not a banner weekend, but better then last...

I decided to take Friday off work since I spent a good portion of the previous weekend repairing a customer database server. I spent a portion of Friday morning connecting an old laptop to our television so we can watch Netflix downloads. The laptop has S-Video built-in, which made it very simple to test, but I think it will be fun to have connected for Internet media and content. I still need an S-Video A/V switch to make the setup permanent since our DVD player uses that port on our television. I'm thinking of this model which appears to be priced well and has the component connectors I would need to hook up the DVD, VCR, and Netflix/Laptop. All geeky fun aside, I was unplugging connectors on the laptop and pinched a nerve (I'm guessing) in my lower back. This immediately dropped me to the floor in sever pain. Jen was wonderful in helping me straighten out and manage to get back on my feet. I popped an anti-inflammatory and made my way to the couch where I spent a majority of the rest of my day off. Luckily we have multiple entertainment options, from video games to movies, at our disposal. This made the day go by, even if it was a change in plans for both of us. Friday night I did get a chance to watch Battlestar Galactica, which I think was one of the most powerful episodes they have ever done. I really do enjoy the way the writers can create situations that stir such an emotional response. I am intrigued now more then ever on how Ron Moore will end the series...

Saturday offered small improvements in my lower back pain, enough that I decided to go ahead with taking my Amateur Radio Technician Class license test in Archbold. With the assistance of Jen driving me there (I did not trust myself, or want to risk making my injury worse), I aced my test. The VE's asked if I wanted to take the General Class test (the next level up) since I did so well on my Technician test, and since there was no additional cost. I told them I had not studied at all for that level, but they convinced me, telling me it would be good for practice if nothing else. That one I did not do so well at, only scoring 20 out of 35 questions correct, which I guess is not that bad for pure guess work. It will be good motivation for me to work on that next I think. So for now, I am a licensed technician class operator. I should have my call sign within the week, which means I need to get a radio!

I think I've narrowed it down to the following models: From Yaesu, the VX-6R, VX-7R, or the FT-60R. From I-Com, the IC-T90A, and from Kenwood, the TH-F6A. Most of the radios are all within $150 in pricing and are Lithium Ion battery powered (save the FT-60R, it's Ni-HM). All are "hand-held' models, and have some basic features all in common like 144/440 band operation and TNC for packet radio support. Otherwise, they all have their own bells and whistles, which means I need to figure out what's important to me, how much I want to spend, and what I'll actually use before I break down and get a mobile or base system. I've checked out various on-line reviews for the above, and each radio seems to all rate 4 out of 5 at the minimum. I can always use EchoLink temporarily to play around until I make my purchasing decision.

The rest of Saturday was spent having brunch with Jen and then back to homestead for more sitting on the couch and recuperating. Thank goodness for heating pads, Alieve, and video games.

Today I found I have a little bit more range of motion in my back, but still not near pre-Friday morning, so that meant a bit more couch time. I did manage to do some radio research and file our Federal and State taxes. Jen and I also watched a Tai Chi (sp?) DVD we purchased recently, along with a workbook. It looks pretty promising, especially from the benefits in the stretching and flexibility, which I have determined I can definitely use. This evening has the Super Bowl on television. I don't really care for either team, but the commercials are always fun to watch. All I can think about when I hear Madden's voice is Frank Caliendo's impersonation of him...

It's back to work tomorrow, a new month and a full work week, hopefully with a much improved lower back...