Muse: Nothing says Spring like the Masters golf weekend

Ahh, the Masters golf weekend. Live from Augusta, Georgia. A blooming feast for your eyes and a sure sign that Spring has finally arrived. Great golf and great weather. Definitely one of my favourite mashups.

Music to suit: John Pizzarelli, I Feel Fine/Sidewinder mashup
(Source: YouTube, Cygnus90)

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Cat’s Meow Cat Toy: A Crowd Pleaser at our Place

Last week, we gave our cats, Penny Lane and Peat, a late Christmas gift: the Cat’s Meow cat toy. We received it from a friend whose ‘outdoor’ cat was not impressed by the mechanical arm and mouse tail that runs in both directions underneath a yellow nylon skirt. Clearly, not the case at our house, with our predominantly ‘indoor’ cats. Both sister and brother are giving this cat toy full marks. Personally, I’m curious to see if the motor lasts as long as their interest. So far, so good. Every bit as addictive as catnip, when used sparingly.

Muse: The Hobbit Part 2 … Still Waiting for the Big Picture

Good to see The Hobbit Part 2 has finally arrived, though I still don’t believe this story required a Part 2 or a Part 3. At one-third the page count of Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit seems more like an elegant Hollywood cash grab than a proper trilogy. That said, I think I’ll just wait until next December to watch all 3 Hobbit movies back-to-back: I don’t mind packing a lunch and spending the entire day in Middle-earth but I have no interest in going There and Back Again 3 different times.

Music to suit: Led Zeppelin, Ramble On
(Source: YouTube, MastaSnajpaa)

Muse: Masters Golf Deserves Major Couch Time

Looking forward to watching the drama unfold at the Masters this weekend and to seeing the Augusta National golf course in full bloom … a celebration of spring and great shot making on a grand stage and one of those weekends where my Personal Video Recorder gets a lot more exercise than I do.

Music to suit: Count Basie April in Paris
(Source: YouTube, JazzBreakTV)

Muse: Grand Theft Auto 5 a.m. Heist

I was looking forward to the release of the new Grand Theft Auto 5 video game this Spring … until the real-life bad guys showed up at 5 a.m. last Saturday and stole the car right off our driveway, while we slept. Wow! If you’ve got that kind of commitment and can handle that kind of pressure, why not just get a real job?

I hope the new Grand Theft Auto game comes out with different role-playing options: this time around, I’d rather play as a righteous undercover cop, living by his own rules of justice.

Music to suit: The Grateful Dead, ‘He’s Gone’
Source: YouTube, TheOtherrOne

Epilogue

On Feb. 7, one week after we settled with our insurance company, the police found our Rav 4 – half-way across the country in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. It was on a container ship bound for some overseas destination. Feels good to know that at least this time, crime didn’t pay.

On a related note, Rockstar Games unexpectedly announced a 6-month delay in the launch of Grand Theft Auto 5 … adding undercover cop role-playing functionality, no doubt …

A win-win for your Home Theatre: add indirect lighting behind your HDTV to improve esthetics and reduce eye strain

Wide shot, blank TV screen, indirect lighting

Every once in a while, you trip over a win-win idea so simple, intuitive and novel, it just demands a second look – maybe even some evangelical sharing. I experienced just such an idea earlier this year while watching TV at a friend’s house. He’s the earliest high-tech adopter I know, so it’s always interesting to see what he’s experimenting with when I visit. On this particular occasion, I was marvelling at how good his big-screen HDTV looked – almost angelic, like it was surrounded by a halo of soft, warm light … and that’s when it hit me [insert record scratch sound effect here]. His big-screen TV did actually have a halo of soft, warm light surrounding it, emanating from somewhere behind the TV. Wow, what a subtle, pleasant visual effect. And as I was soon to discover, also a great way to help reduce eye strain.

Here’s the approach I used to add the same great indirect lighting behind my 52″ LCD TV. You can decide for yourself whether this win-win idea is worth a second look for your own home theatre system. For esthetics alone, this idea was well worth the price of admission for me.

Wide shot, movie on screen

Improve esthetics and create some drama by adding ambient, indirect lighting behind your HDTV

I’ve always been a big fan of soft, warm incandescent (wire-filament generated) lighting. I find compact fluorescent lights and LED lights cold and harsh by comparison and tougher on the eyes. The same goes for indirect lighting: I prefer softer indirect light sources that eliminate all light glare to help reduce eye irritation. Accordingly, for my TV, I placed 3, 12-foot sections of incandescent Rope Light behind the TV to create a soft, warm indirect light source.

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