|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Jan. 03, 2016 - 5:48 p.m.
Raising the Bar
Thanks to everyone who left New Years greetings! As usual I have not returned the favor. But this year it was because I haven't been around, not because I'm an unrepentant sociopath.
Where have I been the past couple of months?
Trying to get this song out of my head, of course. To absolutely no avail. (Fun Fan Factoid: the girls actually sing 9 words in English, including "antediluvian". See how many you can find!)(Fun Fan Factoid #2: on the plus side, it did finally manage to stop me from humming this song night and day for the last 8 years.)(Fun Fan Factoid #3: at 1:24 the camera is placed right in front of "Vietnamese Restaurant", the appropriately named Vietnamese restaurant where I proposed to NewWifey(tm) with a rubber O-ring on bended knee next to a platter of Chow Tom and summer rolls. Right there, on Doyers Street between Bowery and Pell in Chinatown. We cried when it closed.)
Of course I was kept busy with other stuff too. Being a Big Media Star has its responsibilities you know. There's the regular amount of drinking we're required to do just as part of our job, and this time of year there's also a Holiday Drinking Schedule we must adhere to on top of that. So that eats up a lot of both time and brain matter.
Oh, and my Dad came up for a 2-week visit starting on Thanksgiving. I took my last two weeks of vacation at the same time so I could sit around and watch him play Animal Crossing on my Nintendo DS while downing glass after glass of cooking sherry. But because we insist on living a historically accurate 18th century Amish lifestyle, DangerHouse only has one computer and it's housed in the Guest Room Suite Villa Penthouse Compound. So for those two weeks I was effectively cut off from the outside world. by which I mean Dangerspouse and Red Tube. Pity me.
Following that was Christmas Fortnight, with all the panic shopping madness that implies. I had to buy so. much. stuff. Not for NewWife(tm) - all she asked for was a cordless drill and a heated car seat cover, both of which which were purchased and wrapped by Labor Day - but for me. I love seeing piles and piles of stuff for me under the tree on Christmas morning. So to insure that I get it, I get it myself.
One of the things I really wanted this year was a soundbar. Faithful listeners will recall that in a recent episode I related how NewWifey(tm) finally exploded at our provider and chucked our cable and satellite TV in favor of a Roku set. Well the set works fine and NewWifey(tm) is absolutely over the moon about being able to watch goats night and day without having to worry about the cable company cutting our signal just because we're thirteen months behind in our payments again.
But one thing about that little wonder screen drives me crazy: the audio. I swear the speakers are the size of postage stamps, and made of the same material. So when I wrote my Christmas list, "SOUNDBAR!!" was at the top of the pile, double underlined with little hearts and stars around it.
I saw a few decent units at RadioShack and some of the Big Box Stores that line my route home, and the sizes on display were perfect for our little entertainment hutch. But prices were pretty steep for even the most basic of what would be considered "audiophile" - and my standards in that department are already pretty low. I mean, some of these sub-200 dollar units looked and felt like they would either burst into flames or dissolve into a puddle of frothy goo as soon as I turned it on. Very, very flimsy. I kept hunting.
Then about a week after I started searching, Woot.com put an AudioSource soundbar on sale for 99 dollars, with 5 more tacked on for shipping.
99 bucks? How good could it be. I got ready to close the tab. But just before I clicked, I saw those magic words: "200 watts". Two hundred watts? Really? For under a hundred bucks? AudioGeeks of course know that wattage is not a be-all, end-all, and I know that too. It's only one of many flavors that go into the audio soup. But it's a good start. So I read more of the specs, and the more I read the more I liked. I won't bore you with the tech details, but I will mention a couple of cool features: special settings for movies, music and games, a "remember" funtion you hit when you play songs you really like so it can fine tune frequency somethingorother and apply it to similar songs (I dunno, I fell asleep a third of the way through the description), and other cool sounding shit. Anyway, it seemed waaay cooler than the cardboard-and-Playdough units on the shelf at WallyWorld. AND it had cool blue light-up buttons on the front! What guy can resist that?
I pulled the trigger. In for one here, Woot. Ship ASAP. Love, DangerClaus.
A couple of days later I pulled into my driveway and there, leaning up against my garage door, was a 4 foot tall box with a Fed-Ex tag on it.
"Huh" I said. "NewWifey(tm) must have ordered me new golf clubs for Christmas. How sweet! I better pretend I didn't see it and ruin her surprise." I walked around the back of the house and came through our porch door so I could claim I never saw the box. I'm fucking sensitive to my bitch's feelings, yo.
