I really need to stop inviting my buddy Dave over when I'm feeling tired and irritable, as was the case last night. At least he paid for his share of the pizza this time. Things got off to a rocky start as I greeted him outside my apartment building. My neighborhood is considered a desirable area here in Los Angeles. And Dave was commenting favorably about the female passersby as we stood outside. "I still don't see why there are so many good-looking women in this neighborhood," he said. "Dave, the Fairfax/Melrose area is considered trendy, and it's ideally located," I bristled. Dave, who lives in an undesirable part of the Valley, has knocked my little acre before. "I don't see what the appeal is," he dumbly continued. "Just a bunch of old buildings with high rents." Upon entering my abode, it got worse. Dave complained that my apartment was too stuffy. But it was too chilly to merit turning on the fan. Dave even went on to complain about my cat's presence. "It's his house, too. Perhaps you'd prefer to leave?" I offered. You don't complain about Attila in any way and remain on good terms with me. The tense situation passed, however, when he unloaded some gifts on me (knick knacks, including a cool-looking ink pen that resembles one of the silver spaceships described in Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End). Inevitably, as we devoured the excellent pizza, we started discussing which film to screen. I took the opportunity to update him on my latest plans for upgrading the main home-theater system. It was by the time I was discussing my plans for a high-def settop box and a new progressive-scan DVD player with aspect-ratio control that Dave launched into one of his classic modes. As I was mouthing off on picture quality and reaching for the greatest level of resolution I can attain with my present budget allocations, Dave's inner Luddite burst forth in all its loudmouthed Bronx glory. "Jack, you're the only person around who cares about any of this stuff," he blurted. I had just been discussing some of my plans for audio upgrades. "Dave," I said patiently, "remember when you scoffed at my mentioning how popular DVD is and all you could do to back yourself up was to point out how I was the only person you knew who owned a DVD player? You're sounding like that now. The home-theater industry is taking the consumer-electronics world by storm. DVD has pumped new life into not only the video world but the audio world as well. Millions of people are into this stuff." "Then how come I don't know any of them?" he retorted. "Nobody else I know gives a [expletive deleted] about this sort of [expletive deleted]." "Dave, you know that Internet site I've told you about, the one where I play an official role?" "Oh, give me a break," he responded. "They're just a bunch of Internet geeks." Dave's exposure to the Internet is limited to AOL chat rooms, where he meets all the women he goes out with. He has never been to this corner of the Internet. "Dave, Home Theater Forum is a respected site with a large, diverse membership," I said, maintaining my calm. "We have been responsible for persuading some studios to release certain classic film titles to DVD. Industry professionals respect us and our opinions. And we have a lot of members." "Then they're the only ones besides you who care about all this [expletive deleted]. People I know just buy televisions and videos. They don't give a [expletive deleted] about this 'high-definition TV' you keep talking about." "Dave, get off of it! HDTV is gaining momentum, and unit sales are impressive. And DVD is driving much of this desire for better picture and sound quality." In a nick of time, before tempers flared, I suggested that he pick a film he'd like to see. Dave ended up wanting to screen the Woody Harrelson-narrated documentary about cannabis prohibition, Grass. At least it all ended on a light note. Why do I put myself through all this? Good thing ulcers don't run in my gene pool.