The music we made in Genie Boom was not unlike the music made by the pumps and steam lines and reactors of Firmenich. Michelle drummed on garbage cans, a red school bell, a gas tank, whatever banged. Todd pressed buttons on his Casio synthesizer and Roland drum machine. I plugged five cheap guitars—old Silvertones and Kays, before they became popular—into whatever amps I could find, turned the knobs on my effects pedals all the way up, and screamed the lines from my poems into the guitars’ pick-ups.
Throughout college, Michelle and I—along with our very good friend, Todd—played in a performance art/noise rock band called Genie Boom. We took the name from the sky-blue steel beast that you sometimes see at construction sites, or on highways, or—here in New York City—even on Madison Avenue; the same sky-blue steel beast that I once used to propel myself a hundred feet into the air to install all sorts of I-don’t-know-what along the tanks and pumps and whatever else that make up Firmenich, the chemical plant where I worked at the time. They make flavors and fragrances; much of what you taste and smell everyday comes from Firmenich. I spent four summers there, painting curbs and railings “emergency yellow,” watching flaming bits of iron fall from the welders’ gloved hands, finding beauty in how smooth a beveled pipe could be.
I've been thinking about women. All weekend long. While that, by itself, is nothing unusual for me, here at Home Entertainment 2005, I''ve been thinking particularly about the small number of female enthusiasts within the hobby of high-end audio.
It's the final day of the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show. I'm walking down the Alexis Park's long corridors, beneath its archways and palm trees, wondering where I'll end up next. The air is cool, but the sun is out and I'm feeling very much alive, energized by all the morning's music.
I see her from across the pool. She's tall and beautiful and dressed all in white. She reminds me of someone else. She sees me looking at her. I ignore the temptation; change directions; walk away from her; go to another tall white sign; read another list of names.
After my first full day of weaving my way around the Consumer Electronics Show, I'm happy to be back in my hotel room, ready to open the laptop and type. I've got a tote bag (everyone has a tote bag) gorged fat with press releases, CDs, magazines, directories, scribbled notes, a fortune cookie. . .. What's going on here? Am I really the newest writer for Stereophile? And what's the deal with this fortune cookie?
Editor's Note: Stephen Mejias has never attended CES before, and does not claim to be an audiophile. But he's distinquished himself enough around the Stereophile office that it seemed a good idea to register his first-time impressions of audio's greatest show on earth.