Full of AV Thanks
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we've been inundated with posts and columns giving thanks. The number of 10 BLANK things to be thankful for lists out on the interwebs is absolutely nauseating. This is the kind of nonsense that you can't help but click on just to read the "I can't believe you didn't mention X" comments underneath. Fanboys and forum trolls rejoice - this is your season. Reveal in ruining it for everyone else. Which has got me thinking...
14 Things I'm Thankful For
1) Forum Trolls - Thank you forum trolls. Thank you for spreading disharmony and bile wherever you go. Where would we be if it weren't for you and your inability to allow anyone to enjoy anything or be content in their purchase? Where would we be without you to tell us how our opinion doesn't matter because of our poor grammar? Where would we be without you to remind us that there are always better (in your opinion) products for less money out there? Where would we be? Oh, right, happy.
2) Advice Seekers - Thank you people at holiday parties that find out I'm into AV, ask my advice, and then go with the Walmart employee suggested. Sure, he's in the industry too but he's also in the fashion, food, appliance, decor, grocery, eyeglasses, pharmacy, photography, publishing, and music industry. You gonna let him decorate your house, take your family photos, install your appliances, dress and feed you, and give you an eye exam and prescribe your meds? No? Why not? He seems to know so much about LED TVs (which by the way is NOT A TYPE OF TV!!!!!!).
3) Big Box Employees - A special thanks goes out to the polo shirt wearing employees of big box stores. Thank you for having a job. I'm glad you have one (even if it is only for the discount). What would make me gladder is if you had any sort of ability to do your job. And no, I don't mean push overpriced HDMI cables down my throat. I mean answer a question with any sort of knowledge. With anything other than, "Hmm... lets see what it says on the box." Dude, I can SEE what it says on the box. If that's all you have to offer, then go Tweet your friends or plan your next piercing.
4) Big Box Managers - As much as the lack of knowledge and ability of Big Box Employees irks me, it is really management's fault. Lets get it straight here. When they aren't firing knowledgeable staff for younger, willing to work for less replacements, they are making sure that those with the knowledge work in completely different departments. The only time I've ever gotten a semblance of help at a Big Box store was when I asked a guy in the kitchen appliances section about a display. Why wasn't he working in the Display department? Big Box logic my friend, that's why.
5) Black Friday Sales - Thank you marketing people that put on Black Friday sales. Thank you for stocking only one of them so that little boys and girls get trampled trying to get a 50" plasma for their daddies (one can hope). Thank you for setting the deals at such a ridiculous hour so that reasonable people will either just write it off or show up, look at the assembled mouth-breathers who have camped for days to get 50% a full line of camouflage clothing, and turn around and go home. Thank you for making sure that if we didn't pay $79 for a new Blu-ray player (of which you only stocked 3) then we feel like we got ripped off. Thank you. There is nothing I enjoy more than feeling like I wasted money because I didn't elbow an old lady out of the way for the a piece of electronic gear.
6) George Lucas, Joss Whedon, George R. R. Martin, and many more - Thank you creators of some of my favorite movies, TV shows, and books (respectively) for ruining the series, subjecting me to Dollhouse, and inexplicably failing to release your next book for YEARS (respectively). It's not that I'm bitter... OK it is that I'm bitter. I consider myself (with some pride) to have a modicum of talent (a scant amount but some) with the spoken and written word. You boys (and girls) have much, much more and seen to have a problem delivering. Whether it is because you're too tied up in your special effects to write a good story (Lucas), too busy developing characters to have a good story (Whedon), or just too busy (Martin), the fact remains that I miss you and want you back in my lives (not you Lucas - go away and take your crappy cartoon with you). When J. J. Abrams has the best Sci Fi show on TV AND movie in recent memory, it is a dark, dark day and surely a sign of the apocalypse.
7) Summer Blockbusters - Remember the days when the term "Summer Blockbuster" didn't exist? Remember when movies like Die Hard had great plots, great action, and great effects and just so happened to come out during the summer? I do. Now we are left with special effects driven drivel like Journey to the Center of the Earth, Race to Witch Mountain, and any of the Mummy movie sequals which have almost no plot and completely rely on the name recognition of the main actor(s) and the special effects. Which brings me to...
