Craig Grau: Living room playbook - Tucson Local Media: Sports

Craig Grau: Living room playbook

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Posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 11:00 pm

I’m hazarding a guess here.

Had Ted Kaczynski ordered NFL Sunday Ticket, he would have ended up embracing technology — maybe even an electric nacho tray — rather than the poured cement writing slab from where he now mathematically deciphers the Madden Curse.

That same carrot, the joy of 14 Hi-Def games in my own home, could almost lure me into grad school, to dissect differential equations and melt down over the higher calculus that figures into quarterback ratings.

But I feel no need to chase an advanced degree’s income just yet.

Especially when my (future) father-in-law tapped me to wire up his brand-new entertainment system; a testosterous 50-inch LCD and 5.1 channel mix worthy of its own Sunday Hail Marys.

The plan sounded simple enough: Parachute in, pet the dogs, toss some wiring, press a few buttons, kick back and earn a season-length post to watch my Chicago Bears drift along in the Quarterback Sea.

But like preseason projections and Pee Wee playbooks, “quick start” guides lie.

Maybe it’s the translation factor from Asiatic tongues to English instructions that trips up home theater installations like a bad audible. Synchronizing four new devices, and setting one remote control to wield their powers is anything but quick — requiring several black-screen dropouts during kickoffs and challenge replays.

By mid-afternoon, the living room is a mess of boxes, bits of spliced speaker wire and Taco Bell wrappers the dogs carted off during fits of awe and distraction.

And there’s still no sound.

So, back to the manual, a maze of fiber-optic post patterns and curl options that leads to disconnections and swaps for cables entombed in the garage.

When the audio kicks in at full volume, the dogs levitate from the simulated 90-decibel crowd, and run outside.

Of course, there’s no cleanup going on — Man Law allows for settling on the couch among plastic wrappers and discarded batteries until the wrap-up show finishes.

But when it comes to favors, football fans will do anything for family.

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