Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Home Entertainment Expo

I had a big turn of events with my family this week. I'm not going to discuss it here because it's personal and there's a lot of pain involved right now, but eventually I'm confident things will be better than they were because of it.

On Saturday I came into the city to visit the Home Entertainment Expo 2007 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel near Grand Central Station. As many of you know, I am somewhat of an audiophile and although I've read countless reports from the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and similar events, it was the first time I'd ever been to this kind of show in person. It was kind of fun, but in a way, it also revealed that I am definitely in the wrong demographic for this hobby. It was about 95 percent men at the show, and some of them smelled a little ripe, to be honest. They tend to pack people in pretty tightly in audience chairs to audition gear, so you wind up sitting pretty close to people at these things. On the positive side, it was rather easy to bat a few eyelashes and get free stuff that other people weren't getting, like a logo cap and CD zipper case.

One good thing about the show was that I found some audiophile CDs in the marketplace that I wanted to replace, such as Dick Hyman's From the Age of Swing (check out "Topsy" track 3 my favorite) and Amanda McBroom's Growing Up in Hollywood Town (she wrote Bette Midler's song "The Rose" and does a better job singing it, I think). Also picked up a Chesky demonstration disc with songs from artists such as Rebecca Pidgeon and Sara K.

The best demo at the show was a clip from the movie Vertical Limit in a "home" theater set up in one of the larger conference rooms at the hotel. It was a demonstration of Outlaw subwoofers (I own two that survived the fire) and four were used in the room. I have one hooked up at home, and it is already way too much bass for my neighbors, so I have to use it carefully. The demo at the show was quite awesome in a testosterone-fueled kind of way - it was literally shaking the excess fabric on the legs of my jeans. Plus the picture was a pristine 1080p (that's 1,080 lines of progressively scanned resolution) on a 12-foot wide screen. I also saw a wonderful performance by Omar Hakim on drums playing in 7.1 surround on the new high-definition DTS standard in another demo room by Aperion Audio (I own their rear channel speakers at home).

After the show I went to Tall Girl and bought a new jacket, intending to use it for a new business presentation on Tuesday. However, it needs to be altered, so I ended up wearing my old standby black blazer (which must be good luck, because we won the pitch). Monday was rather busy preparing for the pitch – our team rehearsed it until about 6 pm then walked across the street for dinner. It was one of the most expensive dinners I've ever had, partly because of a $60 bottle of wine – it came out to $100 a person! I got home about 9:45 pm and rehearsed a couple more times in front of my three stuffed animals as an audience just to make sure I was comfortable. This was really my first presentation since taking this job, so I wanted to be extra-prepared, and it paid off. The new client is one of the world's largest industrial companies, and the deal will probably be for about $500K for the remaining half of the year.

No rest for the weary though - now another client is moving up the timetable on a major acquisition, which they might announce on Friday (which means I might have to work this weekend). So with that, I'd better get back to work now.