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Putting the words "entertainment" and "sokoban" together in a sentence. Really. - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
April 17th, 2008
09:32 am

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Putting the words "entertainment" and "sokoban" together in a sentence. Really.
Oooof.


So, a while ago, maybe 1992, I bought a TV. And then in 1993, I moved into my first apartment, and I had a buddy hold on to my TV as I moved, and in the process, the buddy realized that metal belt buckles and picture tubes make for an unfortunate combination. I don't hold any ill will towards that buddy - honest mistake. He was mortified, though, and he bought me a new TV. Rock on!

That was June 1993.

I've moved three times in the ensuing 15 years (yikes) and lugged that TV with me all the way. Ok, I didn't physically tote the thing from Boston to Seattle, but I did move it around a bit. And, by the way, yikes - it's maybe a 21 inch, or is it 29 inch... I don't recall, some dimension that equates to heavy. Of course, these days, with the LCDs and the DLPs and the HDMIs, people are asking about 48 inch screens and 52 inch screens. Good questions, but if you had to make a nonflat version of a 52 inch screen, your back would explode the moment you thought about lifting it.

Don't laugh, it happens all the time. Look it up.

I mention the lifting and the carrying and whatnot, because after 15 or so years, the poor old thing is showing its age. Every now and then, the picture flickers, and there's occasional color fringing. So, I had been itching to get a projector for a while. I'm not talking about one of those refrigerator-sized appliances that has a translucent screen and some sort of projection device hidden underneath, which ends up being as cumbersome as any television, I'm talking about one of those little devices, the likes of which you might find on a conference room table for people to plug their laptops into, all the better to deliver PowerPoint presentations with while droning on about TPS revenue accrual return utilization (WENUS).

Well, there are business projectors, tuned for PowerPoint and Excel and plugging in a laptop, and there are home theater projectors, tuned for Die Hard and Spongebob and The Transformers. I want the Die Hard projector, but I explained to myself that buying a refurbished Excel projector made sense for the short term. I'll get the 1080p HDMI super sweet device in time, but for now, I've got an affordable solution that allows me to retire the television.

Actually, I got the projector maybe a month ago. I looked around the house for where to set it up, and the most sensible thing at the time seemed to be to put the projector in the middle of the living room, pointed "backwards", over the couch at the back wall. The nice thing about this was that I could plug the XBox into it and watch DVDs or play Guitar Hero. Amongst the dorky things about this include the crazy rats' nest of cables that I was adding to, and the fact that I would have to sit next to the projector in a chair, looking backwards over my couch. By the way, that couch is almost as old as the television, and it's MUCH comfier than the chair.


This was the way things have been for a while, but I grew weary of watching movies "backwards", so Monday, I mounted the projector on the ceiling. This was progress, but I ran into two problems. The first problem involved figuring out where in the menu the setting was to invert the picture, and when the projector is upside down, the menus are harder to read. Also, the menus happened to be projected onto a speaker, which made it even harder to read.

The second issue was that the entertainment center - the big black box of a cabinet that I used to keep the TV and VCRs and so on together - that thing was obstructing my couch-to-projected-image line of sight. Well, it's time to retire the entertainment center, anyway.

That was last night's project.

I unplugged all the components, including a cassette deck, two VCRs, a laserdisk player, a CD changer, a DVD changer, the television, the center channel speaker, the surround speakers, two satellite speakers, and a bass speaker. In disconnecting all those components, I found myself knee deep in RCA stereo cables.

Also, dust.

I moved the TV from the entertainment center to a somewhat clear section of floor, and proceeded to slide it into the kitchen. Ooof, I'm out of practice carrying televisions. And then I proceeded to clear a path through my random cables and crap so that I could slide the entertainment center cabinet out of the living room. If you've ever played one of those puzzle games where you have to move crates around, you're familiar with "sokoban", and my removal of that entertainment center cabinet was very reminiscent of that sort of gameplay. Also, there are commercial sliding block games, sold under the name "Rush Hour" and others - same sort of idea. Slide the television next to the pantry, slide the cabinet in front of the refrigerator. Hm, now I can't open the dishwasher. I need to slide the television out into the dining room to free up the entertainment center to move...


Around midnight, I had the TiVo and XBox hooked back up to the receiver/amp, which was hooked up to the projector, and I realized that's all I need to hook up for a while - I can play CDs or DVDs through the XBox, and it's as pleasant an experience as I ever had through my DVD or CD changers. (Actually, hello, who plays CDs anymore?)

To validate that everything was working, I popped Rock Band in, and downloaded the Boston track pack and the Classic Rock track pack. "Call Me", "Message in a Bottle", "Peace of Mind" - I played a fair amount of this before realizing that I needed to go to bed.

But first, I checked my email, and was halfway through composing something in GMail when my machine stopped seeing DNS from my ISP. I was curious to find that the AJAX plumbing inside GMail issued periodic web connections, which stopped working when the DNS went away. In particular, autosave stopped working halfway through the email.


Whoo. That was my evening. I inhaled a lungful of dust. I'm sore from the lifting and dragging and whatnot. I'm sleepy from getting to bed late and up early. My hand's a little sore from being out of practice on the fretboard.

Good times.

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