Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year in Review

On January 1, I set goals instead of making resolutions, and although my goal of blogging every day didn't pan out, it's understandable why. This year has been painful, one of the most painful I've experienced. The death of my father is something I never quite overcame. It hit me far harder than I would have ever thought possible.

But through it all, I've had my family. My wife and my daughter are always there for me. They are the ones I rely on, the ones for whom I live and work. Watching my daughter grow daily is a thrill for me beyond anything else I can imagine. Seeing her change before my very eyes is more than I could ever have hoped for in becoming a father. My wife is fulfilling her life's dream of being a mother and it is a role for which she is perfectly suited. Every day that I am with them is a day of joy and a reason to celebrate.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

PlayStation 3

"You bought a PS3?"

Those were the words that my niece said to me when I told her what I thought of my birthday purchase. My in-laws sent me money as they always generously do, and I thought the best use of it would be something for our family. Now, don't be snide. When I say that it's for the family, know that it resides in the living room where we can all enjoy it. That said, I can honestly say that I want another one!

The PlayStation 3 is a complete entertainment machine. Those who think of it as simply a videogame console are seriously underestimating its value. The PlayStation 3 is a Blu-Ray player and an upconverting DVD player. That means that it not only plays high definition Blu-Ray discs, but also takes normal DVD's and converts them into a format more easily viewable on high definition televisions, making them look even better than they do on normal TV's. I didn't buy a hard copy of "Watchmen" until we had the PS3, and I was right to wait. The Blu-Ray is as close to watching it at the IMAX theater as one can get and still get up to go to the bathroom whenever one needs to. We've rented a number of Blu-Ray movies from Netflix and wow, does it ever make a difference. When we are able to get a bigger HDTV, I doubt we'll ever go to the movies again. You can't beat the seats of our living room sofa, and when you add the open-flame oil popcorn popper that my wife bought me for Christmas, we won't be missing a thing by staying home. Plus, no one talks during the movie! Heck, we'll be saving a load of money even if we buy the Blu-Ray of every movie that we would normally go out to see.

The PS3 also connects wirelessly to your home computer network and herein lay one of its greatest values to us: As Netflix subscribers we can use our existing Netflix account at no additional charge to instantly view several thousand Netflix programs, some in high definition. They have movies, and best yet, episodes of many of our favorite television shows in HD, like "Lost" and "Star Trek." We can watch any episode of those shows in seconds on our television in HD just by clicking a few times. We've been using that to watch the fifth season of "Lost" on Tuesday nights and we have it timed so that if we now watch two episodes every Tuesday night, we'll be ready for the new season on February 2.

We also use the PS3 as a videogame system, though not to play the typical fare that most people would expect. As a family Christmas gift, we bought Rock Band 2 and for the past two days, we have been playing the heck out of it. Sera sings into the microphone (though we don't plug it in) while Magi plays bass, my niece Theresa plays drums, and I play guitar. We're not great, but it sure is fun!

I don't know what the future holds for home entertainment, but I bet it looks a lot like Sony's PlayStation 3.

Friday, December 25, 2009