Anybody want a desk?

September 5th, 2009, 9:34 pm PDT by Greg

As a result of watching Hoarders and an ongoing effort to clean up our office (which has never been quite right since we moved in), we have a desk to get rid of:

desk closed desk open

It’s an Ikea corner-unit desk that folds open/closed. It actually holds a fair amount of stuff. It just doesn’t fit right into our office, so it’s time to let it go.

Free, but we have no vehicle to move it, so once it’s down the elevator here, it’s your problem.

Free Stuff

August 13th, 2008, 12:37 am PDT by Greg

I have two things still to get rid of from the old place, and I want to be out by Friday, so if you want these and can pick them up, let me know.

My DVD/CD shelf has been on Craigslist for a while and the only responders have flaked out. I’m going to put it up for free soon, but dibs to all of you.

The TV/component stand that I mentioned earlier is still around. I need to get rid of it. I know I’ll get responses from Craigslist, but if anybody here wants it (and tells me soon), it’s yours.

Centre channel problem solving

August 11th, 2008, 4:31 pm PDT by Greg

As part of our recent move, I have had no choice but to buy a new TV. There is a built-in nook for a flat screen to sit. I had a 27″ CRT. The options were to bring the old TV and have it sit awkwardly in the room taking up a bunch of space, or buy a new flat screen.

So, I bought a new TV. Like I said: I clearly had no other choice. The TV was to be mounted on a big heavy-duty arm, so it could be swung a bit to see from the kitchen. No problem, since there was a big chunk of wood behind the nook designed exactly for this purpose: it would hold the weight of a big friggin’ TV.

While mounting the TV, Oli and I learned that the big chunk of wood in question wasn’t quite as high up as we would have liked. We ended up mounting it as high as we could, but that still didn’t leave enough room below for my centre channel:


So, this left me with a conundrum: where exactly am I going to mount the centre speaker for the home theatre? Before I get into the options, two important facts about a centre channel need to be reviewed. (1) The centre channel I have is from the same speaker series as the rest of the speakers, so it is acoustically matched. Having a distinctly different speaker could sound funny (e.g. sounds moving left to right sound different for part of their journey), so keeping this speaker would be ideal. (2) The centre channel needs to be horizontally aligned with the screen so the dialogue (which is what it makes its living doing) seems to come from the people speaking.

Many options, with varying degrees of insanity have been considered:

  1. Below the TV in the nook. Ideal, but it won’t fit there. Stupid mounting bracket isn’t height adjustable.
  2. Above the TV. This would meet both of the criteria above, but Kat is (for some reason) not thrilled about the idea of hanging the speaker above the TV by fishing line (or maybe I shouldn’t have led with that implementation). To be fair, this would look stupid, and it would block the accent light above the TV.
  3. Beside the TV, in the nook. It won’t fit there. Off-centre
  4. Beside the TV, outside the nook. This is the current solution because it’s easy. It’s annoyingly off-centre and ugly, but it fits and it works. The cable to the speaker could be hidden with a subtle hole drilled in the cabinet behind.
  5. In the stereo component cabinet. This has the problems of the above, but it would probably echo like crazy (since the speaker is rear-ported). It eliminates the need to do any drilling, though.
  6. Behind the TV, facing up. Even I didn’t think this was a good idea long enough to say it out loud. It wouldn’t fit anyway and would probably sound like ass.
  7. Having established that there is no good position for the current centre channel, I looked into buying something new. The first option there was a new thin centre channel that would fit below the TV. Nice idea, but I can’t find any that are decent, so criteria (1) would be blown out of the water.
  8. I could buy a whole new set of sub-sat speakers. These sets include tiny main speakers that can’t produce much bass and a wider-range subwoofer that takes up the slack. These would probably fit, but don’t sound great, and getting anything decent would involve more money than I want to spend. It would also negate the money spent on the very nice speakers I already have.
  9. The TV has built-in speakers. I could run the centre-channel line-level out from the receiver to them. It would probably sound horrible, but it would be cheap and inconspicuous.
  10. Yes, this idea is strange. I buy a left-right pair of small bookshelf speakers and use them together as the centre channel. I think I can split the speaker cable and connect it to both speakers, tucking one in to either side of the screen. This should fool the ear into perceiving the sound as coming from halfway in between the two and I’m optimistic that I can find a decent pair of speakers that is small enough and will match my current set.
  11. Same as above, but mounting the pair of speakers above the TV on the edge of the cabinet. This would relax the size restriction on the speakers.
  12. And after all of this, I started to think “no really… is there no way to get the TV up three inches?” The mount isn’t height adjustable, and the bracket on the mount can only attach to the TV in one position. Or can it?

