Man Cave 2.0 – Update

I got out of work Friday and spent the afternoon finishing up some minor details and started playing with my new Nvidia Shield (more on that in a bit) and on Saturday I was able to clean up the basement and make it usable. Over the weekend I’m pretty sure we watched 5 or 6 movies and a couple of TV shows. It was a good weekend to sit back and enjoy the progress so far on the basement.

As you can see that the current poker table sticks out like a sore thumb down there. It’s decently constructed by the previous owner but the plain oak just stands out. I’ve figured out how I’m going to build a new one, I just need time because I want to really focus and make sure it’s built to the quality that I want it to be.

The Entertainment Center

You might also notice the bright colored shelf on the right. I was too excited to get the surround sound going so just grabbed the shelf before I’ve had a chance to stain/varnish it. That will be happening this week, I just wanted to watch movies. There are a few things I would have done different on the entertainment center, most importantly spend more time on the finish, but I think it looks decent in there right now. I ended up having to cut out my wainscoting on both sides in order for it to fit in there but I thi nk it turned out well like that.

Bathroom Update

I forgot to take pics last night but last week I put a satin finish sealer on the tile in the bathroom. It turned out really well. I ended up using a couple different things to get the finish the way I wanted.

1.) I used the higher strength grout/haze cleaner from Lowes. Originally I just winged it and applied it how my brain thought was the correct way. It wasn’t. So the process is you spray some water on the area, then spray the cleaner, then agitate it with a scrub brush, let it sit for about 2 minutes, then wipe it up with a clean towel. That worked extremely well and got all the haze up.

2.) I then took their lighter cleaner as one last pass and cleaned up whatever little residue was left over. That seemed to work well and I used the same basic process as the heavier cleaner.

3.) Applied the sealer to the tile with the applicator recommended on the bottle. This actually went really smooth and the gallon I bought was WAY overkill for the room I did.

Sorry no pics, I was too distracted with other things last night.

My Office

The “other things” I was distracted with was cleaning my office. My office had become a catch all for just anything that didn’t have a place in the home and it was driving me insane – and, to top it off, the floor was nasty from the remodel and everything was covered in dust. The carpet was only about 2 years old but I pulled it up because the dust from the basement remodel had ruined it but even before that the carpet was already coming apart (which was sad considering it wasn’t cheap carpet). I pulled everything out of my office and got new carpet tiles installed last night around 9PM (we were too busy watching movies all day to get started sooner). I think it turned out pretty nicely – I just have some trim clean up to do now that I had to break all the nails from the tack strips out with my big black bar.

I learned from that small project that carpet tiles are super easy to install and took maybe an hour tops to do that entire project. Most of the time I spent last night was removing all the crap from my office. I’m a big fan of “everything has a place and should be in that place” so now I’m sorting through all the junk and only putting stuff back into my office that I will actually use and has a place for.

nVidia Shield

For a while now I’ve been pretty hooked to my Apple TV. I wouldn’t call myself a Mac fanboy, but I generally have preferred iOS for my phone and I don’t mind using the MacBook at home. The Apple TV, when I bought it, had by far the better interface compared to the Roku and the Amazon Fire stuff. The Roku is usually more my style being more open and has a ton of apps you can use, but the interface has always seemed outdated and slower – although I will say I have 2 Roku TVs now and I love them both.

For a while, I had been using a desktop I got from work (Optiplex 7010 with a different video card), running Windows 8 or 10, and then I had Plex home theater set as the default environment instead of explorer.exe. That worked but only worked for Plex. Netflix has an app for Windows 10 but it isn’t remote friendly. That meant I had to download and install an app that would replicate the keyboard via the remote. That worked, but wasn’t consistent or reliable. Then, if I wanted to watch DirecTV now, I had to grab a keyboard, open chrome, and watch from the browser. None of this was part of my “sit back, relax, drink a beer and watch movies” process so I wanted a change.

I could have gone with another Apple TV but it lacked DTS audio support, which is something I really like having. I started doing a bunch of research and found the nVidia shield TV can use DTS audio, can run DirecTV now, can run Netflix, uses Android as the OS, and can play games with their gaming controllers (we are not at all gamers, and I haven’t played a video game other than MarioKart in probably 10 years, but we do like our MarioKart). I decided to give it a try and I have to say, I’m really impressed. The interface is really slick, fluid, and consistent. There is no lagging between apps. The Plex interface is actually better on the Android app than the Apple one and everything just works seamlessly. Very impressed with the nvidia shield. Now all I need to do is get an HDHomeRun and broadcast the antennae channels over the network and it’s good to go.