Sunday, May 07, 2006

I miss California

I'm sitting here listening to 80's music that I grew up with and it's really making me miss my home - California. I can't wait to graduate and get the hell out of North Dakota! :) I hope to move back to either San Diego or Sacramento, depending on where I get a job as a flight instructor.

Prior to moving to North Dakota, I took many things for granted that I had in California. I think the things I miss the most are good restaurants, fresh produce, good weather, swimming in the ocean, spirited driving on windy twisty roads, and my friends and family. North Dakota is completely absent of the above mentioned. Living here is a great sacrifice that I've made in my life. Dealing with snow, ice, -40 degree weather (that's a negative temp folks), dark, cold, and depressing winters, mosquito epedemic in the summer, 3 month long summers, 9 month long winters, horrible restaurants, absence of cultural activities and food, annoying accents that sound worse than the movie Fargo, roads with potholes and concrete settling that shaves off 1 month of your suspension life with each bump, $5.50 an hour minimum wage with only blue-collar jobs available (minimal professional jobs, which don't even pay well), and people who don't know how to open their car doors without letting the 30MPH-gusting-to-50-MPH-winds slam into my emmaculate Honda Civic.

And North Dakota wonders why they have an out-migration crisis!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Energy Connoisseur C-3 Speakers

I am pleased to announce that I now have the Energy C-3 speakers in my bedroom home theater. It only took a few days to ship from I highly recommend buying from them as they sell high-end audio/video products at very competitive prices, plus they have great service. Since I auditioned several high-end speakers two years ago and found the C-3's to be my preferred choice, I've been wanting them ever since. I listened to several bookshelf speakers of similar size including B&W, Mirage, Boston Acoustics, and Paradigm - nothing compared to the C-3's in terms of sound quality and value. I really preferred the B&W's (Bowers & Wilkins) but the Energy's lower price point sold me.

My first impressions of the speakers came when I played "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits. This song is a favorite speaker testing song among the audiophile community. The high frequencies on the C-3's are very clear, detailed, and crisp. Boy are they crisp! The hi-hats and cymbal crashes of the drums are very lifelike. The mids are extremely clear, vocals and wind instruments are very warm and neutral. The bass is very deep, accurate, and punchy - what I prefer for my music genre preferences. In fact, they have such the right amount of bass that I find myself turning off the subwoofer when playing music. It really is amazing that so much punchy deep bass can come out of a speaker with only 6.5" woofers. For movies, on the other hand, the subwoofer is a necessity. Overall, the speakers put out a very neutral and well-balanced sound - exactly what I look for in a speaker.

While the speakers have a decent amount of bass production, the laws of physics only allow bookshelf speakers such as the C-3's to go so low. I adjusted my Energy e:XL-S10's crossover to about 60 Hz to match with the bass acoustics of the C-3's. Even though the speakers go down to 46 Hz, I felt that the subwoofer's crossover needed to overlap the lower end a little bit for this reason: the pairing of the punchy, tight bass of the C-3's and smooth, soft, and deep bass of the e:XL-S10 subwoofer really "smoothed" out the lower end frequency production.

As you can see from the pictures, the old Energy Take 2's that I used as my main speakers for a few years were moved to the back as rear surrounds for the ultimate home theater experience :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Home Theater - what an expensive hobby!

I'm getting back into the home theater "hobby" as I've grown a great interest in CRT projectors. I've been looking at a DLP InFocus 4805 projector, but at $900 my wallet won't allow it (right now at least). I very much like the price ranges of used CRT projectors. The laws of economics have enabled the new LCD/DLP projector craze to leave CRT projector resale values in the dust. It's a great benefit to me as I'm willing to deal with the disadvantages of a CRT and enjoy the advantages as well. Basically nobody wants to mess with the convergence and setup hassle that comes along with a CRT projector. They can be a pain in the ass to calibrate, but I enjoy tinkering around with electronics. It should be fun.

I've been searching the A/V Science Forums for members selling used projectors in the MN/ND/SD area. Someone down in Fargo, ND responded to my post and will be putting his Sony 1251Q up for sale. I will take a look at it and most likely make the purchase. This beast is huge - at 141 lbs. and 33 inches long for the projector alone, it'll be interesting to see how it fits into my Honda Civic. I've already made measurements to predict possible screen sizes. It looks like the projected image will be 80 inches wide in 16:9 mode. That's a pretty big image! Most certainly I will make my own DIY projection screen out of black out fabric and special light absorbing projector paint.

Now onto another purchase (which I already made): I'm very excited over my recent purchase of some new speakers. I bought some Energy Connoisseur C-3 speakers for a good price through I currently have a good Energy speaker system I purchased December 2000. This is basically an upgrade for my front mains.

So here's my current hi-fi audio setup:

Energy e:XL-S10 (Subwoofer)
Energy Connoisseur C-3's (Front Mains)
Energy Take 2's (Rear Surrounds)
Yamaha RX-V493 Surround Receiver
Yamaha CDX-500U CD Player
Sennheiser HD-525 Headphones
Sennheiser PXC-250 Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Homemade Headphone Amp (made it from scratch!)
iPod Video 5G 60gig

Still to come: Energy C-C1 center channel speaker

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Finals are over!

Well, today made it official. I took my last final in Operations Management today. Now I get to play Gran Turismo 4! that it's been sitting there unused for many weeks. I can't wait until I go back home to California. I catch a flight from Grand Forks, ND early Monday morning to go back home.

What I'm going to do be doing during winter break:
1) Rent a Cessna 172 and take family and friends up flying
2) Practice and memorize Chopin's Nocturne in C Minor from Opus Posthumous
3) Finish Chopin's Minute Waltz (which I'm done with, but need to touch up a bit)
4) Make an attempt at Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu (I can play the first few measures)
5) Eat lots of sushi (they don't have real sushi in North Dakota)
6) Eat lots of my mom's homemade Mexican food
7) Go snowboarding with my sister
8) Open lots of presents!
9) Enjoy the California sunshine (which I took for granted growing up there)

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Due to the astronomical amount of SPAM people are posting on the "Comments" feature that is available for every post, I have removed it permanently. It's all too bad that what was once pretty cool to have family and friends post comments regarding a blog entry can nolonger be available due to unwanted, annoying, unsolicited, and downright intrusive spam.

In the year 2004 it was unsolicited spam emails, now in 2005 it's unsolicited spam blog comments.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Washed my car

Car is all nice and shiny. Will take pics and post tomorrow.

Edit: Sorry I didn't have time to take the pics! Now the car is all dirty...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Blogs, blogs, blogs!

Here are the blogs that I read religiously, daily and several times per day:
  1. The Autoblog - Perhaps the most updated and informative blog in the world.
  2. The Apple Weblog - I read this daily because I am all about the Mac. Excellent information that is about also updated several times per day (sometimes several times per hour!)
  3. The German Car Blog - If you are an Audi fan, this Blog is for you. I really wish they had more BMW articles.
  4. The BMW Blog - This is a brand new blog, the guy registered the domain on September 12th, 2005 - only a few days after I looked it up and considered buying it. I guess this guy would have more time that I do to update a BMW blog, so I think it was good that he's managing the blog. Very nicely done - and it already has a few posts.