Wow. What a weekend!
Friday night was a blast, and the high didn’t end until this morning.
Colleen finally got a “first” paycheck and demanded that Jean and I come to dinner with her. Her treat. Mind you, I don’t typically allow for this type of behaviour. Normally, I am the one who enjoys the luxury of being able to pick up the tab. But I acquiesced as I completely understand the driving desire behind her wanting to pay. So we let her. This once.
She took us to Buca De Beppos in Irvine. A fabulous family style Italian joint which specializes in large parties. Typically 6 or more. Which meant we easily mis-judged portions and ate and drank way too much. But that’s all part of the fun right? Well the food was amazing as always, and the company was equally outstanding.
After dinner we retired to the couches back at our place and put on the movie “Secretary”. Jean and I love it, and Colleen had never seen it… By the end, Colleen seemed to have enjoyed it, but I think she was still processing the entire film as well and couldn’t really formulate a solid opinion at that point. But I believed she liked it.
Saturday was a rather big day for me. I was up at about 8:30am to get dressed and get up to John and Mary’s place so John and I could go shopping for some hi-fidelity equipment. I got up there a bit earlier than intended due to a complete lack of traffic on the toll road. Combine that with a lead foot and you have a few triple digit runs on the downhills. Oops. I think I made it door to door in about 30 minutes. And that was TRYING to slow down on the 91 and surface streets as I got closer.
We also got a bit of a late start too. But that wasn’t our fault by any means. We were in the truck and going to grab some coffee, when a sign jumped out at us and forced us to pull into an office park. The Sign read “Open House” and “Public Welcome!”. The part that made us squeal the tires on the hard right into the lot was the company name: Segway of Orange County.
All said, we ended up spending a good 45 minutes in the parking lot learning how to ride a Segway, and then just being allowed to play. Honestly, the learning part took all of a minute. The playing took the rest 🙂
These things are so unbelievably easy to control and ride! Both John and I were OVERLY impressed with the engineering and design behind them. Yes the basic principal is way cool, but a lot of the impressive stuff were
the small details which made the Segways so much more enjoyable. Suffice to say, we were both sold on them within the first 10 minutes we were there. The only problem was the answer to one question posed to us both: What would you use it for?
Damn. Had to bring logic into it didn’t you? It really would only be a toy for us at this point. Neither John nor I have jobs or live places where something like this would be exceedingly beneficial. Truly just a toy with HUGE amounts of geek points for us. sigh.
So we left. Drooling, and giddy as school girls, but we left none-the-less.
And so we began our quest for Audiophile geek toys as we had initially set out to do.
We began at Reel Time Sight and Sound in Dana Point. A great Audio/Video shop which specializes in some of the higher end toys for video geeks and audio geeks alike. They started out as a video shop years and years ago, but have expanded to include a good amount of high-end audio as well. Obviously, what good does a $16,000 plasma TV do you without the sound to go with it?
John and I looked around a bit and then grabbed the first sales guy who wanted to help us. Once we had someone, we held him captive for a good hour demoing a few sets of speaker and receiver combinations. Once we listened to what we had come to listen to, we geeked out again and just started playing with everything they’d show us.
THAT was fun. We got to know the sales guy a bit better (which actually plays a crucial role later) and turns out he isn’t a sales guy at all. He is the Store Manager. Cool! Put that in my back pocket for later too.
We hit it off fairly well and joked around the entire time we were demoing the whole store. Basically just having a blast listening to the equipment and letting Roger, the manager, show it off. Man, if only I had a few extra thousand dollars more. mmmmmmm…
Where was I?
Oh yes… So we finally wound down the demo, ran some numbers, got some literature and thanked Roger for his time and explained that we were going to go for lunch to discuss some possibilities. We headed over to Hennesy’s across the street and sat there for another good hour eating, drinking, talking, and trying to figure out what to do. In hind sight, we probably could have saved our selves a ton of gas and toll charges had we simply walked back into Reel Time. But then, I may not have gotten what I did.
I’m going to gloss over the next part here because to go into every excruciating detail would indeed be, well, excruciating.
Suffice to say John and I drove up to Westminster to another audio shop which we had visited previously. We intended to simply see what kind of deal could be struck there and if we may be able to save a hundred bucks or so or pickup some extras (like cables or stands) if he couldn’t beat price. Almost immediately walking in the door we both began to feel that ick-factor rising. At first it was real mild, almost unnoticeably so. As we continued to talk with them, we began to feel more and more like we were in the middle of some real-life shell game with things switching and moving on us at every turn and way too much double talk, even for George Orwell.
