Blog Archives

Star Trek Home Theater

If money weren’t an object, and if a miracle happened and I got permission to modify my living room.  This is what I would do!  What an amazing creation, I am definately envious! 

 http://www.reighn.com/theaterphoto.html

The Great Speaker Hunt

I recently decided that I’d like to replace the older surround sound speakers currently installed on my multimedia PC at home. Since I don’t have cable or DirecTV or any other paid TV Service, I use my multimedia PC to download/watch any shows or movies (not counting DVDs) that I want to see. This works out great for me, and the quality is amazing. My multimedia machine is a 1.8GHz AMD system, with 512MB of RAM, a 400GB hard drive, and Realtek HD Audio processor. I checked out my system specs and found that if I bought a really nice set of surround sound speakers, I’d probably need a new sound card. I like the Realtek HD audio, but the physical outputs on the motherboard are limited. I won’t have enough outputs to power a decent speaker set in 5.1 surround. So I went online and took over an hour to decide on a new sound card. I ended up getting the Creative Audigy EAX PCI. Its not an expensive card, but should deliver good quality 5.1 6 channel audio to my living room. Now the hunt is on for a good speaker set, I want to get something thats 5.1 surround, has 2 right channels, 2 front channels, a center channel/sub. I need something with a remote for volume control. I also want something if possible, on stands, so I won’t have to worry about finding temporary stands or mounting stuff on the wall.

I think I found a few sets on eBay that look pretty nice, and are fairly affordable. I don’t really need a receiver, because I won’t be using it for any radio or with any other inputs. All my multimedia comes from my multimedia PC, so as long as whatever I get connects to my multimedia PC, I’m set. I don’t want to go overboard either, since I won’t be using them to their full potential till we either move to a more secluded area, or the kids are older. We live in a close neighborhood, so I don’t want to make too much noise! I’ll try to put together some kind of diagram and spec listing for my multimedia PC and home theatre system once its complete.

LAN Games

For the past few nights I’ve been playing Unreal Tournament online with some friends. Its a lot of fun, even though I’m not very good and end up getting killed every 30 seconds (If I’m even that lucky). I setup a hosted game server on my PC (thinking about moving it to my backup server). I just wish I could enable multi player cheats on the server. I found some instructions for doing that, but they didn’t work. Oh well, its a lot of fun to play games against other people you know. Its also cool that I can run the game server over my cable modem. Now I just need more time to play.

To Fix or Not to Fix

a. Pay a huge amount of money for my dask to get torn apart and fix the heater cable
b. Wait and not spend un-necessary money on it, then trade it in next year

I also thought about buying a portable heater that plugs into the cigarett lighter port, but those have not worked out well for me in the past!

What to do, what to do…

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Bad Neighborhood??

It didn’t take us long to realize that even though our house was the nicest one (as far as condition and age) that we had ever had, but our neighborhood left much to be desired. We discovered lewd music being played very loud at all hours of the day and night, we found beak-in attempts on my truck parked in my driveway just off the street!!! Drug dealers and gang bangers and barred stores all over. Suddenly things didn’t seem so nice as they had after just coming from a much worse place.

Its been a year this March (almost there). We still don’t like the neighborhood, and desperately want to move. We are embarrassed to have people over for fear that they might be afraid of the area. We have one year left to live in this house before we are going to try to sell it and move to a nicer area. I’m sincerely hoping that home values will rise enough by the time I’m ready to sell that we could take the equity in the home sale and use it to pay off all our debt. This is not so far fetched and we’ve done it once before. We bought the house for $131,000 and they are already selling now for upwards of $160 in some areas. Our neighborhood definately has something to do with the value, but hopefully by next March I’ll be able to get about $169K from the sale of our home. If that happens, we will be able to pay off all our bills, and have a few K left over to put down on a new home and pay all closing costs in cash. This would also allow me to finally trade my truck in for a car with a working heater! I know that sounds funny coming from someone who lives in FL, but lately in the mornings it can get pretty chilly! I’ve had ice on my windshield for the past two mornings now. And the heater in my truck is broken.

Should this plan work out, and we can pay off all our debt, and do the things I just mentioned; then we are aced with a new challenge. First, we have to find a new home, but not just any home, it again will need certain features. It will need to be in a nicer neighborhood, in a good location close enough to my work and Sarah’s school. And of course we can’t wander too far from Temple Terrace!

The reason I want to wait until two years has passed is that I don’t want to pay capitol gains tax, which would cut into my available funds to get out of debt. I’ve managed to acquire a bit of debt over the years. I’ve got three credit cards, a few store cards (all with $0 balances), a student loan, a truck (auto) loan, and a few minor medical bills. Not to mention my mortgages, but they don’t really count. Once all this is paid off with the sale of our home, we will much more available monthly spendable income to use towards the mortgage of a more expensive house in a better area. This will also provide the funds for sending Sarah and Abby both to private school. It will also enable us to do the things I want so badly to do, such as take a family vacation somewhere nice. Perhaps take a few trips a year somewhere with the kids and do something fun.

Individually, I do fairly well in my profession. I’ve been in IT for over 8 years now, I make good enough money (though in my area there are higher paying jobs for which I qualify). The thing that sets us apart, is that Liz doesn’t work, not at all outside the home. This presents a challenge for me to maximize my income to provide for my family on my own without the income of a spousourselvese. Most families these days must have both parents working just to make it. I’ve been blessed that I have been able to make enough money to support my family on a single income. This is very difficult and we often find ourselves down to just a few dollars in the bank more than a few times each year. (in between pay periods). This presents its own challenges, for example, at work some of the guys like to go out and eat lunch sometimes several times a week. This is something I just cannot afford to do. Also we are limited in the activities we can provide for our kids, we haven’t been to Disney or Sea World or been on any weekend trips or done much of anything that requires more than $100 (and thats high). I really want to provide more experiences for my kids, I want to travel with them on family vacations, take them to interesting places and expose them to the world around them. There is a lot of beauty in the creation we are surrounded by, most of which I haven’t seen either. Hopefully one day, money won’t be so tight that we keep telling ourselves “we can’t afford to do that or go there”.

So lookout, come next March the Church Family might be moving to a neighborhood near you!

🙂
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