Yearly Archives: 2007

Budget HD Television

This holiday weekend has basically thrown HD television onto my person.

First – Johnson2 gets a line on a 43 inch rear projection TV. 43 inch HD television. Apparently this person was selling it on the cheap to get a LCD. “How much?” was the obvious next step… “$350 – and an HD tuner for $50 if you want that.”

Yes and Yes.

Is rear projection my first choice? no. Is having a built in HD tuner better than a set top box? sure it is. But this was a chance to leap into big-screen HD television for $400 dollars. The in-laws teamed up with William Clay Ford and helped us move the TV that evening.

After hooking up the television, rearranging the entire living room, watching Neo vs. Smith, and generally basking in all that is man; I began weighing my options for high definition content.

I’ve been a Comcast subscriber for some time now, and through the entirety of that business/customer relationship I have loved and hated this company. I hate comcast when I get the bill. Paying over 100 dollars a month for high speed internet and basic cable is pretty much a deplorable scenario. But, then I do a speakeasy speed test and my download speeds consistently reach upwards of 25 – 30 mbps. This results in near euphoria. Regardless though, the thought of paying even more to these buttholes was really not a pleasant thought.

Enter the “Antenna”.

Apparently when I was sold the HD tuner, it had come with a basic and generic indoor antenna. Not really thinking anything of it at the time; I decided to try hooking it up and see what would happen. The new TV had a cable and antenna input, so I tried that first… Nothing special: 5 or 6 fuzzy local channels. Then I tried hooking that antenna up to my HD tuner. To my exorbitant surprise; I suddenly had several fully high def 1080i channels over the air by way of this ‘useless’ antenna – for free!?

Having never heard of this functionality before – I was sure I had stumbled onto something completely unknown to the rest of the world. I hit google up a little bit and landed at a few different sites talking about how over-the-air HD is actually better than cable or satellite because it is uncompressed. And people just go crazy to get HD this way… People buy and/or build huge outdoor powered antennas in order to pick up HD signals from miles away.

I finally ended up at which allows you to put in your location and then lists all over-the-air HD channels in your area; including how far away, what channel, and even what direction to point your antenna. I punched through the wizard and came back with all sorts of HD channels that were available within 30 miles of my home.

I immediately went out and invested in a nicer indoor antenna (amplified, directional, adjustable gain, etc.). After re-discovering all the channels with my new antenna, I have 15 HD channels including the big ones like Wood TV, WZZM, and FOX.

Basically this is one of the coolest things ever. 25+ year old technology being used to view High Definition televion… Not to mention that I have 15 free HD channels forever just by spending 27 dollars on a decent indoor antenna.

FantasY! Football

I’ve never played fantasy football before – but as I’ve started to get into it and do some research, i’ve become increasingly addicted. My friends and I have a league, thanks to Kramer. And today was our FantasY! draft.

With this being my first time, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I researched a bit, read some strategies, and formulated a basic plan of action prior to the draft. For example: Most strategies recommend picking strong running backs for at least your first 2 picks. Of course the lotterY! selected me to pick last (10/10) so I was immediately off to a bad start.

With my poor start, I changed my strategy on the spot. Once you get to the 10th best running back, you may as well flip a coin – so I decided to take some chances at running back by picking Edgerrin James, Ahman Green, and Tatum Bell (with a 4th of Cedric Benson). I am a little concerned about the running back position, but I think either EJ or AG could have a breakout year despite disappointing 06 seasons. Otherwise though, I guess I faired pretty well. Most notably, I won the ‘Kitna” dual with vanlandw.

Here is the complete roster of “The Master Chiefs“:

  • QB – Jon Kitna (Detroit)
  • RB – Edgerrin James (Arizona)
  • RB – Ahman Green (Houston)
  • WR – Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona)
  • WR – Mike Furrey (Detroit)
  • WR – Devin Hester (Chicago)
  • TE – Jeremy Shockey (NY Giants)
  • K – Jason Hanson (Detroit)
  • DEF – Detroit Lions
  • QB Bkup – Rex Grossman (Chicago)
  • RB Bkup – Tatum Bell (Detroit)
  • RB Bkup – Cedric Benson (Chicago)
  • WR Bkup – Mushin Muhammad (Chicago)
  • TE Bkup – Dan Campbell (Detroit)
  • DEF Bkup – Minnesota Vikings

All in all – I actually feel pretty good about my ‘team’ even though they don’t look that good on paper. Kitna and Furrey could end up driving offense (Furrey was 14th best receiver in the league in 2006, coming out of nowhere). Hopefully at least one of my running backs can have a breakout year.

As for fantasy football, we’ll have to see. It’s another way to have fun with football – which is definitely my favorite fan sport. So far, so good…

Go Kitna!

Xbox 360 and Fuel

There are Two parts to this post

Part 1: The Microsoft Xbox 360.
I have adored the Xbox 360 for some time now. Although i’ve never fully embraced my dark fueled love for this system – it’s always been there. I didn’t want to admit it because of the lofty price tag and initial investment, but jesus the Xbox 360 is pure Vanhood in a plastic shell. I eased into this console with slow and careful enthusiasm over nearly a year. I played a ‘few’ games for it. I read a ‘little’ about it. I played my brother’s 360 ‘sparingly’. I played Enguego’s 360 ‘once’. I tried to ‘forget’ about them both. I hate ‘Sony’. I like using “Quotations”.

