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Los Angeles 2001

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The Grand Trip


This one is called the grand trip … three major destinations in 40 days … more than meets the eye and more than what most would want.  I got very tired after this trip.  In a span of 40 days, I ended up in Los Angeles for three weeks, Denver for a week and then Dallas for some five days to finish up a very hectic October and November.

This period blew my mind.  I never realized that things could get this wild and so quickly as well.  What started off as a request for a mini-tour of the Los Angeles basin area turned into something that was literally spinning out of control before we knew it.   Those California residents … always have to make a big splash it would seem.  “We do things differently here on the coast.”

There were certainly plenty of stories to tell this time as so many interesting things happened and I nearly hit a client for the first time (Nearly).  He was being so annoying and stupid that I almost could not restrain myself.   I did, of course … and so I figured that I would get my little revenge by writing about it.  The names have been changed to protect the guilty even if they really deserve it.

I got into Los Angeles on October 4 to kick off the month.  This trip would last three weeks and I pretty much commuted to everyone’s home from my Aunt’s place in Hacienda Heights.  After the events of Sept. 11, I really thought that this trip might be in doubt, but things came together and we all pushed forward.  The airport security was tighter now than ever before, but it never did delay me too long.  Getting into LAX was wonderful this time around.  There were no people in the terminal except passengers and those that worked at the airport.  I was very used to stepping off the plane and being assaulted by a barrage of religious fanatics looking for money or trying to convert me to their god … “Now all I need is your credit card number.” 

They were all gone … it was wonderful.  I got off the plane, took the short walk to the baggage claim area and then it was out the door to catch the rental car bus.  They did not even have to check my baggage tickets like they always did so many times before.   I took a Ford Taurus this time as I wanted to get the feel of how these large North American cars felt.  In Atlanta, I had an Intrepid, in Minneapolis, I used an Alero, now this time … Ford tough … (In Denver, I would use a Subaru Forrester.)

I got in by noon time and I was off to my first customer’s home for the afternoon.  Laptop map navigation continued to work like a charm.  The first of 33 calibrations in 21 days.  First on the agenda … look for a Walmart type store for necessary tools and jungle supplies.  There is always something like that along the way.  Like death and taxes.  Found a Target store and that was good enough.


The first client was a Lawyer type and he was just getting into the Home theater scene.  He had a 50HX81 Toshiba and my first go at the new line.   The more things you learn the more you do.   Bummer.  Calibration was routine without any surprises, but it was interesting to see the husband / wife conflicts whenever the mother tried to get the son to do his home work rather than watch the calibration guy at work.  Sometimes, dad was not helping … and I am not involved at all.  I should note that this year’s Toshiba sets have the horizontal blanking on the set much closer to 5% than I would like on the sides.  Previously, you might be able to take the left/right overscan down to 2% … but not anymore.  The cut off appears at 4% or so.  The image just blanks beyond that.

The big concern here was that HDTV off the antenna locally was much better than what was coming off DISH.  At least that was the perception.  There had to be something wrong with the installation of the dish.  But with a high signal strength, the HDTV image simply was that way.   Material originating in film always looked more grainy than something from real HDTV camera equipment.  Sometimes this can be hard to grasp and I think this reasoning was lost.

I met up with my aunt after the initial job and it was good to check into a home where I was more familiar with.  Even my aunt’s dog was still there even though he is getting on in years.  I still call him “dog” as I don’t know what his name is.  I think my aunt calls him dog as well.  The dog was given to her daughter, but left behind when the daughter went off to college.  My only reservation about this home was the bed bugs … they do bite.  Each and every time I visit her home.  Plenty of ankle level bites.  Yuck.

Friday Morning

I was off to Melrose area this morning to work on a 65” Toshiba set.  I was carrying along my Cinema 7 remote so that I could turn on the 3:2 pulldown feature on the H80/70 series TV’s that I would encounter.  Another straight forward calibration, but the place was rather odd.   Something odd about the neighborhood … and about the home that I was working in.  I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but my aunt would shed light on this strange feeling that evening.  Explaining just what the Melrose area is all about. 

