There are times when I just an idea into my head and I’m not going to let it go until I realize the dream. Poor Earl steps aside because he knows that when I get in these geek-intense moods, there’s no stopping me, except perhaps a debit or credit card with no juice left.

The project of the day is a media center computer for our great room. Or is it Great Room. Whatever it is, it’s starting to look like Yucca Flats after the blast as I throw cables about, swap network cards and give the subwoofer cable one more tug to make it reach just to accomplish this vision I have.

I want to be able to sit down and show pictures from our iPhoto collection, watch a movie or surf the internet right from the comfort of our Great Room using the big-screen TV as a monitor. Think of it, with a monitor that big we should get amazing detail on even the tinest of items! (Get your mind out of the gutter, we don’t do porn in the living room, not unless we want the neighbors to watch us. Now that I think about it, that could be fun.). Is this too much to ask?

Granted, with the Christmas bills getting ready to make their ’06 debut in the mailbox this week, my budget is quite limited. Looking at the pile of junked computers in the basement, I found that if I mixed and matched enough parts, I could come up with something that should work fairly well, provided we go to Circuit City and buy a power supply and a firewire card. So we did. Earl sighed, I spent and all was right with the world.

Now I’m trying to install my perfectly legal copy of Windows XP on this computer I’ve scrapped together so I can say I have something up and running until we can afford to buy another Mac Mini. (Sweetheart, if you’re reading this, consider yourself hinted.)

Now I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of Microsoft Windows. I’ve been using various incarnations of the operating system since Windows/286 came out in the mid 1980s. So I pride myself on the fact that I kind of know how Microsoft thinks and how they like to do things. It’s this knowledge that has made me very popular with my family as I play system administrator to various aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, mothers, fathers, neighbors, et al. I don’t mind doing it at all, it keeps my system admin skills in check and gives me an excuse to get a free meal for payment.

But when I’m home trying install Windows XP Professional on a home-built computer, a computer that I built myself, I shouldn’t have to jump through ten hours of hoops just to get the blasted thing going! “Your username does not exist.” Funny, I feel like I’m right here.

So Earl sighs again and knows that when I’m in the geek zone, you just gotta ride it out. At best I’ll get the thing running and we’ll have small items with amazing detail in glorious technicolor in the Great Room.

At worst, I’ll eventually fall asleep.