Posted by: David | November 29, 2009

Entertainment Overload?

We’d had a perfectly  lovely Thanksgiving Day with my wife’s sister’s family, over the river and through the woods. Hope you did too. On Black Friday we rested. Day off. We hung about indoors all day long. I did anyway. My wife had to go out to do chores in the barn morning and evening. I never went outside once! That felt weird but it was stormy and raw out there. My wife worked her crossword puzzles before firing up her computer.  I pointed my browser, right after breakfast, to Hulu and watched the rest of my queue. Which was Fringe, Lie to Me, and V. Actually I’d watched episode 4 of V on “real” TV, so I just deleted it from the Hulu queue. That seems funny somehow? Then I watched a few Flash Forwards. Not sure about that show yet. I also read some magazine bits in between. Rolling Stone, New Yorker, Wired, etc. Then I watched almost all available episodes of Peep Show, early work of  those two Limey nutbags David Mitchell and Robert Webb. They’re LOL. That was a lot of time on the Hulu. I was tired and went to bed around 10.

Our TV’s been on the blink. A couple of weeks ago it began firing warning shots. The picture would shrink to a 6 or 7 inch white band in the middle of the screen. Like it was winking at us. One night last week it kept the wink going. It turned the TV on and off about 5 times, but it stayed winked. So we’ve been figuring it would soon be time to replace and upgrade that important appliance. We were still using ancient analog TV technology. The Black Friday Flyers stuffed into our newspapers and mailbox got this flame fully fanned. And on Saturday, at noon, we were on the road to Claremont, where KMart/Sears was our first target. Our price point was $500. My wife and I went to buy a TV. Together. A highly improbable event. It cost us $1 to get into the store, and the Salvation Army Dude was a nice young hippie guy who actually did a little shuffle up for us. Priceless. OK, not priceless. One dollar.

The KMart/Sears TV selection sucked. Just like Rain Man said. They had about 10 TVs in the very back corner of the store, like where the restrooms are. Most were in the $1000 price range. Crap. At least there were no salespeople trying to pester us.  The last cluster of them we passed were in the lawn and garden section. What a stupid place to cluster up after Thanksgiving, huh? Whatever. We would need to go elsewhere. That meant Walmart. And maybe BestBuy in Lebanon as Plan C. I’ve been to this Walmart about 6 times now. I never like it. It smells funny in there. The Salvation Army Dude there was also a young hippie guy. What up SA?

Anyway, the selection there was much better. They had about 50 TVs up and going on the walls. Norah Jones was on a lot of them. Sigh. I love her. We walked back and forth a few times looking at all the TVs. I had decided, in a silent internal way, that I didn’t need to listen/talk to any salespeople, since I’d done the minimal prerequisite Googling on this topic and knew my plasma from my LCD, etc. But as were hovering between Plan C and Making A Choice, we found the stack of boxes on the pallets and had to ask someone something and got the basic chat-up of LCD vs. plasma, blah blah blah. In the end we Made The Choice. A Samsung 42″ 1080p LCD for $600. I also needed some new underwear so the TV and a 7-pack of Hanes was what we went through the checkout with. The cashier thought it an odd combination of items. Yeah. It kinda was.

We got home and were setting up the new TV by 3 o’clock. It took a little messing around to get the old TV out and the new one hooked up to the DVD player and Dish DVR. But it worked and it was awesome. Here’s where the title of this post comes in. After all that crap I watched yesterday on Hulu, then going through the surrealistic TV purchase (I know– this doesn’t qualify as “real” surrealism to “normal” people) at Walmart, I decided to watch the DVD my friend Kelli loaned me, The Plan, followed by almost all of THX1138, the director’s cut, a gift from my BFF. I stopped THX1138 when my wife finally came downstairs to watch the new TV. I handed over the remote and the La-Z-Boy chair. She switched between Chopped and Color Splash for a while until 10 o’clock rolled around and I heard the internet calling me. So I went upstairs. And I wrote this blog post. And now I’m really tired.

This should have been posted last night, but apparently I was too tired to hit the Publish button.


  1. You watch the same shows as me. I like V so far. I have some catching up to do on Flashforward. I love sci fi. I like a lot of the BBC sci fi shows like Primeval and Torchwood.

    I haven’t tried HULU but I guess I should. Maybe when I get a better laptop.

    I’m glad you had a nice Thanksgiving.

    Hi Joan. Yes we’re both of the nerdy persuasion. Haven’t heard of Primeval, but I’m all caught up on Torchwood and Dr. Who. I’ll check Primeval out. I still haven’t decided whether FlashForward is just loaded up with too many threads and characters. The Mosaic idea sure feels familiar though, huh?

    Hulu only needs a good broadband connection and the current Flash player. You should try it on your present laptop. The one I usually watch Hulu on is 5 years old.

  2. I sooo wanted NOT to start V, knowing the hiatus would be until February (that’s just not right)!! But I happened across a great review just an hour before Episode One started … I’m such a sucker.

    Sorry the old TV went out, but great timing. This is certainly the best time of year to be buying that sort of thing.

    Thanksgiving in New England. So picturesque. So appropriate.

    Actually the hiatus lasts till March ’10 methinks … It’s not bad, but I don’t expect many surprises from the plotline. Yeah, I guess we got a good deal on the TV. I hope it lasts …

  3. What a pity.

    You could have made the best of the occasion to dump the old TV and have done with TV until you reach old age when maybe you might need it.

    TV is a drag on life, love, and the pursuit of happyness.

  4. What a pity.

    You could have made the best of the occasion to dump the old TV and have done with TV until you reach old age when maybe you might need it.