8) 3D Movies - I HATE 3D. I hate it. A gimmick that had died years ago has been resurrected like a character in a Romero movie. While when done well it can add to the movie going experience, it has been, to date, an excuse to get people back in to the theaters. Well, it has worked though I don't expect it to for long. Between 3D and summer blockbusters, the term "action movie" has been subverted into a vile, wretched thing that generally makes me want to stay away. And that's sad because I love action movies (the real ones). So thank you 3D and summer blockbusters for nearly killing one of my favorite genres.
9) OLED - A special shout out to all the OLED pundits that are sure it is the next best thing. Thanks for holding out for an OLED screen that isn't 15" max and costing north of $2k. The last thing this economy needs is people spending money. Be sure to hold out for HDMI 1.666 too.
10) HDMI - Thank you HDMI for being the exact opposite of what we needed. What we needed was a cable that could be manufactured cheaply and could handle enough bandwidth for HD audio and video. Basically a more robust Ethernet cable. What we got was a cable that practically has to be hand terminated (apparently by Chinese hands since American hands are too chubby and cost too much) with a termination that is non-locking so tends to fall out and a spec that is constantly changing and is confusing to manufactures and consumers alike. Thank you HDMI for being exactly the opposite of what we needed. You suck.
11) Contrast Inflation - Thank you manufacturers for deciding that one specification is so important and so impressive that you feel the need to lie about it. Infinity:1 contrast ratio? No one believes that but right now Samsung has a display listed at 7,000,000:1. Never mind that the movie theaters you are trying to emulate generally clock in a around 250:1. Never mind that when we measure them for a review we're lucky if a calibrated display tops 2500:1. Never mind that a display around 1250:1 looks great to just about everyone. What we need is 7,000,000:1. Yep, thanks for that. Cause now when people ask about displays, they think you don't know what you're talking about if the contrast ratios don't match up. Thank you.
12) Bankers - Thank you bankers for whatever it is you did to the economy. Thank you, we had WAY too much money anyways and really needed a pay cut to remind us how public schools aren't all that bad and a steady diet of chicken and beans won't technically kill you. You guys are awesome.
13) California - When you live in California, you should appreciate the view. You don't need a big TV for that. Forget that no one in the state (practically) uses public transportation - it isn't the 15 zillion cars in Los Angeles that is harming the environment - it's the TVs. I've live there and tried to take public transportation. In general, you can go to and from the hood on public transportation. Thanks for that. So yeah, you can outlaw big TVs all you want you tree hugging Ents but I'll smuggle one in if I have to - and plug it into a baby seal blubber powered generator just to spite you.
14) Social Networks - Thank you Facebook specifically and social networks in general for pretty much guaranteeing that we will no longer be able to leave things in the past that were meant to be forgotten. Instead, some late night drunken post on Twitter our kids did when they were 21 might just keep them from getting a job when they are 25... or 30... or 50. While I personally am a big believer in personal responsibility, there is something to learning from your mistakes. But if your mistakes are only a Google search away, it's going to be pretty hard to get past them. So, thank you social networks, for becoming the conscience of the next generation. Hopefully you won't develop intelligence and wipe us all out in a robotic version of Noah's flood.
Are there more things I'm thankful for? Sure. M. Night Shyamalan's complete inability to live up to the promise of his first movie and then thinking it was a good idea to cast himself in... well... anything. Speaker manufactures that push their speakers into a corner before measuring them. Anything remotely resembling the travesty that has befallen the Vampire lore. Studios doing everything possible to stop paying customers from backing up their content. Skitish manufacturers that don't realize that out of all the industries out there, AV has been pretty much spared and yet are STILL acting like they'll go out of business any minute. Internet Direct manufacturers who surround themselves with sycophants and "Yes" men to the point where they lose the ability to listen to constructive criticism and innovate. People who think cranberry sauce out of a can (in the shape of a can no less) is food. And I'm suppose I have a new thing to be thankful for this year - a annual list of all the things I'm "thankful" for.