NewWifey(tm), wasn't home though, so my ruse was a wasted gesture. Oh well.
A few hours later she returned. When she walked in the door she said, "Did you know Fed-Ex delivered a package for you? It's up against the garage. I was gonna carry it in, but it's too heavy."
"For me?" I said. "I saw it, but assumed it was for you. I never ordered anything that big. I figured it was a full bolt of cloth or....y'know...golf cl-" I saw her roll her eyes. She was not getting me golf clubs. "Anyway, I thought it was for you. Hang on, I'll go get it."
I trotted down the front steps and grabbed the box. My god, it WAS heavy. I heaved it over my shoulder and carefully climbed back up the steps to the door. Inside I set it down and read the label. It was from Woot.
"From Woot?" said NewWifey(tm). "What did you order from Woot that's 4 feet long and a hundred pounds? You didn't order yourself a full set of clubs and a tour bag, did you? DID YOU?"
"No, I didn't! The only thing I ordered was a sound bar for the new set, but that's only -" I stopped. Come to think of it, the one thing I didn't check on the spec sheet was the physical dimensions. I just assumed, particularly given the price, it would be in the same ballpark size-wise as all the other sub-200 dollar soundbars I looked at. Don't tell me....
I tore open the box.
The fucking soundbar I ordered was bigger than my living room loveseat, and twice as heavy!
NewWifey(tm) looked at the bar. She looked at me. She looked at the sound bar again.
"Did the website not say how big it was?"
I logged on to Woot. There, in font twice as large as any font elsewhere on the page, were the dimensions. But in my mania to glean the technical specs, I was blind to them.
"I just...I....I mean..." I stammered. "FOR GOD SAKE, IT'S 200 WATTS FOR UNDER A HUNDRED BUCKS AND IT'S GOT COOL BLUE LIGHTS THAT BLINK AND THIS REMEMBER FEATURE THAT FINE TUNES SHIT FOR YOU AND YES THE WEB SITE SAID IT WAS THIS BIG BUT I FUCKING MISSED IT, OK?" I sighed. "I guess I'll send it back. It's wider than the entire hutch. The only way we can fit it in this room is if we move a sofa out of it. Shit."
NewWifey(tm) looked thoughtful, which was something I wasn't expecting. I was expecting a series of derisive comments about my mental and observational deficiencies, and then a fist-on-table demand to send the ridiculous thing back. But no. What happened instead was this: "Ah, don't worry about it. I would have been bowled over by those specs too, and might have missed that it seats 5. I'll tell you what, why don't we lift it on TOP of the hutch and - if it doesn't buckle under the weight - see how it sounds above the set?"
I couldn't believe it. I looked around behind her to see if someone had a camera on us and I was being pranked. But no, she actually came out with that of her own volition.
I said yes before she sobered up and realized what she just suggested.
We each grabbed an end and gasped and struggled it up over our heads, and positioned it on top of our swinging door entertainment hutch. When centered, a good three inches overhung each side. NewWifey(tm) routed the cable down the back and through a port to the TV's side input, and we turned it on.
"What should we try it on first?" she said.
"Porn!" I said. "What else?"
"Forget it." She popped in a "Girls und Panzer" DVD.
For the second time:
When the tracks clattered and the diesel engine on that Panzer IV rumbled and belched as Team Ankou plowed through the snow in their desperate bid to escape the trap set by Team Pravda, you thought you were in the tank with those micro-mini-skirted teenage Japanese babes. (If only.) It was AMAZING what good, room filling audio added to the experience. We watched an entire episode, than threw on a bunch of music videos and were just as blown away.
It was the best sounding loveseat I ever bought!
After fiddling around with some of the settings and being gobsmacked at a few more audio and movie clips, I had to get to bed. I kissed NewWifey(tm) goodnight and trundled off.
Maybe it was the latent excitement, maybe it was....no, it was the latent excitement. I couldn't sleep. After about an hour of tossing and turning I got up and tossed on a robe, then headed to the kitchen for a calming snack (Scotch).
As I was going down the hall though I could hear a rhythmic soundtrack with a deep bass pulsating from the living room. It wasn't loud, but it sounded powerful in the way that good audio systems can. NewWifey(tm) was apparently still checking out the unit. I stuck my head in.
"Whatcha watching, sweetie?"
"Porn!" she said. "It's AWESOME!"
"So we're keeping it?"
"Goodnight baby. Bring home wine tomorrow. I know what we're gonna be doing."
"Raising another bar, huh?"
She winked and blew me a kiss. I went to bed.
Let that be a lesson to you, kids: NEVER read the specs. Sound good?