    TV is a drag on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Can’t really argue with you on any of these points, except that it’s not really a pity. We did spend most of our kids’ childhoods with little or no TV, and that was a good thing. I like to tell people that this is the golden age of Television, so many choices. So you can’t really burst my balloon on that topic. What’s a pity is that people are running around killing each other over their ridiculous notions of religion. They should all come in and watch some good TV.

  5. Nice hunting, David! Sounds like a very nice weekend all around. I, on the other hand, got suckered. We’re sitting around the table (of people I don’t like – truly horrible people. Even you wouldn’t like them) and I’m ignoring the crap going on. Face down, mouth full. That’s the rule I live by.

    I’m ignoring everything (and it’s difficult because these people are loud. Trash truck made of screaming children loud) until I hear this from my lovely girlfriend (it’s her family but she’s not too crazy about them. We are experts at avoiding them but, every once in a while. . .),

    “Oh, Chris knows that.”

    Next thing I know I’ve been roped in to doing someone’s web site.

    And all I wanted to do was sit there and eat the dry meat of a dead animal. I didn’t want to have to talk to them.

    But, knowing you had a good time brightens it up for me!

    Thanks Chris, it was not too bad really, considering that my wife and I NEVER shop together. This was fairly well targeted, but getting me into Walmart is a big deal. The worst part was spending $600 that we don’t really have. Glad it helped you along too. 🙂

    If I had a dime for every time I’ve had people asking about website design, with the thought in their heads that it can’t be that big a deal and should not really cost much … why I would have like a $1.25 by now. Last few times I’ve gotten the question I tell them to go to WordPress and set up something “free” there. I trust that you’re not doing this for free.

    Don’t you mean “trash truck FULL of screaming children”?

  6. This is exactly the same television that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I also have Dish DVR and a standard progressive DVD player (not Blu-ray). I’m curious about the picture quality. Did you have to get HD channels or does it look great with standard satellite channels?

    Hi Brian, and thanks for visiting. Unfortunately, I lied. I should edit the post, because what we really bought is the Samsung LN40B500 40″ 1080p LCD HDTV. It was $600 at Walmart, which is what the Samsung website has it advertised for. It seems nice so far, picture-wise, but if you check out the specs, you’ll see it’s a little light on the inputs in the back. It has the minimum. What scares me most about LCD display technology is the backlight’s life expectancy. Caveat emptor. We can’t afford those really fancy TVs and our DVR and DVD are non-HD. So here’s to hoping this thing lasts us for 5 years. 🙂

  7. This reminds me of a conversation I was having about FoodNetwork star Bobby Flay (he’s opened a few restaurants at Mohegan Sun) and the lady said she didn’t know who I was talking about, “I don’t have cable”. So I asked if she even had a TV?! and she said, “yea, but I don’t watch it.” I almost applauded.

    That is funny Care. Sometimes people mean that they only use the TV set for watching movies and don’t watch any broadcast TV. Poor lady! She’s missing out of the Golden Age of TV.

  8. Dave: If I had a dime for every time I’ve had people asking about website design. . .I trust that you’re not doing this for free.

    Sadly, it will end up being that way. We began to talk price but the reaction I got (from a person with a tennis court in their own personal backyard) was priceless. As in, I’d like the price less, please. I told my girlfriend I’ll do it but she has to talk to them. I can negotiate but if I think I’m being handled I lock down and it can get ugly.

    It’s funny you mention the ‘no big deal’ aspect of html (which, as we all know, means hide the meatloaf). A friend of mine is the president of a VFW and he asked me to help him do one. Teach him really. He came over, I gave him some pointers (telling him the entire time I’d do it for him for free), he went back and within a few hours was hopelessly lost.

    “I guess that’s why it costs so much,” he said.

    Dave: Don’t you mean “trash truck FULL of screaming children”?

    No. If it’s full of them the metal sides of the truck can baffle the screams. BUT, if it’s made of them. . .

    Wow B&G, so maybe you can give some free tennis lessons after you’ve finished doing up the website.

    A garbage truck made of children is, uh, INCONCEIVABLE! How do you think of such things?

    Let me offer some advice: BE the gerbil!

    That’s all I got.

  9. When they first moved in they were angling for me to become the in-house pro. When that didn’t work out quite the way they’d anticipated they offered me the court any time I wanted it.

    “Oh,” asked the court rat. “Is that free cheese? It won’t hurt to take one bite.”

    That, sadly, was the last thought that went through court rats head.

    David, how can it be inconceivable if I conceived of it? Kinda handed me an easy victory there, didn’tya?

    As far as how I say such, let’s say odd (because we are polite here) things, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure I wrote filled first but thought made was funnier and a more stick to your ribs visual.

    It can also be a fanciful accident such as your hellping. I thought that was very funny and, like you did, would have run with it. I find that happens to me often. Random typos and skewed words lead me in totally different directions. I don’t ask where it’s going, I just keep running.

    Correction: Inconceivable but by Mind of Zell. My good buddy from childhood entered the standup comedy realm through magic and emceeing. He is now a licensed psychotherapist. No joke, pun intended. He studied all the comic greats, and to this day when we get together the chances are in the high 90s that we’ll watch some kind of comedy or other. He told me once that a surprising percentage of comedy bits were developed through mis-apprehension. When we were high school kids we were members of the AV-TV club. Our school had a nice little TV studio with 3 cameras and a 2-inch VTR in the director’s booth. We used to write “scrupts” which we would perform and tape. They were idiotic of course, but we thought we were a riot. Another thing he told me about was the “just say yes” principle of improvisation, which works in real life quite nicely.

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