Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.


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» Sunday, January 30, 2011
A Workday Sunday and a Reward
Great Backyard Birdcount 2011A nice sleep-in and breakfast, and then we had the tiresome job of going back to Lowes to return the shade and get another one before we could head to Kroger to do some grocery shopping. We found clearance dumps all over the store and got drinking glasses for a quarter each (two snowmen, two holly), candy canes for 20 cents (the peppermint is good for upset tummies, or they can be saved to accompany Christmas gifts), and other odds and ends beside the milk, bananas, and sandwich bread we went there for.

It was already 61°F by the time we left the house at eleven, and by the time we got the groceries home, it was warm enough to take my jacket off. We went to and from Kroger via the park, and everyone was taking advantage of the warmth and the sun to go walking. Despite the temps getting up to 70, the sky remained a nice, vivid winter blue, and this did give us an opportunity to open up all the windows and get some fresh air through the house rather than just in the bedroom.

Once the groceries were put up, I had to get to work. My first priority was to mend my work pants. Since I had the iron out, I also ironed the fall and Christmas runners for the dining room table so I could put them away. Then I needed to wrap a gift. Finally I sat down to do the taxes. These were complete before 4:30, and the federal e-filed. We owe the state, so I put an alarm on my calendar to send the paperwork about April 1.

James, in the meanwhile, put the shade up. We had this one up backwards, in an experiment that I no longer remember why we did, so he swapped the mounts. This was easier said than done because although both of us measured the window, the shade was not wide enough. We had both measured 34 3/4. When I pulled down the shade later, I realized why: although the frame flush with the wall is 34 3/4, the window opening where the hardware is mounted is a little further apart by at least 1/8 of an inch. Bother. The old shade fit perfectly; we should have measured that. Anyway, James had to make a shim to put under the mounts so that the shade would fit.

He also replaced the air intake filters and the batteries in the smoke alarms, so it was a good day's work after all.

Now, I had left WPBA (Channel 30, the Atlanta PBS station, as opposed to GPB, Channel 8, the Georgia PBS station) on for Schuyler when we left the house, and had been paying scant attention to it. At one point Rick Steves was on and I glanced backward a time or two at his show about the Basque country (I didn't realize that's where Guernica was).

Well, I finished the taxes, and James finished the batteries, and he took Willow outside. And it was then I looked, really looked at the television screen as I started to change the channels.

I think I've complained about it here before, but Dish Network has not previously been showing both the local PBS channels in high-definition. All the local channels are in HD and shown in HD on Dish except for those two. Occasionally we would see a widescreen picture, but it would be in the center of the television with a black frame around it. Most of the time we would see a widescreen picture that filled the screen, but had the right and left sides lopped off, so that not only the picture, but words would be excised. For instance, if you watched Antiques Roadshow, the scroll at the bottom of the screen when they revealed the object's value would have the left part of the words chopped off.

I sent Dish a note about this and they told me that GPB and WPBA had to "authorize" them to show the channels in HD, even though the two stations were already broadcasting in that format. I don't know what "authorize" means, but I suspect money was involved. <wry grin> So if we wanted to see something HD on PBS, like Sherlock, I would mess with the antenna and we would watch it over the air, at least on WPBA; GPB is a pain in the neck to get with antenna and pretty much only comes in when it rains. (Yes, when it rains, not the other way around. I said it was a weird signal.) Otherwise we watched stuff like This Old House with the sides lopped off.

It was while I was channel changing that I noticed that the last scene I had seen on the television filled the entire screen. The rest of the previews were all full screen, and the next program was one of those "bordered widescreen" presentations. (I suspect this is the difference between "anamorphic widescreen" and "letterboxing" that Rodney has attempted to beat through my head for the last year or so. <g>) So I went to the "All HD" listing on the Dish menu and, sure enough, both GPB and PBA are now listed as being in HD.

I let out a whoop that James heard from out in the back yard. :-)

And now that I think about it, Rick Steves was also in HD and filled the screen; I must have though James had the television on through the antenna, not the satellite. What fooled me is that they must have "turned it on" sometime today, because the This Old House we recorded yesterday still has the sides chopped off. I am really sorry we did not see this latest season of TOH in HD, because the house they fixed had a lovely vista of the Charles River out the back window.

So, cool beans! A nice reward for an afternoon's good work.

So we ended up watching the Western episode of Pioneers of Television again; really, the difference in HD is quite noticeable! And I didn't realize until I saw it widescreen that the producers have cropped the top and bottom of the old television episodes so they appear widescreen on the series.

We had some leftover chicken stir-fry for supper with noodles, watched the news, and have now gone back to what's on DVR: Flying Wild Alaska. Probably Law & Order: UK after that or This Old House or both.

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