Monthly Archives: October 2008

iMovie ’08 Sucks

Really. It does. It is the first piece of software on my Mac that I really do not like. It is a pain to use and is not very user friendly. I did some research online and discovered that most people prefer iMovie HD to iMovie 08, and as a bonus Apple has it as a free download to those who have iLife 08. Yay for having a new Mac.
Immediately after downloading iMovie HD, I begin doing what I was trying to do with Dome to Dome. Surprisingly, the video tape is in good condition so it was able to transfer with only some minor hiccups here and there. I have dived into creating the opening credits for the movie, and then after that I will start going through the editing process. Ten minutes of driving around Grand Forks AFB with a kid in the backseat crying about going to bowling? Yeah, there is a lot of work to do. At least there is a great interview with my friends Trevor and Claudia when I went to visit them in Madison to see if I could be a Badger.
My goals are to create some good YouTube episodes (maybe a Club Josh Travels channel? or perhaps a Dome to Dome Channel?) as well as a nice formal DVD to go alongside Dome to Dome Twice and Covina Chaos!

Birthday Recap Part 2

After an eventful family celebration, I was not planning on doing anything spectacular for my birthday, nor did I expect the many surprises that were in-store for me.
First up, I found out near the end of work on Sunday, that I was going to be heading back to the Main Entrance for another three month assignment. This was quite the pleasant surprise! So on my actual birthday, I found myself back where I was over the summer – just focusing on a slightly different area. Since it was my birthday, I was wearing a Birthday Button and the whole cast working the Main Entrance sang Happy Birthday to me. This really helped make my birthday special.
Later that evening, I went over to Daniel’s and he and Tara had made me dinner and baked a cake! Completely unexpected, but it is nice to know you are appreciated. One of the best presents I got was a new analog-digital video converter for my Mac, so I can now start working on the original Dome to Dome – only 15 years later! There is a bit of awkwardness though, as some of the people in the video are no longer in the family. I haven’t watched it in at least 10 years, so it should be interesting to say the least.
All in all a great birthday!

Birthday Recap Part 1

This past weekend, I celebrated my 36th Birthday a couple of different ways. I have come a long way from the mega-themed parties of my mid 20s (although I miss them, it really takes a lot to plan and with my friends all spread out over the globe, next to impossible to get everyone together in one location) and these days I settle for dinner with some of the family and then hanging out with my friends – very similar to last year’s festivities.
It started on Saturday as we attempted to go to Miceli’s for the third year in a row. I waited until the last minute to get reservations, but managed to score one at 6:30 in Studio City and 7:15 in Hollywood as a backup. The plan was to meet the relatives up at Dad’s and then carpool into town. Due to illnesses and whatnot, our group was whittled down to just four of us and after much debate, it was decided that I would drive into LA. We almost made it down to the freeway when Amanda called to say that she was on her way to meet us in Hollywood. I told her to head for Studio City since we were going to try there first. Dad did not want her driving the delivery truck into LA, so we decided to meet her at her apartment and then have her squeeze into the CR-V.
As we headed to backtrack to Amanda’s, we noticed the freeway was stopped dead. It turns out it was a good thing that we didn’t just get onto the freeway as we would have been stuck in traffic for who knows how long. Taking the back roads, we passed by Dad’s old house – the first of 3 nostalgic drive-bys. We had good timing as Amanda showed up shortly after we arrived at her place and we were back on the road. By then, it was already 6pm, and we decided to make Hollywood since it had the later reservation. Despite the endless din from the backseat about going local and waiting another week to go to the restaurant, we headed into LA.
We made it as far as the bottom of Kellogg Hill before we hit traffic again. It cleared up as we passed Forest Lawn, but once we headed down into the Covinas, we saw the endless miles of breaklights as the 10 was also bumper to bumper. Jerri had the great idea of trying the Brazilian BBQ place. Although not what I had originally envisioned as a birthday dinner, I was intrigued to try it since it had been mentioned a few times previously. Boy did we make the wrong call!
Brazilian BBQ is an interesting concept. Think Hometown Buffet without the Ice Cream and the selection. It has a plussed up Salad and side dish bar, and then 14 different varieties of beef that is brought to your table on skewers. We tried all sorts of different beefs, some good like the Beef Kabobs, and some not so good like the brisket or duck. In addition, it was very overpriced! But at the end of the dinner, I decided to get a piece of Chocolate Cake, and after Jerri spilled the beans that it was my birthday, they all sang something in Portuguese, which I assumed was some sort of birthday chant.
We departed the restaurant and quickly crossed it off the repeat list, but at the same time I was glad that we attempted it. Oh, and I should note that at one point after the salad, I was cutting a piece of meat and it flew off my plate and onto my shirt, making a big mess and sending everyone into fits of laughter. On our way back to Dad’s, we cruised by the Shamwood House and the Aldenville House to see how they looked, years after family members lived there.
The nightcap at Dad’s included the traditional gift exchange and cake. The highlight was the disposable underwear that Jerri got, which marks two years in a row I got an underwear themed present!
More soon!

