Monday, August 07, 2006

By Request - Move update

Ok... I'm lame. I know it. But, moving is a busy time! (excuse).

So, here is the update on how the move went and all that jazz.

Utilities and stuff

So, when we last talked, I was telling the tale of woe about our Internet and Television options (or lack of options). So, the phone service provider (we went with DSL without local phone service, and opted to keep Vonage for our telephony provider) was able to hook us up with DSL... but, it was a two phase approach (phase 1: they had to install a line with a phone number - but you cannot make or receive calls on it), with the second phase taking 14 days to complete after the first phase - on Matmas day (phase 2: activate DSL on the line).

We were in the loft for TWO FULL WEEKS without DSL... what did we do??? Well, fortunately, there were 7 rogue wireless signals kicking around, so I did the only honorable thing and 'borrowed' some bandwidth for a while. I gave it back... we were only tempted for a short while to keep this as a permanent solution (oddly, that decision came when I couldn't get the internet connection sharing to allow me to rebroadcast the signal from upstairs to our routers down here...). Anyway, life is good now... we have the Internet back.

TV... now that is a new saga. We were unable to get any cable service in the downtown area, so we elected to get DirecTV installed... they offer a High Definition (HD) service, so we thought we would go that route... WRONG!

You see, we live on floor #4 of an 8 floor building, and there is a single dish providing DirecTV currently to the building. This is an old dish providing an analog signal.

Well, hook up another dish moron! (you say)

Well, it isn't that simple (I reply). You see, the existing dish and antenna (for use when the dish service is down - so we can get local channels) have cables running through conduit in the building to the basement, where it is split out via various cabling devices to all units (1 cable per unit). The new dish would require 3 cables to run down the conduit (would have to fish a new one down), a new dish, and a new antenna. The equipment in the basement would need to be replaced for HD, and there would then need to be 2 cables run to each unit instead of 1 (1 for the regular signal, one for the HD signal)... hence, we now have regular, old, boring DirecTV... AND... they don't just display the channels you get in the set top box, no, they display all 70000000 of them, so essentially, every channel you select to watch is one that you do not get.

So, now we were stuck with crappy quality reception on our plasma TV... so, I had to do something about it. MVG got on the internet and looked up information on HD antennas, while I looked for an HD receiver to take the signal and pass it to the plasma (it is a monitor with no receiver built in). We ended up with an indoor HD antenna (works great), and a receiver that actually plugs in to the USB port on our computer so that our PC is now a DVR (we don't have to shell out the $9/month for DVR service)... we feed the DirecTV through it too, and can now pause tv. Actually, we will likely cancel the DirecTV, since we get 12 HD channels on the antenna. We also joined NetFlix.


This is another saga... (aren't they all).

When we moved, our funiture looked like dogmeat in the new place. Even homeless people were pointing and laughing at us as we hauled it in (MVG will NOT EVER move that couch again... actually, we have since sold it - dog snot and all). Anyway, it turned out (thankfully, our non-heterosexual male designer pointed this out) that we were in need of about 65 million dollars worth of new furnishing, paint and art.

We hired NHM to help us (thinking he would come in and 'voila', magically come up with a design for us)... after the first visit, he went away and said it would be about 5 or 6 more visits, then about 6 months for the CUSTOM furniture to arrive. After the second visit (which almost lead to a second mortgage), we fired him and sighed with relief.

Off we went to a furniture store in a panic to get something that was not covered in cat hair and dog snot. We found some, and the entire ensemble (sofa, big chair, dining table, 5 dining room chairs, lamp) cost about the same as the dining room table that NHM had in mind for us... AND the stuff we ended up with was not cheap, it was Italian... and (it seems) they make good stuff.

Anyway, the university student happily came and took the dog-snot couch for use in her dorm, and we have a nice 'minimalist' space. Unfortunately, despite not coming with cat hair and dog snot, those items have begun to make an appearance on the new furniture.

So now, MVG happily takes the bus to work (well, maybe not so happily), and I drive 3 days a week out to a far away land known as Warrendale (the Sewickley office moved further away), while working from home 1 day, and at the Hall of Justice the other day.

Speaking of working from home, I saw what appeared to be a 'jumper' on the bridge out of our living room window today... details to follow as they appear in the local news.


Bike Tales - MVG summary (to date)

So, as one of our friends pointed out, MVG's cycling has consisted of (in the past year):

  • Being hit by an unidentified flying object (thrown from a motorist on the other side of the road), resulting in a massive bruise
  • Crashing during an 'emergency braking' drill at cycling camp
  • Abandoning a ride in tears at the side of the road after VG takes a few minor wrong turns (in 100 degree heat) and ending up about 30 miles from home... after already riding about 30 miles (and being out of food and water).
  • Crashing (again) into a bush by the dinosaur at an incredible speed of about 2 mph... in public
  • Being chased down by two wild turkeys in the park

We're not sure what else can happen, but believe me, when it does, you will see it here first!


Wild Tukeys could not drag me away...

MVG Does it Again!

Just when you think you have heard it all, MVG has another cycling 'adventure'. This past weekend, MVG and I were riding to meet some friends for a ride at the now infamous dinosaur by the Carnegie Library. I'm not sure if there is bad karma for MVG on this route, or what, but while we were riding to the library, the latest incident occurred.

Turkey Trot

So, as we were going through the park on the way to the library, I passed two rather large wild turkeys (see image below). My guess is that they were of the 25 lb variety.

Anyway, I casually rode on past them, then looked over my shoulder to ensure MVG was close behind. Now, keep in mind that we are both Vegans, and MVG loves animals (she now hates birds, mind you). MVG decided to 'kindly' let the birds cross the road rather than ride past them. This would be akin to (in the eyes of the turkeys) a lion stopping to let some wildebeest past (a.k.a. GNU, and yes, it is Wildebeest and not Wildebeast, at least according to the ever correct Internet), but I digress. Anyway, 'prey' typically would be very nervous if a 'predator' stopped nearby after obviously seeing them. The choices would be (for the prey) 1) run or 2) try to fend off the predator (there were two of these turkeys afterall). They chose the latter.

The chase

So now, these two turkeys decide that they need to frighten off the predator by going into a military style flanking maneuver and 'clucking' and 'pecking' at MVG. In the mean time, MVG has now become terrified, and is frantically trying to pedal, but her feet are not actually on the pedals. Just when it seemed all hope was lost for MVG, she found the pedals and sprang forward, but the beasts pursued...

Eventually, they stopped their pursuit... MVG made her escape. Where was I during this? I was in tears from laughter. You have never seen a sight like this, it was just so funny (unless you are MVG).

I'm glad to say, that MVG made it out of the 'woods' and continued on the ride (although, there was an episode on some gravel later on that had her dander up).