A Mouse in the House

I pride myself on a beautiful, personally-designed home entertainment center. I put in the best gear and even padded the walls for the benefit of the sound system. It is in my basement where I have all the room I need to cover my various needs: big plasma TV, surround sound, top equipment, comfortable seats, lots of storage, wet bar, and more. You can imagine my dismay when I spotted a furry creature scuttering across the floor one afternoon as I gazed as the glowing screen. The floor may be concrete, but it is clean and well kept. Bloody mice! They have invaded my space and they are not long for this world. Be gone!

I don’t mean to anger the animal lovers out there, and it’s an easy thing to do, but there is a time and a place for rodents (in the trash—ha!). And it is not in my man cave. I would have expected to get the cat to do his job of getting rid of mice, but he is snoozing lazily in the sun and is sending signals not to be bothered. I can call a pest control service and they will dispatch of the buggers in no time flat. I can also lay traps and bait. I opt for option number two, the logical choice. I assume it is the most humane way to de-pest your home. I want to be rid of the menace and not give it another thought. I will not be watching Ben on TV tonight.

I also expect to sign up for a pest fumigation contract at my earliest convenience. A nice tidy serviceman comes once a month and sprays god knows what in the nooks and crannies of the basement area. I know that if there are mice down there, there must be other creepers and crawlers. In that kids occupy this wonderful entertainment center from time to time, I don’t want to encourage the little ones from espying any would-be playmates.

Rodents, roaches, it’s all the same to me. They are all to be banned from this moment on. I was assured by the technician that one “chemical” (presumably eco-friendly and not terribly toxic) would cover all the bases except for termites. That’s another story. Just keep the cat out of the basement for four hours, he said. Mmmm. What does that mean? I have to stay out, too. Just a precaution, he said. After all, I go in there, he added smiling or smirking. Mmmm. Not sure what I believe, but I am willing to go for it and get rid of any infestations lurking in the shadows ready to pounce. Surely there is a flea or two that escaped from the cat during a moment of panic. Zap and it will be gone.

Take my word for it, you will want to enjoy your entertainment center bug free. Kids, pets, and other guests sometimes sit on the floor (we have nice area rugs). Learn about pest control and become worry free.

Basement to Cinema

If you own a home and have a basement, you are in luck. You have an available place where you can build out a home TV/cinema area and create a real entertainment center for family and friends. There is nothing like doing it yourself and doing it at home so you can share the joy. Family outings are fine to the park or beach, but not so much to the Cineplex. Have you seen the price of the tickets not to mention the popcorn, candy, and drinks. It costs a veritable fortune to take a family of five or six. So put the van back in the garage and listen up and listen well.

You don’t need a huge basement, just enough for the TV screen and some nice comfortable lay-back adjustable, hopefully motorized seats. It is not hard to turn a dungeon laundry room into an inviting cinematic space. Get those stacks of boxes out of their now. If you have a good little sump pump, this lower floor is probably in pretty good shape, but will need some cleaning up. If the walls have been finished with dry wall, you just need some soundproof coverings there. When I created my own man cave some time ago, I researched a bit and decided on a budget. As you can imagine, this budget can go haywire in no time, so stick to it. You can get all the equipment you need for $500 and up. The more you spend, the more amazing the results. Several thousand will get you pretty nice gear. It depends on the quality you want for yourself and your guests.

I put in a wet bar and refrigerator so I added more to my expenditure. It’s a nice feature on game days, too. Having the cold beer close at hand is a big plus, along with a microwave for snacks. A few cupboards for storage and you have the makings of a pretty nice ambience. But that aside, you need surround sound (Bose is a great brand) to feel like you are in the center of the action, and some additional components. Think “low-note performance.” You will wirelessly stream your Internet radio (like iHeartRadio) and connect other video and audio sources like a Blu-ray disc player and gaming system. Your TV size will be dictated by your wall space. Speakers are super important so choose them carefully.

You want to be able to control everything easily so ask questions before you buy. You don’t need to get too complicated. Systems come ready made or you can buy individual parts. Get help and suggestions. Know your needs and make them clear. You can customize everything to fit your room so look for high quality performance. Sometimes looks matter and you choose finishes you like that blend with your décor scheme, if you have one. And why not. No matter who watches and listens along with you, they will appreciate the streamlined integrated appearance of your home theater.

Entertainment on the Water

Riding the surface of the water on a wakeboard is more than a kick. As a hybrid of waterskiing, snowboarding, and surfing, it has no parallel. How can it get better than this? By adding speakers to your wakeboard tower, that’s how! You can have recreational entertainment right out there on the waves, accompanying you as you ride high on the crest of heaven.

What the…you ask? I am here to explain. Tower speakers are the latest in digital musical equipment that operates by means of devices called “cans” and a little wiring. For a couple hundred dollars or much more, you can listen to your favorite tunes while at play on the water. Who wouldn’t want that? Music goes with us anywhere and everywhere, my friend. And that includes wakeboarding.

Marine speakers are designed for water entertainment purposes. Buy a few clamps and you are ready to go. They are elegant stainless and black gadgets that are adjustable and rotatable. The system is airtight and secure, usually treated for UV inhibition and salt water corrosion. The makers know what they are doing for every special need. This kind of device has changed the face of sports including swimming, creating sonic pleasure wherever you enjoy your pastime. You can resonate the music to your desired sound. The acoustic technology is amazing and as good as any other type around.

For that special outdoorsman in the family, tower speakers would be a great, novel gift. I would definitely add some tunes from the sixties. You can’t go wrong with the Beach Boys. Surfin’ USA, Surfin’ Safari, and Wipe Out are classics. You can throw in Pipeline by the Chantays, Surf City by Jan and Dean, and anything by Dick Dale. There are some modern renditions but they pale by comparison, so we will let them slide. This will get your wakeboarder in just the right frame of mind. Hip Hop and Rap just don’t cut it.

By now, you might want to get into the wet picture and join in the coastal fun. There is nothing like a group experience to foment camaraderie. You get to be towed behind a motorboat which creates the “wake.” There are other ways as well designed for the sport using cable systems. It’s a newish game derived from a late 1980s fad and is now popularly done at resorts and beach towns around the world. New Zealand is one of the hot spots as is Queensland, Australia. But you will find aficionados in Florida, California, and Hawaii. Just ask the locals to teach you a few edging techniques and jumps. You will feel like a pro when you start executing high tricks, all to the accompaniment of Surf City. Going airborne the first time is a breathless experience! Make sure you get the right length and width of board, however, to make it all possible.

Bonus Info: the tricks have great names like fashion air, tantrum to blind, tootsie roll, tweety bird, batwing, blind judge, and Moby Dick. These alone should get you on board in no time.