Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cramping My Style, Part Two

Christmas money jingling in my pockets, I went to Walmart to rectify my situation.

I looked at all the bright, shiny DVD players, lined up in a row, and noticed there were far fewer than I had hoped for. Most, I saw, were DVRs and were more expensive that I had wanted to spend. But there were some super-cheap ones, the kind I was looking for.

But then, I had an Idea. It was a brilliant Idea, one that could solve all of my problems. Right next to the super cheap DVD players were the combined DVD/VCRs and I thought--hey, I could do away with half my wires and end up (potentially) letting me record the new digital television! That, I thought, would make life better than it would have been otherwise.

I bought the one that would allow my wildest dreams to come true, and the life I had once longed for was finally within my grasp.

My room, now cleansed and purged from all the disarray that had consumed it, was ready for the entry of the new DVD player, my savior from the druggery that was my horrible life, the life that was empty of all joy. Well, maybe not all joy. There was some. Just not as much.

I plugged in the DVD player with the Digital box, and found that without some kind of divine intervention (Geek Squad) I would never be able to use the two together.

This was a setback. But I thought, not a terrible one. I figured that I would be able to cross that bridge when I came to it, when the digital conversion ruins our lives out here and those of us with three stations end up with none.

You see, the nasty people who made the choice to switch us didn't realize that there are some of us out here that only get TV with a touch of snow. Static, haze, ghosting, and all that. I watched all of Star Trek: Voyager that way, and that was all PBS had to offer. When the transition comes to pass, these stations will either come in or not, there will be no middle ground. Therefore, I will lose Fox (Fringe, House, ect.) and I will have to travel to North Manchester and watch on the internet like freaks of nature do.

They want us to get cable, but basic cable doesn't have "local" channels at all, only the ones I don't want. It doesn't even have Sci-Fi, which would be fun too. And, where I live, you can't get fast internet with any kind of cable. So there's that too.

My goal, therefore, was simply to make life better in the short term in hope of forgetting how awful it will be in the long term. So I programmed the VCR for recording. I tested the DVD player. And it worked.

Then, I put a tape in to test the recording prowess of my VCR. And nothing happened. I tried to press play, nothing. I tried pressing stop, eject, fast-forward, rewind; I tried to switch over to the DVD again. Nothing.

I unplugged the unit. Then I plugged it in again, and I managed to get the tape out. Luckily, the tape was a bad one I didn't need for anything, so I thought I would see what was going to happen if I put a tape in again. Would it play?

It wouldn't even go inside. But it did go far enough in that I had to use my fingernails to pry it back out. Then I looked inside. The whole inside was a mess. The place that holds the tapes had collapsed and fallen to one side, and the little wheel that holds the tape had fallen off.

So, one tape was too much for it. It had broken. And it went right back to Walmart. And now, here I am, writing and watching Wuthering Heights, wishing all my effort had been for something greater than naught. And now, instead of going out and buying a new one, again, I will have to wait for it until I know that whatever I buy will work.

I just can't take another disappointment. And my style, is officially, cramped.

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