Monday, June 21, 2010

"C'est la vie," say the old folks,"Goes to Show, You Never Can Tell."

Well, it all started in October, 2008 when I decided to rearrange my studio to make it more efficient. Like everything else in this world, things must be adjusted to accommodate new ways of thinking, working, and living. Without realizing the implications of my actions, I pulled the plug on my four month old 20"Mac monitor while the Mac G5 was asleep. At the time, I was more involved in placing it in its new environment to see how ergonomically it would meet my needs... and my aching back! Two days later, when I had everything in its place right down to the sharpened pencils, I turned on the computer and there was no picture. What! What's gone wrong now? Hey man, this thing is brand new... hardly used... touted by the trades as one of the five best monitors of 2008. What duh, uh!

You'd think the obvious solution would be to bring the monitor back while it was still under the one year warranty, but that would have been way too easy. I replaced the new monitor with the old monitor that was supposed to be replaced... by the new kid on the block.

The Ilyama 1600 was the pride of the class of 1995 and I loved that monitor. It just continuously performed, seldom needed color correction, and had survived the move from South Pasadena to Folsom in 2001. It was the old cathode ray style monitor that actually dared you to pick it up and move it. It weighed a ton, so until the final move to Louisiana, that puppy stayed right where I originally put it... for years! If you were gonna rearrange the studio, you adjusted everything around the position of the Ilyama. Now, with the new monitor disabled, I dragged the behemoth back into place in front of the Mac monitor and hooked it up once again to the computer. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, the Sugar Bowl, the Super Bowl, King's Day, St. Joseph's Day, St. Patrick's, Fat Tuesday, all partied down in a town that can find any reason to party. Heck, New Orleanians would party about there being no reason to party. Oh, the concept of it all!

Anyway, it was that time of the season, here in south Louisiana, where the cold air meets the warm, moist, spring time breeze wafting through from the Gulf of Mexico and "BAM" without a warning all your peripherals are fried! Amongst the smelly debris, which phone men and insurance investigators swear they can detect permanent damage with their nose, was my "double monitors." Phones, modems, three printers, one UPS unit that didn't work and a Wacom tablet, a keyboard, and a host of USB hubs, were all fried including our $500.00 Australian Fisher/Pickel washing machine. The lightning strike, which was made worse by the disconnection of our house ground plug outside near the utility box, also fried the computer motherboard inside the washer. Luckily, the insurance plan covered just about everything including the Mac monitor, which the investigator assured me, was a victim.

Well, who am I to tell him any different?

Nine months later, an associate to the investigator, dropped off equipment I had long written off as junk including the Mac monitor. It was discovered that the Mac still didn't work, but was not destroyed by the lightning strike, so they returned it to me packed like it was brand new. Oh boy!

Fast forward to just a month ago, when I decided to clean the garage in preparation for two large 3"x4" paneled canvases I was gonna paint for a client, and in the process, throw away a lot of stuff that we no longer needed or was in disrepair. On a whim, I decided to check out the monitor, just to see if it worked. It didn't... dead, gone, kaput! Good riddance!

Only, it sat in the car for two weeks... aggravating me, eating at my guilt, Catholic and otherwise, a brushed aluminum albatross creating drag from the trunk of my car as well as my psyche. Okay, okay, there's probably a million Chinese starving to have a chance to just see if it was repairable. So, I made a reservation at the local Genius Bar last Saturday just to ease my mind. Whatever it is, if it cost me money to fix, well then, the Chinese can have it.

I told the Apple rep my whole story, much to his displeasure and then told me it would cost $300.00 just for the labor. I winced and whined and tried to cajole him into, at least, looking to see if he could make it work first before I committed it to the junk pile. So, he opened the box that it originally came in and saw the monitor just as beautiful and pristine as ever, lovingly repackaged with even the original tape that held the white cover sheet over the "glass". "Wow," he said, "It really looks like you barely used it! When was the purchase date?" I rolled the box over to show him the shipping date of 8/22/08.

He walked back behind the big, white door and returned to hook up the monitor to see if indeed it could be fixed or not. As he wiggled and swiggled and USB'ed his way into the connections, he told me to hope that the monitor would not fire up. With restless anticipation, we both waited for the little white MacBook to boot up and switch the monitor on. Thirty seconds after the Apple chime, which always sounded to me like the opening chord of the Beatles' "A Hard Days Night", the monitor sat quiet, motionless, and dark.

"Mr. Bensen, my manager said we will fix the monitor free of charge since it is obvious to us that it was barely used and would ordinarily have been covered for one year after purchase." "How does that sound?" Smiling, while trying to hold back the tears of joy, I replied that that,"sounds fair!" "Sir, please fill out this form and we will deliver the monitor to your studio in seven to ten days." I thanked him as calmly as I could as he walked off with my monitor and I, with my empty, well kept and original box.

It just goes to show you that sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger and sometimes you're the ball and as the old folks say,"You never can tell!"


  1. Congratulations on your victory over the MacMonster!
    Don'cha just love it when the ball takes a "good" hop?

    And as long as we're being so optimistic...
    "They bought a souped-up jitney, it was a cherry red '53
    And drove it down to New Orleans to celebrate their anniversary..."

    PS: Like the Hard Day's Night reference...

  2. Is a jitney the same thing as a "woody" only east coast? New Orleans was totally different then, for sure.

    And, don't you think those Mac Chimes are damn close to that opening chord... which I will always love because it is a totally open chord, ha!

    It will all be for naught, if when I receive the monitor, it doesn't work!

    But, I'm game for thinking positive... right now!

  3. I swear you and Therese can charm a snake into a free dinner, a new monitor, fill in the blank....
    I NEVER have that kind of luck with salespeople. Apparently the Midas Touch stopped after the second Bensen child was born. "She's King Midas in reverse." (Hollies, anyone?)

  4. It is definitely Therese and I am learning a few things. The monitor is three inches smaller than the one it is replacing, but the picture is so much better for artists. When you move the HP monitor it kinda changes in color and values. If you look at the monitor from the sides, it looks like a film negative. I thought it was just the inherent qualities of the new age monitors, but that's not so with the Mac. And, to think I was gonna chuck it!