Last night I went to Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house. It was sort of a combination of a family Thanksgiving and an orphan Thanksgiving. In earlier years, Kim and I would occasionally host orphan Thanksgivings, but many of the folks we would typically invite over are starting their own families with their own Thanksgiving traditions. It was a nice change to not be the host this time.
Before dinner, we went around the room and each said what we were thankful for. I don’t recall ever having done this in a serious, not-tongue-in-cheek, way before. I do not know if that is his typical tradition or if it was merely a vehicle for dropping the bomb of “I bought a house this morning” on his family (because he did and it was a big surprise to them and fun to watch their reactions), but it was nice. I know that toward the holiday season reporters and bloggers alike get lazy and dump lists upon their readers instead of producing real writing. In keeping with that tradition, I will now list out a small subset of the many things for which I am thankful:
- My small family of Kim and I as well as Charlotte, Ebenezer, The Precious, and Norman
- My health, which is generally good despite certain little issues
- A sturdy century-old house with no major flaws and only minor challenges to overcome
- A good job doing what I actually enjoy doing
Or to summarize, I could just say “the first three levels of Maslow’s triangle.”
After returning home, I cracked open a bottle of ten year old port, which got me further introspecting (and now, further “list”-ing):
- The contents of that bottle are older than all of our cats except one.
- It is the same age as my convertible.
- It is not quite as old as our television.
- It was made before the big, crazy Y2K party I threw in California.
- It was made the same year as Columbine, the debut of Spongbob Squarepants, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, Napster, the first iBook, the Sega Dreamcast, and The Matrix.
And speaking of our 13-year-old television, I am halfheartedly looking to get a new television. I floated a question on Twitter last week and got a few responses. Mainly, I am looking for an LCD set that is 40 or 42 inches, has a VGA or DVI input (most of my video content comes from a Mac Mini), and has an HDMI input or two (in case I ever go Blu-Ray from a non-computer source). I am also looking for something in the $400-600 range. I realize that today is the day to get all the great specials, but I do not feel well-researched enough to make any purchasing decisions. Maybe Christmas.
The answers I got online were: Sharp (on sale at Walmart now), Panasonic, Hitachi, and Vizio. A coworker suggested Vizio as well; they’re cheaper because (I was told) they are (possibly illegally?) not paying the MPEG licensing that they should. A different coworker told me to avoid a particular brand (I forget which, but I don’t think it was one I was considering) because turning on the TV shows a bootup logo that is only on for a few seconds, but often feels like an eternity. Yet another coworker pointed me to http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com/, which I have yet to properly digest.
I also got a several answers to the effect of “go bigger.” In researching viewing distance versus screen size (for instance, with this CNET chart), 42″ was the sweet spot given the current layout (and possible future layouts) of the living room.
So as I said, I am entirely unprepared to get a television this weekend. I need to spend time researching online, then examining and comparing them in the store. This is not the weekend for browsing and comparing; this is the weekend for “I want that one. NOW.” Besides, it would eat into my savings for the iPhone 3GS I hope to get next month when my AT&Tcontract doesn’t ding me $200. Maybe Christmas or maybe next year.
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