A Full Belly and an Empty Sink, Or: Patience and Wait 'n' See, Or: Fate Ain't Got Nothing to do with My Jonathan Adler Placemats

It's funny because:
Just as Wes suggested — though I so earnestly try to never hold expectations of any sort, and I talk a lot of smack about never expecting anything from this life, I'm really full of it: I have great expectations, and often scold myself for expecting too much — I figured I must have simply been expecting the magic to come. Or "looking for it," as my mom might say. And you can't go looking for it, she tells me. Because, if you do, you'll never find it.
Whatever, ma.

And just as Newbilong suggested, I sat there wondering if it was time for my first tweak. I thought about moving the speakers farther from the back wall, or moving my couch farther from the speakers. I even thought about getting rid of the 27-inch television that sits directly between the speakers — John DeVore told me that the television works as a big black hole, sucking music into oblivion — but, really, I'm not ready for that kind of change. Then I thought about hiding the television beneath my Woolrich suede throw, but that would be silly.

Instead, I did nothing. Doing nothing happens to be my usual strategy when faced with a situation that offers no obvious solution. "Patience and wait 'n' see," Michelle used to call it. I tend to avoid forcing situations, preferring to leave matters up to chance and fate. Match.com? Not for this bachelor. I hope to just run into my wife someday while wandering lost somewhere in the Pine Barrens. You out there, honey? Furthermore, I'm not a very tweaky dude. I like to just leave things alone.

And just as Clay suggested, I tried to think of the music I really wanted to hear. I got up from my couch and crouched near my collection of CDs, looking for the perfect disc. My eyes went up and down the stacks. But found nothing.

And just as Monty suggested, I then decided that my mood wasn't... well — you know — my mood wasn't in the mood. Got a problem with that? Sometimes a guy just doesn't feel like it, okay?

And that's where I left it until this weekend when it came time to decide on my choices for this year's "Records To Die For."

Then, of course, I came down with a case of good ol' fashioned Writer's Block. And, when that happens, I take the JA route:


I thought of all the things in this world that I could possibly do which don't involve writing, and I did them. When I was all done, the forum was totally under control and I had a full belly, an empty sink, new art on my bedroom walls, an oriental rug in my living room, nice Jonathan Adler placemats in my kitchen, and clean shower curtains around my claw-foot tub.

I was feeling good. Take that, fate.

Wes Phillips's picture

Actually, Stephen, that throw isn't a silly idea at all. Yes, it takes more than a blanket to really damp the reflections off that TV, but natchu'l wool fibers are a lot more effective than glass and plastic. The last time my hi-fi had to share a room with my teevee (I love my projector -- and my separate home theater), a Peruvian poncho did the trick. I was shocked. If you aren't using the Woolrich throw to keep warm, it won't cost anything to try. Them's the best tweaks -- just check out last week's Vote!

Jeff Wong's picture

I was considering posting something similar earlier today. Using something to keep high frequencies from scattering across the TV screen is a very effective tweak. Someone I used to be friends with (who now runs an audio webzine) was boasting great sound from his home system. It sounded smeared to me. He was angry and insisted I must be deaf since 99 other people thought it sounded great. It turned out a diffusion device he usually placed in front of his TV wasn't set up. Once in place, the sound was much improved. After seeing Wes' comment, I thought I'd second his suggestion. I keep my audio separate as well. My rack is possibly the biggest offender between my speakers, but I have to live with it.

newbilong's picture

i don't understand you people.why do you have televisions?Wes is right (again). the best tweaks are the ones you find in your kitchen or junk box.i've found that a clothes horse with freshly washed towels on it, when placed between the speakers, is a fantastic way to dampen unwanted bass.

Wes Phillips's picture

Brilliant, newbilong! I'm sure you put that clothes drier there precisely because you expected it to make a difference.Of course, that begs the question, if you placed it there because it was the only place you could put it, was it invalid that you heard a difference when you weren't expecting one?]

newbilong's picture

Wes, sometimes one has to disguise one's tweaks -- the clothes horse looks like i've been doing a domestic chore, but it's actually a deliberate tweak in camouflage. For similar reasons the furniture mysteriously moves around the living room when i do the vacuuming.