Spain was totally awesome… We had such a great time, both hanging out with old friends around the wedding and then cruising around Spain, France, and the Pyrenees in our rented Peugeot. More details to come, but I’ve started putting photos from the trip up on Flickr. That’s about half the photos right now, and the second half will come soon to that same spot.
Happy Birthday, Babe!
, who apparently shares her birthday!)
Having moved into a new, larger, house and having bought a ridiculously large television, it only seemed to make sense to have a nice sound system.. Unfortunately, there were a few problems with this plan:
- There are condos above and below us, so there was no access from above or below.
- Corinna and I had no interest in unsightly wires running around the living room.
- I don’t trust wireless speaker setups, and besides, I already have 5 perfectly good speakers.
- We didn’t want to rip the walls down solely to run speaker wire.
Given all that, I assumed that others would likely have this problem, so I began searching around for a solution. After some research I settled on Flatwire. Basically, you glue Flatwire to the wall, tape over it with joint tape, then feather joint compound over the whole kit and caboodle to conceal it. I was somewhat skeptical, but after reading some good words I decided to take a bit of a leap of faith and shell out a few hundred bucks on the gear. I got 100′ of flat speaker wire, 8 wall boxes, the spray adhesive and extra-wide joint tape.
We found pages and pages of illustrated installation instructions on the company’s site, and they were a little intimidating.. Fortunately, Corinna and I sat down and carefully read them, making sure we understood each step before any installation started. Once we invested this time it became clear that this installation really wasn’t as complicated as it seemed at first. The instructions are just very detailed.. After understanding all the steps, all it takes is some solid patience…
We used a chalk line to snap out all 4 routes around the living room.. What became apparent quickly was that while it may seem that keeping the wires level would be really important, in a 100 year old home which isn’t terribly level anywhere else, what really mattered was keeping the lines a consistent distance from the ceiling. We took time to make sure we had enough space along the entire runs to account for any sags in the ceiling. Once we were confident in all of the chalk lines, we began the first run. It seemed logical to start with the shortest run, which was the front right speaker. We measured the length of the run, and then measured out and cut the appropriate length of wire. The instructions advised us to test this length of cable before proceeding, so we connected two of the wall boxes to either end and hooked up the stereo and a speaker. Everything worked great, so we disassembled the whole setup and began gluing the wire to the walls. First, we mounted the first wall box to the wall and connected the wire to that box as a kind of anchor while we glued. The glue is really, really sticky, and didn’t necessarily spray straight out of the nozzle, so it took a little practice to shoot straight.. Fortunately, any misfiring would be covered up by the spackle anyway, so I wasn’t too worried. After getting this first run glued to the wall we mounted the second wall box and connected the other end of the wire to it. After reconnecting the speaker and stereo to this first run, we successfully tested this first run. The instructions advised testing each run 3 times: Before gluing, after gluing, and after spackling. This would have taken us forever, so after this first run we only tested after gluing (and obviously after painting).
After this first run, we glued the remaining 3 runs to the wall and mounted all of the wall boxes, testing all of them successfully. With each run we became faster and faster as we became more familiar with the process. We started this process around 11am and finished gluing and testing around 4pm, just in time to jump in the shower quickly and catch The Police at Fenway. The next day Corinna began taping and feathering the wires.. This took her a few days, mostly because of the amount of spackle needed to really hide the wire combined with drying time. She may correct me, but I believe it took three passes to really smooth it out. After getting the paint on the walls Thursday night I mounted the speakers Friday and we took the system for a test-drive.
While I’m no audiophile, I do appreciate good sound, and as far as I can tell, the Flatwire doesn’t color or distort the audio in any perceivable way. The stereo sounds wonderful and bass and treble response seem identical to the traditional speaker wire I replaced. To be honest, I can’t really find any flaws in the system. It’s expensive, and it requires spackling finesse which may be beyond some (including myself), but if you are in a similar bind to me, it seems like a perfect solution.
