Monday, January 28, 2008

Geoana's big night

So what’s been happening in the Geohouse lately?

More than the usual dreck. Last Tuesday, little Geoana went to her first concert. Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, to be exact. Geoana attended courtesy of her uncle, who was able to score tickets, although not meet-and-greet passes. But going to the concert was good enough for all involved.

And I didn’t go, which was fine with me. The group that went included Geoana, Geogal (sans earplugs), and another mother-daughter combination with whom we are friends. And a good time was had by all.

Plus, the little one was able to show off her concert T-shirt the following day. Sigh. They grow up so fast.


What did I do all that evening, at home alone? Cooked man food (red beans and rice) and watched a manly man movie (Apollo 13). And yes, the astronauts did make it back OK! (This is an inside-family joke, dear reader.)


Our house seems to be one of bizzare DVD viewing coincidences involving death.

Christmas Day, 2006. One of my gifts was The Simpsons, Season Five DVD. I opened it and the first episode from the set I watched was “Bart’s Inner Child.” (Be like the boy!!!) One of the guest voices was James Brown. Either during, or just after viewing that episode, the news came over the wires of the death of “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.”


Now, lets go back a couple of days. Geogal and I are watching our latest Netflix arrival, “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas.” (I’ll give you my opinion in a moment.) Shortly after the movie is over, Geogal is online and mentions the just-reported death of Christian Brando. Included in the obit was the mention that he had a small role in, you guessed it. ILY, ABT.

Double hmmmmmm.

The movie itself? If you haven’t seen it, don’t bother. I tried to look at it while noting its time and context and the flick still seems to be lacking. Does one “drop out,” or not?

Thank God I wasn’t a young adult in those days (1968). Hitting my 20’s during the 1980’s was weird enough.

Still, Geogal and I are using Netflix to watch several of the films of Peter Sellers. I’m sure we will end the Sellers track with “Being There.” His last film, and from what I’ve heard, his favorite.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Resolutions revisited

Turns out I did better than I initially thought.

For the three goals I listed on January 2, 2007, I achieved two of them. The third, going to Las Cruces in the fall for NMSU's homecoming game, was a matter due to lack of finances, not desire.

No matter. The Aggies play a homecoming game every year.

Goals for 2008? Sorry dear reader, those are for the private use of Geohouse only, not to be shared with the general public.

OK, I will share one. Have written, posted goals (like on the refrigerator or mirror) for this year. Keep them in the forefront of the mind. Let's see how well that works. I'll let you know in January 2009.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The digital world slowly approaches

Yes, this blog has been quiet. But I haven’t gone anywhere. Just keeping busy and musing.

For example, I recently flicked on my bedroom TV to just the antenna and noticed one of the low-power channels was out.

A visit to the Internet told me the station is not out, it just flash-cut that signal to digital.

Since this is one of the local channels available via my DirecTV satellite dish, this move from analog to digital really doesn’t affect my viewing. Still, snow on analog channel 27 is indicative of a change about to head our way.

A BIG change.

If you have any interest in consumer technology or you are just one of those nerds (like me) who enjoy reading about the latest in broadcasting, you no doubt are aware of the big switchover to digital television come February 17, 2009. For the layperson, it means your way of viewing over-the-air TV will permanently change.

The reason there is not a huge panic about this is because people who receive their TV via cable or satellite dish will not be affected. This, of course, is the majority of U.S. TV viewers. As I noted earlier, the now-digital-only signal for KAZT-CA is a non-issue, as I can still watch the station over DirecTV even though I only own analog TV sets. (A flat-paneled LCD or plasma TV is way down the road for the Geohouse.)

However there is still a part of me that will mourn the loss of the old analog signals.

I recall the thrill of seeing out-of-area channels when I was a kid (an early indicator of my budding nerdiness). This excitement lasted well into my adulthood, when I lived in Casa Grande, watching KNAZ, Channel 2 from Flagstaff fade in and out through snow, courtesy of my rooftop antenna. One day KNAZ faded out completely and a station from Spokane, Washington (KREM-TV) appeared. Nirvana!

With digital, such things just won’t happen. And it’s not limited to TV. I also engage in radio DXing (again, just more evidence that I am a true nerd). The word around the DX hobby world is how HD radio is interfering and affecting one’s ability to DX other AM stations due to the “bleeding” into adjacent frequencies the HD signal causes.

(If you didn’t understand that last sentence, don’t worry. It’s not important to the world at large.)

So, I am aware that I am seeing the end of an era. And soon, my set channels in both TV’s (always set those channels in case the satellite signal goes out): 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 27, 45, 51, and 61 will all show snow in a little over a year.

Yet with the digital switchover headed our way, I can’t help but anticipate the advantages of the digital channels, namely multiplexing and HDTV. Interesting times are still to come. Plus, I have to wonder which of our local stations will rebrand themselves due to a channel change. (Channels 52-69 will be vacated, as will channels 2-6.)

“CBS 5” becomes “CBS 17?” Or CW 6 becoming “CW 49?” We’ll see. (The latter is not likely, the former more so.)

Meanwhile it seems the big box retailers need to step up and help educate the public about the switch. This article was interesting. You would think a company such as Best Buy would want to rise to the challenge.

But that’s big business for you. (“What? Educating the customer? That cuts into our profit margin!”)

Monday, Monday

...but I'm surprisingly not melancholy!

Not even with a Cowboys season-ending loss.

Let's just get the post-mortem going, OK media hacks. No doubt Tony Romo will be castigated repeatedly for the Mexico trip with Jessica Simpson. My take? That's just a red herring.