Friday Afternoon

This was another 65H80 Toshiba, located in a predominately Hispanic/Asian neighbourhood.  At least that was what the client told me.  He was the only Caucasian in the entire apartment building, but the rent was reasonable so there he was.  This was definitely a relatively small space.  The client was a lawyer, but he lived in this bachelor suite and cramp was the order for the day.  How he managed to use a 65” set as his home theater center piece along with some significant audio had to be seen to be believed.  The TV was the room and the room was there for the TV.  We had to literally walk around the TV and all the associated audio gear all the time.  And somehow he managed to fit his desk into this place as well.   I have to credit him for mentioning to me that I should not point out any deficiencies with his TV if I could not fix them.  He did not want to see it.  No ghost line issue or raster ringing.  I took the protective screen off and did the grayscale and at the end, I put the screen back in place because he was expecting some kind of service call form Toshiba.

Saturday Morning

I started to mull over my secondary project in LA outside of the tour itself.  I knew that I needed to start to build my aunt a good entry level home theater system.  She had been living with a 17” Sony TV set for the longest time.  Well, I was having none of that and I was determined to upgrade her while I was around.  I got her a DVD player the last time I came.  This time I would have to work on a larger TV and an audio set up with cable or satellite.  Build it slowly and one piece at a time.  It is here that I start to think about the Star Trek analogy from the episode “A private little war.”  I was introducing a serpent to the garden of Eden or rather, I was that Klingon chap giving the new and improved rifle to the villagers.

The destination this morning was in the extreme northwest area of Los Angeles County.  It was almost at Ventura county if not slightly over there.   The set was a 65H80 unit powered by a home theater PC solution and a separate table top non interlaced Panny DVD player.  A routine calibration, but the client had one guest over to watch.  That guest had used LA local ISF man about town, Robert McJimsey for his Pioneer set.

With the job completed, I knew that the next location would be one of the longer drives of the tour.  I had to make it out to Juniper Hills by Edwards AFB.  A quick detour to Fry’s.  I was looking at both televisions to buy and portable DVD players.  I needed something to help pass the time on those long airplane flights and waits.  A portable unit was in order and I had planned for this because I brought with me some 19 discs full of Japanese Anime along with my usual collection of test material.  I ended up getting a Panasonic unit with a 7” screen.  Definitely a cool toy.  Although I had wanted to get a 5.8” Toshiba 480P portable instead.

Saturday Afternoon

So I was off to Juniper Hills, the home base of the LA tour organizer.  I grumbled a bit because my car mapping program let me down for a while and I kept having to pull off to the side of the road to get better information from the laptop navigation.  I eventually made it there and now the road system started to get me worried.  Picture if you will, I am heading to Dean’s home … the main road ends and I am then on a gravel road.  Then I find myself climbing up the side of the mountain for a bit … and then the road grade got worse.  The car was bouncing up and down due to the road condition.  When the gravel road ended, I started to worry even more.  The roadway became a small hiker’s trail and I really started to get worried.  Deliverance … and I was not ready to die yet.  He lived in a log cabin on the side of a mountain …

It turned out that Dean’s home had both a wonderful view of Palmdale and the AFB further to the north.  Another straight forward calibration, but what made this one memorable was that the home had no central heating system.  Just a wood stove in the living room.  There were also some rather huge moths all over the computer screen when I checked my e-mail later that evening. 

The cats come with the house. 

Sunday Morning

I had a long drive back to LA on this morning having spent the evening at Dean’s home.   This one was a 56H80 unit, but the first thing I said to the client was that his Pioneer 434 unit was poor … so he rushed out to add a Panasonic RP56.  Noteable things with this calibration was that the TV was rather poorly set up.  I fixed that. 

This calibration was also one in which the client suffered from some colour deficiencies.  He had troubles with both the colour red and green.  Needless to say, it changes your perspective a bit when you meet someone like this.  What they perceive as a proper colour palette is rather different from most of us, but his wife was happy with what she saw so I was happy.

Before heading off to the next job, the client showed me his grand piano and that was something.   A $40K piece of work with a built in computer system that had the ability to play back the music from someone that may have died along time ago.  You can actually record them playing with all the emotion and then play it back … (Somehow, this just isn’t right and things like this should be stopped now before it is too late …)

Sunday Evening

The evening was with the Disney man as I put it.  An animator.  The set was a TW65X81 that had previously been worked on by Robert McJimsey in the LA area.  The set had undergone some repair work and my arrival was to put back what was previously done and then a little extra on top of that.  It was a fun evening though as the client and I talked about the various upcoming Disney projects as well as how Disney changed a major sequence of a certain upcoming feature about an alien in order to remove something similar to the Sept. 11 incident.

