Tuesday, November 14, 2006


When JG sees or experiences something that is just too happy for words, he makes this noise. Kind of a long, drawn-out “Haghhh” from the back of the throat. It rasps against the roof of the mouth. Think Darth Vader. What has the power to induce this dramatic exhale? Why, it’s ping pong on ESPN! Haghhh. HDTV! Haghhh.

Recently, we’ve welcomed in a new member of the family that brings on the most prolonged of breaths: The Almighty Surround Sound. Say it with me. Haghhh.

The surround sound was JG’s gift to himself when he received his paycheck for coaching volleyball over the fall and I admit that I wasn’t totally opposed to it. He chose a Consumer Reports' Best Buy and it was quite reasonable. And silver. And shiny. It matched our TV!

There were two conditions to JG’s purchase: 1) He couldn’t set up the back speakers with any visible wires and 2) He had to believe me when I thought the volume is too high. I was not looking forward to a perpetual game of “it’s too loud”/“no, it’s not”. JG agreed to the conditions, took the plunge and a nice FedEx man lurched to our door, grunting, with a 50-pound box in his grasp.

The installation process was a blur of Styrofoam, unplugging, and testing – oh, the testing. I watched as JG scurried around the living room, listening to every speaker. “Oh, we’re in business,” he muttered, “This bad boy’s good to go.” He tested the TV audio, a CD of Indian-inspired music – “That’ll sound awesome!” – and, of course, a movie. It had to be a movie that would take advantage of the full range of the surround system and the progressive scan DVD player (whatever that means) that came with it; the movie that immediately sprang to JG’s mind was none other than The Matrix 2, complete with whizzing bullets and motorcycles. I was not a fan, to say the least. I didn’t think it was impressive at all that the sound of a motorcycle zoomed from back to front to follow its path and I was all creeped out because I felt like there were, well, bullets flying past my head. I winced as JG sat next to me and whispered, “Oh, this is awesome. Haghhh.” Uh, right.

This past weekend, I took the system for a whirl with Finding Nemo, the least macho movie ever. When I got the full experience of hearing the fish splash all around with that swelling music and seeing it through crystal-clear progressive-scan-induced picture – well, I was won over. What can I say? Haghhh.

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