By..

It's Monday already, but it was a good weekend. Jo spent Saturday with her mom, and my dad and I had a nice little photo expedition. I've posted some photos in the September section. If you're on my website, you'll see the links to the left. If you're not, just click on the title above.

I was saddened to learn of the passing of one of the truly great vocalists of our time, Luciano Pavarotti. Another magnificent voice stilled by that curse called cancer.

Well, gotta move on. I have yet another call in that horrid mess called "downtown."


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Amazing Butterfly

I was out in the backyard earlier today, when I saw my neighbor ladies trying to photograph something flying around their flowers. At first, I thought it was a hummingbird, but as I watched, I saw that it was a rather large, black butterfly. I got to talking with them, and they invited me to come over and get some photos.

I grabbed my 100-300mm lens, and joined them in their garden. The butterfly was huge - I estimate at least 5 inches wingtip to wingtip. And he/she/it seemed oblivious to us and our cameras. I got several decent shots, one of which I've placed here. I'll add a few more photos in a day or so.

My dad just bought a new Kodak digital camera; got a pretty good deal on it at Walmart. He and I are going on a little photo safari on Saturday, so I hope to have some new photos to add to the site.


Monday, September 03, 2007

A Peaceful (Gasp) Weekend.....

.....Draws to a close. It's unbelieveable how fast 3 days can go by.

Tomorrow it's into the breech, once again, but it has been a refreshingly peaceful 3 days. I almost feel guilty for actually having 3 days to relax, and do some of the things I've been unable to for some time. I'm hoping my insane schedule is in a calm-down stage for a while. A long while.

I am bracing myself for the insanity that is sure to erupt as soon as the clock hits 8:00 AM tomorrow. It will be a short week, but I imagine it will be a busy one. I could be wrong - it's happened once or twice before, but we'll see.

My vacation in October has been approved, so I'm getting pretty excited about that. I think we'll actually get a chance to get away, and have a real vacation this year! Woo-hoo! I may be participating in a 5K run/walk later this month to benefit endangered species' habitats. We'll see how things work out the next few weeks.

I've got a few more things to change on the website over the next few days. I've added a function that changes the home page every month, so it will be at least somewhat fresh each month!

Hope everyone had a good Labor Day weekend!