OK, So I am trying to build a home theatre with a quad-core system box …

And part of such a home theatre would consist of a way to hook up the Bravia I bought on sale to the mainboard, which has HDMI on it. My strategy was to enjoy both cable and “free” internet television through either the keyboard or the remote device. So, then there was the TV Tuner card I had to configure. Windows Media Center said that my card “could not be configured in Canada”. I phone the retailer who sold me the card, and indeed they too found to their horror that it could not be configured with Windows Media. I was instructed to send it back and get a replacement.

I think I am an unfortunate victim of “trade barriers”. Perhaps some CRTC regulation is preventing Windows from allowing this card to work, so by law, Windows is telling me that it is a criminal buy tramadol online offense to configure my card.

I check out the card, and it is from AverMedia, a comapny based in Taipei, Taiwan. Well, what competition is left in Canada if Chinese-made TV tuner cards are left out? There are a host of brands provided by Happauge (based in Long Island last I heard), but I think that is it for any major brands. Yes, if you’re Canadian, you buy either American or Chinese. Since you can’t buy Chinese, it’s American or nothing. Not that I expect there to be any Canadian brands, but, I am suprised to see a lack of any European brands at the stores I visited.

Maybe it’s nice to hear once in a while that the Chinese are not given too much of an easy ride in our economy. But this time, I got burned by that idea.

Sleeping with Martha

My wife persuaded me to sleep with Martha. She said that it will make me feel good, and that it was good to have her in bed with us. When I tried to do it with Martha I was spoiled for anything else, and my wife wasn’t even jealous. However, I noticed, that while Martha was good in bed, she kept my head up a little more than made me comfortable, and I wished it would stop. But after a while I got used to it. I told my wife that these were the best Martha Stewart pillows she ever bought, and I had to have more.

Getting My Teeth off My Chest

Don’t put me down for writing this, for if you are reading this, you are counting yourself in the equal company of bloggers who do not have a life. I just want to get this off my chest.

I never thought about being passionate about flossing my teeth, but dog-gone it, there are standards. For one thing, nothing beats the old-school floss that consists of a thin thread of wound unwaxed nylon (or whatever can you buy viagra without a prescription in the usa they use). It is easy, it is a strong thread, it gets the job done.

Recently I made the mistake of purchasing that fancy-dancy floss they have these days which consists of some kind of flavour-coated teflon. The teflon slips past the teeth, and the plaque. Nothing sticks to it. Not the plaque, and nothing else. It’s crap. Expensive crap. There. I’ve said it. OK, you can go to another blog, now.

The rule of "2"

When I was a student on a limited budget, I had some idea, a hunch, that on average, I spent $2 on an item of food at the supermarket. By counting the number of items I purchased, including more than one of the same item, that I would have a fairly accurate idea of the grocery bill before I reached the checkout.

But to apply this rule, I found I had to apply it to every item, including each of the many 33-cent bags of Oriental noodles, each can of soup, each apple and orange, and so on. It saved me a lot of mental effort in having to compute the real total, and I found that I could always stay on budget with this rule.

Debt freedom is a lot of work

A while ago, I posted that I finally saw, for the first time in 5 years, $0 owing on both my credit card and my line of credit. The battle is never over, however. Unless I want to completely free myself of the luxury of a credit card and line of credit, there will always be the slow creep of regular payments, and short-term borrowing ($100 here, $200 there), which in my situation are unavoidable occurrences.

So, I will always have to pay down between $200 and $300 on any given 2-week period to maintain the zero balance. This is in stark contrast to the prospect of running up all of my credit in all of my cards (credit, store cards, etc), where I know I could be easily $25000 in debt in a week, should I be silly enough to do such a thing.

But there are other issues with money. In my opinion, credit is too damn easy to get. I really shouldn’t have access to $25000, because I know that paying back would be nearly hopeless. I would have to work past my retirement to do that.

In addition, we have grown too accustomed to people pushing product in our face. I have been working for weeks trying to cancel my cell phone contract. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to shake a salesperson off my leg from Bell, trying to push cell phones on us, both on the phone and in person. I have been alive for 45 years without the need of the ball-and-chain of a cell phone, I will live another 45 damn years without it. It is cheaper to use a pay phone. Way cheaper. Even at 50 cents a call.

The pushing of product in the form of a pressure sales job is a rising trend that I find alarming. I think we are at a point where we are buying so much stuff that we can’t pay for, that I find it hard to believe that it will be easy to come out of the recession. Pressure sales, to me, applies to any attempt to sell to you anything you were not considering buying before the sales pitch.

We all like to prioritize our spending to suit our purposes. Pressure sales is a disruption to that purpose. It throws you off-focus. The only possible answer must be “no” to these people. You have to have a steely resolve that they are wasting their time and effort on you. And so what if they think you are a jerk? To them, the only people who are not jerks are people who buy their stuff, so who needs the high regard of people with such shallow values? On the other hand, if your purchasing decisions are deliberate, then you can walk into the store, and give the salesperson the easiest payday they ever had. You get exactly what you want, and the salesman still makes money.

We live in a society utterly awash in the sales pitch, so it is easy to miss the fact that you are not anything but a wise spender if you just say “no”. Make every purchase decision a planned, deliberate one. It takes a great deal of mental discipline to do this. You need to separate yourself from the competitiveness and the materialism of society to be such a person.

Dying my wife's hair

The fun thing about colouring my wife’s hair isn’t about the hair so much, but more about the fact that we can talk and share our feelings more. My work keeps me so busy that I had to find ways to cut down on travel time, which is a barrier to things like exercise and finding further spare time to do things.

This morning (Saturday) I got up, went to work, did some heavy photocoying, which by the afternoon left only 1 hour in the gym before church. So I did that, came to church a bit late, then had a small supper and did my wife’s hair.

I think it is healthy for us to do things like that, since we can share our feelings, talk about things going on over the past week, and so on. It’s a great way to share things with each other. Of course, we both tell jokes also. It’s great.

She chose truffle brown.