Hey, Don’t Buy Sony TVs

I know this is just a little blog that not a lot of people read, but one of the things that makes the internet great is that regular people can speak out about the problems they’re having. In this case, I’ve been having a problem with a Sony Bravia TV (KDL-40V4100) that was purchased in late 2008. I went through what exactly was wrong with the set (do they even still call them sets?) in a post last month.

Since then, I’ve had the cable company come out and they told me it wasn’t the signal, which I had already figured because the cable works fine on our little TV perched above the big one (which feels very white trash). Last week I was able to get an electronics repairman to come out and give it a look. After explaining to him what was wrong, he said he’d have to go back to his shop and do some research for pricing. He called me back and told me that the tuner board–the source of the problem–was pretty pricey and the whole thing with installation and all that would be $460. That’s on top of the $120 I paid for him to come out to my house to give it a look (I did the house call route because the TV’s too damn big to wield on my own and the hours are a little wonky so the missus can’t get home in time from work to help me).

Anyway, with that information in hand, I decided to call Sony up today to see if they could do anything. I understand that it’s past warranty, but I thought they might do something to help considering this very expensive television stopped working after less than two years. That doesn’t seem right does it? Well, after getting passed around I was basically told that, since I didn’t have the extended warranty (a gamble at best that I apparently should have taken) and you really can’t tell what’s going to happen with electronics once they’re sold, there’s nothing they could do.

Well, here’s what I can do: tell you about my poor experience and never buy a Sony product again. I can also at least attempt to harness the power of the internet to let other people know what kind of shoddy merchandise these people pass off as high quality and the lack of customer service. I can guarantee that my family and I would have spent far more money on Sony products than it would have cost to fix this problem. $460 from a big company like that to fix a defective product seems like pretty small potatoes compared to a lifetime of buying TVs, stereos, DVD players and whatever else might get invented in the coming years.

So, in the end, pardon my French, but fuck Sony. I’ll get this TV fixed now because I can’t afford a new one, but when the time comes for another TV? You can damn well bet that it won’t be a Sony.

Jersey Shore Season Two Hits Tomorrow!

As I’m sure you already know, Jersey Shore’s second season which was filmed in Miami over spring break will be premiering tomorrow, July 29th at 10:00PM EST on MTV. The above clip makes everything look pretty awesome, but I worry that the already image conscious cast will just be focused on perpetuating the image they set up in the first season and not allow themselves to grow as individuals this season. Heh, just kidding. Looks freaking crazy. Fights, hook ups, the usual. I just hope Angelina doesn’t ruin things with her awfulness. What’s the deal with bringing her back anyone? Does she have pictures of a high level MTV exec?

Also, real quick, to every single moron who continues to rail against the show Jersey Shore for not actually representing New Jersey SHUT UP ALREADY. The show clearly states that these people aren’t even from Jersey plus, no shit, getting any six or seven people together and filming them isn’t representative of a larger group. TAKE A STATISTICS CLASS! Living near New Jersey (too close, frankly) I hear about a lot of this crap on the news and it just makes everyone involved sound stupid for not checking facts. Rant complete.

My Broken TV Fills Me With Rage

As I wrote about a few years back, my parents were super awesome and got us a big ol’ flat screen Sony Bravia TV (model number KDL-40V4100). It was awesome. It made DVDs (we didn’t go for Blu-ray cause I’m super cheap and can only see so well anyway), Xbox, Netflix Instant and even VHS tapes look awesome. Everything was going smashingly until a couple weeks ago, when, in the middle of a power crisis–not as cool as it sounds–we lost all our analog channels and could only get digital ones. It was a bad time because a series of failing appliances were driving me crazy. First the power in our bedroom seemed limited, then our older-ish dishwasher stopped working, then the TV was acting up, the AC crapped out and the last straw was our brand new washer and dryer shitting the bed. It turned out that our outside breaker was rusted to crap and needed replacing. The condo company suggested an electrician who came out and fixed everything and is my absolute hero.

But the TV still didn’t work. Allow me to elaborate with the help of photos I took of my sad TV. First here’s what the analog channels look like. Mind you, the sound comes through crystal clear.While messing around with the remote, I clicked the Guide button and, as if to drive me even crazier, this happened.As you can see in the little tiny box in the upper left hand corner, the picture comes in PERFECTLY. WTF?! Here’s what some of the less good digital channels look like, which is even stranger.This is like when our old gigantic TV would act up when I was a little kid and I’d give it a good two-footed kick on the screen and the black bars went back where they belonged. And finally, here’s the good digital channels, which are basically NBC and Discovery. Oh, also, even though it might not look like it thanks to the fuzzy reflection, I assume you I am in deed wearing clothes, it’s a white T-shirt. Get your mind out of the gutter. Grr. I tried everything I could think of to remedy/test the situation. I tried a different cable coming out of the splitter into the TV. I tried removing the splitter (which allows us to have internet as well, which is decidedly more important considering I work from home) and putting the cable directly from the wall into the TV. No change. I even replaced the surge protector multi-plug. To see if was a cable issue I brought our little TV out of the bedroom and hooked that up and it works just fine. RAGE.

