Installations: Heartbreak Home Theater Page 7


James even appears to have banished the green screen by putting in a new cable run. But that fix was done just before we went to press - and the green monster has been known to lay in wait for days or weeks before springing back to life. So we can only hope that he finally tamed it.

Pete and Melinda now realize that most of their problems had less to do with the quality of the gear than with the installation process. And even after having had time to think about it, they're still not sure why so much went so wrong.

One explanation is that there were too many cooks. "I never felt like one person was the boss," says Pete. "I never knew who to go to."

"Nobody was in charge," agrees Melinda.

"It seemed like they looked to us, like we were in charge," says Pete. "And what do we know about making a home theater? Everybody always blamed someone else. Like when the green screen came on, somebody would blame the company that made the thing or the way they wired it. It was very frustrating - for Melinda particularly, since she dealt with it. When you told them something's broke, nobody ever said, 'Here, I'll come over; I'll take care of it.' Never got that. You had to push, push, push people. And we're not good at that. We're not pushers."

Pete and Melinda still aren't entirely sure what hit them. Their installation sort of played out like a bunch of people trying to make a movie without a director. "There were some problems where I can specifically say something went wrong because somebody didn't do something right," says Pete. "But with a lot of it, I feel like, well, whose fault really was it? I couldn't tell you. You'd need CSI to figure this out. There are fingerprints all over the place. But I couldn't tell you what the hell happened."

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