Thursday, December 29, 2005

Are you a 'Frazz' or are you a 'Get Fuzzy'?

X-Box 360s are sold out everywhere. No matter, unless you have a major guilt complex and need to buy your kid a $400 system to prove your love, most gamers know that the first generation systems are never a wise bet. Far better to a) wait a year when the price drops and b) have a superior product because that system will have many of the fixes that gave people major headaches when they first opened the XBox 360. I remember being one of the lucky ones to get an XBox in 2001. The result? I had to send it back to get a new hard drive. Six months later, it still wouldn't play most of my DVDs and games that just came out of their wrapping were deemed 'dirty' and unreadable. I eventually had to buy another XBox.

Can you imagine - wanting something like an XBox 360 so bad. Standing in line - even camping outside of Target overnight to get one of about 20 that came into the store. Shelled out $400 and an extra $200 in accessories. Spent another few hours finding a home for it. And then - the sonofabitchin' thing doesn't work?

I was reading that even with an XBox360 (keep in mind, this was probably a trade magazine), you would still need a high-definition television to fully bring the amazing graphics to life. You will also need a home entertainment system with a theater-type sound system so you can hear the cars coming behind you in one of the racing games. So, breaking it down... $2000 for the Hi-definition tele, $1000 for a serviceable stereo system. $3000. Which is the same price (after figuring in the XBox 360 price) as this comic about a songwriter/janitor who is an avid road biker and triathlete:

Frazz - by Jeff Mallett

Frazz has a car that barely runs. A 40-mile bike ride for him is a warm-up. Many of Mallett's strips revolve around people with sedentary liftstyles (usually depicted as dim or uncool) and active lifestyles (Frazz, most of the kids in the elementary school where Frazz works). If the words 'watching the football game' or 'playing video games' is in the strip, most likely, it's going to be a dig against engaging in either activity. It's a great motivator - especially during those weeks where I'd rather do nothing else but veg and watch a House marathon.

Before you praise Frazz, honestly - $3500 for a bike is sort of frivolous. Bike shops love guilt-ridden people who come in after New Year's, shell out $1500 for a bike (where a starter $400 would do just fine) - go on a few bike rides, and see their bike slowly turn into a coat rack. Another comic character, Rob from Get Fuzzy , is more likely like most of the people I know: honestly tries to be active (we see him running, playing basketball, following his beloved Red Sox), but more times than not, we see him vegging in his apartment with his pets and watching the tube.

Which (finally) brings me to the point of this Blog - if you had $3000 of totally disposable income, what option would you choose (assuming you had to choose one or the other) : $3500 bike, or $3500 home entertainment system. I know what one I would choose and I know what one I should choose. The entertainment center will forever keep you on the couch and honestly, during blizzards and punishing heat waves, can be a nice option. The bike will obviously keep you away from the couch and make sure you spend your time outside and give you opportunities to socialize with other biking enthusiasts - and get your self-esteem battered when your out of shape body gets put to the test in the first race you enter. Still, this is one of those purchases that separates people into two distinct categories. Both are nice, but deep down, most people have a strong feeling in their gut what option they would purchase.

Off subject - Wil Wheaton did an amazing article about the supposed 'War on Christmas' for Salon. Here's the link: The Real War on Christmas .

Current listening selections:
My Morning Jacket - Z
Blackalicious - The Craft
Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane over the Sea
The Appleseed Cast - Low Level: Vol. 1


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