Old and new

DVR is an awesome -- and interesting -- piece of technology.

Kates and I now have the ability to watch all of our favorite TV shows and all the shows we've been hearing about from other people for years but never had enough VCRs in the house or enough time to catch ... On the other side, Kates and I rarely watch TV shows live any more, instead waiting until we some free time to sit down and watch a whole bunch of things in a row ...

A la Friday night. I came home early from work and caught up on the last two weeks worth of 'Scrubs.' .... then Kates and I came home after a night on the town (watching Kates' elementary students perform 'Oklahoma' ...) and watched the two-hour premiere of 'Amazing Race.' ...What? It's two weeks old? Bah!! We don't care. With DVR we can watch it on our time -- and without commercials! ... I went to bed longing for the 'The Frosties' to be eliminated (I was annoyed with them from the start). This morning, Kates and I ate breakfast and started up the DVR to catch up on the second 'Amazing Race' episode. ... and I could breathe a sigh of relief. 'The Frosties' had been eliminated, and we are caught up on the latest from 'Amazing Race.'

* * *
A couple months ago, I took my parents stereo system off their hands -- a stereo system they bought themselves after marrying in 1975. Yep, turntable, speakers, amplifier, the works ...

They hadn't used the system in years, and there was even some question whether it still worked. No matter, I was willing to give it a try. I wanted it, not only for it's durable cassette player (I have a buttload of cassette tapes I'd listen to a lot more if it wasn't for the squeaky cassette player in my newer stereo...), but also with a huge, nostalgic desire to listen to music in a way I hadn't in a long, long time, and a way that is quickly becoming, in this age of iPods and downloadable music at your fingertips, a lost artform ...

Then on Friday, I ventured into a new music store opened down the street a few weeks ago. My jaw hit the floor. Vintage records from wall-to-wall. And we're not talking your Grandma's old Kenny Rogers albums you can find for a dollar now in any corner antique store. Nope, classic albums, in good condition, all sorted and stacked alphabetically -- just the way our parents saw them. From Chicago to Zeppelin they were all there. One aisle display started with a pristine copy of The Beatles: White Album -- for $75, of course.

... I could've spent all day in the place. But alas, I had things to do -- and not a lot of money to spend. After thumbing through a few racks, I went to the counter with copies of two Beach Boys albums -- 'Today' and 'In Concert' -- and The Carpenters: 'Now & Then,' paying about $4 for each of them ... and I fell further in love with the store and the whole dying-record concept when the clerk -- a skinny, gray-haired man in his late 50s or early 60s, sporting a tie-dyed T-shirt -- saw the records I was purchasing and struck up a conversation with me about how great The Beach Boys and The Carpenters were in their day, and how the only classic rock music people seem to care about or know about these days is The Beatles.

... So when Saturday arrived, I awoke with one thing on my mind: Setting up that old stereo. For weeks I had been sort of intimidated by the maze of wire and cords that came with the system, but wasn't going to let it stop me on this day ... Like I was MacGyver or on some sort of Mission Impossible assignment, my heart raced as I nervously connected all the wires. Then, when all appeared to be set, I grabbed the closest cassette tape I could find: Petula Clark's Greatest Hits.

Pressed play on the cassette deck. ... and 'Downtown' never sounded so good.

Then the records ... I carefully removed The Beach Boys' 'In Concert' album from its sleeve and set it on the turntable. At first, it wouldn't spin. Then slowly, it started turning. It was warming up now. Then I carefully lowered the needle. Static. ... And then "... From Hawthorn, California, to entertain you tonight, live in a recording session, the fabulous Beach Boys!! ..." ...loud screams and the opening guitar riff of 'Fun, Fun, Fun' ... Just the way I remembered hearing it probably 20 years ago now ...

It was a beautiful sound. Tears of glee and wonder filled my eyes, knowing my father had played this same record on this same system decades ago, sometimes with my brother and I dancing in front of the fireplace trying to be like The Beach Boys ...

This afternoon, I went out and got a shelf for the system and set it up. Re-connecting all the wires, and adding my iPod to it.

Tonight, Imogen Heap and Van Morrison never sounded so good on this old stereo.


Anonymous said...

Yo! Amazing Race is an awesome show. But those two doofuses have got to go.
The oldies and the Chicagoans must stay!

Would Bonds still get your Hall of Fame vote?
And, do you think he gets in?
Same for:

Horns! said...

Yes, Bonds would still get my vote -- only because I think he deserves it based on his pre-1998 statistics -- although I could be swayed on whether is lack of integrity deserves a hall vote...

McGwire and Sosa, on the other hand, are more borderline votes, I think. Even while the clouds of suspicion above their careers aren't as dark as Bonds (there's no leaked grand jury testimony, and McGwire's only admitted to using andro) their numbers, especially Sosa's, are more spotty than Bonds'. ... Same for Bagwell and Palmeiro -- who, let's not forget, WAS caught using steroids.

And why wouldn't I vote Clemens into the Hall?! ... For all the talk, I'm not convinced he was a steroid user ... but again, give the right evidence, and I could be swayed.

Anonymous said...

I think the Amazing Race really took a step up last night.
Did you happen to hear Clemens on ESPN yesterday (Dan Patrick)? It was kind of a weird interview to me at least. He seemed to excuse anyone who was using steroids, which kind of made me uncomfortable. Either he thinks he's so great that it didn't matter how much anyone was cheating, they couldn't hit him. (Very possible.) Or there's something else going on.

Anyhow, I'd vote Bonds yes, for the same reason you said.
Bagwell is a question mark. Sosa is a 'no' based on his corked bat and steroid.
Palmeiro was a no for me before he tested positive. When you're not the best player on your team - and Rusty Greer is the better player - I don't think I can put you in the Hall. McGwire and Bagwell are a little tricker.

Hey, have you ever been to the Hall of Fame?

Horns! said...

Never been to the hall ... but it is on my list of "Dream places to go."