Friday, June 26, 2009

Watching TV

It is starting to bother me that I am not getting anything useful done. Working in the garden is out of the question. Some days I just do not feel well enough to do anything, but the days I feel good I still don't do much.

Yesterday, the bashed finger felt much better. It is hardly noticeable now, and tomorrow I expect it to feel completely normal again. Yesterday was hot and we didn't go anywhere or do anything, except for us watching TV and him doing stuff on the computer. It is very annoying to know that a whole day (or several days) has gone by and nothing has gotten done (unless you are on vacation or something and had planned on getting nothing done). I washed out enough dishes to do breakfast and lunch, made breakfast (cold cereal), made lunch (pasta, with what little veggies I was able to get out of the garden), and watered the plants. That was it. The rest of the day I watched TV. My husband had a similar day, he made pizza for dinner and washed off a screen from one of the air conditioners, and the rest of the day was spent on the computer or watching TV.

It's a rare day that we don't even run errands or visit the library and literally just lie around and watch TV, but I think we have had a few and are going to have more. So I am having a bit of a rant about the TV, mostly about the annoying digital switchover.

So it has been a couple of weeks since the digital switchover nonsense, and I am mostlygetting used to it, but I'm still having some problems with it.

Even before the switchover, there were some problems. Like the VCR doesn't rewind properly. If you hit the play and rewind buttons and the same time, that's fine, but it will take a really long time to rewind the whole tape. If you just want to rewind the tape, and you just hit rewind and not play, it tends to the think about it for a moment, and then the power on the VCR goes off. And then when you turn the power back on the VCR ejects the tape.

I noticed that would happen once in a while, but over the the last few months it went from happening once in a while to happening all the damn time.

The VCR is one of those tape and DVD combo things, so if I get rid of it I won't be able to watch DVDs either. It was a Christmas gift from two or three years ago. I don't think I should need another one so soon.

But it still seemed to play and record and all of that just fine. So just the rewind didn't work, and it seems to me that they used to sell something that would rewind tapes. That never quite made sense to me why anyone would need such a thing, unless maybe someone owned a video store. So I never bought one of these gadgets, but I knew that they used to make them. So I thought if I could find one that would solve my problem.

So I didn't find one, but there are just stacks and stacks of old VCRs at Goodwill and such, so we bought one of those for less than ten dollars. We didn't attach it to a TV, we just plugged it in, and now we use that to rewind the tapes.

Right about the time that we figured out to do that, the fast forward feature doesn't work either.

So we can either fast forward and play, which takes a long time, or we can put the tape in the other machine. But while there is often a need to rewind a whole tape, there isn't much need to fast forward a whole tape. And it is hard to tell how much a tape has fast forwarded on a machine that isn't hooked up to the TV, so we usually have to go with the slower play and fast forward feature.

Anyway, I think all new stuff is now deliberately designed to be crap.

Okay, so we'd about dealt with that when the digital switch happened. Which meant that we had to go and get a second box to use the VCR, and then after we got it hooked up we found out that you couldn't program the thing to record on different channels. You just have to always leave the VCR on channel four, and then it will record whatever the box is set for. And there's no programing the box to switch to a different channel.

So that all sucks, but we haven't really needed to do that yet. So it won't really suck until we go on a trip, or until the fall when we get lots of new TV to watch and record. Right now there just isn't enough new TV for it to be a problem yet.

And of course with my husband out of work, we usually don't need to record anything anyway.

But Sunday there was both Impact and Merlin. So we watched Merlin and recorded Impact.

We then noticed something odd that we hadn't noticed before. When we are watching just the TV and using just the box hooked up to the TV instead of the box hooked up to the VCR, channel 21 was on channel 8, and channel 27 was on 11. But channel 11 was not on channel 27, and channel 8 was not on channel 21. Channel 21 and channel 27 both had the "no signal" message.

That wasn't how it was a couple of weeks ago before we got the second box for the VCR. So I don't know what happened. Maybe you have to reset the things after every storm or every time the power goes out or something. Anyway, we don't know what the deal is.

But the box on the VCR seemed to work fine, and we recorded Impact okay, which we were able to watch after we rewound the tape in the other machine.

Most of this week I have been watching Ark II, Space Academy, and Jason of Star Command on DVD. In theory, I am doing this to make sure that the DVDs all work before sending them on to my friend in the great white north. But really, I just haven't seen this stuff in a very long time.

