Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Failure of the Day: Big Ass TV

Our year of replacing 10-year-old stuff continues. Chris has been very patient; an eagle-eyed A/V club nerd, he’s been witnessing the slow decline of our TV for years. Me, I couldn’t tell you if it were black and white or color, but Chris, if one pixel dies, he knows about it and, oh yes, he mourns. It was getting to the point where we were having pixel funerals every week. And also? Those LCD flat screens? They’re really cool. (I have it on good authority that plasma screens are for suckers.) I thought it would be nice if this year for xmas, we just got ourselves a new TV instead of a million smaller things. A lovely idea if I do say so myself.

Chris, bless him, is all about doing the research. He spent weeks on the internet, looking at close-up photographs of the backs of TVs. It’s electronics porn, really—full gynecological detail of all those shiny ports and input jacks. Turns out the back of the TV is the business end; who knew? In our living room there’s not a single visible chord or wire—Chris is meticulous—but don’t be fooled. Between the speakers and subwoofer and receiver and DVD player and DVR/cable box and stereo connections, there’s about 75 miles of cleverly hidden wires. Oh, it’s all about the ports.

After he was all learned up on the current state of the TV art, we began our negotiations. In these, I am the bad guy. I am the Ruiner. I don’t want a 50-inch TV. I don’t even want a 42-inch TV. Our living room is not a vast expanse, and our couch is a little too close to the TV for a screen that large. We reached a compromise.

Now, Chris has many, many good qualities. In every important way, he is a prince among men, no lie. But he is not very good at waiting any period of time at all to get something that he wants really badly. And we are both just coming off of a few very busy and stressful work weeks (school just started at SJSU, and I worked two 11-hour days over Labor Day weekend in advance of the Big Event). We had made a few preliminary trips to various stores to compare prices and see how the things looked in person. A fat coupon from Circuit City landed miraculously, serendipitously in our mailbox a few days ago. We were in the mood to reward ourselves.

Let me be the first to say that ambilight is not as goofy as I thought it would be. Although it must be the worst imaginable idea if one is epileptic. It’s a quite an impressive machine, though, and at some point I might even find out what things other than Star Wars look like on it. Merry xmas to all, and to all a good night.