As I look over the last 50-plus years of my life, I am grateful I was born into the male gender of the human race. I’ll gladly accept the daily chore of shaving or grooming facial hair over the responsibility of childbirth, I can take my shirt off at the beach without worry of arrest or gawking, and there are rarely, if ever, lines for the bathroom in public venues. In fact, depending on the setting and crowd, all that may be needed for a guy like me is thick brush, a wooded area, or shaded wall.
A few weeks ago I took another step of the male rite of passage in suburbia toward establishing a “man cave.” I upgraded my family room home entertainment center with a 55-inch high definition TV, blu-ray player and synchronized my surround sound system.
My family room however is not by classification a true man cave — it’s open to all household members and guests and is not secluded in any sense — but since I am an “empty nester” the family room has become my couch potato sanctuary with a perfectly placed recliner in front of 1080i and 5.1 Dolby.
Being technologically challenged and set in my ways, I usually was hesitant toward hi-tech upgrades. It took me a while of holding out before I broke down and got a DVD player, preferring at the time my VCR. I delayed the move as long as I could and finally a couple of years ago upgraded my selection to hundreds of channels with a cable box. Now I’ve progressed to a flat panel television over my old tube-style. I’m a slow learner because every time I made the modification I realized all these upgrades came with tremendous benefits. Now, with my recent purchase, I am bathing in a high-definition, wide-screen, channel surfing, 360-degree sphere audio of home electronics Nirvana.
With all the sports channels now available I have the assurance that in Villa Paloma there can always be a game on. On any day, television viewing is a sports junkie’s alphabet soup enjoying MNF with the NFL on ESPN showing SF vs. KC in HD on a 55” LCD.
I can use my DVR to watch classic games on MLB, CSN or VS to increase my “useless knowledge” — as my wife Robin calls it.
(Robin finds it amazing that I can recall that on a Sunday in October 1972 I can recite that I was in my family den watching Game 2 of the World Series and know in the ninth inning the A’s Joe Rudi made a fantastic catch from a ball hit by the Reds’ Dennis Menke on a pitch from Rollie Fingers and nearly doubled off Tony Perez at first base yet I can’t remember that two days ago while standing in my own kitchen that I agreed to go to her sister’s this weekend for a family gathering.)
To keep peace in the house I do have to occasionally release my alpha dominance of the area and release my throne’s scepter — the channel selector. And, at the risk of losing my coveted guy card, I can honestly say even shows like Glee and Dancing with the Stars look good in theatre-wide high def with surround sound stereo.
My next move, however, is to reduce the number of remotes required to operate this electronic amusement monstrosity. The best scenario I’ve programmed so far is that one remote control can operate up to three devices and I’m down to only needing two remotes to adequately maneuver through the functions of all the available components.
Hopefully Saint Nicholas is aware I’ve been a good boy this year and could really use one of those user-friendly, all inclusive, universal programming, multi-functioning remotes to put the final delineation on my leisure paradise.
I don’t plan to become a recluse in my own home. I still enjoy the actual experience of a sporting event — especially with good seats. I don’t like being holed up on a fabulous day outside and, contrary to Robin’s belief of my selective memory, prefer being with family to watching TV. However, with rainy and cold weather approaching and a grand selection of bowl games commencing next month, I plan on being quite content staying at home.
Richard Paloma is a retired police officer and writes for The Riverbank News, The Oakdale Leader and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at 847-3021.