Headphone Amp, Grado 125s

DAVE: Well, this is a headphone amp and it just boosts the volume and makes the clarity off the hook, and then these are Grado 125s, which is just really, killer, killer portable sound.

A headphone amplifier, or headphone amp, is a low-powered amplifier that raises the low-voltage signal from an audio device so that it can be converted into sound waves by the speakers inside headphones. It works like the amps used to power full-sized speakers at a lower scale.

Grado 125s [pictured] are headphones made for the home market by Grado Labs in Brooklyn. They are stylish, reasonably priced, and good quality, but apparently not very comfortable to wear.

Demo, Drum Machine

DAVE: I can play you a song we demo’d a couple weeks ago using a drum machine.

A demo (short for demonstration) is a song or group of songs recorded by a band that can be handed on to record labels, producers, or other artists. Bands also record demos for their own use and reference.

A drum machine [pictured] is an electronic musical instrument that creates percussion sounds, drum beats, and patterns. Drum machines may imitate drum kits or other percussion instruments, or produce unique sounds, such as synthesised electronic tones. A drum machine often has pre-programmed beats and patterns for popular genres and styles, such as pop music, rock music, and dance music. They have been commonly in use since 1980.

Dave’s band obviously used a drum machine on their demo because they didn’t have a drummer – now they do.

PalmPilot

JENNIFER: Uh, do you wanna pick a time [to talk] now or later . . . ?

RORY: Later’s fine.

JENNIFER: I’ll make a note in my PalmPilot.

Palm was a line of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and mobile phones developed by California-based Palm, Inc., originally called Palm Computing, Inc. Palm devices were the first popular handheld computers, helping to pave the way for smartphones. The first Palm device, the PalmPilot 1000, was released in 1996. The most recent one, the m505, had been released in January 2002, and cost around $300-400.

Star Sixty-Nine

[phone rings] RORY: He star sixty-nined us?

In North American telecommunications, a call return service for landline phones which automatically dials the number from which the last incoming call was made, activated by pressing the ‘star’ (*), 6, and 9 buttons.

In use since the 1990s, it is still available today, and is often a free service, but not always. It seems to still be a paid service in Connecticut in 2002, since Lorelai implies that a wealthy Harvard graduate can afford it.

[Picture shows still from a 1996 advertisement].

Dot-Com Bust

EMILY: With the dot-com bust and the job market dwindling and the stock market going up and down like a yo-yo, everyone and his brother knows the best chance for success and financial security is not just to go to college, but to go to a top college.

The dot-com burst, or bust, was the ending of the dot-com bubble of 1997-2001, previously mentioned, involving excessive speculation in internet-based services and businesses. Higher interest rates are generally thought of as a major contributor to the dot-com burst. The stock market had a significant downturn in September 2002, the time of the events of this episode, which is why Emily is probably more alarmed about the economy than usual.

LoJack

RORY: Louise, what’s your idea?

LOUISE: A lipstick LoJack.

LoJack is a recovery system for stolen cars that uses GPS to locate vehicles, notifying police of its location and allowing recovery in less than half an hour. The LoJack system was created and patented in 1979 by William Reagan, a former police commissioner. Its name is meant to be the opposite of hijack.

Although we haven’t developed a LoJack system for lipsticks, there are now similar systems in place to find computers, laptops, and phones, and even lost car keys can give off a sound to alert the owner to their position, so Louise’s idea was ahead of its time.

Energizer Bunny

LORELAI: Again, yes, just like the pink bunny with the drum. Uh, anyway, I was wondering if, um, you have had a chance to reconsider my loan? . . . Uh, no, I think it’s Energizer . . .

The Energizer Bunny is the marketing mascot of Energizer batteries. It’s a fluffy pink mechanical rabbit that beats a drum. It began as a parody of the Duracell Bunny (the mascot for Duracell batteries), which first appeared in commercials in 1973. The trademark had lapsed by 1988, so that Energizer were free to use a similar concept.

The Energizer Bunny is promoted as a toy which is able to last much longer than others, because he’s powered by Energizer batteries. In the same way, Mr Rygalski sees Lorelai as indefatigable in her attempts to get a loan. When she corrects him by saying it’s called the Energizer Bunny, Mr Rygalski, being older than Lorelai, was probably thinking of the earlier Duracell Bunny.

Xerox

JACKSON: I have a cousin who owns a Xerox company that specializes in taking pictures and making them into things – calendars, coffee mugs, collector plates, and pajamas.

Xerox is a corporation selling print and digital document products and series, headquartered in Connecticut, and incorporated in New York. They are best known for making photocopiers – so much so that Xerox is often used to mean any photocopier (like Kleenex and tissues), and “xerox” can be used as a verb, meaning “to photocopy”.

Jackson’s cousin owns a photocopying service which puts photos onto gift items. Jackson has a large family, and we learn a lot about them during the course of the show. We also learn that Jackson was on the wrestling team when he was in high school.

Molecular Transport Device

LORELAI: I offered to fund the instant invention of a molecular transport device but they just didn’t go for it.

A reference to the 1975 musical comedy horror film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, based on the 1973 stage musical. In the film, the mad scientist Dr Frank-n-Furter (played by Tim Curry) has a Sonic Transducer in his laboratory – an “audio-vibratory-physio molecular transport device”. It is capable of breaking down solid matter and projecting it through space, and possibly time.

A transducer is something which converts energy from one form to another (such as light into an electrical signal). A microphone is an example of a transducer – indeed, a sonic transducer, since it changes sound waves into electrical signals. In the musical, it’s basically a teleportation device. See Beam me up, Scotty.

(Picture shows Dr Frank-n-Furter standing against the Sonic Transducer).

MissPatty.net

PARIS: I went on the web and I found a site called MissPatty.net. It’s in your town … Is it big enough? The site says it’s 720 square feet.

Do not try to go to MissPatty.net – I did, and my anti-virus had to send me about a million warnings in big red letters that it was a hijacked infected site.

We here learn the exact size of Patty’s Place, which is 720 square feet, or around 66 square metres. That’s about the size of a roomy three-car garage, or a small one bedroom apartment.