Back Up and Running

It only took three Cable Cards and an hour of the repairman’s time, but my TiVo is now up and running. I am still debating whether to spend the 70 dollars to put a new power supply in the old TiVo to get the data off of it. Maybe one day!
I recorded Saturday Night Live in HD to test it out and it actually looks great. I haven’t checked the size requirements to see how much room it takes up, but since I will be TiVo’ing less shows now, hopefully it will not run out of room.
Still not happy with the guide interface (I never was before with TiVo – preferring to use the cable company’s guide and information), but I am sure with time I will get used to it.

TiVo Series 3 vs Time Warner

Since Apple is too busy worrying about the health of Steve Jobs and a stock dive over the last month to work on an Apple TV DVR, I went out and picked up a Tivo Series 3 HD to get back on track with my TV. One of the things that excites me is the ability to record two shows at once!

After picking up my TiVo at Best Buy, I went to Time Warner the next day to get a Cable Card. This was my second trip to a TW location in as many days since the previous night’s venture to the Bella Terra store resulted in the lady telling me they didn’t have any (in a “why do you even want that thing” sort of snarky voice) and for me to go to another store the next day. So thinking that I needed two cards, I picked them up and headed home.

As I was installing the TiVo (and getting hit in the head with items falling off of my stereo rack and a Wii Sensor Bar), I fired it up and discovered the Cable Cards were actually Multi cards, meaning that I really only needed one. Bonus for me! After the agonizing race to get the data into the TiVo, it all started to work beautifully in time for Survivor: Gabon.

It wasn’t until later in the night that I realized that some channels – including the ever important 217 – the Travel Channel – were not showing up. In fact, all of my optional extra channels, TW calls them Variety and Choice Tier, were not there at all. After calling Time Warner’s crack service department, they decide to send me a technician to solve the issue. Apparently the cards are not getting the authorization to decode the optional channels. Sadly, this means I will have to watch Most Haunted on the bedroom TV. My big hope is that I can get all this sorted out before next week’s 7-hour Most Haunted Live.

It is a bit weird getting used to using the TiVo interface the whole time. For the past six years, I have used the TiVo through a cable box. The TiVo guide seems to be a bit slower, but I really enjoy the fact that I can watch whatever is on TV and not worry about it flipping to record CSI in the middle of watching Doctor Who or something like that.

I haven’t tried to record a HD show yet, but I want to see how it will work. My TV is not an HD set, but as I have mentioned previously, it is HD ready and can process the signals. It is just a 4:3 set so everything is letterbox, but it looks way better than I think most HD TVs can put out. The only advantage a LCD or Plasma has is the thin form factor. Then again, my TV is almost 9 years old so I half expect it to die a painful death soon since all of my older electronics seem to be growing long in the tooth.

Hopefully my technician will solve the problems better than their last visit..