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As part of the re-setting-up of my home theater system, I’ve decided I want to do away with all the crappy, chintzy cables that hold everything together and update to some actual quality cables.

I went searching on the Monster Cable site and found that they offer somewhere close to eighty gazillion different “levels” of cable. While I somehow don’t feel like I’ll be going for the ultra-high-end ones, I think it’s not entirely unreasonable to look for something in the middle-to-upper end.

I put together this “cable hierarchy” guide for the people cruising the site wondering which cable series is better than which. It’s probably not complete because I didn’t invest a whole lot of time into it, but it gives you an idea. From “worst” to “best,” here you go…

Audio Cables

Monster Cable Core Products

  • Interlink Junior
  • Interlink 100
  • Interlink 200
  • Interlink 250
  • Interlink 300
  • Interlink Reference
  • Z100i
  • Z200i

M Series

  • M350i
  • M550i
  • M850i
  • M950i
  • M1000i

Sigma Retro

  • Sigma Retro

Video Cables

Monster Cable Core Products

  • Monster Video 1
  • Monster Video 2
  • Monster Video 3
  • Z300

M Series

  • M500
  • M1000
  • M2000

The thing about that chart you need to remember is that the top end of the Monster Cable Core Products section will overlap slightly with the bottom end of the M Series stuff, particularly in price. So if you have the choice of the top end of the Core Products or the bottom end of the M Series, take the top end Core Product.

Monster Cable also puts out a set of THX certified cables for audio and video. They all run on the same scale and end up somewhere in the low-to-middle end of the M Series cables from the above charts (at least, price-wise). The THX cable scale goes like this:

THX Cables

  • Standard
  • 600
  • 800
  • 1000

Price comparison-wise, as of this morning when I checked things out, this was the cost for a dual-RCA cable 2m/6ft long (the kind you connect your right-and-left audio channels on your VCR to the TV with):

  • $10 - Interlink Junior
  • $20 - Standard THX
  • $50 - M350i
  • $130 - Interlink Reference
  • $130 - THX 1000
  • $300 - M1000i
  • $1500 - Sigma Retro

No, that’s not a typo on the Sigma Retro set. It really is $1500 for six feet of cable. I only wish I had the disposable income to throw down on cables like that.

I think I’m going to shoot for the THX cables; they’re good quality, seem to be right about the price range I was looking at, and have certain ease-of-installation-and-labeling standards they adhere to that I like. I think, if I can, I’ll stick with the upper end of that.

Hence, I’ve added Best Buy to the gift certificates list for housewarming because apparently they carry this stuff. From the look of it, they don’t have it in the stores, though - you have to get it online. At least in Oregon.

I also added Circuit City to the list. They do carry the stuff in the stores. Not the largest selection, but it’s there.

It will probably end up being a slow-but-sure sort of replacement process. Like, one cable a month or something. Also depends on the disposable income, which I’m sure will be minimal now that the whole house thing is in place. It’s a good goal to shoot for, though.

I think it’s great when people bring donuts (doughnuts, etc.) to work to share. That’s awesome. Either first thing in the morning or midday, I’m ready for that pastry goodness.

There’s a certain donut etiquette, though, that the consumers of the donuts need to follow and I fear that there are a lot of folks out there who don’t realize they are committing a faux pas - nay, a cardinal sin

  • when they do this. I will say this once, clearly, for the record:

It is never okay to only take half a donut.

You people in the cheap seats, take a second look at that statement. Read it until you understand it. I don’t care if you’re diabetic, if you’re on a diet, if you’re just not hungry, or whatever you think your excellent reason is - you may not cut/rip/mangle the donut in half and then only take half. In all seriousness, do you think anyone really wants the donut half that’s been fondled by some unknown individual and discarded back into the box like yesterday’s birdcage lining? Hell, no. Nobody wants your discarded donut half.

Here’s the solution: If you don’t want the whole donut, just take it anyway. Eat what you want, throw out the rest. Those people who would have otherwise eaten your other donut half won’t feel too bad having to rummage through the trash can and dig it out because that’s effectively what they’re doing anyway.

Better still, find a friend who agrees to split the donut with you. If you’re a willing participant in donut-sharing and have a say in how it gets split, it’s a little different than grabbing the anonymous donut half that sits lonely in the box.

Regardless, don’t leave half a fucking donut in the box. You will go to hell for it. I’ll personally make sure of it. This same thing applies to muffins, snack cakes, and any other type of food that comes in units of individual serving size. Take the whole serving. No one wants your refuse. Ass.

I got in the car last night to go home and the sun was shining brightly. I noticed my glasses were pretty dirty and reflecting all the goop on them so I took them off to clean them. Untucked the front of my t-shirt, started wiping the left lens, and promptly broke the frames in half.

