46 Inches of HD, 56 Inches in Front of the Sofa

So our new tv arrived on Saturday. It's nice and shiny and expensive and thinner than expected, and HUGE. Just like my head, except THIS is in HD.

It's also quite high tech in that it has just one coaxial connection, just one component connection, and about a dozen HDMI connection ports, which also means that I no longer have the capability to plug in anything other than my cable box and our Blu-Ray Disc player. Hmm. So now I need to spring for a cable box with an HDMI connection so I can free up my single component port for my Wii... or maybe for the iPod connection player... or for the Sega Dreamcast that we uncovered when cleaning up the living room... or for the receiver that we're now going to have to buy so we can actually use all of our older technology (though I find it rather difficult to consider an iPod or any gaming console newer than a Sega Genesis "older tech." I do have a Sega Genesis somewhere in the bedroom, but we haven't expanded our cleaning frenzy upstairs yet so it's still buried and waiting for me to uncover it like I were Indiana Jones itching to play Star Control.)

So, as so often happens with this sort of thing, new tech purchases beget still more purchases. Good thing we'd already planned to forego our Hawaii vacation this year.

But, the TV.

If you've never watched high definition TV, people say, you've never really watched TV. I say this is untrue -- if you've never watched high def TV, you've still watched TV... but it sucked.

46 inches of HDTV, with a flat panel LED LCD screen, 1080p scan mode, 240Hz frame rate, 16:9 aspect ratio, OMG:IC vision reaction, DIY support tabling, and several other spiffy-sounding groups of letter and numbers I either don't remember or am too lazy to make up. I've never seen anything this realistic (unless, of course, you count reality, in which case my statement still stands, but reality's a very close second.)

Combine that with the Blu-Ray player and even our old DVDs look entirely different. For example, I now know that Nathan Fillion's nose has 1,873 pores. First seen on our new Blu-Ray copy of Serenity, verified on the DVD version of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog as well as a couple episodes of Firefly. For some reason, it turned out to be a very Whedony breaking in of the new hardware.

Man, I am SO gonna kick but if the subject of nasal pore quantities comes up the next time I play Trivial Pursuit.


1 New Living Room... in the Same Old Crappy Apartment

So we've been thinking about upgrading the furniture in our living room -- our original collection of stuff I had when I was fresh out of high school, used furniture bought when Lucie and I first moved in here 10 years ago, and things that are even older and less sentimental has been used to death. The love seat is falling apart; the hidden bed in the sofabed has long since collapsed and is being supported by bricks and shelving boards; the entertainment center is sagging in the middle (which is okay, since it's being supported by our old TV which stopped working a couple of years ago and is still in its compartment); and the bookcases being used to hold our VHS tapes (yes, we still have some!) and our DVDs can barely be seen by the stacks of DVDs in front of them, since we ran out of storage space a long time ago. The sofa seats are about an inch and a half below the wooden front of the sofa (from the collapsed bed) so the circulation in our legs gets cut off if we dare sit down for more than five minutes.

It's not the best living room out there, to be certain. Sure, we've tried to hide all of these sore spots by being borderline hoarders and burying everything under magazines, assorted paperwork, VHS tapes, blankets, and dust bunnies so large they could be used by English knights to assault French castles; but somehow this doesn't strike us as an optimal solution. Our second plan is to skip our vacation this year and spend a boatload of money we probably shouldn't on getting rid of our old stuff and replacing it with better furniture, additional storage, and other items we've been meaning to buy.

Sure it's not as relaxing as another trip to Hawai'i, but it's also a lot less expensive. Or, at least a little less expensive. Or, maybe sort of comparable.

Pretty sure we didn't spend THAT much more on this than we would have on airline and hotel fees.


So we schlep some furniture stores and settle on a dual recliner sofa on a really good Memorial Day sale. On the way home from that, we stop by Best Buy "just to look" at new TV sets, and walk out the new owners of a large-screen TV and a Blu-ray Disc player. I remind myself that I am not now, nor ever have been, the poster boy for the word "willpower."

And then we head to IKEA.

If you've never been to IKEA, count yourself lucky it's a huge do-it-yourself Swedish mental acuity test in which you WILL be humbled. It disguises itself as a furniture store for people who own SUVs and hand tools. Everything is given a Swedish name in ALL CAPS and LOTS OF CONSONANTS, everything needs to be assembled (I'm pretty sure I saw a yardstick that came in four-inch lengths), and is boxed in identical brown boxes so you need to ignore the Swedish names and memorize eight-digit part numbers.

Anyway, we're looking for an entertainment center and a new computer desk. After several trips through the showroom, a perusal or two of the IKEA catalog, and approximately eight hundred and seventy miles of hiking through the East Palo Alto IKEA (during some point of which I swear I looked out a window and saw the Golden Gate Bridge beneath us), we finally decide what we want.

We pick up the HEIMLICH entertainment center in dark brown, add the BORKBORK bookcase and computer desk in the same dark brown, grab several GNORTHAUS storage bins that will fit into the BORKBORK's cubbyholes, arrange to have everything SHIPTTE to us because we don't own a U-Haul truck, eat some MITTBÅLs for lunch, have a fun LAUSTKAR incident because the parking lot is HUUJE and my brain stopped working, and we finally get home BROÅK and SOR.

The couch arrives the following Saturday, about the same time I finally manage to assemble all of the IKEA pieces; our TV is set to arrive next Saturday; we make new friends at 1-800-GOT-JUNK and have them make two separate visits to haul away our old furniture and appliances; We replace the trashed curtains in both the living room and kitchen with new ones; we donate about a dozen boxes of items to the Salvation Army; and I'm reminded once again just how old I am and how bad my back can get.

But at least now, when my back is hurting me, I can recline on our new sofa and watch some TV in comfort. Oh, and use the vibrating doohickey in the sofa to get a back massage at the same time, 'cuz in addition to having no willpower, I'm also a sucker for a gimmick.