Saturday, July 11, 2009

My new HDTV and what I’ve lost

46 Sega Genesis 2

A tragedy happened last month – our trusted 29” RCA tube television dropped dead.

My wife and I have had that thing for about a decade and we hated to see it go. Still, we saw the death of that television as an excuse to go out and buy a 1080p, 42” LCD television so that we could take advantage of the wacky, wonderful world of HDTV.

The television is a thing of beauty. The picture looks great on it and the TV fits very well in our living e.

There is a major, major, major damned problem with HDTV sets, however. My NES, Super NES and Sega Genesis look pretty rough on that set. I figured I’d mod those systems to S-video one of these days so as to improve the picture.

Ah, but the SNES is connected with S-video and the picture still isn’t great. Drat. It seems that the native, 240p signal those old consoles put out doesn’t play well on a 1080p set.

That, folks, is a major drag. Sure, I could plug my old systems into the television in the bedroom (it’s a tube TV), but that wouldn’t solve my problem of playing games late at night in the living room.

I can get buy on my Sony Playstation, Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Wii on the new television, but those systems will never touch the appeal of the classic systems as far as I’m concerned.

By the way. That Nintendo Wii. Don’t buy one. Once the novelty wears off, you’ll realize you’ve got a system with the graphical capability of a Nintendo Gamecube but with a worse controller. Yeah, I know that Wii remote is innovative, but so was the Atari 5200 joystick. A suck controller is a suck controller whether it’s innovative or not. The Wi-Fi support is terrible, too, as the main purpose of it seems to be using it to buy Wiiware – terrible, nasty little games that hog up the system’s pitiful amount of internal storage. The only system I’ve owned that was more of a personal disappointment than the Wii was an Atari Jaguar. That’s saying something.

I suppose that’s to be expected. I mean, come on –  my dog likes to wee on bushes in the backyard. Whenever I hear the word “Wii,” I think of my dog hiking his leg up on a fence post. Somehow that seems very fitting.

Here’s a tip for those of you with Wiis, by the way. The crap games that go to that system sell much better on eBay when they are unopened. Keep that in mind the next time a well-meaning relative gives you a Wii game – it’s not a total loss because some sucker out there will be willing to purchase it on eBay and will pay a premium if the stinky game is in its original, factory shrink rap.

At any rate, I’m kind of mad someone out there could have designed an HDTV television set that could reproduce signals from old video games, VCRs and DVD players. The HDTV we bought is great, but I had no idea I’d be stuck playing a damned Wii unless I wanted to plug in, say, my Genesis and hope for the best.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Bandit Run? Sign me up!

TheHawgmobile I ran across something the other day that sounds like a hell of a lot of fun – the Bandit Run.

What is the Bandit Run? Back in 2007, some fans of Smokey and the Bandit got together in their Pontiac Trans-Ams and retraced Burt Reynolds’ legendary trip from Texarkana to Atlanta. The Bandit Run has become an annual event and the participants spent a week in May running all over the South and having all sorts of fun. If you aren’t familiar with the fine movie that is Smokey and the Bandit, you either weren’t alive in the 1970s or you’re completely ignorant of pop culture.

At any rate, I – your old friend The Hawg – would love to take part in that fine event. I’d need a Trans-Am, of course, but I’ve always wanted one of those. I found one yesterday for sale near here that is available for the low, low price of $6,500 – a bargain when you consider that sum can get you a 1999 Trans-Am with one of those Corvette LS1 engines in it and an exhaust system specially tuned to frighten your neighbors.

Ah, yes. I could see it now. I’d be motoring down that open highway in my Trans-Am with my Arkansas “THEHAWG” vanity plate and absolutely killing off about a week. What could be better than that?

I’ve always wanted a Trans-Am or at least a Firebird. In fact, I was about to get a piss yellow Firebird before I went to college (I’d dubbed it “The Male Machine” and everything). My parents told me they’d either buy that car for me or they’d give me a 1981 Cutlass they were about to trade in and buy me a computer.

