Ok this is a fairly trivial accomplishment from an engineering standpoint, but it really highlights how you can do some cool stuff with a small amount of tinkering.
Basically I hacked my tv remote control to have its own remote control. When I press the button on my remote's remote, a transistor presses the "volume +" button 5 times. When I press said button again, the "volume -" button gets pressed 5 times.
This way I have two quick states, one for loud when the a/c is on and one for quiet when the a/c is off.
RIght now the transmitter side is manual, I press a dongle with my finger. It saves me some button presses, but isn't that useful in this state. The next step in this project is to use my thermostat control lines to control the transmitter automatically.