First Step to Recovery

I started my (front projector) beaming hobby with a low resolution LCD panel that sat on top of an overhead projector I purchased off Ebay for under $200.  My first homestyle front projection experience was watching Monday Night Football using the side of my house as a screen. That was when MNF was still on ABC, and high definition television was still a few years away.

Admitting You Have a Problem


Hi everybody, my name is Tim and I’m a beamer junkie.

My overhead projector-LCD panel combination fulfilled my beamer habit for awhile. It was homegrown video dope, a little fuzzy (and chock full of cables and wires), but it would still give me a buzz. If only I’d stopped with that. It was a cheap thrill and the projector bulbs only cost twenty bucks, but I quickly moved up to the hard stuff, digital light projection, aka DLP, often referred to as visual PCP by those of us in the video-social underground.

You start out by thinking you’ll limit your beaming to the weekends, late at night, and after the sun goes down, because you’re afraid the expensive bulb in your DLP could go out at any minute and leave you blind and searching for $200 to replace it. After all, you know there’s a possibility of “burn out” from the moment you first “turn-on”, so you know it’s best to try and limit your beaming.

One evening while I was watching Dark Side of Oz at 120 diagonal inches and 120 decibels in volume, I couldn’t help but spot the insanely serendipitous parallel between the opening lyrics to The Great Gig in The Sky* and the fact that my “bright star” might also give out at any time. The profundity moved me to abandon all caution. Carpe Diem and full beam ahead.  I was totally off the rails before I knew what hit me.

In very short order, I was mainlining, beaming about on any surface I could find, and using any video source I could scrounge up. It was most definitely a low-resolution ticket to total disaster. I plugged so much video junk up to my theater equipment, there’s hardly any free space to jack up anymore.  Worse than the wires, I don’t exactly know where some of that kit had been before I got ahold of it and jammed it into the mix!

Some excellent cable management

Even when I’m not totally beamed out, I spend my time immersed in the jargon of the beamer junkies where we hang out and laugh at people who don’t know their asses from their aspect ratios.

Sure I’ve got it bad, but if you want to know how bad some beamer junkies can get consider that the worst of the beamer fiends scheme and dream of daytime beaming! You see a bit of that special kind of crazy on the beamer internet forums from time to time. If the circus were still around, maybe these freaks could find an honest place of employment. Ah, the good ole days.

Drive-In Deck Speakers

I’ve tried to hide my addiction, but the evidence is all about. It became such an overwhelming issue in my life that I began avoiding friends, once going on a three week screen design binge. My grasp of time was becoming distorted by my ongoing beaming sessions. One day my friends dropped in unexpectedly to check up on me. I vainly tried to mask the scent of the last batch of stuff I cooked up in my Paragon by spraying a can of Glade (while commenting on the weird new Popcorn and Potpourri scent they just released). I was so beamed out that I guess I figured nobody would notice the obvious paraphernalia of a commercial popcorn machine sitting in plain view. About this time, my friends were staring at me like some hillbilly meth-maker, much too eager to cook up the next batch.

Paragon Popcorn Machine

Now that I’m outted, I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on the whole issue of my beaming habit and how to make it more socially acceptable. In an attempt to lessen the social stigma I’ve changed my focus from recreational beaming to medical beaming. It’s a grass roots effort.