I’ve tried communicated with Sony on three separate occasions, using three different methods, none of which have helped. I sent an email to their help desk which told me to unplug it for a couple minutes and try something called a power restart. Done and done with no change. I then tried the chat help selection and I think I was really talking to a robot who was just giving me the same troubleshooting tips as before. Nothing helped. After a busy weekend, I decided to give it one last shot before calling the cable company or taking it to a repairman, called the phone number, got a nice enough guy whose accent made the call nearly pointless and got THE SAME ADVICE. I dutifully tried it all again to no avail. The guy recommended I call the cable company and then try some official Sony fixers in the area.

Oh, the other weird thing is that the TV will play DVDs via the HDMI plug, but can’t read the Xbox through either the Red/Blue/Green plugs or the Red/White/Yellow ones visually. Again, the sound comes through. It’s infuriating. So after all this time and the rollercoaster of emotions I was on starting with the power problems and now with the TV, I’m exhausted and angry. Then Wipeout came on and seeing people launched off a giant balloon into water thanks to either a loved one or a 250 pound weight really helped. I figured I’d post this to see if anyone else has been having this problem and see what the solution was. The guy I talked to said he’d never encountered this particular problem before. I’m really hoping that, even though our warranty has expired, that whatever is wrong will be covered by Sony. I’m guessing it’s a faulty chip or some such, which would seemingly be their bad. If not, well, you won’t see me purchasing any further Sony products and I’ll use my little corner of the internet to let everyone know what’s up. Stay tuned, I wish I could, at least on a better TV…

History Misses The Mark With Top Shot

Okay, I don’t exactly agree with the headline I just wrote, but it was just too good to pass up. I like the concept behind History Channel’s Top Shot which brings marksmen and women together from all different disciplines, puts them on teams, gives them challenges and then makes the losing team vote two people in to shoot for their change to stick around. But, it’s not a perfect show by any means and the fault lies firmly on the History Channel.

The biggest problem the is that they ruin the final challenge almost every time they show an episode. I first noticed this while watching the first two episodes. I saw them as reruns and both times at the end of the show during the commercial breaks of the final challenge to see who gets to stay and who goes home, History showed a preview for the next episode featuring the winner! I thought it might have just been a rerun problem which is forgivable, but then last night, when watching the new episodes (which featured archery and fire!) that same thing happened! It’s the final throwdown between these two dudes using crossbows, it’s neck and neck and you’re wondering who’s going to win. They cut to commercial to raise tension and during the break they tease the next episode, showing one of the guys very early in the ad. Great. Thanks for killing all the tension from your show.

The other problem I have with the show is that it’s trying to make drama or at least focusing on it too much. I don’t tune into a History Channel competition show to hear one guy badmouthing another one because the kid made an offhand comment about divorce and then apologized for it. Seeing a grown man hold a grudge against a 20 year old kid is fine for a Bravo show, but just makes me want to turn off one involving guns being shot from a chair lift (the final challenge for the second episode). Stop making me want to turn this show off and ruining the ending History Channel!

Confessions Of A Danger-Ish Mind: Real Housewives Of New York Is Losing Me

Now, I hope it’s obvious that the confession here is that I watch Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York City and not that I’m losing interest in the show. Here’s the problem, the not-really-housewives are coming off as really terrible people or constantly fighting with the others and becoming less and less interesting. Now, I don’t want to comment on these individuals as actual people, but the characters they’ve been edited into. Obviously there’s a lot that goes on that doesn’t make it into the show. Hell, when I watch these long running reality shows, I tend to think of everyone more as ficitonal characters anyway. Anyone else do that? Anyway, Here’s my rundown of the “housewives” and my current take on them after the most recent episode called “New Girl, Old Money” which introduces a new “housewife” who is not even a wife. Oh, also, I obviously snagged these pics from Bravo’s site, their full gallery is here.

Ramona is out-of-her-mind crazy. No two ways about it. She’s got no class and constantly gets into peoples’ faces at the least appropriate times, always chalking it up to just being honest. Let me tell you, the world doesn’t need the honesty of some broad with crazy eyes. The Countess has been pretty disappointing this year, coming off as a catty high school mean girl. She should be one of the more sympathetic characters because she got divorced between seasons, but instead she’s coming off as even more arrogant than ever before. Plus, her relationship with Jill has gotten to whole new levels of weirdness with them hanging out in bed together and the Countess repeatedly jumping in when Bethenny was trying to patch things up with Jill. Yeah, it’s awkward, but maybe you should relax and not be so selfish with your friend.

Jill has really come off as a mean, spiteful person so far this season. Bethenny has tried to apologize to her repeatedly and yet she’s not letting it get through. I understand being upset about Bethenny not being around when her husband had cancer, but she blew that whole phone message way out of promotion. It seems like with tonight’s episode she might actually think about forgiving Bethenny, but she’s also coming off as this total press hound, shilling for Kodak in the middle of a Kodak party after Ramona says Kodak isn’t doing so well. Hey, they’re not. I don’t want to defend Ramona who, again, shouldn’t have brought it up at that time, but still, Jill came off as being so terrified of miffing a sponsor. Lame.