For some reason after months of not really attending any shows regularly a bunch happened to occur all at once. Of course, things were kicked off this Saturday past when
and myself all had the extreme pleasure of seeing The Police at Fenway Park. I was really excited about this show, but in the back of my head there was always this nagging fear that it would be a bunch of old guys who couldn’t quite play anymore pretending they were young again. Beyond that, I generally avoid arena shows in favor of small clubs. The odds of me seeing this band at a club are virtually nil, so I decided to make an exception to my rules…
As soon as they took the stage and kicked into Message in a Bottle, however, any fears were put right to bed. They rocked so hard, it was such a great show, it has instantly jumped into the top 5 shows I have ever witnessed. Their set list was great (I could have done without “Walking in Your Footsteps”, but you can’t please everyone), and hit just about every song I wanted to hear. By the encore, I was thinking they were going to skip my favorite song, “Next to You”, but after the main encore they snuck back out on stage and kicked into it as their last song. When they broke into it I probably jumped 3 feet out of pure excitement and adrenaline. I actually for a split second considered trying to scalp tickets for Sunday’s show, but realized I’m not made of money. =)
Last night I went out to Cambridge to see Negativland at the Middle East as part of their It’s All In Your Head FM tour.. It was also a great show, but in a completely different way. The band was basically doing a live radio show from the stage, and if you’ve ever heard their Over the Edge radio show before, you know it can been a pretty crazy melange of samples, music, noise, and scripted weirdness. They even handed out blindfolds at the ticket counter to enhance the “Radio Viewing” experience. It was really enjoyable seeing these guys work, although by the 3rd hour of the show (as it approached midnight) I was getting pretty sleepy…
Tonight I’m returning to the Middle East and meeting up with a bunch of friends to see DJ Z-Trip. His stuff can be real hit-or-miss for me, but his technical ability is simply astounding, so he at least possesses the chops to knock it out of the park. I saw him a few years ago when he toured and it was a pretty enjoyable show, so hopefully he’ll pull it off again tonight.
and I spent most of the weekend hanging out around the house and plowing through the massive unpacking chores ahead of us.. Corinna finally had the opportunity to get the bedroom mostly in order, so the boxes of clothes are mostly gone and things are starting to find their “right place”. I continued to sort through my stuff, trying to pare down stuff… I’ve come across even more stuff to give away..
Eventually I’ll post a master list of stuff, but if you have the need for a Netgear 8-port 10/100 switch or a SMC 8-port 10/100 wired NAT firewall/router, or a PS1 without any cables or controllers, which I believe still works, but I haven’t touched it in years… let me know.
I ordered my TV, it’d be awesome if it came before the weekend, but I doubt that will happen…
Dad was up this weekend, both for a visit and to bring back Hawkeye. It had been awhile since he had been up to Boston, and he had the honor of being the first overnight guest in our new house. The house is still a complete mess, with boxes all over the place, but at least now all of our stuff is in the house now (and out of storage or my parents’ house). Now it’s just a matter of unpacking it all and putting things in their place. I’m trying to get rid of as much crap as I can as I unpack things, especially a lot of the geek cruft I’ve accumulated over the years… I have several boxes which are just full of cables, and that’s just ridiculous!
Anyway, I got home from work a little early to meet with the RCN technician who was there to install the two CableCARDs into my new Tivo Series3 HD. It took about 45 minutes, some of which was the technician waiting for someone at dispatch to pick up the phone and activate the cards… You would think they would just do that before sending out the tech, but that would make sense. Anyway, after the dispatch guy putzed around for like 20 minutes they were eventually up and running with almost all of the channels, but Discovery HD, HDNet, and HDNet Movies had no picture or sound. I made an executive decision to neglect to mention this to the tech and deal with someone over the phone instead. This morning I read on the Tivo Community Forums that those three channels were the only members of the HD Tier, so I assumed that the HD Tier was not activated on my account. Sure enough, a quick call to RCN resolved that (in theory, I’m at work so I can’t test it.. :P). Now I just have to get an HD television… :P
After the tech left my dad called and said he was mired in traffic on 90.. Pretty unusual, since most people are leaving Boston around that time, but who can predict traffic around here… Anyway, Dad arrived around 5:30pm, and Corinna got home for work soon afterwards.. After a quick tour of the new place, we hit up the Summer Shack in Cambridge for dinner.. I normally might have preferred the downtown location, but I was pretty hungry and it was a home game for the Red Sox, so it tends to get a little hairy down there… Dinner was awesome, and afterwards we headed back to the house and took a walk along the Charles before settling in for the night.
Saturday was pretty busy, we left the house pretty early to head over to the Museum of Science. We weren’t actually going to the museum, though, instead we were picking up a Duck Tour there. We got there around 11am, but they were already sold out until 3pm, so we ended up heading over to Harpoon Brewery for one of their tastings. It was a pretty good time, even if I’m not the world’s biggest beer fan. I did manage to get a case of their draft root beer, which is delicious. The Duck Tour was OK, but I think it was pretty redundant for someone who’s lived in Boston for 6+ years.. I did learn a bit about Charlestown, which I had never really explored much… I made some BBQ chicken and grilled veggies for dinner and we watched a movie which was terrible. Never watch this movie, and reprimand
for making me write about it. I now realize they hate me with every fiber of their being. Little did they know that not only did they attack me, but their car bomb also took out
and my father.
