Wednesday, June 22, 2005

DVD Player

Ours is knackered ... and it's new. So off we go to Circuit City to change it.

"It's past it's 30 day exchange period" .... said the spotty youth who didn't graduate High Schhool "But I'll exchange it anyway", said same boy when he saw the look on my face ...

So we walk out with a $43 gift voucher, as they don't have in stock the model I wanted, that was prominently featured on their website. Neither can he find it on his computer .... at this point, I am worried we may be here a while :)

Onwards, ever onwards to Best Buy. They don't have the said Philips DVP642 either .... but they do have the 622 at a silly *open box* price of $45. As I was planning on opening the box anyway, when I got it home, this seems reasonable, we snap it up.

At this point, it's worth noting that I have a decent collection of UK PAL DVDs, all coded Region 2.

So, a multi-standard, Region Free DVD player is very much the order of the day. I checked, the 642 is a simple handset hack, and ... ahem ... assumed the 622 would be the same.


So, it's off to the store to buy the special One For All clicker that can generate the required signal to unlock the beast. Bought it, tried it, didn't work! Yeah, I know, we've all been there (or somewhere similar)

So, to recap, we now have a $43 Circuit City voucher, A brand new but not what we want Philips DVD Player, and a Universal Remote Control with no apparent use. A good days work then :)

Today we went to Arkansas. The purpose of this trip (marriage license) is a tale for another time. Suffice it to say, that into the trunk of the car went a DVD Player and a Clicker! Well! Who knows which stores we may pass on the way! So, a few hours later we are on the way back from Arkansas, complete with shiny Marriage License and, yes, the same DVD and Clicker we left with .... what is it with Arkansas? Do they not have Best Buy? Harumppfff.

So ..... we call in at Circuit City (a different one) in Tulsa ... no joy. On to Best Buy where the nice lady gives me back all our money for the 622, pretty much *no questions asked*, but they don't have a 642 either. Grrrrr! This is getting very old. Thence to Walmart.

Now I need to mention a couple of things about our local Walmart. It's improved!!!! I guess they corporation is still giving generously to the wrong side, a matter for another post, but at least this store is now useable.

We return the clicker. The lady asked if there was a problem with it, and the simple explanation that it hadn't done what we thought it would was enough. But here is an odd thing .......

All the fancy-smancy electronics stores we visited, and guess who has the Philips DVP642 in stock? ...... hehe .... except they didn't!!!!

Just a space under the display model where all the stock should be. We even asked a knowledgeable sales assistant if we could buy the display model (yes, Walmart has a knowledgeable sales assistant. She works at the Supercentre at Admiral and Memorial, Tulsa, OK) Unfortunately, they really ARE display models, and have been mutilated beyond repair.

To make a hopelessly long story just a teensy bit shorter, another local store had 6 in stock .... thank you Sam :)

We now have a working DVD player which basically seems to enjoy the flavour of pretty much any disk I throw at it, including DVDs full of .mp3 files and jpg pictures .... kewl.

By the way, the DVD players in the local Walmart are pretty close to the cake section ..... multi-tasking being a speciality ......

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Abject and Grovelling Apology

In the last short while, it has been brought to my attention that I have criticised the United States of America, her people and proceedures, and all she represents, a tad more than strictly necessary. *Necessary* hasn't been defined, but I feel confident the good souls who take issue with me are decent, righteous, God-fearing types, whose wise counsel I would do well to heed. Indeed, it could be argued that ANY criticism of the USA is too much. Most especially if such verbal diarrhea comes spewing unchecked from an alien, a foriegner .... a sour-graped Limey. It could be, and it often is. Why, even your truly great and beyond criticism President reminded all other countries that if you weren't with the US, you were with the terrorists. We all stood corrected ... esp. the French.

So, I take this opportunity, even at this late stage, to offer up, for public dissemination and scrutiny, an unreserved apology to the entire Nation. I am convinced my detractors are a fair and reasonable cross-section of American society, thought and opinion, therefore I do indeed, stand corrected.

But before I finish ...... let's examine what I am apologising for ....

I apologise for spelling the word *apologise* without the required z.
I apologise for admiring the selflessness of the kind folk I met in South Carolina.
I apologise for inflicting myself on Jodie, for the rest of my life .... and I apologise to all the hearts that sank when the news broke (that last one might be a little tongue-in-cheek).
I apologise for praising publicly the Maryland doctor who treated me for almost no money in November, and I apologise to the Oklahoma doctor who promised to do the same if I needed it.
I am deeply ashamed for writing about Thanksgiving, a message in which I applauded the sentiment, and thanked the wonderful people who shared their homes with me.
I apologise that my birthday is July 4th.
I apologise for standing and looking in awe at the original Star Spangled Banner, with a tear in my eye when I felt the enormity of the symbol laid out on a table in front of me. This simple piece of cloth representing the hopes dreams and ambitions of the last, and greatest superpower, and her people.
I am deeply ashamed that, in that moment, I felt moved, and I felt at home.
I am aghast that Tulsan's have had to endure my Karaoke singing, and even more saddened by the friends I have made here.
It was outrageous of me to spend the last three years helping where I could to support American, and other, smokers to quit.
This is probably not the best time to mention that I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life exploring, contributing to, and and offering the little I have, to make this great country a little greater; but also a little fairer and more just, so I apologise in advance.

I have commited my future and my life to the United States. Not the country, per se, but the people, and more especially, one person who can't leave, nor would I ask her to. Because of my commitment, the future of this nation is important to me, so I also apologise for saying now that you ain't seen nuttin' yet. If I am paying the piper, I'm damned well gonna call the toon .... and my tax dollars are as valuable as anyone else's, even though they buy me far fewer rights than most of you .... and I apologise for pointing that out. To show I don't mind, it's my intention to ensure I pay a large amount of tax, knowing as I do that both State and Federal Governments will spend it wisely.
I apologise for smiling at the lyrics of Tom Paxton .... had he been an alien, no doubt the moral, the self-righteous, and the pontificators woulda come down hard on him. I especially feel the lyric "Our leaders are the finest men, and we elect 'em again and again" was ill-advised (full lyric available on request – I promise not to sing it, but apologise should I forget).

This journey has, thus far, been a wonderful one. The people I have met, even the ones I only nearly met. The sights I've seen and the places I've visited. I'll give you just one example of the inequalities I've personally witnessed, and I make NO apology for doing so.

I have been to Washington DC. I have seen wealth and priviledge, seats of power and all the trappings such a place considers the norm. But there is another United States. In Tulsa, on a street called Admiral Place is a large permenant Flea-market. Basically it's about 40 000 square feet of crap. However, it's harmless crap, and that's not the point. On the other side of the street is what can only be described as a ghetto. That, by the way, is a generous description. People are living, in the US in the year of our Lord 2005, in squalor and in abject poverty. Put simply, the place is awful, and this country should be (and many of it's people are) ashamed it exists. This wouldn't be so bad were it a one-off, but it isn't. In towns and cities from Seattle to Miami, San Diego to somewhere in the far north east, Admiral Places exist. So sure I'll criticise ..... I'll shout and I'll post and I'll damned well join the campaign to rid our society of such squalor, and I'll apologise to no man for so doing.

America is great, but it's also a work in progress. As an outsider, and alien, a Limey, a concerned human ..... whatever .... I'll do what I can to leave the place just a little better than I found it. If we all do the same, maybe progress can be made.

The United States of America was made what it is today by immigrants. Why do people so object to this proud tradition being honoured. Or maybe they are just dinosaurs.