January 2005

Fun With Cathode Ray Tubes..

The sound of a TV changes just before you are about to fall asleep. After noticing this phenomenon in rooms of all different sorts of shapes and sizes, generally my small apartment though, I feel quite comfortable saying that it has absolutely nothing to do with the acoustics of any given room.

But it sure is always how I know that I'm about to fall asleep.

Assuming, of course, that the TV is actually on.

It's the strangest sensation really. You're watching whatever it is that your watching, when all of a sudden (all of a sudden being used in it's calmest possible context), you notice that while you haven't missed any part of the feature of the evening, there's parts that seemed to go by almost a little to fast so that you couldn't quite catch them.

And then you notice that the sound of the TV has changed, just slightly, but boy you sure do notice it.

To briefly digress, I was walking out of a hardware store a week or so ago when it occurred to me that there were very few people who could get away with actually calling someone "boy" as a proper noun rather than the throwaway word it gets used as most of the time. This thought immediately conjured to mind a visual of an older gentleman, the kind who wears lots of sweaters, carries himself with confidence despite the limitations of his age, and above all else instantaneously makes you feel like he has experienced at the very least three times as much as you ever will. Maybe he hasn't, but that's not at all the point.

More importantly, he makes you feel like one day you'll be a similar character, but with even more conviction, but you'll always remember that feeling that he gave you when he said those two words, directly to you...

"Listen, Boy..."

For some reason, and every moment since that I have thought of it, I think of Johnny Cash. I would have no problems hearing "Listen, Boy" from Johnny Cash were he still kicking about.

In fact, I think it would be kind of cool.

But on with the TV's...

I've spent the last couple of nights (as I feel myself now using the TV as a lullaby of sorts, insomnia being what it is) watching programs that I have seen many times so that I can't get involved with them, that sort of thing, trying very hard to keep track of the changes that a TV goes through as you begin fall asleep in front of it.

The first thing that I have noticed is that the higher pitches seem to gain a lot more prominence. Very subtly at first, but eventually you recognize that the midtones have taken over what used to be the lower tones job. The Bass? More or less disappeared.

And then the distance between you and your TV set seems to grow a great deal. Of course it hasn't, but at that moment, your foggy brain takes a second to realize that you're not moving away from the tv, you're falling asleep. Usually shortly after this your eyes drop shut and you are completely asleep.

From what I remember (although it's been a while), this effect was even more profound when it came to lying on a couch.

My couch is currently buried under a variety of clothing and jackets that I haven't yet find the motivation to put in their rightful place. Truth be told, my entire living room is something of a disaster. It's a smallish living room, decorated in what I like to think of as my own distinctive fashion, but right now it's filled up with things that I should have put away long ago. Throw in the two rather large keyboards (well one keyboard and one organ really) that I have picked up in the last month or so as well as a amazingly space consuming inflatable palm tree and there's barely room to do much of anything.

I could throw in an incredibly tasteless joke about how my large organ is taking up space in my living room, but that would be far too heavy handed.

What little space that remains available is currently being taken up by...

Wait for it...

A TV.

Cannibalism And Other Electronic Arts

A dead one mind you. Quite disemboweled.

To be sure, its death is not on my hands. As I have mentioned before, the rear door of my apartment building serves as a dumping ground of sorts for things that people no longer want. Usually it's clothing and assorted trinkets. Just last week there was a microwave that had I made off with, I'm quite sure it would leak enough ambient radiation that I would end up growing a second head out of my chest, and then I would attempt to lead the citizens of an oppressed city to freedom and their own air supply (because it's a domed city you see...) before dying a martyr to the cause..

And I have plans for Tuesday, so that's just no good for me.

In the win column, I do have a three-pronged candleholder I made out of a lamp I found there on day. It's quite nice, and it has what I believe is a rosary on it. There's a picture of a saint and some Latin on a little pendant that is attached to the gold chain. I haven't the vaguest idea who the saint is or what the Latin says, but it has a certain kitsch value that I'm quite fond of.

You can never have enough saints backing you I think. Good people are hard to find. I sleep a little better at night knowing that whoever that saint is, they're doing a very serious job of guarding my bathroom counter and all of my personal grooming supplies.

Anyways, a couple of days ago, there was a TV/VCR combo dealie that I couldn't just walk by.

I knew quite well at the time that there was in all likelihood something wrong with it, but I know a little about electronics, so I figured that I would look at it as a unique fixer upper opportunity.

Hard to find those these days.

Well, a couple of hours later and I have been unable to figure out why the bloody thing would only stay on for a second or two when I initially plugged it in.

I know why it doesn't right now.

That's because its working bits are all spread out across my living room floor.

Sometimes, in attempt to fix something, you can take it so far apart that eventually you realize that you haven't the faintest idea how to put it back together. At that point, you pretty much have to cut your losses and do the best you can to salvage whatever might be salvageable.

Usually, there isn't much. Just a bunch of bits that don't work at all, although they look terribly complex.

Tomorrow, I'm going to take all the electronic bits to the dumpster. Hopefully, I'll be able to do it without catching the eyes of anyone who walked by the TV and knew better than to pick it up and left it for me to adventure with.

Mind you, I have a plan for the casing of the TV.

I'm thinking that I could probably make a pretty cool aquarium of it, so I'm going to keep that.

Whether or not I ever actually get around to that, we will have to see. But the intention is there, and I think that must mean something.