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Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Tell it good-byeThe fabulous 180-watt Dolby-surround shelf stereo system that I bought for my office when I moved to Green Acres was an almost instant source of buyer's remorse. Now that it's refusing to play CDs (or even recognize that one is in the tray), I love it even less.

It has a three-disc carousel, which revolves as soon as the door is closed, flashing "No Disc," "No Disc," and finally, "No Disc." As soon as it has made up its mind that there is indeed no disc in any of the three slots — even if there is — it stops turning and folds its arms and juts out its chin and dares me to slap it upside the head. In my younger days (last week, say) I might have been unable to resist the temptation to administer a little discipline to such an unruly device.

But I'm an aged and mellow veteran of the hardware wars, and I know that the next logical course of action is to dig through the boxes in the garage and hope that I didn't throw out all the packaging material, so that Best Buy won't have any excuse not to take the blasted machine back. And I'll be doing that real soon, I promise.

Meanwhile, I have a CD-ROM drive on my computer that plays my music perfectly well (Cannonball Adderley at the moment), plus a brand new DVD player in the family room, all the better to drown out the sounds of Eminem coming from next door with the friendlier strains of Radiohead and the Dixie Chicks.

I don't have a lot of luck with electronics anyway. I've had countless VCRs (countless because who keeps count of these things?) that have been under twelve-month warranty and have pooped out after thirteen months. Every boom box I've had has had one element or another stop working — either the tape player or the CD player, usually — resulting in an accumulation of semi-functional appliances that do a half-assed job. I don't know if I'm unlucky or if I just wear things out. Or both.

Sometimes I just junk the non-functional VCRs, although at least one survived the move and lies derelict in my garage. I think I held on to that one because it still has a tape in it that I can't eject. Since I'm not sure if it's something that could embarrass me (as if anything could, at this point), I'm just going to sit on it for now.

Other old, useless VCRs have found their way to the dumps, mostly. There was one I sold at a garage sale, but I felt guilty, even though the buyer was fully apprised of its shortcomings. I told the guy it didn't work, but he thought it was worth a five-buck investment anyway. Go figure.

While we're on the subject, whatever the subject is, I think my new water cooler is haunted. It sputters and gurgles at the oddest times, for no obvious reason. It hums on occasion, and once I think I heard it whistle. I shouldn't complain, because sometimes it makes the perfect white noise to muffle the sounds emanating from my overstimulated neighbors.

I did manage to change the five-gallon bottle without serious spillage. It was no problem getting the empty one off, since it was, you know, empty. But I was being so careful with the lifting part, having gone through enough back problems recently, that I probably didn't flip the full one with the required authority. It was a minor mishap, though, with no lasting negative effects.

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I was just wondering if you'd come along
To hold my head up when my head won't hold on.