zen.org Communal Weblog

March 24, 2007

Are modern applicances not old-fashioned enough?

Filed under: — brendan @ 13:51 IST

In the last few weeks, we’ve had a startling number of things fail in our house:

  • our 8 year-old Sony television rapidly developed a bad case of dry joint (the solder at connections on the boards were flaking away), with pin-cushion indentation happening on both sides increasingly worse til it was finally unusable;
  • our 8 year-old Whirlpool washing machine’s pump failed;
  • the 2 year-old Baxi back boiler failed over the holiday weekend;
  • our 6 year-old hand blender fell apart;
  • my 5 year-old desktop PC is seizing up on me, only a few weeks after I already had to replace its motherboard once because its USB on-board ports were faulty;
  • our 4 month-old NTL Pace digital cable box is failing, again, with what we now call the White Screen of Death(tm) and periodic claims that we don’t subscribe to any of the channels at all;
  • and now our 8 year-old Whirlpool dryer made nasty thumping sounds and is finally not spinning at all.  Back to call the Whirlpool repairman.

Was it in the 1980s or 1990s that production quality was flushed down the toilet?

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Salome's ability to boggle the mind

Filed under: — brendan @ 13:06 IST

Last night we went to The Gate Theatre in Dublin for a production of Salomé by Oscar Wilde. Doing a bit of searching, I see that others also liked it. The misty voice of Fiona O’Shaughnessy was enchanting in the role of Salomé, and Barbara Brennan’s more-like-us form of speech as Herodias was a great counterbalance to the very thus, thee, lest thine language of the rest of the cast. The acoustics in The Gate is also amazing (much better than the Dublin National Concert Hall); with the talent of the cast in projecting their voices, the sound was wonderfully complete. The music of Roger Doyle was so good, I want to go back to The Gate to buy the CD.

All that said, we have to be honest: that was the most fucked up play we’ve ever seen. People walking in slow motion; the prophet Iokanaan with his sudden exclamations—Wikipedia explains this is John the Baptist; and not understanding the plot for most of the show. (You are always looking at her. You look at her too much.) Maybe if we’ll have seen it a few more times we’d have a different opinion. Maybe if we actually read the original play we’ll find that good ol’ Oscar was enjoying some old-fashioned recreational drugs at the time. (It is dangerous to look at people in such fashion. Something terrible may happen.)

But, we don’t regret going to the show. I’d go see it again, actually. (You must not look at her. You look too much at her.) It was definitely a new experience.

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