My dad left Sunday morning, but before he did I made some french toast and bacon for breakfast… It came out pretty good, I used half a baguette I had lying around for a few days, so it was good and stale and really sucked up the custard. After dad left there was much napping and eventually we saw Crazy Love with the film club. It was a small turn-out, but it was a good time. The movie was almost unbelievable, just a crazy story.. We had a good time afterwards discussing the film and other randomness..
turned up towards the end, he was passing by on his way to play pool with
at Flattop’s. After we finished chilling with the film club peeps we popped over to Flattop’s to say hi to the two of them, which was cool…
returned from South Dakota on Friday around Midnight, we managed to get a few hours of sleep in before piling into Hawkeye and heading down to NJ.
was visiting from TN, and I hadn’t seen her in quite awhile (Christmas?). I also used the opportunity to trade cars with mom for the week and bring the crap I’ve kept in their basement to the new place now that there’s room for it. It was a really busy 36 hours or whatever… Saturday night we all went out to Outback to celebrate Father’s Day a little early (since we were all in town at the same time).
was accompanied by Stosh and her “stepkids” (she and Stosh aren’t married, but she lives with him and helps take care of the kids when they are with Stosh). They are cute kids, but a handful, and totally reminded me why having kids is a bad idea… =)
Anyway, I was in the basement with Mom and Dad, who were helping me spelunk the basement for my stuff, and helping me bring it out to the car. My dad was bringing out a box to the car when I looked into my plastic Rubbermaid coffin and noticed the infamous can of corn. I quickly sprung into action, grabbing the can and bringing it out to the car with the intention of hiding it in his car.. Unfortunately, he caught me as I entered the garage, and quickly proclaimed “Damn it!!” Apparently, he had just put the can in the coffin a few minutes prior.. This was extra special, because this is EXACTLY how this whole can fiasco started almost 10 years ago when I was packing up to move to RIT (in late August or early September 1997). The ball is back in my court… for now…
On the way back from NJ we stopped over in Manhattan for a few hours to visit with Sara, Dave, Sappha, and Finn… To save time, I drove directly to their place down by Battery Park, so we could just blast up the FDR when we were done as opposed to taking the PATH back to NJ then driving from there… The Holland Tunnel was awful, but the TomTom got us there without too much hassle… Sara made some awesome baked Mac & Cheese, and we caught up for an hour or two before we hit the road… Mom’s Honda Pilot treated us pretty well, but I really don’t like driving such a big car, especially when I can’t see out the back.. Fortunately I didn’t have to do all that much backing up…
We got back to Watertown around midnight, and we quickly settled in for the final episode of The Sopranos.. What a way to go out, it was everything I could have hoped for… Exactly the kind of way I had hoped the series would end, I mean, I wasn’t “expecting” how it turned out, but I really hoped many of the “all wrapped up nicely” theories that were floating around leading up to the finale were wrong… I’ll leave this spoiler free for awhile, but I’ll try and come back to it at some point…
I finally spoke with
last night, she apologized profusely for leaving me in the dark for so long… She seems to be having fun out there in South Dakota, at least in her down time… Apparently it is very beautiful out there, we’ll have to get out there as part of our travels sometime soon.
I’ve been spending most of my time unpacking, cleaning, and settling into the new house. I use the term settling loosely, because I’m sure of my decisions will be overridden by Corinna when she gets back… =) Yesterday I managed to get the last of the boxes out of the living room, dining room, kitchen, and den, which allowed me to mop all the floors. The floors were refinished before we moved in, and whatever they used on the floor (stain or whatever) was getting onto socks and feet, so I had been walking around in flip-flops and sandals all the time.. But once I got the bulk of the crap unpacked, I was able to move everything around in order to mop. Now the floors don’t seem to scum up socks and feet, although they may need another mopping to be sure.
I bought a grill the other day, a propane Char-Broil… I had some people for grilling over on Saturday because
was in town briefly, and afterwards some of us went to the Middle East to see a band I had never heard of before, CSS. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you if it was a good show because I imbibed a bit too much and I think I would have enjoyed a Barry Manilow performance at that point… Seriously, though, it was a fun time,even if it wasn’t exactly my normal listening fare.
Sunday started off a little rough, but I eventually pulled it together… Unpacked a bit, but mostly I just lounged around the new house… It was strange, but I think because I’ve had a seemingly unending stream of projects in the months leading up to selling Corinna’s old place,simply sitting around watching TV caused me to feel guilty, like I was neglecting something which needed to be done immediately. Once I Reminded myself that the boxes would still be there the next day, and we weren’t in a race to get a house on the market or anything, I was able to just relax and enjoy Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon. Later on we caught Severance with the film club, which had a big turnout and was lots of fun, even if I was tired and hungover…
On Thursday I’m headed to the dreaded Avalon to see Skinny Puppy… I caught them last time they came through town, and it was a great show, so I’m hoping for even more fun!
If anyone sees or hears from
coco_b and I woke up this morning, packed the rest of our crap into Hawkeye, and said goodbye to our Comm. Ave apartment for the last time. I think it was more bittersweet for her than it was for me, being her “first home” and all… I liked the place, but we’ve been talking about selling it and getting a new place for so long I just think I’ve lost all perspective on the matter.
Corinna called around 12:30 to tell me that the closing on the old place was done, so all that is left is for us to drive out to Needham and close on the new place… But for the intervening time, I’m homeless….