Saturday, May 24, 2008

Is the water warm enough?

My wife and I just celebrated our 9th Wedding Anniversary. Neither of us had gifts ready for the other (I suppose we're a good match for each other!). However, Jess presented me with a bag filled with gifts she had meant to give me for a few previous occasions, but hadn't ever wrapped. After all the time that had passed, she decided to give them to me on our Anniversary, giving up on her intention to wrap them eventually. Me, I don't care about wrapping paper, I got new toys!

The neatest gift was the Heroes Season One collection on DVD. I popped Disc 1 in the DVD player to begin checking it out. During the beginning credits of the first episode, I saw a credit to 'Wendy Melvoin & Lisa Coleman' - Music Composers. I immediately paused the screen, and yelled for Jess to come take a look. She of course thought I was nuts, and asked who they were.

I ran downstairs and pulled out my Purple Rain soundtrack LP from 1984. (ASIDE: DId any of you remember the album included a fullsize poster of Prince and his band?) I scanned the credits on the album, and while Wendy's last name wasn't printed, Lisa's last name was, sure enough, Coleman. Turns out, the Wendy & Lisa that used to work with Prince are now doing music work for Crossing Jordan and Heroes, among other things.

Me, I just thought it was neat that I saw the pairing in the credits, and immediately remembered they were part of Prince's band 24 years ago.

Once I got over myself, we drove to dinner, listening to Purple Rain on the way there.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mr. Fix-it strikes again!

Monday morning I was at a client's office, helping them with a couple of computer-related issues. The man I work with at this particular client pulled a broken PS2 out of a drawer and gave it to me. He explained that one of his coworkers had left it there for me, as it was broken and he thought I might want it.

I was out of town for work Tuesday through Thursday, and began working on the PS2 Friday evening. On my way home from work I stopped at Toys R Us & bought a $5 PS2 game - Rayman Raving Rabbids, and a wireless PS2 controller. After we'd had dinner and put the kids to bed, I hooked up the machine and turned it on to begin testing it out.

I tested a music CD, a Playstation 1 game, the new PS2 game, a very old DVD with few special features, and a dual-layer DVD. Every different type of disc gave me a Disc Read Error, except for the Dual-layer DVD.

Somebody at Digital Press referred me to an excellent page on repairing 'Disc Read Error' problems (DREs) - I read the article, and then began following the steps on my own PS2, hoping to fix the problem. I was carefully adjusting the laser lens adjustment, and testing things, repeatedly until I realized I hadn't tried simply *cleaning* the lens.

I reset the lens adjustment back to where it had been before I changed anything, and then cleaned the lens. Once the lens was clean, I successfully played every different type of disc.

So, I've been playing Rayman Raving Rabbids on the unit (even if it isn't very good), and can now watch DVDs in the basement, as an added bonus.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Happy Feelings

A couple of months ago I wrote here about my venerable CD changer that I'd enjoyed for almost 20 years, but that had suddenly died. Having almost no time to try and figure out how to fix it, and almost no idea how to even begin to figure it out, I reluctantly bught a new CD changer and removed the old one from the stereo system.

I did spend a little bit of time one evening with the player, trying to identify what was wrong with it, but I made no headway and ended up putting the cover back on, and offering the CD changer up on the FreecycleNJ mailing list. In my posting, I even included a link to a promising-looking webpage I'd found with information on the likely defect and how to fix it.

I saw no responses from that post. I then posted the same message to Craigslist. A young (-er than me, anyway) guy responded with interest, and I gave the CD player to him, along with the spare cartridges, remote, original packaging & paperwork.

A few nights later I received an email from him:

> Hi Steve,
> I opened the CD player and found the laser pickup is missing its lens.
> It is round clear plastic piece that about a 1/4 inch in diameter. Do
> you know where is might be?
> Thanks,
> Steven

I replied that I didn't think the lens was anywhere in my house, but I'd look. I was disappointed, thinking the lens must have fallen out somewhere in my home, and by now had been vacuumed up and thrown away. It was sad to think that the whole device was rendered worthless over such a small thing.

Then, last Friday I received this msg:

> Steve,

> I found the lens. It was underneath some paper on the table where I
> disassembled the machine.It now works after I re-glued the lens back
> to the pickup assembly. It is a really nice machine. It sounds good
> and its disc changer mechanism is very fast. I think it should last
> another 10 or 20 years.

> Thank you very much.

> Steven

Now that just made me feel warm all over. I wish I'd put in the time and effort to salvage the machine myself, but I'm happy to know that this guy now has a good CD changer and saved it from the dump.

S.S.D.D. - Same Scandal, Different Day

In other news, I read an article a few minutes ago about NY Congressman Rep. Vito Fossella. It's yet another story about some politician that undertook actions that would be deemed 'scandalous' or 'immoral' by most people. I'm a live-and-let-live guy myself. In my opinion, anybody should be permitted to do anything they feel like, as long as it doesn't harm somebody else or interfere with that person also doing whatever he/she feels like doing. I think Rep Fossella should NOT have done what he did, because it was wrong to treat his wife and (first) family this way. Plus, how could he explain to the daughter with the second woman the assumed secrecy he'd need to exercise ?

As I've written before, it seems to me that the Democratic Party is often criticized for what's considered excessive meddling in commercial/business matters. BUT, I believe the Republican Party excessively meddles in personal and social matters.

IT ALSO SEEMS VERY MUCH to me that the Republican Party have an almost complete lock on the title of HYPOCRITE. With the admittedly huge exception of Bill C and Monica, everytime I hear or read of a scandal involving a politician, Democrats are always caught with their hands in the cookie jar (or freezer). Republicans, though, seem to always be caught in scandals related to sex - pedophilia, prostitutes, extra-marital affairs.

Truly, the only explanation I can find for the Republican Party managing to be known as the party of 'Family Values' all these years is that they run aaround rampantly producing more and more families!

Seriously, the only thing the Republicans seem to do well, and better than anyone else, is branding and marketing.

Are any Christians out there paying attention????