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The 2006 CES Experience - Wrap Up

by January 09, 2006
Filed under: Editorials

I've spent most of the last few days sleeping. Same thing happened after CEDIA. The wife would send me in the bed room to read to the boy and after the first book I'd have to read with one eye closed because I couldn't focus with two. By the second I was stumbling over words. By the third, I'd fall asleep at commas. I'm not exactly sure what kind of father that makes me but… hey, I got nice speakers. Someday he'll appreciate that.

There were more than a few highlights from our trip. Jeff and I attended the AVS party which was pretty good. It was loud (which I expected) but I was OK because I brought earplugs. Jeff…not so lucky. I probably would have enjoyed the party a little more if my feet hadn't hurt so bad from walking all day. And my feet probably wouldn't have hurt so bad if I hadn't asked the lady at the front desk if the Sahara was within walking distance (to quote Steve Wright, everything is within walking distance if you have the time). And we probably would have been better off taking the monorail as Jeff suggested but hey…live and learn right? I said LIVE AND LEARN, JEFF!!!

I SO BAD wanted to go to Alexis Park. All that hi-end gear has just got my mouth watering. If you are anything like me, you believe that all that stuff is overpriced, but you still want to hear it for yourself. It's one thing to hear Gene mock the paper woofers and wooden phase plugs…it's another to be able to mock them yourself. And as both of my fans know… I'm all about the mocking.

[IMGP1800001] There were two things that I know that Gene and Clint were really looking forward to: Dinner at Benihana's and Crepes at Paris . Apparently, they had never read this article . Honestly, we were not in any danger because apparently our chef guy had just got on the methadone program and wasn't in the mood to entertain. I could have been our fault…we were really into talking to each other but I feel it was his job to get us interested. 2 out of 5 stars.

I'm not a huge fan of Benihana now, but not because of the food or the half dead chef; It's the sitting around the table. Sushi bars are the same way. Great for couples and M AYBE a trio but with six people… you really don't get to socialize as much as you'd want. Really, I was OK with it but I could tell Ray was suffering. Ray had the unfortunate luck to sit at the end of our group with a couple celebrating their second honeymoon together (meaning they just got remarried) and, um, me. I'm pretty sure he drew a short straw or is being punished for a chronic lack of punctuation. Luckily, Ray and I have one very important thing in common: We like to work out… our livers, that is. As far as we are concerned, there is only one correct answer to the question, "Would you like another?" Yes… yes I would.

So far, the last day of these sorts of shows tends to be a bit lackluster. We really want to cover all the things we missed, but we really want them to be a bit closer to wherever our current position is. We are usually exhausted, hungry, in pain, and generally disagreeable. Clint and I were wrapping up our coverage when we spied what amounted to an oasis among a sea of pain and suffering: A display of 20 or 30 of those massaging chairs. But not the regular kind, these stretched you and pulled you and did all sorts of interesting and potentially relaxing things. A tear rolled down my cheek as we stood in front of two empty chairs, my aching legs and feet quivering under the weight of my body.

"Do you think we should go to RBH first," a voice next to me said.


"RBH. They are our last stop. Go by there, take a few quick pics, and then spend the rest of the afternoon here."

Clint was making a great deal of sense… though something didn't feel right. "Oh, um, OK… yeah, let's do that."

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Clint. We have become fast friends and I look forward to every meeting… but… if he EVER makes a suggestion like that again, I'm gonna punch him full in the face! RBH was fine, they are some of the nicest people. We had fun talking and laughing with them. I only looked at my watch 50 or 60 times. Then someone walked by…"Oh, so-in-so, these are the Audioholics guys I was telling you about." That turned into a 35 minute presentation about… I don't know, I was looking at my watch. Then it was on to someone else that we absolutely HAD to meet. While we were talking, they were breaking down their booth…and I knew, KNEW that it was all Clint's fault. Little, tiny Clint whose feet probably don't even hurt cause he weighs, like, three pounds wet.

I'm going to get you for this Clint. CLINT!!!!!!!!

OK, feeling better now. So, off to Paris for crepes. I've been a more than a few casinos in my time and I have to say that Paris is probably my favorite to date. It just has a more open, lighter atmosphere - more than likely due to the blue sky and clouds painted on the ceiling. Regardless of Gene and Clint's assessment, the chocolate crepe that Diana and I shared was WAY better than the banana one they had. Plus it was weird watching them feed each other… OK that didn't happen but it would have been weird.

Surprising no one, Diana doesn't like me. It probably didn't help that someone called her high maintenance and then asked M E to explain it to her. It probably didn't help that I did. Anyways, I liked her fine and definitely appreciated the help. Plus, I must remind her that it was I that encouraged Gene to leave her alone while she was playing blackjack (and winning , I might add) when others might have done otherwise.

You see, I lost my ace in the hole. M y wife. Yes, my wife. Everyone likes her. Just ask anyone that has ever met her. She can probably name less than a handful of people that HAVEN'T liked her. M e? M y track record is not quite as good. The key is… I take some getting used to. People like her and put up with me. Eventually (theoretically), they start to like me (or appreciate some of my less abrasive qualities). If my wife had been there, Diana would have had a totally different opinion of me. But enough about me…

Some people can sleep on the plane… not me. I used to be able to, until I went traveling for a few months overseas and spent more than one restless night on an overnight bus. It's like I'm permanently bruised or something. After a few hours, I get fidgety and keep waking up. The plane was SLIGHTLY full. And by slightly, I mean very. And by very, I mean if they could have they would have put people in the overhead bins. They were BEGGING people to take the next flight (which was the next day). The only way I would have done that was if they gave me one of those chairs… Clint… jerk.

Anyhoo, listening to the couple sitting behind us in the terminal arguing about whether they wanted to take the next flight or not was fun… in a walk to the Sahara or stick an ice pick in your ear kind of way. What's the big deal anyhow? Take the deal or don't. You have to fight about this? Seems like a five second discussion.

"You want to stay another day?"

"Yeah, but if we do, the cat will probably starve."

"Meh, never really liked that cat anyhow."

Or whatever. I mean, the woman was practically in tears! The argument ended with, "Whatever you want honey. You're the man and I love and trust you to do the right thing." Translation: "You better do what I want or else." I'm just glad I could be a small part of that.

So, now I'm home and trying to go through all the pictures and notes I have left over from the conference. It was a good time, no doubt about it. The same kind of good time a marathon runner has at a competition. You're glad you went; glad you experienced it, and are very glad it is over.

Until next time…

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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