Chapter 8
Stereo Upgrade
The Tales of Texas

1a - The Mysterious Ski Rack
1b - Wheres the Other Half of That Moose
1c - The Waiter Who Didnt Yall
1d - Scorpions, Scorpio
2a - Diet Soda
2b - Riding into the Sunrise
3 - Modest Magazines
4 - Down to Houston
5a - What Does That Sign Say
5b - Just Follow Your Nose
5c - They Call It the Sunbelt
5d - The State Tree
6 - The New House
7a - Billboards
7b - Billboards Again
8 - Stereo Upgrade
9 - Wineries
10 - Unintentionally Left Blank
11 - CBW in TX
12 - Ice House Radio
13 - Goats and Cotton
14 - Dig We Must
15 - Dan Moody
16 - Dry Heat
17 - Dead Animals
18a - Bookstore Culture
18b - On the Open Road
19 - Weather
20 - Sightings in Bertram and Buchanan
21 - Too Many Birds
22 - Road Hazards
23 - Sightings to and from Houston
24 - The Great Wall of Train
25 - In the Heat of the Day
26 - Bite Me
27 - Bid on This Skeleton
28 - Willie
29 - Rural Countryside
30 - SUV SUX!
31 - Kinky on the Texas Monthly Hour
32 - Strange Yellow Sky
33 - Football is a Serious Enterprise in Texas
34 - Remember the Alamoo!
35 - What's That on the Radio
36 - Trip to Houston through the small towns
37 - Shoe Story, an Austin Anecdote
38 - Unintended Fireworks
39 - Flash Flood Warning
40 - Sin City
41 - Live music in Austin, but in theaters not in clubs
42 - Fear of Overpass
43 - The Big Sneezy
44 - New Texas
45 - Front Ended by the French Fry Mobile
46 - Dirt Farm
47a - Heard at the Texas Book Festival 2008
48a - Texas Book Festival 2009
49 - Central Time Sucks
50 - Temple Texas
51 - Christmas in Austin
52 - Pennants in the Wind
53 - The Road Less Traveled
54 - Texas-size Thunderstorm
55 - Cool Van
56 - Your New House Is That-A-Way
57 - C.S.I. Austin
58 - New MTV Game Show
59 - Equine Technology
60 - Look at That Prairie
61 - Get Your Water Here
62 - Corporate Anniversaries
63 - College Sprawl
64 - Hire These Guys
65 - Preparing for Winter
66 - Careful What You Overhear
67 - Bonnie Raitt
68 - Perfume
69 - Questionable Skills
70 - All-American Day
71 - Read Me
72 - Weird Fog
73 - Overpackaged Food
74 - What Town Was That
75 - Texas Book Festival 2010
76 - Bulletproof Roof
77 - The Oldest Photo
78 - Cheesesteaks Part 1
79 - Cheesesteaks Part 2

A Stereo Upgrade

Rick Landau 2000/06/08

So I find myself looking for new stereo speakers. The old AR-3a's were wonderful in their time, a beautiful, full sound, full range from bass to screaming tweeter and smooth in between. These were "acoustic suspension" speakers, famous for their flat response, famous for their smooth but heavy bass. I bought these back at the end of the Sixties, used them all through the seventies and eighties. Through rock's heaviest guitars, disco's basses, acid, metal, not to mention bone-crushing symphony orchestras with a hundred and fifty people sitting right there in the living room dragging a horse's tail over the entrails of a cat while Stravinsky, Casals, and von Karajan whip them into a frenzy.

And famous for their inefficiency, too, which is why one set of speakers outlived four amplifiers. But that's really another story.

Time marches on. Three decades of it. Technology changes. Hearing changes. Money changes. What used to be expensive is now middle of the road. To replace these with something that sounds as good as they did will be expensive by the new standards. (But I'm allowed to buy a new toy every thirty years.) So one must do some research.

Being a boy from the land of Tech Hi-Fi and Tweeter Etc., I know who is the audience for the class of speakers that I'm looking for: The Young Technoids. Young guys, single guys or only recently married, guys with good techno jobs and too much disposable income and the will to indulge themselves.

So I approach one of the target audience. "I need some advice, and I know that you have the information I need. You are a young guy, single or only recently married, with a techno job and too much disposable income. From all this data, I conclude that you must have an elaborate stereo system."

The first guy is a bust. He had had a big stereo in college, but too much Metallica ruined the amp, the speakers, and his ears. His current ones he built himself, and he thinks they're crummy. The second guy claims to have a tin ear and cheap speakers. But his dad has good ones. The third guy, nah, he just doesn't believe in spending a lot on such things. Criminy! What is the world coming to? Have I moved to Texas or to some other planet? This line of investigation is a bust.

Okay, check the stores. This is a college town; there must be some high-end stereo shops here. We listen around. As we pull up to like the third one, Ms. T. observes that we are, um, the odd couple in this expedition. All the other shoppers are young guys, as predicted by my earlier logic, in ones or twos. And my car, a new Bonneville, is almost an old family sedan compared with the testosteronemobiles parked alongside.

We're still looking. Ms. T. suggests that, since the techies seem to be too tight with a buck, I should ask the guys in marketing. They will spend much more freely, and they're much more concerned with having the best, or at least the most expensive. Always the clever girl.