These Go To Nine

My computer is a netbook. The speakers are not powerful. When I listen to audio on it with someone else, we frequently can’t hear well. In order to get enough sound to parse the dialog from our bootlegged version of Sailor Moon, we’d need to crowd our heads by the speaker closer together than I consider acceptable for any activities besides making out and sweaty man-wrestling.

Other times, with other media, we can hear the audio just fine. The speakers are physically capable of making enough sound.

One time, when we couldn’t hear well, someone told me, “the sound is just low on this recording.” I don’t get that. Why can’t I just turn it up more?

Is there an easy way to hack this? I want a program that tells Windows (yeah, okay, I use Windows because I suck at computers, but I swear, I’m still one of you!) “whatever the sound is that anything anywhere on the computer is making, double that.” I don’t want to download the audio and open it in a new piece of software. I just want a master “200% sound” switch for the entire OS. Evidently, there is some reason my computer doesn’t already do this, but to me it feels like there shouldn’t be.


Here is something else I don’t get. Apparently, the economy is bad. It has something to do with the houses. But I checked. The houses are all still there. (Well, not all of them.)

The economy is more than houses, though. It’s goods and services. I learned that in school and it makes sense. So if the economy is bad, there must be less goods and services. But since the beginning of the recession there are just many yoga teachers out there and they are just as stretchy. There are just as many forests for us to cut down and wipe our butts with. When the economy is bad because the middle east doesn’t want to sell much oil, I get that. But as best I can tell, we’re in a recession because we all just kind of decided that we were.

There are those bankers, of course. Those evil bankers in New York, with the big bonuses. We hate them. Grrr.

Well, the bankers had these loans, and they bought the loans from these guys who bought the loans from these other guys who got them from other guys and the loans were bad. But I don’t get that, either. I have a feeling this is a very different use of the word “loan” than when you loan me twenty bucks so I can buy another square watermelon. That comes out of your wallet and goes into mine, with the intention that later on another twenty goes back to you from me. These loans were different and I don’t understand them.

When the stock market “goes down”, what does that mean? We didn’t all get poorer, did we? It doesn’t do anything to the goods and services, which are the economy. So what’s going on? Somehow, once the economy goes down the investors don’t have confidence, and the businesspeople can’t raise capital and don’t want to take risks in the bad economy and so don’t need workers, and you can’t find a job.

But look: aren’t the loans and the stocks and all that just bits floating around in computers? Can’t we do whatever we want with that? I know I’m being naive. I know there are good reasons why everything would go to hell if we just reached in and pressed an “economy 200%” button. I know it is all real. But it’s not visceral. If we’re all having a hard time hearing, it’s a little frustrating to be told the sound is just low on this economy.


I’ve been an athlete. Occasionally I won some of the smaller races I was in. I liked winning races. I also liked it when I didn’t win them, but ran well. I didn’t like it when I ran poorly.

I had a close friend who also ran. We trained together for years on the same team. We knew each other personally and as runners very well. When I watched him running his last championship, I wanted him to win. I really, really wanted him to win. And then he did! He won the championship! It was great. I gave him a big hug and put the race on YouTube. But I was pretty clear on the issue of whether or not I had also won. I hadn’t. I had been standing by the side of the track, eating a burrito. I was never confused about which one of us had done the winning.

Also, sometimes we raced each other. When we did that, I wanted to beat him. Sometimes I did, although ultimately he was a much better runner. But, see, even though I wanted to beat him, I never stopped loving him. (Matt, I still do love you, man, and I promise I’m visiting SoCal as soon as I can.)

I don’t get sports. “We won!” they yell, excitedly, sitting in a bar. What did you win? Why is it so good when the “other team” makes a crucial mistake and feels devastated? Isn’t the other team a critical complement to yours? What’s a competition without a worthwhile competitor?

Watching sports is good fun once in a while. I recently watched Kim Yu Na win the Olympics in figure skating. It was fun and interesting to watch because she’s really good at figure skating. I went ice skating for the first time in my life a few months ago. It’s really hard, but Kim Yu Na practiced it for a long time and can do all these jumps and spins and glides and things better than any other woman. That’s why it’s great to watch.

I can commiserate with the fanatics, because I used to be one. But I am one less and less, and I’m finding that even when I was one, I never understood it.


We, the people.

We, the people, are fans. I can’t get my head around this. No matter how many times I try, I cannot understand how we, the people, can be so fantastically fanatically elated when we win the election, just because we won, but six months later seem to have forgotten our fervor and the fact that the goal is not to win but to do.

I also can’t understand how when we lose, we take such joy in finding the opposing party floundering. We actually jump up out of our bar stools, pointing at the TV and yelling “Yeah!” when something really bad happens to the other team. It’s like we don’t even realize we’re playing the same game.

Damn I love my country, but I do not understand it at all. There is just so much shit that makes no sense to me. But that’s okay. It’s okay, because this problem with my computer is just a veneer. If I can just turn that volume up a bit, the dialog is really good. And that dialog is the part that counts. Hang in there. We’ll find an App for that, to turn the volume up a bit. But hey, as long as we’re crouching down here by the speakers, do you want to make out? Or sweaty-man-wrestle? I could use a little of that.

3 Responses to “These Go To Nine”

  1. Nik Says:

    I’ll only address one problem, get VLC. You can turn up the volume, you can hear the dialogue and not be the guy who reads the subtitles out loud.

  2. Mark Eichenlaub Says:

    I have VLC, but:

    I want a program that tells Windows, “whatever the sound is that anything anywhere on the computer is making, double that.” I don’t want to download the audio and open it in a new piece of software. I just want a master “200% sound” switch for the entire OS.

  3. Nik Says:

    Hmm. I have nothing for Windows, but there is something for the human body- hearing aids. It’s essentially a switch which turns up the volume on the world.

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