July 30th, 2006

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Laptop to TV?

So we managed to deal with part of our missing episodes of 24 via reruns, and are about ready to finish the season. But I think we're going to need to see one episode via iTunes, and that leads me to a question: is there any straightforward way to get from iTunes to our TV set? This seems to be largely a hardware problem, so I put it out to the unimind to see if there are any clever answers.

I assume that it's not straightforward -- after all, the video has to be adapted from high-res digital format to relatively low-res analog NTSC. (No, we don't have a digital HDTV set yet, which I assume would make this easier.) But I don't know if we're talking about a cheap $20 device or a $200 one. Or, alternatively, is there any way to get a video downloaded to iTunes burned onto a DVD? The docs that I find indicate not, but there could be workarounds.

It's not a crisis -- worse comes to worst, we'll watch it on msmemory's decently big laptop screen. But I'd rather see it on the 32" screen than the 15" one, if there's a straightforward way to do so...
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A Day of Nature

Today was all about interacting with Nature. Some of that was enjoying; some was getting rid of it.

Anybody want some hay? My big project for the day was dealing with the Back 40 Problem. The Month of Monsoons we had a while back wrecked merry havoc with my lawn care -- the bottom of the property got so swampy that I couldn't mow it for a month, and after that it was so long that the mower kept choking. By today, it was easily a foot high, maybe 18 inches in spots.

I tried several things. I sharped up the scythe, hopeful that a period approach would work, but had little luck there. The grass didn't stand up well, and wasn't very brittle, so getting a clean cut was too difficult to be worth trying. (Bear in mind that I had about 1/8 acre to deal with here.) elizabear had suggested the somewhat unconventional solution of using a hedge trimmer just above ground level -- that worked, but was *very* slow (the grass was thick enough that it kept nearly clogging the trimmer), and getting the height right was difficult. (And I'm coming to really hate the hedge trimmer, which vibrates so much that it gives me a *fierce* neuropathy within 15-20 minutes.)

In the end, it was back to the mower. Using the side-discharge chute, and mowing a very small amount on each pass (maybe 6 inches, about a third of the width of the mower) kept it from overloading. Took a long time, but I managed to get everything except the bottom glade done.

That finished, we filled our compost bin to capacity with the resulting hay, and put the rest in bags. So we now have six bags of rather nice hay in the carport if anyone wants it. The only complication is that it has received a ChemLawn treatment, about three weeks ago -- the company claims that that's only an issue for a few days, but I have no idea whether it's appropriate as, eg, feed. If anyone does want it, feel free to come by and take it away.

Afterwards, msmemory invited me along on her evening constitutional. We wandered into the conservation lands for the first time, about two blocks from our house. This turns out to be really lovely -- 27 acres of nearly-pristine forest, with a few trails wandering through it. It has fabulous picnic potential; we'll have to have people over sometime to join us on some wandering through the woods...