Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Heavenly Grace (In 1080p)

There are countless reasons why I was attracted to my wife, Sherri. She’s rockin’ hot. She has exquisite taste in Neil Diamond albums. She bakes a mean taco-casserole-thingy I lovingly call “Cheese Surprise.” And she’s full of redheaded spunk. Somewhere, I won’t say exactly where, on the list was the fact that she owned an off-the-hook TV and stereo system that I stood to inherit the instant I said “I do.” Included was a beautiful Sony 27” television, a 25-disc CD changer, very nice Pioneer speakers, and a beefy receiver. She bought the thing, which I shall now refer to as “The Behemoth”, in 1996. It was quite high end for its time and had to have cost close to $2000. It has served us well.

As time went by, technologies changed. Music was now being downloaded from the “World Wide Web” in a magical mystical format called mp3. In just 45 minutes I could download a whole song from this weird Internet page called “Napster.” I could then record those mp3 things on a CD with something called a “CD burner” in just 30 minutes time! Blank CDs only cost about $2.00 per disc and each recording would only fail once or twice. From start to finish we were simply looking at 10 hours of download time (which I could do while I slept) and 66 minutes of burn time, accounting for bad burns. And the CD only cost $6.00, including the failed attempts, which I so wittily called “coasters” (yarharhar!) The clear winner over the 10 minute drive and $12.99 at the record store. Right?

Time continued to pass, technology continued to improve, and equipment started to adapt. MP3 players, particularly iPods, made CD players obsolete. BOSE released speakers that were roughly 1/100th the size of our speakers and put out 10x the sound and 20x the clarity. Chips got smaller and so did the boxes that housed them. The Behemoth was fast becoming an outdated piece of machinery, much like the computers from the 60s that took up several rooms of space to house. Now my cell phone has more kung fu than those monsters.

A few years ago I saw my first plasma television and instantly thought, “where the hell is the rest of the TV?” I just saw a screen. Kind of like in the movie “Mannequin” when Kim Cattrall hears a stereo for the first time and says, “where do you hide the musicians?” I wanted to know where they were hiding the wizard that was making the screen glow. And it was brilliant! So clear. And this was just the beginning. Televisions were getting bigger and smaller at the same time. They are now at a point where you simply hang your TV on the wall, like a painting. I walked away from that television much like Wayne from his Fender Stratocaster, “you will be mine. Oh yes….you will be mine.” It was just a matter of time.

But our beloved Behemoth was an ox. For 12 years that sucker has plugged along. Sure, the inputs on the front were totally shorted out, the Reds were so bright that my retinas have been burned from my eyeballs, and it makes a terrifying “CLUNK” sound when you turn it on, but it still works. And as long as that TV works there will be no reason to replace it.

But then technology took another turn. The digital and HD ages started creating situations that were difficult for The Behemoth to survive, much less adapt to. Firstly, there was the announcement that all television broadcasts were going digital and older televisions would either need to be upgraded or buy a converter box that would allow the TV to get the signal. Secondly, media was being released at much higher quality levels that were designed for updated television sets. Try playing an XBOX game like Fable 2 or Banjo 3 on a 27” standard television. You need a freaking magnifying glass just to read the prompts.

I built up the courage and pleaded my case to my bride. It went over like a lead balloon. We talked about it and joked about it for close to a year. I begged and Sherri laughed. I’m sure it was cute to see me groveling and whimpering on the floor like a beaten cocker spaniel. However, during this stage of the game, all of our friends and most of our family had upgraded their TV sets and Sherri got to see them firsthand. And she was impressed. My position was strengthening.

This Christmas the planets aligned. The combination of some paltry inheritance money and Christmas cash from the parentals and Granny B set the stage for victory. Magically out of the blue left-field from nowhere, Sherri said “go buy your TV.” All she saw were scorch marks from my feet. I was gone…on my way to Circuit City.

The recession has not been kind to Circuit City. It is the most recent Old Yeller of the electronics industry…rabid and doomed. They’ve already filed bankruptcy and stores are being systematically shut down nationwide. So naturally this was a great time to take advantage. I was dead-set on a particular TV, a 46” Samsung. They didn’t have any in stock. In fact they had very little in stock, period. This was the day after Christmas and inventory was going out like crazy. While I was talking with the sales guy, someone brought a TV back that they got for Christmas. There was nothing wrong with it…it was just smaller than what they’d wanted. It was a 46” Sony and the sales rep asked if I’d consider it. We brought it out, fired it up, and looked at it next to the Samsung. I was well pleased. He knocked $200.00 off the price, wrapped it up in cellophane, and we loaded it up. Since then the unit has gone up $700.00 in price. I scored. Chalk it up to planet alignment yet again.

There is only one adjective appropriate when describing my experience watching my TV. Orgasmic. And I’ll no longer call it “The TV.” It deserves better than that. I shall henceforth call her “Grace.” Watching up-converted DVDs on Grace is heavenly. Experiencing 360 games on Grace is second only to sweet-sweet love. I am terrified to see how my body responds to Blue Ray on Grace, so I’m not even going to tempt that fate until I’ve learned to control myself during regular DVD viewing and XBOX games.

Grace is finally mine. And by the grace of Grace go I.


Mandy said...

YAY! Congratulations on the upgrade!!! You'll love it!

Ryan and Mindy said...

Seriously you kill me!! I think you are lucky that you ended up with a Sony!! We have had our Sony for a couple of years and love it!! What model is it? I have a very sick relationships with electronics!! From cameras to food processors, I always want the latest and greatest!! We got a blu-ray player this year and a new 52" Sony to attach it to, I consider myself fulfilled... I love technology!

The Harding Hive said...

Tyler, you are hilarious. This might be your best post yet. Chris will love this one. Enjoy your Grace.

The Harding Hive said...

Just for the record, my favorite part of this post is your comparison to Kim Cattrell in Mannequin. Funny.

De-Rail said...

Guess I'd better look for that same paltry check and follow your lead. Am I seriously the last in the family to get HD? At least I'll beat mom.

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