Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Of Bikes, Tivo Series2s, and Outdoor Furniture

The landscaping project finally started yesterday. We've been contemplating some kind of relatively major landscaping project basically since we moved in to the house in early 2002. And we spent quite a bit of the spring and early summer trying to decide what to do, so we're pretty excited that it's finally underway. There seem to be new decisions to make almost every day.

One was whether we want less disruption in the back yard or a shorter total project time. Luke, the landscaper, isn't going to be at our place every day, but there may be days when he isn't working on our yard but doesn't need his assistant's help and could have him working on our back yard, which is going to take some time. We're having the whole lawn replaced and a lot of dirt and weeds will have to be removed. Juan could work on that on days when they're not both doing something else, but that would mean that the backyard would be unusable for quite a long time. Instead, we elected to have them do all the work in the back in as short a time as possible so that we don't have to deal with not being able to use it for any longer than necessary.

I picked up our 6 new outdoor chairs today. They're teak, from The Wooden Duck. We love the Wooden Duck; all their furniture is made from recycled or farmed wood. We went for their big summer BBQ bash, planning what we would buy on the way there. The funny thing was that we thought the sale was 30% off, but it turned out to be 50%, so we got more than we planned for the same money. We took the bench home that day, but had to back-order the chairs and table, which are now all ready. The table won't fit in my truck, so I'll have to go back at some point with a truck that can carry it. Maybe John or Xin can help me with it. The new chairs are still wet; I guess they must have gone in the container pretty soon after being built and they've had no time to dry, so I'll have to wait to stain them.

I want to call Hank & Frank and see whether they know when they will get my new bike in. It's only been 3 days since I ordered it, but I'm itching to get it. Surprise. I'm trying to decide whether I want to get a new cyclocomputer (as what I have been calling a speedometer is called by bikers evidently). I definitely don't want to spend much on it, though, so I probably won't because I doubt that I can get one for a low price that does much more than the one I have now. My friend Jason has one that includes a heart rate monitor and altimeter and downloadable data. It can do graphs of heart rate, altitude, and speed over the course of the ride. And probably more than that. It's pretty cool. It's also around $300, probably without the downloading kit.

John & I went over to Jim's last night. Had dinner out and then watched 3 episodes of Junkyard Mega Wars, which Jim thinks are the last three episodes. It's a pretty bad show now; they tried to spice it up by adding an "eye-candy" hostess and an "extreme" host. The dork points, gestures, and yells far too much. And has nothing particularly interesting to say. They spent a heck of a lot of time in transit so that you don't really get to see the teams planning and executing as much as might be interesting. And they do things like arrange to find a charged nitrous system in a junk yard. Yeah. Right. It was fun, though; we spent the whole time dissing the contestants and hosts, and the show, and making all sorts of comments about it all.

I also looked around their Tivo Series 2 a little. The main thing we want them for is to be able to watch things recorded on one from the other; i.e. in the bedroom. It also includes the 'home media options', which would be cool since I'm now ripping all our music; I wonder if I can connect the Tivo to the little boom box we have in the bedroom? Another nice feature on the series 2s is that anything recorded with the same title can be grouped into folders, which would surely make it easier to find the things we have recorded. I am particularly interested in the fact that it supports wireless networking, including encryption, although I don't know if I would really get a good enough connection up to the bedroom for the wireless to be useful, but it should be relatively easy to run a wire from the hub in the study out the east side of the house and then into the bedroom. And then, if I were smart, I'd put a wireless access point there and still use wireless. Or I could put a 2-port hub with a wireless access point on one port and a wire to the Tivo on the other. We'll see. First we have to commit to buying them. The prices look pretty good right now, although we'd still have to spend $300 to get lifetime service for one and then $6.95 a month for the other (because it would take 44 months for the monthly service to pay itself off with the multi-unit discount).

Of course, the rebate they're doing right now expires tonight. And I can't reach Dawn. We're both interested, but we also were thinking about putting some of the other purchases we've been thinking about on hold... Tivos, new window coverings, track lighting for the kitchen... there's always stuff to think about buying for the house.

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