I chose the Cutlass and the computer because I’m a damned moron. Gearing up for the Bandit Run, however, would allow me to correct that error. Of course, I’ll never be able to convince my wife that I need to buy a Trans-Am so I can disappear for a week and drive it all over the South with a lot of other Smokey and the Bandit fans.

Still, I can dream. Besides, I’ve been working solid since 1994. That’s right – The Hawg hasn’t had a real vacation in over 15 years. I’ve wasted my youth on college and working, so I ought to be able to do something utterly ridiculous and totally fun now that I’ve hit middle age, right?

By the way, if the Bandit and the Snowman started their run in Texarkana and were bound for Atlanta, how the heck did they wind up in Fayetteville? That’s all the way up in northwest Arkansas! That discrepancy in the film has driven me nuts for years.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

‘Where have you been, The Hawg?’


For some reason, it occurred to me that I’ve been slacking in visiting and reading blogs as of late.

Why? Ironically, I’ve been wrapped up in a project at work that is partially the result of what I’ve learned by running this blog full o’ nonsense.

Yes, I started The Arkansas Realtor a few weeks ago with the help of the fine folks at Positive Real Estate Professionals – a great little site that is home to a growing real estate community.

Here’s the thing – I’m a public relations guy by trade and it’s in my best interest to use every outlet available to get my employer’s message to the public. A blog that is on a network that gets a lot of traffic is an ideal avenue, right?

Of course, the debate has been raging over the past few years about whether traditional media will be rendered obsolete by blogs and the Internet. I’m in a great position when it comes to that – a lot of people still read newspapers and we public relations cats want to reach them. A lot of people wander around blogs and we want to reach them, too.

So, I have the luxury of not having a dog in that fight. That’s a good thing, really. I’m a former newspaper man and, as such, my sympathies lie with the papers in that regard. I’ve seen a lot of friends and acquaintances laid off from newspapers over the past couple of years and that’s a damned shame.

I was visiting with another PR guy who is a former newspaper man about the state of print media in Arkansas. He pointed out that the old model which sustained newspapers for years is broken. We can’t go back to how things were. Something will have to change.

I hope the boys in the press figure out how to adapt and do it soon. An objective, independent press is vital. Why? Without professional journalists around, we’ll get the bulk of our news straight from the government, corporations and other groups with a vested interested in what is reported and what is not.

That’s not a pleasant prospect, is it?

At any rate, I’ll be a frequent visitor to my favorite blogs again soon. I’ve got to get the aforementioned blog off the ground first and I’ve got another project I’m working on that’s taking up a lot of time (more on that later).

Need a ceiling fan?

Ah, ceiling fans – like the heck out of them.

We’ve got five of the little darlings here at Casa de Hawg and keep them running all year long. They keep things cool in the summer (a necessity in Arkansas) and circulate warm air in the winter (not really a necessity in Arkansas, but dandy just the same).

Need a ceiling fan to enjoy the level of comfort to which we’ve become accustomed around my house? You can run around from store to store or save some time and head on over to Hanson Wholesale Ceiling Fans and find the largest selection around and shop right from your favorite Internet connection.

The great thing about the Internet is that you’ve got everything right at your fingertips regardless of where you happen to live. Wonderful stuff, yeah?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Music Monday – the Pursuit of Happiness

I must officially be a curmudgeon because this is a whole lot funnier than it was 20 years ago.
Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

So, how was your 4th of July?

I think the above video pretty well sums up our holiday.

We shot off fireworks. A lot of them, in fact. Then we came in the house and the kids went nuts.

Who’s in the video? There’s my son, Michael (white shirt), my daughter Brenda (the girl in the black shirt who came in looking confused), my nephew William (green shirt), my niece Meghan (red shirt) and her friend Rachel (brown shirt – the girl who kept eating in spite of the chaos around her).

Of course the constant commentary is from my wife, Marci.