    I think I can get a metal plate that’s the same width and a bit taller than the mounting bracket, and bolt it in between the bracket and the TV. The TV would be able to bolt on a few inches higher than the original holes, so it would sit that much higher.

For the more visual among us, here is an illustration of the options. The red ones use the current speaker; the blue ones use something else:

centre channel placement

So, after 11 insane options for how to deal with the speaker, I’m likely going to ignore them all and just fix the mounting bracket to do what I wanted it to in the first place.

Finally, we get to the real question here: Does anybody know where I can get a 9×12 inch piece of steel plate?

Edit: Pictures of the implementation of option 12.

New place: we’re in!

August 5th, 2008, 10:26 pm PDT by Greg

We just got keys for the new place. It’s really awesome. Everything is new, nice, and well thought out. We took a whole pile of pictures to document where things are (since not knowing how much space there is somewhere, or what colour something is can be a real hassle).

My example of why it’s so awesome probably won’t be the same at Kat’s, but here’s when I almost lost the thread: I was looking around, and there are wall jacks everywhere that have RJ-45 jacks, which are the ones used for Ethernet:

wall jack TV nook hookups

This puzzled me: Ethernet is inherently double-ended. It needs to terminate somewhere, and these didn’t have an obvious endpoint.

I moved on to the rest of the tour, until we got to the hall closet, and the landlady showed us this thing that she didn’t exactly understand:

patch panel

A full-blown RJ-45 patch panel! The place seems to have been wired with Telus TV in mind (which uses Ethernet and a set top box), but I’m pretty sure these are standard RJ-45/Cat5e/T568A cable runs. That means that an hub/router in the closet gives us 100Mb/s (or even 1Gb/s) data everywhere in the apartment.

Sure, the place has other features as well. You can see them in the pictures.

Must go!

August 4th, 2008, 10:25 pm PDT by Greg

More stuff that we have to get rid of in the move. All prices are “or best offer”. As with other stuff, I’ll give y’all a day or two lead on Craigslist.

VCR: Sony SLV-N88.
Hi-fi, dead-easy programming with the little knob on the front. Works perfectly, as far as I know. $30
TV/component stand.
Nice stand for TV and two shelves of components below it. Won’t fit in the new place, so it’s gotta go. $20, must pick up.
TV stand

Doesn’t include the electronics in the picture, natch.
CD drawers.
2 × 4 drawer CD jewel case drawers from Ikea. $10

CD drawers
White bookshelf.
68×29×8.5 inch bookshelf. $10, must pick up.
white shelf

Doesn’t include the crap on the shelf in picture.
Beech bookshelf.
71×28×10.5 inch bookshelf from Ikea. $10, must pick up.
beech bookshelf

Doesn’t include the crap on the shelf in picture.

For Sale

August 2nd, 2008, 2:40 pm PDT by Greg

All for sale:

  • Simpsons DVDs, Seasons 1–10. All in excellent condition. $120
  • Family Guy DVDs, Sets 1–4 (seasons 1–5) and Stewie Griffin the Untold Story. All in excellent condition. $60
  • Angel DVDs, Seasons 1–5 (complete series). All in excellent condition. $50
  • Minoura 850 Mag Trainer, $80
    Minoura Mag 850

Will post on Craiglist tomorrow or so.

Free: DVD, CD cases

July 30th, 2008, 12:19 am PDT by Greg

We have consolidated our DVD and CD collections into storage binders. That leaves us with a bunch of cases:

  • single DVD cases
  • double DVD cases
  • thin DVD cases (half-width cases that are used for box sets)
  • CD jewel cases

We have many of each of these. Anybody want some?

Watch the blog in the next week or two for much more stuff we want to get rid of. I’ll post here before Craigslist if any of you want anything.

Need an Apartment?

July 28th, 2008, 10:49 am PDT by Greg

As should be obvious to anyone reading this blog, Kat and I are preparing to move to a shiny new place just down the road. There are really only two downsides to this move: (1) we have to move, (2) we are leaving our landlady.

I have blogged about our landlady before: she is a nice old lady from Hong Kong. This house is about her only tangible asset and our rent is a big chunk of her income. I feel bad leaving her to find somebody else. So, I don’t intend to…

Who needs a new place?

It’s a ground-floor suite. Two bedrooms, one bath, decent living room, kitchen, shared laundry. $900/mo + utilities. Maybe 1000 sq ft or so. Entrance through the garage, which isn’t great, but isn’t a big deal either. (It means a good spot to store a bike if nothing else.)

