Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mounting the TV to the Wall Project

The kids didn't nap today, so we put them to bed at 7:30pm.  This meant we had the whole evening free to do a project.  We mounted our TV to the wall, then pulled all of our "components" from the cabinent that had been under the TV.  This is part of the extraction results:

Notice the pile of wires in the background.  I got the job of separating them into individual wire units.  We had at least 8 ethernet cables and 3 routers in the stack of stuff.  We had all sorts of audio visual cables, including 5 cables that I had never seen before.  Somehow,  in the end, we had 9 left over wires and 2 ac adapters.  

Some organized wires

While sorting through the pile of wires, I felt like I was on some sort of "So you Married a Geek" reality show and this was one of the challenges.  You know, the wife decides to acquire a new piece of furniture (our old one was made for a corner, this one is much more streamlined) and the husband geek must deconstruct his entire electronic component set-up and reconstruct it on the new piece of furniture while the wife plays some sort of useful role.

Not Quite Finished

So that's what we ended up with.  I think it still needs some conduit or at least zip ties for the wires.  Also, we might put up some sort of shelf or backboard for wire concealing.  You may notice that we only have 2 TiVos and 1 Verizon DVR set up here.  Why would we use so few TiVos?  Well, let me explain.  While we do own 8 TiVos or so (it's hard to keep track), the TiVos shown here are special.  Or at least the one on top is special.  It is a series 3 and can record in HD.  It has 2 tuners so it can record 2 shows at once.  Plus, it has the Wombat drive to the left which stores an additional 500 gbs of shows.  So that's why we only have 4 DVRs (2 TiVo in living room, one in bedroom, one Verizon DVR in living room) running at this time in our house.  

Also, we get to try the same thing with the TV above our bedroom dresser.  There is only one TiVo in there which will remain on the dresser, so we won't have to assemble a cabinet of any sort.  

One step closer to organizing our house!

Picture Time!

As the children can now play for a few minutes by themselves, Dan and I have started on the 'home improvement project.  What do we have in mind?  We would like to do some of these things:
  • Install skylights in our odd dropped ceiling.  It is in our dining/dan's desk area of our living/dining room space.  It looks like a school ceiling, complete with eerie florescent tube lights.  It needs some updating.
  • Install solar panels on our garage roof after re-roofing it.
  • Replace our carpet which seems to be taken out of a "My Name is Earl" episode when they have the flashbacks to growing up in their parents' house in the 70s.
  • Remove the ugly kitchen wallpaper.
  • Replace the tile counter top and maybe even the whole super low kitchen island.
  • Paint!  So far we have only painted my office (orange), Will/Alex's room (green), and recently, the guest bathroom (sky blue).  Everything else is icky white.
  • Mount TVs on the wall.
  • Hang Pictures.
  • Organize Kids' room. We have some toy bins ordered.  We anticipate them working better than the dumpable toy boxes and drawers they use now.
  • Get some sort of playground surface for under the merry-go-round.  Right now we have those connectible work mats.  They help to protect the kids from scraping their knees when they fall down, but it would be great to have something that doesn't blow apart in the wind. 
Right now, it is picture time.  I was thinking about buying some sort of artwork.  
We wanted to start with the bathroom since we just painted it.  But then, I thought, why not just print out some of our travel pictures and put those up.  So last week at IKEA, we bought a picture frame to try out.  We sent some pictures to to print to 20" by 30" size.  We bought more IKEA frames.  And now, we have 4 large framed pictures with which to decorate our walls.  Yea!

Here are some pictures of the framed pictures.

Snowy Tokyo Park Scenes

California Wave and Kauai Lighthouse

Yes, they look much cooler in person.  We are thinking about putting a set in our guest bathroom and are not sure what we will be doing with the other set.  We have many blank walls, so I think we will come up with something.  

So then, I got to thinking, in the grand scheme of organizing the kids room, we will be putting up pictures on their walls too.  We have a picture of Katsushika Hokusai's "The Great Wave".  We have a glass picture of a fish.  But what else to put on the wall?  More of the pictures that Dan and I have taken?  Nope.  Since Will has his own camera, we thought we might try letting him use some of his own pictures to decorate his room.  He gets excited about the process of moving the pictures from his camera to his laptop with the USB cable.  Then he talks about sending them to the printer.  What kind of shots did we end up with for hanging?  Here is another IKEA picture frame, but this time filled in with 3 of Will's pictures.

Will's pictures are interesting.  What he chooses to photograph and the angle he shoots at just can't be duplicated.  Some of Will's other shots include me pouring dishwasher detergent into the dishwasher, pictures of his llama and his puppy posing, and pages of books he likes to read.  Then, there is that time he ran into the bedroom when I was getting dressed... we deleted that one immediately.

The Alex picture is funny because whenever Will takes a picture of Alex, it is always blurry.  They just can't both stop moving long enough at the same time to get a clear shot.  Maybe we will have to try some outside in bright light.  

Will actually chose the Alex picture above over another one.  He said that Alex was doing something funny and that he also thought the bib was silly.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wiggly Will

In an effort to post things to the blog, I offer Will... trying to wiggle his nose.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nothing Happening?

Perhaps you were wondering if our failure to post on the blog means that nothing is happening here in Southern California. On the contrary, we have now had two medium sized earthquakes in the last couple of days.

One on Sunday Night that was 4.7.

And one during work yesterday that was 4.0.

Now we do have earthquakes on a regular basis, but the thing about these recent quakes is that they have epicenters that are about 5 miles from us. Close enough to cause some adrenaline and send us towards a safe place under a table.

The kids slept through the Sunday Night quake, Alex not even stirring when we took him out of his bed. Our original nighttime plan involves us grabbing Alex and joining Will on the bottom bunk of his bed since it would probably be a reasonably safe place to be. However, that evening we experienced a tough time of getting Will to bed, so during the quaking we changed plans to shelter in a different place. Waking Will up would have been unpleasant.

For the second quake, the kids didn't really care either. When I picked Will up from school and asked if there was an earthquake, he said, no, there was just a bell and they were practicing their earthquake drill. Alex had no discernible comment related to earthquakes.

Other things going on? I'll post soon, I promise.