Thursday, September 15, 2011

Freecycle – I love you!

imageI’ve been in love with Freecycle for a long time, and have given and gotten many items of actual value for absolutely NOTHING, but I am so, so excited about this week’s acquisition:  computer speakers.

Our computer CAME with speakers, but a mouse (literally, ugh) chewed the wire last winter.  So we have already been listening to HALF the music and sound of all our videos and DVDs for quite a few months.  But then, a few weeks ago, the volume/power knob started giving out, making it very difficult to turn the speakers off and on (which we do regularly; I turn the sound off completely sometimes during naps).

So I turned to Freecycle, where I got two replies… I chose one at random and shlepped out to the middle of nowhere, only to discover that although the speakers were made by Sony, they were unpowered, meaning they don’t have to plug in.  That’s a BAD thing, because it makes them rather gutless and only good for low levels of personal music-listening.  Well, needless to say, I was kind of miffed.

Luckily, I’d told the second person that I probably didn’t need her speakers, but that I’d get back to her after the first pickup.  So I emailed her again to say I would need her speakers after all, and we set up a time for Wednesday night for me to shlep BACK out to the middle of nowhere (why does everybody live in Etobicoke???).

So out I drove, last night in the rain, cursing and wondering how it could POSSIBLY be worth it instead of just going on Craigslist and paying $10 or going to Radio Shack (I still call it Radio Shack) and paying $20 or whatever for a pair of lousy speakers that would do the job.

And then I limped up to her door and was presented with the biggest, most beautiful computer speakers I have EVER seen.  Made by Harmon-Kardon for Dell (HK395), there are actually THREE of them:  a subwoofer and two mini-speakers for treble.  Wow!  I staggered out and tossed them in the trunk, hoping hoping hoping they still worked, because they’d been sitting in her basement for years.

BOY was I impressed when we turned them on.  It is almost too much sound, too high quality, for the YouTube videos and kids’ CDs and DVDs we listen to on the computer.  One of the teenagers, mortified, said, “You are NOT using that with the computer!  I have gotten used to a lot of [embarrassing, weird] things [as a result of being part of this family], but there is NO way we can use those speakers. Just keep the ones we already have!” (technically, one, as the other was mouse-severed, but I didn’t argue)

I just checked, and these speakers, a few years old, are still selling on eBay for $80.  And mine were… FREE!  No way was I going to listen to said teenager.  I ignored the advice and mortification and stuffed the whole thing in place on the desk.  And honestly… it is such a treat,  having that big, bad subwoofer hiding, rumbling, behind the new monitor.  Oh, yeah, did I mention we bought a new 19” monitor two months ago???

If you want to upgrade your computer without spending big bucks or actually modifying anything within the case, I highly recommend a cheap Craigslist monitor 2” bigger than what you’re used to (remember when a 15” monitor felt like it was big enough?), along with a cool pair of HK speakers with a subwoofer!!!

I could just sit here, saying “subwoofer” all day long… but I won’t.  But I am happy.  Just when I thought maybe being cheap wasn’t worth it, it paid off once again.

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