North Burnaby at Albert and Madison. I’m obviously a big fan of the neighbourhood, otherwise we’d be moving more than a block away. Close to a bunch of restaurants, Safeway, 135 stop (25 minutes to SFU Burnaby by bus), Brentwood Mall, bike/hiking paths, …

I took a bunch of pictures when I was moving in two years ago. We haven’t exactly trashed the place, so it will look about the same.

I’d make a killer deal on any furniture that we aren’t taking with us (my initial bargaining position: $0). That seems to include a buffet/island/chopping block thing in the kitchen, a TV stand, DVD shelf, and a loveseat. A few little shelves might stay too.

Remember my affection for the landlady: no loud parties, no trashing the place, no keeping her up at night. You’ll have me to deal with if you do.

Update: Move in mid-August, as soon as we’re out. I’ll pick up that first part-month rent.

OMG! OMG! OMG! We might have found a new place to live!!! :D

July 22nd, 2008, 10:15 pm PDT by Kat

So since I’ve been back, I’ve been looking for a new place for us to live. The place we’re in is fine, but it’s a little small, and we’re getting to that point in our lives where we’d like to live somewhere a little nicer. The roadblock has been that we ideally want to stay in the same area. When I say “the same area“, what I mean is the two block by five block area surrounded by Albert on the north, Pender on the south, Willingdon on the east, and MacDonald on the west. We were hoping to find a new-ish townhome or duplex or something like that. This definitely limited our options, and I must say, I was starting to get discouraged. There were countless “brand new” condo units at SFU and near Brentwood, but those places aren’t Burnaby Heights.

However, today, I found it. The place where I REALLY want us to live until we get our own place. I’m so excited!


Here is the craigslist ad:

We have an appointment to meet with the landlady tomorrow evening. I’m SO excited!! I think the unit we’re looking at is floor plan F. It has a dishwasher, a wine fridge, a washer and dryer, and a deck where we can put a grill! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! The landlady sounds nice and seemed quite happy to hear that it would just be the two of us living in her apartment and not “four people” or “a couple with 3 children”. Did I mention that I’m excited?

So, cross your fingers that she’ll like us and let us live there!

Update by Greg: Kat’s looking at it tomorrow night while I’m teaching.  My instructions to her: “I don’t care if it smells like cheese, I want to live there.”

Update by Kat: I saw it. I loved it. I put a deposit down!!!! 🙂 We will be living at the Tramonto in August! 😀 Oh, and I was initially wrong. The unit is floor plan C, which means that it’s on the north side of the building, and therefore quite quiet. The deck also has gas plumbing for a grill. 😀

My first week home

June 23rd, 2008, 4:36 pm PDT by Kat

As most people know, I’m back in Vancouver. It’s nice being back. Not only do I get to be in the same city as Greg and the majority of my family and friends, but it’s also not stinking hot here.

For the last week I’ve been busy getting settled. I’ve unpacked all of my clothes, gotten rid of a lot of clothes I don’t wear (mostly because they no longer fit in the tiny closets of our home), started in my new postdoc lab, and hung out with friends and family. So, all in all it’s been a good week.

It’s a bit strange being back though. While I am “familiar” with life in Vancouver, it’s a little strange because obviously some things have changed in the two years I’ve been gone. I think SFU is probably the biggest change. The last of my grad cohort are defending in the next month, so it’s all new faces. It’s a strange feeling coming back. I’m also in a new lab, so that’s also taking some getting used to. But, so far it’s been great. I’ve already learned how to isolate mRNA and make cDNA. Heh, in a week I’ve become a molecular biologist! 😀

As Greg blogged about earlier, we’re looking for new cell phones. Greg got a Blackberry Pearl yesterday, but I think I’m going to wait for the iPhone. Greg got a pretty good data plan on his phone – apparently Rogers (and probably the other carriers) are dropping the prices of their data plans, so I’m banking on the iPhone plan being not too much more than the plan in the US. I was *this close* to standing in line in NC to get one a year ago, so I guess I’ll be standing in line in 2.5 weeks. The iPhone may be dead to Greg, but the simplicity of syncing with my Mac and the beauty of the phone it totally worth the price for me. Plus I figure we’re down to paying rent on only one place, so I can afford an iPhone! 😀 (Yes, I am trying to justify getting one.)

The only negative from the cross-country move was that a box of papers that was supposed to be couriered here accidentally got shipped with the rest of my papers to my mom’s place in Seattle. The box has papers that I need to finish my starling manuscript, and I specifically sent it here so that I could start writing asap. However, it looks as though there was some miscommunication at the UPS store, and I didn’t notice the mistake on my receipt/tracking slip. At least in the end I paid to get it shipped to Seattle and not here.

In case anyone is wondering, we decided that the moving bet I had with Greg was a tie. I was ~1 lb over on each bag, but the woman at the counter did not make me repack the bags.

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