Friday, November 01, 2013

coming to grips with reality

Thursday was an unplanned Manzanillo day.

Our church suffered at least two burglaries this summer.  I wrote about one in locking our hearts -- where we apparently lost all of our microphones.

Lou told me he was driving to Manzanillo with stops at the music store and Home Depot -- for some additional electrical supplies and paint for our new  bodega.  For me, it was a great opportunity to start looking around for a replacement theater.

One of my chief sources of entertainment in Salem (during my northern life) was my improvised home theater in my library.  Large screen television.  Amplifier.  Good speakers.  VCR.  Laser disc.  DVD. 

Not only was it my movie machine, it was also my music machine.  Vinyl.  Tape.  CDs.  It was my own little audio and video museum.

All of that came to a close, of course, when I moved south.  There was no space in the Escape for a system that required more room than the house where I now live.

I thought I could live with a down-sized version.  A 22 inch monitor. My DVD player in my laptop.  And two tinny Sony speakers.

It has sufficed.  But I have recently been tempted into going big -- one more time.  I call it the Barbra Streisand syndrome.  (The BS syndrome, if you will.)

Giant television screens are easily within my financial grasp.  If I were so inclined, I could go as large as a 90" inch screen from Costco.  But I would have no place to put it in the house.  A 40-something screen would be more than adequate.

Speakers are the rub.  My former house-sitter is quite an audiophile.  He has a JBL set of studio monitors that actually set off my current electronic passion.  The sound was so good, it is now difficult  for me to listen to almost anything but high end speakers.

Finding them in The States was difficult.  Finding them in Mexico has been next to impossible.

And our trip today did not get me much further down that path.  The salesman had some JBL speakers that he installs in commercial establishments.  He said they are very good for music, but not so much for movies. 

I was not surprised to hear that his high-end speakers sell for about $500 (US) a pair.  Quite a bit less than what I thought I would need to pay for a truly good pair.

All of this got me thinking once again about buying stuff.   For the past five years, I have been content with living small.  I need to reflect on how satisfying it feels. 

It would be nice to have a high-end sound system as I work through Aaron Copland's suggested listening list in How to Listen to Music -- and re-tracing how Sondheim composes music.  But I am not certain that stuffing my house with a lot of expensive electronic gear is going to add much to my life.

The one-hour-for-everything-into-the-Escape rule would certainly be shattered.  And my living room would become an attractive nuisance to the type of people who like to turn my stuff into cash for stuff to stick up their nose.

Dreaming of a Sony 47" flat screen, a pair of KEF LS50 speakers, and a Roksan amplifier may whet my dreams, but they are starting to sound more burdensome than the joy that they would bring.  Even romantics like me are subject to a cost-benefit analysis now and then.

For today, I am putting the project to bed.  When I return from Central America, I may be more inclined to listen to my First World voices.  Or maybe I will hear a different voice -- one filled with grace.

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