I think that Ark II is the best of them, but I loved everyone in Space Academy. I think by the time they made Jason of Star Command I wouldn't have watched it, except that James Doohan was on some of them.

I didn't like a lot of stuff that they did in TV shows made for kids. I didn't like silly stuff. I didn't like that sometimes characters did stuff just to be funny, when it didn't really make much sense for the character to do that.

Now that I am older, I guess I still don't like that sort of thing that much. But at least I am aware of the tradition of the comic relief character. I have a little more respect for the actors having to do this sort of thing. Or, at least, maybe I have a little more sympathy for them and don't call them names.

During the eighties there was this series called Evening Shade. I did not watch the show, but it seems like it was on. Maybe my parents watched it. Anyway, sometimes it was on, and I wasn't paying much attention to it.

My mom made a point of watching it one day. She said that one of the minor characters looked like someone she went to school with. The boy's name was Charlie. The actor's name was Charles, but he had a different last name. But after a while she was pretty sure that it was the same guy.

I looked on the Internet. The actor was born in Texas, though not in Dallas county. But he did grow up in Texas with a different last name. So this probably was the guy that my mom knew in school.

And this same actor was a character that I did not like in Jason of Star Command. He was supposed to be smart, but he was always doing something dumb or getting his hair caught in something.

So I wonder why my mom told us that she went to school with this guy from Evening Shade, but she didn't tell us that she went to school with the goofball from Jason of Star Command. Does having wild hair and funny eyebrows keep your fellow classmates from recognizing you, even though they recognize an even older version of you later?

My last complaint about the TV is what happened yesterday after a couple of celebrities died. I am sorry that these people died, but this sort of thing happens. People die. But you don't need to hear about it for hours and hours on four networks. These people were not past Presidents of the United States, they were just entertainers. We did not need to see old stuff about them for three hours on prime time television.

I suppose it wouldn't have mattered much, seeing as most of the shows were reruns. But they also managed to show old interviews of Farrah Fawcett in place of the one new show of the evening, Listener. (Okay, Listener isn't really a new show, it's just a Canadian show, but it is new to me, and I wanted to watch it.) So that made me mad. Not as mad as I get when football games prevent Cold Case from being shown on it's regular scheduled time, but very similar to that.

One last thing is that there is going to be something new on FOX tonight called Virtuality. Even when there is something new on TV that I might want to watch, I'm likely to miss it, because I wasn't watching enough TV (other than tapes and DVDs) to see a commercial for it. Anyway, tonight there will be this movie that I haven't seen, and it's probably going to be some really awful thing that was made for the Sci Fi channel, but I'm probably going to watch it anyway.


dmarks said...

"Anyway, I think all new stuff is now deliberately designed to be crap."

It's been crap for a long time. I remember visiting a local VCR repair place in town. He actually had a room that was set up as a VCR museum. He had several VCRs from over the years on display, partially disassembled, with little signs indicating how the build quality went down from year to year. I can't imagine they got any better after that.

"And this same actor was a character that I did not like in Jason of Star Command. He was supposed to be smart, but he was always doing something dumb or getting his hair caught in something."

Well, I guess there is something to be said for bald Starfleet officers. They just don't have such problems. Or maybe these problems result in bald Starfleet officers.

Ananda girl said...

How funny your mom didn't seem to notice he was in the other shows. I wonder if she thought the earlier shows did not count because they were kid shows.

I do not recall any of those shows. But you are younger than me and I was probably off working and going to college. I can't recall watching much TV then at all.

VCRs, DVDs... they do break at the drop of a hat. We have trouble with buttons falling off of the things. Then we have to use a pencil to poke inside the hole that leaves to change the channel. Sheesh. It's all so much crap!

laughingattheslut said...

Our first recorder was a Beta, and it was not a piece of crap. It lasted ten years or more. In fact, it never actually stopped working that I know of. At some point they stopped renting movies on Beta, so we got a VHS player and kept recording stuff on the Beta. But eventually they stopped even selling black Beta tapes, and the VHS player was stolen, so we had to buy a new VHS recorder. Seems like that one worked five years or more, and whatever went wrong with that one probably had more to do with our dragging it all over the country more than the quality of the machine.

Now you buy something new, and it doesn't work the next year. And that's without getting into the headaches of having your old computer stuff that you really like not working with the new computer you are almost forced to buy.