I finally watched "Return of the King"

and it reminded of one thing: War is an ugly thing. Great movie tho.

Modern media has really take a turn for the hyper-realistic in movies and games. This has really brought a vision of things like war that many of us have never seen. The first 20 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" is an excellent example of this: There are few moments in entertainment history as intense as what was put together by Spielberg in that piece of work. The massive computer rendering of the battles in the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy are another example. Some of the scenes just show battlefields littered with casualties and corpses alike. The aftermath of which I shudder to think of.

On the games front, Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield 2 both give an intensity of experience that I never thought I could have from a box with a mouse, keyboard, and a pair of headphones. I remember the first time I played the Normandy map on Battlefield 1942 on a full 64 man server. It was just insane. Hearing the bullets whiz by while crouched in a landing craft, crawling up a beach to cover, praying that I'm not the guy the German players see from the machine gun nests up the cliff. For a video game, the experience really burned itself onto my mind, and makes me thankful for those who have heard bullets whistling over their heads and seen their fellow officer or soldier fall in the line of duty. I say thanks again for doing what you did so I can speak American English as opposed to American German.

I have met people who participated in the Normandy Invasion, and I sometimes want to ask them about it, but shy away from it, since it may bring back some bad memories. The last thing I want to do to those I respect is to open "old wounds", so to speak. So I experience what they did as viscerally as I can, and remind myself that they had this same experience turned up 1000 magnitudes, with no hope of a respawn. It gives me pause.

So anyway, the movie was great. I shall own it on DVD.

On other notes, my 30 year old Sherwood receiver died last weekend. I am not one to go without some sort of stereo for any length of time, so I went to the local audiophile shop and said "I want a used 2 channel integrated or preamp/poweramp combo for not too much coin, that sounds good." My preliminary analysis on the $325 that I spent there is *very* positive.

Sound Ideas is just around the corner from me. They're the only audiophile location in Gainesville that I know. They've been there for 15 years, so they know what niche they're filling, and how to fill it while making a buck. My kind of store. Dave (the guy behind the counter) knew *exactly* what I was looking for when I told him what I wanted. I threw out a couple of well known manufacturers in my price range (NAD being the one that I remember offhand), and he said he had a preamp/power amp set that would fulfill all of my requirements.

The Parasound P/HP 850 he had a floor piece that had went out to a customer's site for a week. The customer brought it back stating that the entire system that she had purchased was too complex for her taste, and she wanted a wireless remote. The unit itself is pretty simple and straight forward. Turn it on, select what you want, turn it up. Adjust bass and treble knobs to your liking, or bypass for unadulterated sound. My kind of setup. A wireless remote would have been nice, but I was already accustomed to not having one, so I won't miss it.

The Yamaha M4 power amp is a dead simple power amp. Elegant in design, basically 2 monoblocks using a shared power supply in a single box. Very few controls and connections (stereo in, 2 sets of stereo speaker out, gain knobs for each channel, and a switch to allow the amp to pass DC for servo driven speakers, power switch, speaker A and speaker B switches, and an unswitched aux power port), with 120 watts/channel of power. Again, my kind of setup.

Michelle noted that there seemed to be more detail to the music. I immediately noticed when I first put in Pink Floyd's "Division Bell", the first track has a tiny organ pad just floating in the background. What I hadn't noticed before was the fact that it had the "Wurlitzer Warble" on it. Kinda cool.

Anyway, enough for now

Edit: Had to hack the quoted table to get it to work right. The preview mode doesn't work as expected.

Edit 2: Found real data on M4.


News of others on the periphery of the Interior....

Many of the people who read this will remember Dana who did time with us at Mid America Bible College. Many will also remember that her husband met a tragic and stupid end due to falling out of a tree while hunting. Despite the fact that God takes care of all things, I find that in my limited thinking, there is sometimes little justice in the world. Casey was one of the kindest and most generous people I *ever* knew, and I know quite a few kind and generous people.
Fewer of you will have known that she remarried to another man whom most of us (if any of us) never met. She did say that he was a nice fellow, but his kids really didn't like her. Cest'la'vie, such is the life of "blended" families, as they call them now. The true tragedy here is that he also met a tragic end in a boating accident. My view of justice applies again to this situation.
The thing is, she still loves life, and her kids. She's also getting married again, to someone who's had a crush on her since high school, but was always "the good friend" to her and her boyfriend/husband. Jimmy (and a few if not many people will know him) was always a nice guy, but was a bit socially awkward, as we all were at 18 - 22. He did time in the military overseas, and to her Dana tell it, it did him a lot of good in the confidence department. If Jim reads this, thank you for your time and service.
The date is April 1. She tells me that this is *not* a joke, and I believe her. It's just too ludicrous to not believe.
Dana, I think I speak for all from the Interior: we love you, and wish you all the best, and blessings that God can bestow upon you and your new family. You are richly deserving.


Sometimes, it's just that way...

My life's been pretty stagnate over the past few weeks: Work x5, one day for me, and one day for Church and Family. Pretty boring, yet so incredibly stable, that the regimen can be rather comforting. This isn't what this post is about tho. Just something that was on my mind.

I think I finally sorted all of the fuel delivery problems with Oreo out now, but I've happened upon a new problem. Last weekend, I went out for a ride and the shifter linkage broke. I was fortunate enough to be heading up to see my local dealer anyway, so being stuck in 1st gear wasn't too much of an issue. Stan (the owner) was in the hospital still, recovering from a back surgery, but one of his friends that helps him wrench on his race bikes (A pair of Moto Guzzi V11 sports that race in the Battle of Twins class in the American Historical Motorcycle Racing Association) was there and offered to help.

After searching for about an hour for a linkage in Stan's freshly relocated shop (yes, boxes were *still* everywhere) Dave (Stan's friend) said "Lemme just braze that together." He did so, and then I proceeded to ride until I was out of fuel, which was only another 50 or so miles... I could have sworn I filled it up last time I rode. The low fuel light doesn't work either, I've discovered. I call Michelle, and she brings me a gallon of fuel, and I ride the bike home.

Skip forward to this week, We take the weekend to go to SeaWorld, but Saturday afternoon, Michelle's cold finally did her in. We head back home Sunday morning after breakfast, and I decide it's a wonderful day for a ride. She says she's just going to go to bed when we get home, so I ensure she has everything she needs and ride off to see the family.

After seeing everyone, I leave Dad's just before dusk. As I'm downshifting to come to a stop for a light, the shiftlever goes to the floorboard and doesn't come up again. Damn. The brazing that Dave did broke. I pull off of the road, since of course it gets stuck in between gears, and get the bike into first. There's not much open in Alaucha around 1800 on a Sunday night, but I did find an open auto parts store. I bodge together my shift linkage with a hose compression fitting and get the bike back on the road. As I'm getting off of the interstate, the compression fitting fails. Well, at least I'm still in gear... but it's 4th. I cooked the clutch up a bit those last couple of lights, but I do get Oreo home.

Yaknow... sometimes, it's just that way.