We were finally able to walk out of their, but not before being accosted at the front door just as we were about to walk out with the sales guy saying in a subdued, hush-hush voice: “Just so you know, if the price is the issue we do price matching and will beat any other prices…” etc. Sadly, that pretty much put the last nail in the coffin. I personally walked out of there with my mind reeling from too much double talk and spinning.
John and I got in the truck and began driving… talking about everything and trying to figure out what to do.
It was 4:45pm and in the course of 5 minutes it was quite apparent that going back to Reel Time was the way to go. As we headed back down to Dana Point, justifications were made and I kept going over what we had just experienced, possibly in attempts to convince myself that we made the right choice (there really wasn’t a question about it, but big purchases make me second guess like nobody’s business). When it all boiled down though, Reel Time had the package I wanted, that sounded right, at the right price, and most importantly: No Ick factor. Roger treated us like people, not sales, and didn’t play any games. That right there is almost always the right choice.
Back at Reel Time (which closes at 6pm by the way), we walked in the door as Roger was trying to get out to finish off a deal with another customer for two 62 inch Plasma TVs. So, yeah, we tried to get things done as quick as possible, because seriously, my sale was nothing in comparison.
He wrote up my invoice, ran the card, came back as approved and the he was off to get everything together. And this my friends, is where I made out like a bandit. Even John is still pissed at me for this one. While Roger is getting everything together, he finds that he is out of stock on the B&W LCR60 S3 center channel and asks if he can substitute the larger LCR600 S3 instead. Since it doesn’t have a truly different sound, just more power abilities (better for larger rooms, without losing small room functioning) I gave the green light. More power capabilities for the same price? Sure thing! Also turns out he doesn’t have the ASW 600 sub in stock either, but he lets me take their demo as a loaner until the get one in this week.
But this next part changed the entire vibe of the room and the ride home:
Roger realized he also didn’t have the Yamaha RX V2400 receiver in stock. And back order on these receivers currently has no projected ship date. So, while we were kidding around earlier about the same thing, he looks at the Yamaha RX V1 flagship receiver he has set up as a demo and says: “Yeah, I can do that. I can let you have that one instead.”
Both John and I just stand there. Mouths agape. Seriously catching flies at this point. To put this into terms you may understand: I got a $3300 receiver for the price of an $899 one. Even as a demo, he was not going to let that receiver go for less than $1400. I got it at $899. OHMYFUCKINGGOD!!!!
As we loaded everything into the truck, I swear we worked extra hard to get out quick because we felt like we just robbed the place. I still truly can’t believe it.
Remember a few hours earlier when I said we were as giddy as school girls? Well, this drive home was even worse. We continually switched between speechless and talking so much that I think only half the words ever really made it out of our mouths.
The rest of Saturday night was spent eating, drinking and setting up the speakers and receiver. Tom and Terri came over as well, and damn if they didn’t get along with John and Mary. There were a few times we thought we were about to keel Mary over from sheer laughter. By the end of the night my cheeks were hurting so much from smiling and laughing -all friggin day- that I had to give them a small rub down just to go to sleep. Of course the Jacuzzi help that too. The six of us MUST get together more… or possibly less, cause it IS that dangerous!
We ended up finally in bed by 1am on Saturday night. And let me tell you, I went to bed with the most complete feeling of contentment I have ever had. And it was -because- of my new stereo. It was because, off the cuff, we were able to have 4 close and dear friends come together and meet for the first time, hit it off so well, and be so comfortable in my house. We can indeed entertain on a whim. And THAT, my friends, means everything to me.
Sunday was spent sleeping in and doing nothing but kicking it on the couch listening to music and then watching the two Charlie’s Angels movies. Had to pump some sound through the speakers for the entire day so I can move past that break in period, ya know.
Tom and Terri came back over to help us with the left-overs from the night before, and we continued to just relax on the couches and watched the Tenacious D concert DVD. Put down a bottle of a nice Italian Red, and then called it a night around 9:45pm.
I was exhausted from resting all day, and was pleased to find our bed room was nice and cool. Sleeping in a bed which is not warm, and feeling a cool breeze on my face and feet is the best way to fall (and stay) asleep that I know of.
A nice way to wind down a GREAT weekend.