The weekends, lately, have generally brought with them yard work. Several people, including my parents, impart pithy phrases like “Welcome to the joys of being a home owner!” when I say this, but I think they’re missing the point:

I don’t think the yard work is necessarily all that bad. I’d much rather do the yard than have to put up with neighbors in attached units who double park you in or smell like freshly pissed pants. Yard work is a cake walk in comparison, and I am happy to do it if that’s the price I must pay for dwelling independence.

Anyway, yard work. We’ve been killing/pulling the weeds, then putting down anti-weed cloth in the flower beds that, hopefully soon, will be barkdusted over. Unfortunately, the nice weather is primarily during the week, so on the weekend, when there’s time to actually do the work, we’re constrained to a couple of hours prior to the rain setting in. A little at a time isn’t hurting us, but it’d be nice to really just make some progress.

In other news, for insurance purposes I’ve been cataloging my comic book collection with Just from a curiosity perspective, it’s interesting to see the stats it’s coming up with, like the publisher I have the most comics from (so far it’s Dark Horse). Very keen.

I haven’t heard from the TV folks on what the story is with the TV “buyout” going on, but I’m starting to investigate what’s out on the market as far as TVs are concerned. It’s a toss-up between LCD and DLP, and in the LCD arena it’s more of an “LCD rear-projection” than an “LCD direct-view” sort of thing because giant LCD panels are a little cost-prohibitive at the moment. Pending on how long I can push out the purchase, maybe the price will go down. That said, not having a TV in the main room is sort of a pain.

According to a phone call I received via voice mail from yesterday at 4:58p, my TV is fixed and awaiting delivery back to my home.

The interesting thing is that on Friday, April 22nd, I heard from them that they had gotten a new tube for the TV and were replacing it. Interesting because the repair technician had told me he didn’t think replacing the tube would fix it, so I’m a little skeptical that it’s actually fixed. This after they told me they “couldn’t reproduce the problem” and when I got down there and pointed it out, they totally saw it.

I guess I’ll call them back this morning and see about making it down to the repair shop to look at the new tube prior to accepting delivery of the thing.

As I’ve gone through this rigamarole, I’ve come to understand a lot more about TVs and the inherent relative display precision of the various kinds. In particular, I’ve noticed that no tube-based TV displays with perfectly straight lines. I mean, they get damn close, but especially toward the edges, things get dicey.

A minor sidetrack that will tie in shortly:

Several years ago I bought a movie on videotape. I brought it home and, as I watched it, I noticed the display was not terribly crisp. I had noticed it before, but it got to a point where the lack of precision and clarity in the display, not to mention the staticky audio, had finally broken me down.

I took the tape back and exchanged it for the same movie, again to find the quality was crap.

It was then that I went out - that same day - and bought my first DVD player. I couldn’t handle the imprecision of videotape any longer.

What I’m coming to find is that I may have grown beyond the “tube TV” stage now, too. I notice the imperfections all too much - and in everyone’s TVs, not just mine - and it may be time to move to something digitally precise. An LCD or DLP set, for example.

Of course, I don’t have the funds to spend on it right now, and if my tube is fixed and looks good enough that there’s no glaring imperfection, I’ll be fine for the next couple of years. When it eventually goes out - and it will - then will be the time to upgrade to the next generation of set.

But first things first. Gotta call the repair place and schedule a time to check it out.

I went in to check out the TV and it’s not fixed. I mean, they put a new tube in, but even the repair technician there says he still sees the problem and there’s nothing else they can do.

I called the warranty company and they tried to foist me off on the place I bought the TV, but when I explained the situation, they finally told me that the repair place needs to contact them for “buyout.” Not sure if that means they’re going to ship me a new TV or if it means they’re just going to cut me a check. Either way is fine with me, I think, though the check would be better.

Either way, I was told not to accept delivery of the TV because, well, there’s no point in a broken TV sitting around my house. I concur. Now I wait. Some more.

On Friday Jenn and I went to Sayler’s Old Country Kitchen for Jenn’s grandma’s birthday dinner.

Now, keeping in mind that Jenn and I are trying to eat right and exercise and all that… Sayler’s is one of those places that breads and deep fries pretty much everything. If you look wrong at the menu you gain three pounds. It’s old school cooking, and it’s very popular with the older crowd. Heavy, heavy meals.

On their sign outside is a picture of a steak. Their menus are shaped like steaks. There’s a picture of a steak on damn close to everything in there. Why? They offer a 72oz. “steak challenge.” Eat it in an hour - with all the “trimmings” (baked potato, etc.) and it’s yours free. Fail the challenge and you pay $50 for it.

The steak sits in a glass case up front on ice. Jenn got a shot of it:

72oz of pure cardiac

Apparently you have to call ahead if you want to take the challenge because the steak takes so long to cook.

They’ve been doing this since like 1948 and they keep a running tally on the wall. Something like 220 men have failed and 110 have succeeded. Four women have failed and two succeeded. Unreal.