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Toy - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
We had a particularly productive weekend. In addition to the transfer of two rather good looking embryos we also purchased a new TV and blu ray disc player. This will probably come as a bit of a shock to some of my friends who have seen our old TV, a 15 year old 19-inch CRT that didn’t get a signal from anything except for the equally ancient VCR it was hooked up to. We are not a TV watching household. We do watch DVDs on our computers, and very occasionally tapes (mostly old dance videos) on the VCR. The new acquisition is a bit out of character, especially considering it’s a 40 inch screen. My parents used to tease my about how my computer screen was bigger than my TV. Suddenly that’s not true anymore.

I’m not exactly sure what prompted Warren’s sudden desire for a new TV. Actually, it probably wasn’t sudden. He saw his brother’s flat-screen TV at Thanksgiving and liked it a lot. It just seemed sudden because he then failed to talk about it at all until a couple of weeks ago when he spent some time checking out screens. Warren is like that sometimes. Something will come up, and he’ll express a vague desire for something and that’s the last you hear of it for six months until it’s suddenly a priority. How we got from last November’s “that was a nice screen on George’s TV” to Saturday’s “I want to buy a TV this weekend” is a bit of a mystery, but it’s a good mystery. It comes with the territory when you’re married to someone who does a lot more thinking than talking. Also, I’m certainly not going to complain about shiny new toys, especially since we got a good deal on the TV by buying the display model; it was the last one of that type that they had.

I think part of Warren’s motivation has been to show dance videos to Margaret. I grabbed a few precious minutes of alone time on Sunday evening and returned to find them watching a dance video together. The picture quality was great, you could really see the action. The real bonus, though, was that unlike watching DVDs on the computer we did not have to spend 80% of our attention on keeping Margaret from playing with the keyboard and doing things like resetting my browser homepage to vxxxx.com.

I insisted on getting a pair of rabbit ears to go with the TV so that we might conceivably get some reception. I don’t have any burning desire to watch broadcast TV, but it might be nice to pick up some PBS shows. I’ve been particularly thinking about it now that Margaret is getting close to where she might find some things interesting. I watched Sesame Street from a very early age (like most folks my age) and as a result was rather disappointed by my first day of school because they weren’t teaching us anything real… it was all stuff I’d known for years thanks to Sesame Street. Of course, I’m not so sure I want her watching the current Sesame Street. I haven’t seen an episode in decades, and I’m given to understand it’s all about Elmo now and they have poor Cookie Monster talking about how ‘cookies are a sometimes food’. Gah. The whole point of cookie monster is the gluttony and the kids are supposed to figure out for themselves that stuffing yourself on cookies all the time, while fun, is not the best plan. Happily I see that there are compilations of the old episodes out there, though they seem to be very incomplete. Does anyone out there know of shows like the Sesame Street of yore, ones that are educational and don’t talk down to the kids?
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gryphon2k From: gryphon2k Date: May 19th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure if it's still on, but Bear in the Big Blue House was a fave at our place, as was Blue's Clues. My kids could never get into Dora, which I think is supposed to be the Sesame Street of today (well, except for not having any real likeable characters or any good silly, fun stuff).

In fact, when we were at the town library book sale this weekend, I had to nix B getting a Bear in the Big Blue House VHS, pointing out to him that we had probably donated that tape to the library when we cleaned out right before the move...

But I'm sure those things must be available on DVD at this point.
psychohist From: psychohist Date: May 19th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
The dance video was primarily a way to test that everything worked. It just grabbed Margaret's attention so strongly that I figured we'd watch the whole thing. This is not to say I wasn't planning to show her dance videos eventually.

I've actually been wanting better equipment in the back room for years. Watching movies or other DVDs in front of the computer is snuggly, but the screen isn't big enough to sit back on the couch, and it's in a corner, making it off center for viewing. I've also wanted a better display than the old CRT television for watching dance tapes, and it's a pain setting things up to watch dance tapes on the computer.

George's television kind of crystallized that, partly because it was nice but more because it was much cheaper than recent prices on these things. With the recession, there were a lot of good deals during the last Christmas season - you may remember some cashmere coats and sweaters, and my new kitchen knives - and consumer electronics were no exception, with prices perhaps half what they had been. I had been planning all along to pick up a nice television display before prices came up again.

With the recovery kicking in, time was kind of running out. You may remember that we had a Micro Center visit recently where I spent some time looking at the flat screen televisions. That let me know what was available; this past weekend, it was just a matter of buying.

We only barely made it in time. What you may not realize is that the original sticker on the television we got was $2099, a year ago. That model had been marked down to $1099 during the Christmas season. That was the biggest part of the savings; the extra markdown to $999 for buying the display model was not that big a deal. What would have been a big deal was that this year's model, which is nearly identical, was back up to $1599, courtesy of the recovery. Recessions don't come along that often, so it makes sense to take advantage of the manufacturers' panic price cutting when they do happen. I kind of think of it as a good deed, too: continued buying during a recession is what eventually pulls the economy out of the recession, though that's more applicable to last fall's purchases than to this one.

I guess I should talk about some of this stuff rather than just thinking about it ... on those rare occasions when Margaret will allow an uninterrupted conversation!

Edited at 2009-05-19 06:42 pm (UTC)
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