Monday Morning

A drive into the heart of the entertainment capital.  Hollywood!  An interesting location as the home was located in a converted Hotel that was pretty old and probably had many tales of ill repute to tell.  The client had a 65H80 Toshiba and he already took the protective screen off.  Pretty straight forward calibration job except for the end when the client requested that I eyeball the geometry in all the other TW modes as my eyeballing was apparently much better than his.  Since I was finishing up early anyway, I set up the green grid on the three TW modes so that he could finish the convergence later.  Since his mother was the apartment manager of the complex, I told him that I would give her 50” Toshiba 4:3 set a complimentary grayscale calibration.  That took about 10 to 15 minutes and I was off.  I also had my first taste of Del Taco … not that you needed to know that.

Monday Evening

I went TV shopping first in the afternoon for my Aunt and found a 36” Toshiba for about $800 at Best Buy.  I wasn’t really shopping for price, simply a set that would have a decent image and that I could calibrate with ease.  They did not have the TV in stock so I had to wait a few days or so I thought.  Seemed their computer glitched and gave me a delivery date of five weeks from then. 

The day concluded with another Toshiba 65H80 in Yorba Linda.  I was probably glad I spent the afternoon shopping since the light control at this townhouse was not the greatest.  However, with an evening arrival, calibration went smoothly.  I just cannot remember much more about this job or the client. 

Tuesday Morning

Another return trip to Yorba Linda and this time for a Mits 46” married to a crappy Pioneer progressive scan 434 unit.  I made my feelings clear to the client and he went out to buy another RP56 Panasonic.  At $200 and change, it is a great little entry level unit. A couple of memorable things from this calibration visit was that the client was doing some major home renovation work upstairs and there were some heavy duty fumes of paint thinner or worse seeping downstairs.  Not the best environment … one spark and the whole house could go up … J  Well, maybe not.   The guy was a fireman after all.  The most frustrating part of the calibration was in trying to fix the overscan and the horizontal position of the image.  I could not even take this one less than 7% on one side as the image literally started to wrap on to itself.  This experiment to try to fix it took about 90 minutes and with no success.  I put it back to where it started.  Very problematic overscan.  Which seemed to occur with Mits sets more than others.  There was also a very large dog out side the patio window staring at me.

Tuesday Afternoon/Evening

I drive out to Irvine to visit a surgeon’s home.  It is a duplex design in a secured neighbourhood, but once I walked in the front door, it was apparent this was no typical duplex.  4300 sf … and a bit too large for my liking.  The memorable part of this evening was that the Toshiba 65H80 they had was the worst looking one that I have ever encountered.  Awful doesn’t even begin to describe the images this set produced.  Two of the three guns were so out of focus that the entire image was a rich haze.  I commented that the clients never noticed that anything was very wrong with their set?  That’s just the way these things are.  Well, I told them that I would completely skip any pre-calibration activity and jump right into the good stuff.  No way I was taking pre-calibration readings off this unit.  It was simply too painful to look at.  Now by the end of the session things were looking better.  Some much better for the clients that they commented that the image gave them a sense of vertigo.  It made them dizzy in its clarity. 

Wednesday Morning/afternoon

I drove out to Vista to work on a Pioneer Pro 610.  The client told me that he was also colour deficient in some ways.  There were plenty of cat hairs around this home and It was amusing to see the client take off every few minutes to watch his beloved Houston Astros on the TV upstairs.  The DVD player at hand was the venerable RP91 but this was I time when I and most others had no idea about it’s centering issue.  So when I centered the image, it threw off the other stuff.  Bummer.  I would later try to talk the client into repositioning the Pioneer TV image because of the DVD glitch.  With the recent Version 236 firmware, this centering issue appears to have been solved.  I had some worries coming out of Vista though as the electrical system on the Taurus appeared to fizzle when I started out.  The car would run, but no electric equipment was operating.   I’m saying to myself, I’m up S..t creek … and it was time to do hand turning signals.  This was one headache that I did not need.  Turned into the closest parking lot to figure out what was wrong. 

