|Paradise with James Saxon
Back Issue Article
'Pods and Stuff
If a critic of the human condition, say Andy Rooney of Sixty Minutes, were to visit Casa Saxon, he might have a field day. First of all, he would spy a number of unopened boxes, prompting the avuncular question, "Why dont you open the boxes, Jim, and have a go at the contents?" To which I might reply, "Because, Andy, its none of your damn business."
Actually, I would honor Mr. Rooney, one of my favorite television personalities, with a civil response. For instance, I would explain that the boxes stacked in the broom closet contain virtual surround-sound devices purchased as a result of wishful thinking. A year ago, I heard a high-tech demonstration in which the pocka-pocka noise of helicopters overhead emanated from a single pair of loudspeakers. The idea that two channels could decode multichannel information inflamed me. Abhorring the idea of installing more speakers and wires in my or anyone elses living room, I saw in psycho-acoustic manipulation the answer to a prayer. An Internet search indicated a number of companies offered surround-sound simulators. Prices for these breakthrough products were quite low compared to the cost of loudspeakers, cables, and installation time. With high hopes, I ordered samples from four different manufacturers.
As they arrived at la casa, I noticed the boxes showed photos of toys inside. Being intimidated by toys as a result of a deprived childhood, I gave one of the devices, a Spatial Actualizer, to my computer wizard to try. Boris report was discouraging. Seems computer stores already sell better and cheaper devices for video games, music at the workstation, etc. As far as substituting for a multichannel sound system, no way, Jose, was Boris verdict. I then asked whether he would purchase the sample unit, assuming cost were no object. Boris declined all price incentives. I made him keep the unit anyway, but could never figure out what to do with the rest of the virtual toys. Thus, the Tripwire Multi-Sound, the Voice of Vulcan, and the Stentor Field Blaster wound up in the broom closet. Because I never sweep or mop floors, I seldom have occasion to remember $800 misspent seeking multichannel sound without pain. I consider this a Pyrrhic victory.
Other unopened boxes include:
Besides sealed packages, Andy Rooney might notice an optical illusion at Casa Saxon. Anything with a power cord attached to it appears to hover over its mounting surface. This is because I am addicted to using miniature flying saucers called Vibrapods. There are at least a thousand Vibrapods in la casa; some are in plain view, most of them slaving away out of sight. People in California adorn their homes with angels; my fetish is Vibrapods. Squishy pucks measuring 2 1/2 inches in diameter, Vibrapods are vibration/isolation devices for which I enjoy finding new applications. In the listening room, Pods support the digital processor, the preamplifier, two line conditioners, a surge protector, a couple of harmonic enhancement devices, several power cords, a pair of loudspeakers, and the portable de-humidifier. This is just the beginning.
In the bedroom, Vibrapods can be found under the television, the VCR, the clock radio (where they soften the fatalistic sound of flipping numerals), and the reading lamp. Why under a lamp? Youd be surprised at the amount of grunge and grain contained in most artificial light. Halogen bulbs are the worst offenders. Vibrapods smooth the transfer of photons, permitting light waves to lap more gently against ones eyeballs. With the aid of No.2 Pods, I can read longer into the night with less fatigue. This is making me very smart.
Around the office, Vibrapods produce better fax images, reduce computer-screen flicker, and alleviate mechanical jitter from the compact-disc copier. A major side benefit of Pods in the office is they allow me to scan dollar bills with lifelike fidelity. I am getting secretly rich using Vibrapods. Please dont ask me to e-mail you scanned money. If I do it for one, Ill have to do it for everybody.
Strangely enough, Vibrapods have had a wonderful effect in the kitchen. My cantankerous microwave oven outperforms itself when damped with No. 3 Pods. Before, leftovers were always cold in the center. Now, they warm through in the same amount of time. Another appliance that works better is the coffeemaker. Mr. Coffee loves No. 1 Vibrapods. A cup of java at Casa Saxon is the elixir of life. However, the biggest surprise is the Osterizer. One of my pet complaints was that the blender bruised the tequila. I am happy to report this is no longer the case. Propped up on two No. 1s and a No. 2, the blender mixes booze, juice and ice with a consistency unsurpassed by human hands. I have written a poem about this effect and asked Jimmy Buffet to set it to music. He has declined.
Finally, (and dont try this at home unless you have a powerful assistant like Monica the maid), I have placed a dozen heavy-duty No. 5 Pods under the refrigerator. The late Mr. Westinghouse would turn over in his grave if he only knew. The effects of isolating the "reefer" from its surroundings are dramatic. Floor-borne vibration is a thing of the past. More importantly, electrical spikes that occur when the compressor comes on have been reduced to tiny blips. Instead of cringing in the listening room as someone holds the refrigerator door open, I now leave the door ajar all afternoon and compressor be damned. The Pods can take it and so can I. Buying ice at the store is a small price to pay for electromechanical defiance.
Our Andy Rooney might ask other questions about features unique to Le Shack Saxon, such as: (1) Why are ladies silk underpants in the accessory box? Answer: Certain components perform better when draped in silk. (2) Why are so many beer cans on the music table? Answer: The cans contain liquid at various levels and serve as simple Helmholtz resonators. (3) Why are there 37 plaid shirts hanging in the closet? Answer: Dead men dont wear plaid. But, of course, Andy Rooney would never visit my home. If he did, Id ask him why he is always so excitable. Is it because of the ticking clock on Sixty Minutes? He should damp the thing with a few Pods.
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