Fucking typical.

I called Jenn at home, who pointed out that in the interim I could wear my prescription sunglasses for the trip home, and had her call around to the Binyon’s and Lenscrafters franchises in the local mall and find out who would take our insurance and who would do an eye test on short notice (my prescription was old and my right eye needed some serious updating).

She called back and got me an appointment at the Binyon’s - they said they’d take the insurance (Lenscrafters said they would bill me and I’d have to bill insurance; thanks, but what a pain) and they had a doctor on staff to do the eye test.

I raced home, picked up Jenn, and barely made it to the appointment.

The eye doctor experience was different than I remember it being a few years ago when I last did it. Then again, I went to a different doctor then, so maybe it’s still the same there. Now they have this digital imaging technique where they take a digital picture of the inside of your eye rather than dilate your eyes and look in there that way. It’s $20 extra, but I wanted to try it for novelty’s sake, so I paid. Pretty cool. The only down side is the flash - it goes off, literally, right in front of your eye so you see spots for the next 15 minutes or so. They also had this machine that you look into and it auto-focuses on your eye and prints out a baseline prescription. Very cool, particularly from a techno-geek standpoint. I dug it, and had I been given the opportunity, I’d have played around with it for a while to see how it worked.

Anyway, I got my prescription, and it’s slightly stronger than my old one but things are much clearer. I gave it to the salesperson/technician and picked out some new frames.

We started doing paperwork and it turned out they were having a buy one get one free sale on lenses, so I handed over my sunglasses to get updated lenses in those, too. The salesperson started running the numbers and all that, then said, “Okay, cool. We’ll have these for you tomorrow.”


The guy on the phone said an hour. When we got to the store, he said an hour. All the way through the process, the phrase “one hour” was key. Tomorrow?

Apparently, because it was after 5:00p and the insurance company was closed or something, they couldn’t verify coverage, so I was fucked.


So today I’ve got no glasses. I’m not totally blind or anything, but don’t give me directions by street names because I can’t read the signs. Thank goodness my job is sitting in front of a monitor; I’m near-sighted, so I’ve got no problems there. I do feel a little naked, though. Hopefully I’ll hear from them today and pick up my new glasses tonight. (I do have a spare pair… but I packed them and I don’t remember which box they’re in. So I have to wait. Fucking typical.)

I do surveys and tests and crap online when I find them. I’m a sucker, I admit it.

I just took this “Super IQ Test” over at Tickle and got 147, which is pretty much in line with every other IQ test I’ve taken since grade school. Apparently, I’m also a “Visual Linguist.” Here’s the longer description:

The way you think about things makes you a Visual Linguist. This means you are highly intelligent and have many diverse talents. You have especially strong linguistic talents and are very good at interpreting visual information. You’ve got your feet on the ground, but your mind is capable of very complex, abstract thought. Compared to others, you are easily able to see situations from many different angles. You also understand how things work in a very practical way.

The real kicker came in an email later, though:

Visual Linguists know what they know and don’t particularly enjoy having to explain why or how.

That’s probably the most accurate statement any test ever has come up with. It’s exactly how I function. I know what I know, just trust me and don’t make me explain it to you. All it’s doing is wasting your time and mine.

This weekend was pretty eventful. Besides spending the majority of Sunday packing, cleaning, and painting, Saturday afternoon was spent in a pyrotechnician training course put on by Western Display Fireworks. Jenn and I both went, and over the course of about five hours they went over all of the Oregon State Fire Marshal rules for fireworks.

The first part was a little dry because it was geared for people who transport fireworks (like, commercial drivers and such). I’m not a driver, so it wasn’t too interesting. The second part was better, though, as they reviewed the rules and regulations for putting on fireworks displays and such.

After the class, Jenn and I both took the General Operator Certification test, so we can be licensed pyros. We’ll have to shoot three shows in the next couple years if we want the actual certification, but we did one last year, so only two to go. Might be cool. (Interesting side note: the guy teaching the class, who is also the president of Western Display Fireworks, has pyro certification #1 in the state of Oregon. Kinda cool.)

After the test they had a product demonstration where they’d announce what kind of firework they were going to shoot and then fire one off to show you what different things do. During one of the demonstrations, a box of two-inch mortars either split or fell over or something and started shooting at us. Pandemonium ensued, but thankfully no one was hurt. One guy fell off his bench and hit his head, but he was fine. It was sort of funny to watch the instructor guy, though - he just sat there and took it all in. Didn’t even flinch. I guess you get comfortable with some things after you’re exposed to them for long enough.