Wednesday Evening

I made a quick stop at the Best Buy in Carlsbad and found an open box RP56 unit for $190 so I bought it just for kicks.  It would also serve as a good demo for people without progressive scan units. 

Getting back into LA again, the next set was a 55” Mits for a patent lawyer.  A man with a British accent and the name of a dead president.   Learning my lesson from the Mits 46” I was not over zealous with the overscan.  It was a fun evening as we traded stories about the loves in our lives and the people that hurt us the most.  I finished up the evening by calibrating the Client’s older 32” Sony as well. 

Thursday Morning

Another Toshiba 65” unit, but this time married with a Philips DVD player.  I hooked up the RP56 unit as a way to demonstrate the advantages of progressive scan for this client.  At the end of the calibration session and the demonstration, I started to pack up the Panasonic DVD player and the client asked me where I was going with that DVD player.   He bought this unit off me without a second thought.  Quite convincing, the advantages of progressive scan, but you have to know how to demonstrate it.  Do it right, make everyone a believer.  Too bad stores just do not do this.

I noticed that the client had a huge Ford Expedition vehicle so I asked if he would assist me in shipping a 32” Toshiba flat screen set to the home of my Aunt.  Another piece of here home theater puzzle.  He agreed and we went to pick up the Toshiba tube set and carried it into her home.  The box got a little too heavy as we were moving it to her back patio door.  My strength just gave way and the box came down in slow motion onto me and the ground.  Luckily the TV survived the slow motion fall.

Thursday evening

A long drive out to Newport Beach this time and a 60” Mits 4:3 HDTV unit.  The session was pretty straight forward except for removing the protective screen.  The frame was rather awkward so I ended up taking the whole frame apart.  Add to that, the wire connected to the front panel that had to be disconnected.   I needed four arms to do that and fortunately the client was there to help out.  All the time, I could hear the meowing of two cats in the bedroom.  The set calibrated nicely, but there was one issue at the end which was some interference on all the inputs generated by the TV.  We could not figure out this one. 

The evening finished up with me driving at some extreme speeds on the LA freeway system back to my Aunt’s home.  Everywhere in LA is 20 minutes.


This was a relatively relaxing day as I only had one set to work on.  The 56” panny from last year.  The calibration of the set was fairly straight forward with nothing strange.   By the numbers and a nice image to go with it.  No more SVM.   What was more interesting was the conversation during the session.  The client had a friend/neighbour over that was there just to talk to him.  The neighbour was apparently just a bored housewife and she spent the entire afternoon with us just talking about stuff in general.  I don’t know if I could take being a house husband and sitting around all day looking for someone else to talk to.  I did not mind the conversation though as the lady was also very pleasing to the eye and was wearing a rather revealing dress.  I kept expecting her to leave at some point, but she never did.  We all went for a late lunch at the end of the session and she told us about the laser eye surgery that she had.  A good chance to stare into her eyes to see the damage.  I’m not convinced that I would do that to myself anytime soon.  Well we had fun and I got a quick tutorial on the health inspection rating system that the city uses for restaurants.

In the evening, I got to relax and finish up my calibration of the Toshiba 32AF41 flat tube.   Luckily I was only buying it for a relative.   I would never consider the set for myself since it had a few too many geometry quirks for my liking. 


I took the day off and went to Universal Studios with some friends.  Nothing like going through metal detectors to enter the park.


A last minute addition to the tour via a recommendation from fellow tweaker Tom Herman.  This was a morning trip back out to Redondo Beach for another in the long line of Toshiba 65” units.  This was a cool visit because it turned out that the client was an FBI agent and he gave me an FBI T-shirt.  He had a stalky build but you knew he worked out a lot.  He was pumped.  I had a great time talking to him about his line of work and what it took to join the FBI.  Some of the things surprised me and yet made a lot of sense as well.  We talked about guns and training and education.  Very neat and definitely a great memory.

I spent the rest of the day installing a DISH system at my aunt’s home and getting the unit activated.