Face it, Romo still needs to grow in his role and learn from experience. The Giants were able to pressure him nearly all the second half, and his attempts to hang onto the ball while being chased rather than chucking it toward the sidelines further magnifies Romo's inexperience. Then we see Romo tossing the ball out of bounds while still in the tackle box, resulting in an intentional grounding penalty. Sigh.

How about we give Romo a chance to grow into the job, OK? He may surprise us yet.

Did you catch NBC's alleged Golden Globe awards announcement telecast? Geogal and I tuned in for a few minutes to see how horrid it could be. Kind of like every instinct telling you not to look when you pass a car accident, yet you look anyway.

Oh, the humanity! I'm curious where this travesty will rank in the week's ratings.


I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to Sunday's Packers-Giants game. Think the football gods will bestow another snowstorm on the frozen tundra?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

And yes, it is a New year!

Just enjoying some leisure time. That’s a summation of my life over the past week and a half.

And I’m OK with that.

With the benefit of hindsight, I have to wonder how we made it through the days that led up to Xmas. Considering I was working nearly 40 hours a week (Geogal was working 40 and then some), plus the additional stresses of little Geoana performing in two musicals, preparing two dishes for a company holiday pot-luck, swimming lessons for Geoana, ensuring we were prepared for the Christmas meal, and sending off the gifts for nieces and nephews, it’s a wonder we’re still sane.

Not to mention when the workday ended the evening of December 21, I still had not started my gift shopping. (Cue the high-stress music now.)

We can thank a merciful God.

So I do not feel guilty due to spending the past few days relaxing in front of the idiot box watching bowl games. Or for sleeping in slightly for a few days.

I’ve earned it. So has the whole family. And, the adults in the house did return to work during the last two days.


Speaking of being leisurely, Geogal and I spent the past Sunday afternoon watching various programs that were accumulated on the DVR (just DirecTV’s version of TiVo). Just call it a “Torchwood” mini-marathon. And yes, I have admitted on this blog before that I am officially a Torchwood fanatic. For those of you who haven’t seen it or are not aware of its existence, just think X-Files, Doctor Who, Mission Impossible, and various soap opera elements all rolled into one. Who cares about a writer’s strike? They do have TV writers across the pond, you know.

Now, an unpleasant task. Review my New Year’s resolutions for 2007 and see just how well I did, or how badly I missed the mark. My material for 2007 is already out there for the world to see. Just give me a little time to review...

After many months, a solution?

Reading James Lileks’ blog today I took note of his recent visit to Las Vegas, complete with photos.

The pics engaged my brain into a recall of this past March.

If you’ve forgotten, here is an entry that states clearly that this was not the best out-of-town trip I have ever had.

Maybe now is the time to truly process what went on for me there, and why I had such a substantial case of the blues.

Findings? Several.

First, unmet expectations.

I recall planning the trip then ruminating during the drive there about how it would be grand to watch the NCAA selection show in a sportsbook. Now, I don’t need to say much more about this as previous blog entries detailed the subject. I think I also was looking forward to sunning by the pool (one of several at Caesar’s Palace) and relaxing with Geogal at my side. Combine all this with being able to enjoy the leisurely pace of Vegas and taking in the offerings of the hotel, and I would be in a state of euphoria.


I did catch some rays by the pool one afternoon. A crowded pool. Almost wall-to-wall humans. And I quaffed a non-alcoholic smoothie which set me back $12 (see number three below). Was this a privilege? To barely be able to find a chaise lounge and have to pay through the nose for a drink that would cost me around three dollars at Jamba Juice?

Plus, I forgot just how much walking around crowds of people is a part of being in one of the larger Vegas hotel/casinos.

Second, too much isolation and alone time.

I’m sure some of you know the meaning when I say I can feel very alone in a crowd of people. I am not energized by a gaggle of humans, particularly when they are drinking, being boorish, and overtly selfish. “Nuff said.

But since Geogal was away at her professional gathering most of the days (and evenings), I was alone. Isolated. Cut off. Not around my loved ones or friends. Not good for my introverted self. And being able to connect to the Internet (another daily charge by the hotel--see number three below) does not make up for face-to-face interaction.

And I was away from my child during this time. I’ve been away from her before, but when you’re lonesome or need an uplift, there’s nothing better than playing with your own kid.

Coming in at number three, the green stuff. No, I’m not talking of gambling losses (though I did burn up a dollar in the slot machines). Rather, I felt as if I was nickeled-and-dimed to death in Sin City. Want a beer at the sportsbook? Overpriced. Care for a meal at one of the lower-level restaurants at Caesar’s Palace? Cough up the dough. Complimentary breakfast? Nope. And I haven’t even gotten to the tips.

My sisters are probably reading this and thinking I am a cheapskate. Yes, sometimes. But come on! Everywhere I turn? And forget about Vegas being a bastion of low-priced meals since the gamblers pay for everything. It might have been that way a generation ago, but not in 2007.

Last, sensory overload. The picture at the bottom of Lileks’ blog is a perfect summation of how my being overwhelmed with man-made creations induced dysphoria. I can admit it. I’m a nature guy. To my credit I did take a drive to Red Rock Canyon (see my pics, above). But by that time, all of the aforementioned factors had taken their toll. Again, even in spite of the beautiful vistas, I was sad and alone.

On New Year’s Eve, my family spent the evening with some friends. My friend Steve made a comment during the festivities, saying the only two places he wants to visit are Australia and Alaska. The rest of the world holds no importance to him. While I may be more diverse in my future travel destinations, Steve’s point was well-made. He likes nature, the outdoors. No cities for him.

Ditto for me. While I may visit Las Vegas in the future, probably for professional conferences, I’d rather see the works of God (nature) rather than the works of man (everything else).

Ahh, the benefit of hindsight.