December 25, 2008: Baby’s First Christmas

Last night we waited until Dominica’s parents went to bed so that we could break out the new AppleTV that arrived for them today and get it hooked up to the television in the living room.  That ended up being a pretty long and involved process.  We had to unhook the PS3 as there was only a single HDMI connector available and then we had to find a place to hide the AppleTV so that it could be hooked up but would remain hidden in the morning until we could turn it on as a surprise.

After we got the AppleTV hooked up and downloaded and synced to Joe’s laptop which was the only machine that had iTunes installed on it we were finally able to test out the stream from  The stream is working but the compression is incorrect for the AppleTV.  This is my first time making my own video from high def source that will be compressed for the AppleTV and I was aware that 720p (1280×720) was the maximum resolution and I was okay there (1210×720) but was unaware that the AppleTV has to drop to 24fps and can’t handle 720p at 30fps (30fps is what comes from American and Japanese television, 90+% of camcorders, DVD, etc. and 24fps is what comes from most film-based movies.)  So I need to reencode the video to a lower framerate so that the AppleTV can handle it.  My biggest complaints about the AppleTV are its inability to handle really high quality HD standards (like 720p/30, 1080i and 1080p) and that it does not handle open-ended content streams like Hulu, CBS and Netflix.

The AppleTV unit exhibited some problems too that we need to check out.  We aren’t sure that the unit is actually bad because it was just shipped and just updated and has not really had a chance to warm up yet and the problem that we have been seeing, output blacking out, seems to happen with decreasing frequency so it might be okay once we let it warm up.  We will see.

We tried to convert the first LieslTV video for the AppleTV tonight but Joe’s laptop was running on battery and was going to take many hours to do the conversion so we gave up on that and planned to do it in the morning.  It was around two thirty when Dominica, Oreo, Liesl and I finally managed to get off to bed.

It was a short night leading into the busy Christmas day.  I’m not sure how late we slept in but we were the last to get up.  The girls, Madeline and Emily, had to wait upstairs and so we got up when we heard them approved to go downstairs so no one was really waiting for us.  There was piggy pudding (a breakfast food made with eggs, cheese, vegetarian sausage, maple syrup, etc.) waiting for us which I grabbed for Dominica and myself to give us some energy before heading into the gift unwrapping part of the day.

We got started on presents right away.  With the two new babies, Garrett and Liesl, there are far more presents than there used to be and it is a rush to get it all done before we go to Dominica’s dad’s father’s house for Christmas dinner.  There ended up being so much to unwrap that eventually we had the call that Garrett and Liesl’s presents were not going to be unwrapped today because there just was not enough time and they both had so much stuff.

Big items for Dominica and I included a 16″ Westinghouse HDTV (that is going to go into our kitchen and be hooked to an AppleTV so that Dominica can watch her high-def podcast-based Internet television cooking shows while she cooks and so that we can watch shows while eating in the kitchen which will encourage kitchen eating versus sitting in the living room to watch stuff and eating on the recliners) and a Keurig coffee organizer unit that will go on our kitchen wall to hold four boxes of coffee and will clear up a lot of our kitchen counter space while being far more attractive, The Dark Knight on BluRay and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian on BluRay.  I also got several nice work shirts, pajamas and some really awesome video games that I have been really excited about getting: ChronoTrigger and Dragon Quest IV for the Nintendo DS.  I got Dominica Guitar Hero World Tour for the DS which has a guitar pick and cool guitar attachement.  Joe got her the matching Guitar Hero World Tour Decades which is the sequel so that she can play all of the DS-based Guitar Hero games.  It is hard to list gifts as there are so many.

Dominica wanted to start using her Nintendo DS to play Guitar Hero but we then discovered that her DS (the pink one) is missing.  We tore the house apart looking for it but had no luck.  We have no idea where it could have gone.

It was around four when we made it over to Dominica’s grandfather’s house for Christmas dinner.  We were there for about three hours.  There was additional present opening there.  It is going to be a big load of stuff going back to Peekskill with us.  Babies generate a lot of gifts 🙂

There was no organized activity after returning to Dominica’s parents’ house.  Joe and Bennie played some Call of Duty: World at War but that was about it.  I spent over an hour searching for Dominica’s Nintendo DS but was unable to find anything.  This is rather worrisome.

Tomorrow morning I am back to work.  Dad has decided to come out to Frankfort on Sunday rather than on Saturday because of the weather that is expected on Saturday.

Tomorrow I will be probably hooking up Dominica’s parents’ new Nintendo Wii.

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