After the success of using Yellowstone as motivational carrot to to accomplish long-delayed car and hiking tasks, I turned my eyes toward the mess that had become my office. Stacks of unread mail and magazines threatened to topple over onto Scout in her heated bed. My pictures were scattered haphazardly across multiple hard drives, most with no backups. Most of the furniture no longer met my needs, and hadn’t for some time.
The second carrot? I bought a new TV. Perhaps I should explain.
I didn’t think to take before and after pictures, but the top picture gives a little view into the way things were. The picture is a quick snap of Sam with my iPhone, he normally ignores the TV but is rather obsessed with wolves and sits transfixed at my feet whenever they are on.
The TV is a 20″ CRT that I bought my junior year in college so it’s well over twenty years old. I felt the urge to upgrade to HDTV whenever the NFL season rolled around, the photographer in me loves loves loves high-resolution imagery, but I couldn’t justify the cost given the amount of TV I watch.
Below the TV sits the tape and CD players I got as high school graduation presents, putting them at over 25 years old. I haven’t used them in years, not since Mr. Steve Jobs and the good folks at Apple forever changed the way I listen to music with iTunes and the iPod. Below the stereo gear sits the digital-to-analog converter that converts the digital cable signal into an analog signal the old TV understands. Below that (and out of frame) lies the slowly dying TiVo that I inherited from my wife, while beneath them all sits the receiver I got my first year of grad school a touch over 20 years ago. So long ago that my address on the box it was shipped in was hand written by the mail order company I ordered it from.
The stand is a metal serving cart that my grandmother gave me when she learned I had nowhere to put the TV. To the right is an old printer stand that now holds DVD’s and magazines and mostly serves as a bird viewing platform for the cats when the window is open. To give you an idea of it’s age, the middle area was designed to hold a big ream of tractor-feed paper that fed into my dot matrix printer (that, at least, I no longer have).
To the left is a VCR tape cabinet even though I haven’t had a VCR for years. On top of it an original XBox that I used only briefly since the small TV wasn’t much fun to play games on. I used to use it as a DVD player but had long since stopped both because of the noisy fan and because I had to keep switching the connection to the sole input at the back of the TV with the TiVo, and that got old pretty quickly.
Off to the left and out of frame is a long and wide desk originally designed for the massive CRT’s we used way-back-when for picture editing, which also houses the aforementioned towering stacks of unread mail and a few cat beds and a scattered array of hard drives and computer gear.
In the middle of the room, and from whence I took the picture, sits my reclining chair which I dearly love. At only a decade old it’s one of the newer pieces of gear in my office and hopefully will last for years to come. It’s small and thin and fits well in my little office with plenty of room for me and Snuggle One and Snuggle Two (aka Scout and Sam), but not so much for the 65 pounds of Snuggle Three (aka Ellie).
In late October, Amazon put a nice 42″ Panasonic LED HDTV on a special one-day sale for a crazy low price. Two days later, a friendly UPS man brought it to my door. It’s not the TV you see in the picture below, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The new TV was too wide to fit on my grandmother’s old serving cart so it was finally retired from duty, and with it went all of the gear it I wasn’t using, plus its neighbors the printer stand and VCR tape cabinet. In its place, as shown in this picture (another quick iPhone snap, this time Sam and I enjoying a show about birds on the new gear), went an Ikea TV stand. Plus a new TiVo Premiere that can record in HD, and a Playstation 3 that serves up both high-def games and Blu-ray movies. Hidden out of sight is an 8-port gigabit router that feeds Internet connections to everything.
But this TV isn’t the one I bought from Amazon. My wife fell in love with that one so, when we saw Best Buy had a similar 42″ Panasonic plasma on sale for a good price, we picked one up while getting TV stands at the next-door Ikea. The plasma went into my office while the LED replaced the old CRT in hers.
I also took a good whack at the unread mail, I haven’t quite got through it all but Scout no longer fears for her life. The pictures on the hard drives are mostly organized and mostly backed up, the hard drives themselves now neatly arranged as well. Next up is to test out my old film scanner to see if it still works, if not the old PC I keep just to talk to it will walk the plank as well.
Then I’ll look for a new desk that better fits my small office, and then if I can work it out perhaps a small love seat or couch that will meet all the snuggling needs. Then it will be time to tackle the bookshelf and finally the Closet of Doom.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I can’t wait to see my first Super Bowl in HD, the NFL really does look amazing on these TV’s. I’m sorry I waited so long to start putting my office and life in better order, but better late than never.