Only one job on this day as I had to get back out to Carlsbad for a 43” Toshiba HDTV.   The client worked for a public relations firm and he was sharing the condo with a computer programmer that never slept.  Since the programmer worked at home all the time, he had the strangest hours.  He was in many ways just like the father in Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.  He would go off to the computer room and vanish.  Another interesting item was the visits from the neighbour … an elderly gentleman who kept having trouble with operating his VCR and modest stereo system.  These guys made the good Samaritan mistake … because once you help them, it never stops.  I guess I do that enough as well.

Tuesday Morning

I head into the outer burbs of San Diego in the morning to tackle yet another Toshiba 65” unit.  During our conversation, I mentioned that I was intending to quit my day job when I returned home.  The client referred me to a web site called where I could find form letters for resignations of all flavours.  A way to get out without burning bridges. 

Tuesday afternoon/evening

It was back to Los Angeles again after this stop and this time I was headed to Aliso Viejo.   The set was a 57” Toshiba tied to a jury rigged pro-logic system and HDTV satellite box .  I cannot say much about the calibration in itself aside from the fact that I hate working on hardwood surfaces as they are murder on my knees.  I usually use a large pillow for these locations.  While the TV itself was not that far out, I took the opportunity to completely rewire the client’s A/V system.  Even the simple pleasures like PIP were no available in their current configuration.   Since I was running early, I decided to do this as a favour to the client.  In the end, I think his wife appreciated the new functionality of the system more than just the calibration itself.  They had an a/v system that made sense … finally.  It does make me wonder just how bad some other people’s systems are.

Wednesday Morning

The man with the yacht.  A very nice home indeed with lush landscaping and completely open to sunlight.  This meant bad news for the Pioneer Pro-710 that he used in his bedroom.   He and his wife had actually assembled a complete home theater system mere days before my arrival.  Everything from satellite HDTV to receiver to VCR to DVD player.  Now how was it all hooked up?  A nightmare.  I do joke that just because there are additional connections behind these components does not mean that they should all be used.  Video Inputs from one device do not go to the video inputs of a second device.  The calibration itself was straight forward aside from the well lit room.  The most time was spent on rewiring the entire system to something that made sense.  In the end, I ran through a tutorial for the client about the use of each piece of equipment and the sequence of things that needed to be done.  I could see the client busily writing down all the instructions and he was confusing himself in the process. 

I grabbed the pad of paper from his hand and did up a simple device diagram with a few arrows.   It provided him with all the steps needed to do anything he wanted with the system.  Watch HDTV … the following steps.  Watch DVD … the following steps …

Fortunately and unfortunately, this took the better part of the entire day so a five hour session became eight hours.  It took so long in fact that the sun was finally setting and it allowed me a chance to take a second look at the grayscale on the TV.  The intense (direct) lighting had affected the earlier readings (as I had feared) so I had to re-do the grayscale again.  Blankets did not help this time as the room was too bright to begin with.

Wednesday Evening

I got to the client’s home well after the sun set.  It was about 6:30 or so but I figured it was okay because it was another 50” Toshiba HX81 unit.  Again, a straight forward calibration.  Then a scream from the upstairs.  The client’s girl friend came running down the stairs all flustered.  She was opening his mail and some powdery substance came out.  Here I am calibrating the TV and I say to myself … “Man, all I need to do now is get Anthrax.”  It was a false alarm as she was opening the letter the wrong way and mistook paper fibers for spores … mmm spores.  The client worked for UPN and he gave me a neat Enterprise NX-01 cap.  I don’t think that terrorists were too interested in targeting such a station.  I figured that they were already doing a great job of destroying America with their programming line up anyway.

Because of his relationship to UPN, I was able to ask the question on everyone’s mind … “So how does the crud like Special Unit 2 ever get renewed for another season?”  The answer was very surprising as he agreed with my assessment of the show and said that many at UPN also agreed with the assessment.  It’s crud and they know it too.  But the show continued because it was the pet project of some high up person at Paramount.   Welcome to Hollywood. 

Thursday Morning

It should have been a quick one this morning as it was just a Sony 16:9 tube set.  But things never turn out to be as easy since the client forgot about the appointment and was at work.  The neighbourhood was not the friendliest to be in what with people working on their cars in the lot and all the huge metal cages on the home doors.  And of course things get uncomfortable still when a big African American comes up to me and asks why I am sitting in his neighbour’s parking space.  (Turned out he was a nice guy so images of being left for dead dissipated quickly.)  After a delay of about an hour or two, the client came home and we proceeded with the calibration.  I was lucky that this was not an evening location.  Tubes are easy to do and the Sony was no exception.  Very nice grayscale tracking.

