Archive for August, 2010

It’s interesting how one project around the house leads to another … and another … and another … and ….  Last month we purchased an LED television.  GREAT picture!  But spouse is an audiophile — and an engineer.  So, in order to take full advantage of the various HDMI outputs on other electronic toys, we had filled up all the available slots on the receiver, thus only stereo output from the TV, rather than surround sound.  Since we have a 5.1 surround sound set-up, mere stereo sound was unacceptable.  Soooo, that meant a new receiver.  But, since we also have an extensive collection of vinyl disks (yes, old technology) and several boxes of even older 78 rpm records we took possession of when spouse’s parents no longer had use for them, we needed the proper audio connections that would take advantage of the various sound field requirements (don’t ask me what that is).  That meant a high end receiver, but DSS, who is an audio engineer, recommended a phono pre-amp (which came with the capability to digitize the LPs).

Meanwhile, the 400 disk CD carousel started acting up.  Can you see where this is leading?  So…. a discussion ensued as to whether to replace the carousel or simply upgrade the technology.  We’d been talking about getting a smaller sized laptop that we could take on travels to download photos.  Aha! What if we loaded all our CDs into iTunes on a laptop and connected it (via an HDMI cable) to the receiver?  So, a new laptop entered our home, which, of course, took far longer to set up than either of us had anticipated.

Now, loading 400 CDs into iTunes would be enough of a challenge, but it turns out that we had another slew of CDs that didn’t fit into the carousel — a slew of nearly 200 more!  (Good thing we bought a laptop with a big hard drive as it’ll be used mostly for music and photos.)  So, I’ve spent the last week (between other, more mundane and scheduled tasks) loading CDs into iTunes… and making a spreadsheet of what we have.

However, since our cars don’t have iPod docks or hard drives, we want to hang on to the disks themselves so we can swap out the dozen disks in our cars to our hearts’ content.

Now, 570 CDs in their cases take up a LOT of space, so the final aspect to the task is to stuff the disks and liner notes into several of those Case Logic storage binders.  And since spouse is an engineer and I had a career in records management (in other words, we can both be rather anal), the plan is to “file” the disks by artist…  just like iTunes does.  Trying to go through 570 CDs that are in random order to find the one you’re looking for is infinitely inefficient.  So, that meant sorting the CD cases so that they’re in the same order as they show up in the “Albums” view in iTunes.  So our coffee table is stacked with them, some in piles that have been alphabetized, and the rest still just in random order.  As I finish taking the liners and disks out of the cases and “filing” them in the binders, I’m discarding (well, recycling) the cracked and otherwise damaged cases.  The good ones are going into boxes for possible re-use.  (I’ve already passed one entire box of 100 or 150 to a friend who plans to use them when shipping data on CDs to various folks.)

The final step will be to back-up all those music files onto a brand, spanking new external hard drive.  Whew!!!  I’ve announced that I’m NOT interested in spending another week stuffing CDs into the machine.  But it’s really nice to be able to choose various playlists and mixes and to shuffle the tunes.  And it’ll be nice to be able to have ALL our tunes with us when we travel.  Of course, spouse is already saying we may have so many choices in music that we won’t be able to decide what to do.  I’m not worried.

As with so many projects, one thing led to another, and in this case, each subsequent discovery of another step tended to lead to another purchase.  So, if the economy still needs stimulation, we’ve done our part here recently.  It’s time for someone else to step up.


Read Full Post »

to equality, to realizing the promises of the US Constitution.  A federal court has struck down California’s Prop 8, an initiative that enshrined discrimination of gays and lesbians into the state’s constitution.  Yes, I know it’s just a step and that eventually the US Supreme Court will rule.  And there’s no guarantee that the high court, especially given its current composition, will uphold the decision.  But it’s significant that there have been two recent Federal Court decisions that support equal rights for gays and lesbians — the overturning of DOMA and now the overturning of Prop 8.  And it’s equally significant that one of the lawyers who argued for overturning Prop 8 is none other than Ted Olsen, a political conservative and George W. Bush’s Solicitor General.

It’s also significant that the judge who heard the case ruled on the evidence presented, determining that there was no RATIONAL reason to deny marriage rights to gays and lesbians under the equal protection and due process clauses of the US constitution.

For those who base their opposition to same-sex marriage on religious grounds, I have a simple solution.  All couples should be required to have a civil marriage.  Then, should they care to, they can consecrate that union by following it with a religious rite.  The religious entities, under separation of church and state, could impose whatever restrictions they want that are consistent with their teachings.  They could refuse to sanctify same-sex marriages, or inter-racial marriages, or inter-faith marriages, or marriages following a divorce, or marriages in which the couple have chosen not to have children.

And speaking of having children, that seems to be one of the arguments raised against same-sex marriage.  But unless those who oppose same-sex marriage also oppose marriage for couples who don’t want kids, the argument that marriage exists for procreation doesn’t wash.

Read Full Post »