Thursday, April 3, 2014

Home Entertainment System

Tonight's episode of the Big Bang Theory reminded me of a post I've been meaning to make for a few weeks.

Something is wrong with my computer. Lately I can't wake it up from sleep. I have to restart it. Someone told me it might be because of an update, and google research indicates it's something to do with my BIOS but I don't completely understand it. I'll try to fix it this weekend.

But back when I thought my computer was dying, I was debating giving up the desktop (Yes, I'm on a desktop), or maybe getting one and making it part of my home entertainment system. And then I started thinking about my home entertainment system. I think I'd like to enhance it a bit, though I'm not really sure what I need. To tell the truth, it may not need anything. My current stuff may be perfectly good. Heck, they may have abilities I'm not aware of.

So what do I have?

I have a 40" television, 1080p. It's not a SmartTV but it does have a USB Port. Not quite sure what I'd use that for unless I got Google Chromecast though.

If I got a new tv, and I don't know that I would, this one would replace the one in the other room, which is a 32" Cathode Ray Tube I bought back in 2003, on sale, out of the box. The color is a little off on this one. Everything is slightly redder than it needs to be, so I wouldn't feel bad upgrading it.

I bought a Blu-Ray player a few years ago when my DVD player decided it no longer would play DVDs. This player can allegedly connect to the internet but I need a USB Lan adapter.

I also have a Wii, that I sometimes play but is more often used as a Netflix player, and in the other room I have a Roku (First generation).

I've been thinking about a couple of things. One is "Cutting the Cord" and getting rid of cable. I would probably up the netflix subscription, and get Hulu+, but otherwise not much would change. Another potential idea is to get a PC as a storage device to hook up to the TV. I don't know if this is for me, but I know a few people doing it, and as more movies come with UltraViolet copies, I would like a place to store them. And at some point, I'd like to add a sound system.

All this requires more research on my end. And my first idea for research is some crowd sourcing! Any thoughts? Especially from folks that either know a lot about this stuff, or that have done it themselves. All advice is appreciated.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tofu or Not Tofu

I like meat. I mean I really like it. And the more someone tells me I shouldn't eat meat, the more I like it. I also like being contrary. Don't tell me I shouldn't do something, or that I should like something. However recently I've been trying to eat less meat. Partially for health reasons, partially for economic reasons and partially for environmental reasons.

But I still need my protein, right? So how can I eat less meat but still keep my protein intake up? Originally I was going to go with beans. But beans for dinner keep me up a little later than I'd like. 'Nuff Said.

I was debating if I could deal with the dreaded T word...Tofu...when in a perfect stroke of timing, one of my favorite Twitter buddies did a guest blog entry on how to cook with Tofu! What luck! I went straight to the store and bought Extra Firm Tofu as he suggested. Then I waited a week.

Before I get into it, I should give good plugs to those who gave me the courage to try tofu. @Wannabechefevan on twitter did a guest post on @yumyucky's blog. YumYuck did a week of having men guest blog for her, and here is Evan's Entry. That entry also contained many links to Evan's blog, the recipe I used can be found here.

Following Evans' recipe, I made my first attempt at Tofu! AND I TOOK PICTURES!

Know thy enemy!

This is Tofu, in its packaging, the Container. One of Tofus' natural defenses is the impossible to open packaging. I tugged and tugged at the plastic corner, but it was no good. I couldn't open it. I grabbed my trust meat cutting knife and stabbed the container. I was told Tofu didn't bleed, but this one gushed EVERYWHERE. It spilled out of the container and all over my hands. I felt like Lady MacBeth, but more mainly as I tried to wash the Tofu Blood from my stained hands. Eventually I managed to tear open the outer shell.

This is what Tofu looks like when freed from its oppressive container.

Now, Evan wisely said to wrap the Tofu in a towel before pressing it flatter. This is where I made my first error in my Tofu Adventure. I used Saran Wrap. Evan says by adding pressure to the tofu you give it a meatier texture or something. When I went to put it in the fridge, I realized if I put something on top of it, the tofu would at best get lines from the shelf in the fridge, and at worst, be pushed through it completely. I thought I would be smart by putting a book under the tofu.

And then a 10# weight on top of it. Like so:

What I didn't foresee was the Tofu Blood (which was probably just water) seeping out and getting my books wet. However there is a noticeable size difference between the tofu before and after:


Then I chopped the Tofu while the garlic browned; that's where I made another Tofu Error. I left the chunks of Tofu too large. I should have cut them up smaller. If I cut them up smaller, they'd have browned faster and easier, and they'd also have soaked up more flavor. But that mistake I didn't realize till later. Right now I was happily cooking away.

Dinner was served:

My big mistake as I mentioned earlier was cutting the Tofu chunks too large. Other than that this was surprisingly tasty and not at all scary! I'm even excited to go buy more Tofu and try some of Evan's other recipes.

How about the rest of you? Were you terrified of Tofu too? Are are you a Tofu Zealot with some great tasting recipes to share? Either way, post below, I'm anxious to hear what you have to say.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Recently a friend voiced something that I'd been thinking about a lot lately. She was lamenting the fact that she didn't "do" anything. It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately too. On the weekends I usually manage to be pretty active and/or social, but during the week, I don't do a whole lot.

The conversation itself got a lot deeper than that, but the important part is, I want to change some of this. And while talking, i figured out what our problem was. Physics.

I do not remember a whole lot from my high school physics class, but I do remember inertia and momentum. An object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by another force, and an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by another force. I needed momentum!

I decided that conversation would be my momentum. It would propel me forward. I would do stuff. This is one of those things I'm doing. Blogging! And I plan to try and do other stuff so that I have something to blog about.

I started on Sunday. It was a nice day out, so I decided to go for a walk. It was also a way for me to sneak some exercise in without going to the gym. I did a round trip of about 5 and 1/2 miles in my area. Yesterday I went for another walk after work, but only about 4 miles this time. Hopefully this will give me the oomph I need to keep going to the gym, and walking.

Later this week I'll post about my Monday Adventure. I cooked with TOFU!