Thursday Afternoon

The neighbourhood seemed like a normal middle class area.  This was supposed to be a straight forward calibration.  And it was.  The set was a Panasonic 47” that had a few issues with focus.  Quite frankly, it wasn’t too great although no where near as bad as the 65” Toshiba that I had worked on previously.  The problem was figuring out how to fix the focus here.  The issue quickly became more than just focus as adjusting both the E-focus and M-focus resulted in still something that was unsatisfactory to my eye.  It was better than where we started, but I felt we should be better than this.  In the end, I ended up better than even this, but still not where I wanted to be.  There was something wrong about this particular sets focus.  The 50% solution as I put it found a balance between the edges and the center for all the three CRT’s.  While I was not jumping up and down in my brain, the client was pleased because this was much better than where he had started.

With the calibration completed, the client said to me that the truth could now be told.  It appears that just a week or so prior to my arrival, the apartment had a rash of shootings and other gang violence.  A son of one of the tenants was dating an Ex-girlfriend of a gang.  This apparently resulted in two to three incidents where rival gangs showed up and tried to take out this person dating the girl.  It made for an ugly sight as the client put it.  Gun battles in the street, vehicles smashing into each other … just like the movies.  (I like my violence to be make believe thank you)  The family was evicted when this information came to light and things settled down again. 

I did have a great time with the client though and we went out to a faux-Chinese restaurant in the evening for dinner.  Aside from the potential death thing, this was a great experience meeting the client and his girl friend.   (Will reserve what I would like to say about her.)  So I feel like using that Danny Glover line from the Lethal Weapon series.  “I’m getting too old for this sh*t.”

Friday Morning

The man who does air combat simulation programs for the military.  A neat occupation.  He had a 56” Toshiba hooked up to a HTPC in his bedroom.  He was still living at home with the parents.  Things progressed well and the set was calibrated without a hitch … or so I thought.   Little did I know that by the time I got back to my Aunt’s home in the evening to check my e-mail that some emergency had come up.   The message talked about the image being horribly wrong.  Too green.  Not right.  Must be something I did.  My fault.  All right … I will come back on Saturday afternoon!!

Friday Afternoon

Actually a nice break between jobs afforded me the time to catch up on a few more Anime programs in the car as I sat and waited for the client to come home.  I was early.  The set was a 56” Toshiba that had been previously worked on by Robert McJimsey.  But because he was currently unavailable, I was brought in to recalibrate the unit to match a change in the equipment configuration as well as implement a few more recently discovered tweaks.  By the numbers aside from the fact that I had to help the client disassemble a huge sofa set in the viewing room so that I could access the back of the TV.  Sometimes, it is also nice to be left completely alone to do the calibration.  Things go more quickly.


I had a client in the morning who lived close to where I was staying so I was able to fit him in at the last minute.  When I got to his home, he was in the middle of packing as he was moving back to Michigan.  The client was a tweaker himself and it actually got on my nerves a bit at the beginning given the way he was speaking.  I was saying to myself that I probably would not like this guy at all and just wanted him to …

But as it turned out, it was just his manner and we ended up getting along just swell.  The calibration was easy enough and so I also worked on his Sony 36” XBR unit while I was there to make up for the stuff I didn’t have to do on the Toshiba.

So I am out of there early … and I call the Friday client up and say that I am heading over to his place.  Time to get to the bottom of what he was complaining about.  Well, let’s just say that this person was the first person that I almost wanted to smack on the side of the head. 

Getting to his home and back into the bedroom, I looked at the image off the set and it looked fine to me.  I put in my usual demo DVD’s to see what if anything was up.  All the scenes looked exactly as they did when I finished the work the previous day.  It was still great looking and it looked as it was supposed to look.  So what was wrong here? He got me to come back to look at …!!!??  Now things begin to degenerate a bit as I am losing my temper just a bit.  He wasted my time.   I ask him … “So what is wrong with the image?”  He says it is too green.  I ask him just how he knows that it is too green?  It looks the same as before.