Sonja’s the new “girl.” She’s obsessed with her body, sex and animals. Or something. She comes off as an even more annoying Carrie Bradshaw (kind of looks like her too). Sonja seems to fit right in in her debut episode as she both stirs up, gets in the middle of and spreads trouble around. Don’t expect her to become a sympathetic character, she’s supposed to be the racy one, the one who, gasp, talks about sex!!!

Alex hasn’t really been much of a factor aside from facilitating meetings with the other women for them to argue at and meeting up with people after they’ve had arguments. I actually really like her and Simon’s relationship. They’re weirdly infatuated with each other and might have strange ideas on just about everything, but their kind of endearing. The problem is that, they’re also boring in the same way that Switzerland is boring (chocolate and knives aside). With Bethenny and Jill fighting, Alex has become Bethenny’s new best friend and ends up communicating with the other girls, but it’s all just kind of whatever. Give her and Simon their own spinoff where they live in Brooklyn and aren’t forced to hang out with all these crazy people and I think it could work.

Kelly’s been on the defensive a lot this season, but it’s all been pretty warranted. It seems like everywhere she goes, she’s getting into it with someone (most often Ramona) or getting put into weird situations (Ramona disliking Kelly because she made up with Bethenny). Last year, Kelly came off as one of the villains, but I think she just doesn’t choose her words well and likes to put negative encounters out of her head. Seeing her walking around and talking to people for her fashion column (I wonder how heavily edited that bad boy is) adds to her charm this season, but it’s exhausting to watch someone constantly being railroaded by these other women and I can only imagine how hugely annoying it must be to live.

Ah Bethenny. The tell-it-like-it-is health and fitness buff has really become the heroine this season. They tried to make her the villain in the Jill/cancer storyline, but that only last until we actually heard the message and her side of things. She’s finally got a man who seems good for her, which is nice, but she gains sympathy thanks to her repeated battles with Jill, dealing with the Countess’ seeming jealousy and Ramona’s all around craziness (tell her that she’ll probably screw things up with her boyfriend). Of course, adding to her heroine status is the fact that she’s now pregnant. Maybe the news will spread some good tidings throughout the “housewives” and they can reign in the cattiness to at least cut down on the annoyance this season.

I know this entire Real Housewives empire is based on people watching rich people and either admiring them or disliking them, but for whatever reason these women are making me less and less interested in tuning in every week. We’ll see, maybe I’ll stick around until Jill finally accepts Bethenny’s apology only for Bethenny to then throw a pie in her face. Fingers crossed.

Comic Book Commercials, It’s About Friggin Time!

So, as you may or may not have heard already, Vertigo announced on their blog that they’re running a commercial for their graphic novels Filthy Rich and Dark Entries on BBC America and dag-nabbit, it’s about damn time. You can watch it here. Why don’t comic companies advertise more? The only other time I remember seeing a commercial advertising comic books was back when Todd McFarlane would pop up, sitting in his weird, giant chair talking about how Spawn was the best selling comic of all time.

By placing ads in comics, you’re preaching to the choir, but by actually telling the rest of the world, you’re doing this thing called “expanding your audience.” I’d say it’s basic business, but I have no idea if that’s an actual term because I’ve never studied business, but it’s at least logical. Now, I know that commercials cost a ton of money (though they cost less if you have in-house designers put something together like this, Marvel does the same thing with their online commercials). All you have to do is tell normal people that the product is actually out there. I’ve actually had conversations with people after they saw movies like Spider-Man, X-Men and Batman Begins where they’re astonished that comic books still come out. That was incredibly demoralizing. That would be like people not knowing movies or cartoons or books still came out. Gah!

I will concede, that, given these rough economic times, that it might not make the most sense to advertise on television. But here’s an idea. Advertise during the movies. Not in the actual movies, that would be just too meta, but before or after. Throw some fairly recent covers up there and say something like “To check out the further adventures of Iron Man, go to your local comic shop!” or “Go to Marvel.com!” or “Subscribe here!” Just do something to let the general population know that comic books still exist and are still out there for popular consumption. We need the new readers you guys.

Hey Kid, Your Mom Hated You

One of the things that worries me about this world of online tell-alls is that people divulge too much information. I believe that some things should remain private and worry about kids growing up now who have their entire lives on Facebook, Twitter and Blogspot archives. Well, apparently this isn’t just a problem for young people. Has anyone else seen this HSBC Soap Box commercial? The second person who gets up (starting at 5 seconds and going to 10) says “I didn’t want to be a mom. It took me three months to love him. I can’t imagine my life without him.” That’s some cold shit right? Why would ever say that? I mean out loud. Ever. Not just to a commercial camera crew. Which she did. Your kid WILL see that. Especially if he somehow becomes such a UnitedMonkee fan that he’s driven to read all my archives. Sometimes those things we think inside our heads should stay in there.