That slow and careful path has officially blown wide open further than the cast of “Fox’s hit show 24”. I am now fully embracing the 360 as my hetero life mate; and I’m doing so with reckless abandon. Moving onto the 360 – Mainstay titles like “Gears of War” and “Forza 2” lead the cast of Microsoft’s hit show 360, and also get strong support from titles like “Call of duty”, “Saints Row”, and “Not Metroid Prime” who round out the ensemble. Then we have Up-and-comers “Bio Shock”(out today) and “Halo 3″(out in September) that are sure to push the bar even further up to levels that cannot be met by competitor consoles. This is the tip of the 360’s iceberg, and I am licking it like a Flintstone Push-up.

August has proven to truly be my sign of the cosmos, three fold. “Leo” has aligned the planets and given me a three paycheck month, a birthday with gift money and gift cards, and a $50 price drop on the Xbox 360. Never has a life path been so clear: August was the time for buying a 360. Thanks to Vanbergs, Vanlandw, Best buy, and me taking Friday off work (Yes, i took a day off to buy an Xbox 360) – I am a proud 360 owner with Gears of war, Forza 2, and Saints Row. Neither Gears of War or Forza 2 need an introduction, but Saint’s Row was a surprise hit in my book. In previews and commercials Saint’s Row looked like nothing but a Grand Theft Auto ripoff. It is indeed a ripoff of GTA, but it accomplishes a new level of playability due to rag doll physics and improved Gun/Rocket/Explosion warfare. I can’t even explain it – it just has to be experienced. I almost hate to say this, but I like Saints Row more than Grand Theft Auto. Virtual Vanberge agrees with Physical Vanberge. I can’t even really say any more about this subject, except that I have tapped an untold happiness that can only be compared to care free childhood bliss. Part 1, out.

Part 2: Mountain Dew Game Fuel.
I heard “buzz” about this limited edition soft drink. The Cherry Citrus Mountain dew. Then my lovable freakishly tall brother allowed me to sample from his 20 oz. I love Game Fuel. And it’s only fitting that a weekend of complete Xbox was ‘fueled’ by game AND game fuel. Vanbergs and I bought a 12 back of GAME FUEL and also each got a 20 oz (the 12 pack wasn’t cold). On Friday, August 17th, I drank a 20 oz. AND 4 cans of Game fuel before the sun had even thought about setting. You might say “dude, that is 5 sodas… so what”. Well, turns out that Mountain Dew Game Fuel has 72.6 milliliters of caffeine PER CAN. That is more caffeine then Jolt Cola (71.2). More caffeine then Vault (71.5). WAY more caffeine than any regular soft Drink. Regular Mountain Dew is the only one in the ball park. (55.0). Sodas like Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper are not even worth mentioning. Red Bull technically has more caffeine per ounce (80.0) – but Red Bull’s only have 8.3 oz. compared to 12 in a normal can – So a Game Fuel technically has more caffeine than a Red Bull.

Needless to say, I did not sleep very much on Friday evening.

Now the smoke has cleared. The weekend is over and the Game Fuel is gone – but I am a huge fan of the soft drink known as Mountain Dew Game Fuel. If you want do deprive yourself of sleep in order to fuel some game, that stuff will definitely do the trick.

What is Happening…

…to Television and Movies?…

Seriously think about it – Try this yourself right now, off the top of your head.  Try to name 5 good television shows that are on current network television.  And then, try to name 5 good movies that have come out in 2007.  Without doing hours of research, here is what i can come up with (even with some help from Vanbergs):


  • 300
  • Transformers
  • Knocked Up

TV Shows:

  • The Shield
  • The Black Donnellys (Which, is cancelled)
  • The Office
  • Rescue Me (which is skating on very thin ice)

Now try the same exercise, exept with ‘bad’ movies or TV.  These lists of ‘bad’ items aren’t worth an unordered list, or even comma separation for that matter.  Movies:  Spider man 3 Die hard 4 I know who killed me Stomp the yard The simpsons Breach Oceans 13 Ghostrider Rush hour 3.  TV Shows:  24 house nip tuck so you think you can dance american idol anything on mtv prison break The bachelor Singing with the stars Really any reality tv show now that i think about it.

If my point is not already understood, it is that most current TV and Cinema are waste of time, film, money, and the electromagnetic spectrum in general.  Of course, these are MY opinions.  I’m sure plenty of people like watching “The Hills” or “My Sweet 16” on MTV – but, those shows ARE God-hideous in an un-debatable sense.  Additionally, I haven’t even seen all of the shows/movies I listed.  The reason is, mostly, you can tell what shit is without having to lean over and smell it.  I don’t need to see Die Hard 4 to know that it all but ruins the first three.

So now the question is “why?” – Why has it come to this torrid level of production?  The answer, i am confident, is Generation Y. I can’t blame the movie/TV companies because they are just giving the masses what they want. The masses, the “little brothers and sisters” of Generation X; have been spoiled and fed life with a silver spoon.  As best I can tell, this is probably due to the fact that the parents of Gen. Y have grown up much rougher.  I can understand that, the parents come up tough and fighting, so they want their kids to have it better than they did. I understand that completely, and I’m not criticizing it.  I’d want the same for my kids.  But, the spoiled nature of Gen. Y is breeding the forward thinking out of the equation.  Hence, people do not want to watch forwardly intelligent programming.  Instead, they want to see stupid attractive people doing stupid attractive things and then send their friends text messages about it.

It’s really too bad – I almost hardly watch television anymore.  And, in looking at my netflix queue almost half of it is filled with ‘older’ movies.  But, maybe I’m just officially ‘old’.  I’m sure my parents probably felt this same way when i started listening to Motley Crue and playing Nintendo.  Maybe they just need to make an “oldies” television and cinema network.