Remember, the client is running the DVD from his HTPC.  He also is using a 21” Sony computer monitor. 

His answer was … “It is too green because it does not look like what he sees on his computer monitor.”  Huh?!  And what makes you think your monitor is correct and the work that I did was wrong?  I’m getting really ticked off now so I take the analyzer to his monitor to take a reading.  It reads higher than 12000K on the red/purple side.  And this is what he was comparing my work with.

It gets even better.  The monitor is set for 9300K and not 6500K as well.  So what made him think that the monitor was correct and that my work was not?  Answer … because the monitor has settings that say … 6500K … so it has to be right.  Okay.

I tell him that staring at something that blue/purple would definitely make the TV image look green.  So stop staring at the wrong image.  I would make him shut up if I simply calibrated his computer monitor.  So I did.  “Now there … your computer monitor looks like the TV … I don’t want to hear anymore about this green thing.”

And now the kicker … “but the people in ‘The Matrix’ still look green.”

Aaaugh!!!!! “They are supposed to be green!!!  It is an artistic decision!!!”

“And I don’t want to hear that the lens flares in Saving Private Ryan are a fault of my calibration either!”

So I said good bye to the client, hoping never to see him again, but vowing to write about this particular episode as a warning to all those generations to come.

Saturday Evening

I head over to fellow tweaker Tom Herman’s home to meet him for the first time.  We had corresponded over e-mail for so long and yet we had never met.  It was great meeting Tom and then heading out to dinner with him … walking the ocean side streets of Manhattan Beach.  I also got a chance to look at Tom’s Toshiba 65H80 unit and a certain issue that his set has. 

What a nice person and I’m sure I will get together with him the next time I am out that way.


A day to rest and hang out with my cousins and eat dim sum. 


I bid my aunt good bye in the morning as I headed out to the stretch run of the tour.  The final three in Ventura.  I had some time before needing to arrive at the client’s home so I spent the day store hopping.  You’d think that of all the TV’s that I play with all the time, that I would choose something else in my spare time.  Well, you were wrong.  I spend the spare time pursuing DVD’s and looking at TV’s at the various big box stores.  It is an illness I tell you. 

The first person and only person this day had a Toshiba 56” and the calibration was straight forward but on the hardwood that I dislike so much.  Fortunately, there were pillows galore here.  It was the second time that I had heard the term “ISF God” jokingly used by a client.  We had a good laugh about that.  It was also a birthday party night and I had both dinner with the family and then cake.  Interesting family since the husband was the person cooking dinner and his Greek Chicken was pretty good.  He also had two dogs that behaved strangely like cats and dogs. 

Tuesday Morning

I’m still in Ventura and it is just a quick hop skip and jump to the morning client.   This one was a 65” Mits.  To describe this person as interesting would be understating it a bit.  You knew something was up when you saw two of those funny bicycles where you lay back to peddle.  And at $10K or more each … well …

A very lively client and he reminded me of a particular actor.  No sooner that I thought he sounded and looked kind of like Jim Carrey did he walk up behind me and say … “riddle me this, Batman.”  It’s at this time I nearly threw up in laughter.  Luckily I was not drinking anything at the time.

We swapped a few stories about lost loves and the pangs of relationships …

Before I knew it, the calibration was done and then I was off to the next and final location.  

Tuesday Afternoon/Evening

There was something strangely fitting about this final calibration.  It was at a home that was right on the edge of the beach … right at the sea wall.  The ocean air … and I got to watch my first ocean sunset.  The TV was a TW40X81 unit and it was pretty straight forward to calibrate although the proximity of the home to the beach mean that sand was always in the house and one would find it in the components too.  Not that great, especially the salt air. 

A really nice client and we had some real Italian Pizza for dinner.  Let me say that I was rather unprepared for this as it was like nothing I had tasted before.  No cheese.  It was just so different.  I want to keep my own delusions for a little longer though.  I keep telling myself that Taco Bell food is really Mexican food.  

The evening ended with a bit of hysterics as there was a mouse on the loose in the house and the family was trying to catch it for a few days.  I was reminded that there would be traps all over the home before I went to bed.  “Front toward enemy.”  He also had a dog that was a mouser … interestingly enough.


I flew home. 


I quit my day job."