Bit of a round up after yesterday's bitch post! What I omitted to mention yesterday was my Great Entertainment Rearrangement Project. I got paid unexpectedly early, so on Sunday I bought a new receiver, a Pioneer 815S. (Of course, immediately upon getting everything hooked up I discovered ten reasons I should have bought the higher end 1015S, but never mind). This allowed me to dump the horrible Logitech Z5300 speakers, use my lovely new Mini Monitors (see two posts ago) instead, and use shiny digital audio connections everywhere, which cut down wonderfully on the cables. I also moved the TV out of the corner and into the middle of the room so the speakers wouldn't have to be so awkwardly positioned. I gave up on buying the new floorstanding speakers - $500 more this month would leave me too poor to buy Christmas presents, go out occasionally, and eat. I find myself unwilling to forgo any of these things, in order to preserve, respectively, family harmony, domestic harmony, and stomach harmony. Still, the good news is the Mini Monitors do a great job on their own - obviously the deepest bass is missing, but overall I'll take it over the Logitech boom, mud and shriek any day. When I'm rich I'll either pick up some floor standers, if I can find another deal as good as the one I missed, or just get a decent sub, as I originally planned. Today I rounded out the set up by getting a sound card for the PC in the setup. The onboard sound has digital output, but (if you're not a geek, tune out for the next sentence or so) it resamples everything to 48KHz, which is not good, and it didn't seem to want to do AC3 passthrough properly, so that wouldn't do. I got another Chaintech AV710 because it's cheap, it has digital out, doesn't resample, and AC3 passthrough works. Good enough for me! Took a bit of configuration file jiggling to get it working, so if you find this through Google or something and you're having trouble, get in touch and I'll pass on the tricks. The $500 saved, of course, meant I could buy myself a little thing or two ;). So while I was at the mall the other day I picked up the complete Firefly series on DVD - I've been meaning to ever since I saw the movie (Serenity) and enjoyed it a lot. Having put the finishing touches on the Great Project I sat down and watched the first couple of episodes today, and they were excellent. I'm looking forward to watching the rest. The parental units bought me a subscription to the Guardian Weekly for Christmas. What's even more pathetically middle class is that I appreciate it enormously...I never get around to buying a newspaper here, but I do miss reading it, so having one turn up weekly in handy tabloid size is perfect. The first issue came today, along with a postcard from the parents and siblings, who are in France, where my little sister is residing as part of her degree course. Instead of, for e.g., a scenic view of the town / country / asteroid, it depicts various forms of chocolate. I fear they know me too well. We went out to dinner in Richmond a couple of nights ago with a bunch of people because one of our friends is returning to Japan soon. Mostly it was Chinese people, but she brought another Japanese person along. I was happy that I could follow substantial bits of their conversation despite being six feet away with large crowds of noisy Chinese people in the middle. Must be getting better, though from the sound of it I fear bellish has outstripped me by now. Was a bit surprised her friend didn't seem to have been to a hot pot restaurant before - "jibun de shabu shabu?" she asked, incredulous... Being as no Canadian bank will countenance the idea of giving someone who isn't a permanent resident a credit card, I am _very_ happy that Money Mart will be offering a prepaid Mastercard from next week. Finally I can buy stuff over the internet again. Wait. Is that a good thing?