August 21, 2008

A Television Slouches Closer

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:29 am by Ian

After writing a fairly whiny email to Amazon, I found out this morning that my TV will actually be delivered on Monday (not Thursday as claimed when it finally shipped), when I get an email from the delivery company.

I call them up to schedule my delivery.

“Ok, your TV can be delivered between 1 and 5 pm, Monday through Friday”

“On the website, it said I could schedule a 4-hour window.”

“Yes, 1-5 is your window.”

“I’m pretty sure scheduling means I get to choose the time.”

“Well, you can choose 1-5 on Monday, 1-5 on Tuesday…”

Touche, madam.


August 18, 2008


Posted in Uncategorized at 10:40 pm by Ian

I just bought myself a new TV. It’s a 46″ plasma, and it’s got lots of pixels. Also: contrast. And, if I read the specs correctly, it takes about 20% of a power plant to run. But none of that is important now. What’s important is that, although I have already paid for this television, I have not yet received it. This fact is weighing on me more than I had expected. Until I clicked to buy it, I was perfectly happy with my old set, but, now, every second that I’m viewing standard definition video is a grain of sand falling from the hourglass of my life clock—when you upgrade you get to switch hourglasses and the HD one has way finer sand—and I can do nothing but beat against the glass.

So I keep checking to see when it will arrive. It’ll be a while, since it hasn’t actually left wherever it is, yet. Amazon is, nevertheless, still predicting that it will ship today, which, at 10:30pm PST, is starting to strike me as just the slightest bit optimistic.

August 14, 2008

The Home Theater Stops

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:47 pm by Ian

Netflix has been having shipping difficulties since Tuesday.

For some reason, I had this feeling of dread, knowing that I will not get my upcoming Battlestar Galactica infusion, as though it were the harbinger of a much greater calamity.

‘The Machine is stopping, I know it, I know the signs.’ She burst into a peal of laughter. He heard her and was angry, and they spoke no more. ‘Can you imagine anything more absurd?’ she cried to a friend. ‘A man who was my son believes that the Machine is stopping. It would be impious if it was not mad.’

‘The Machine is stopping?’ her friend replied. ‘What does that mean? The phrase conveys nothing to me.’

‘Nor to me.’

‘He does not refer, I suppose, to the trouble there has been lately with the music?’

‘Oh no, of course not. Let us talk about music.’

It became difficult to read. A blight entered the atmosphere and dulled its luminosity. At times Vashti could scarcely see across her room. The air, too, was foul. Loud were the complaints, impotent the remedies

But there came a day when, without the slightest warning, without any previous hint of feebleness, the entire communication-system broke down, all over the world, and the world, as they understood it, ended.

Others were yelling for Euthanasia or for respirators, or blaspheming the Machine. Others stood at the doors of their cells fearing, like herself, either to stop in them or to leave them. And behind all the uproar was silence – the silence which is the voice of the earth and of the generations who have gone.

Excerpted from E. M. Forester’s brilliant and prescient