Technological Travesty by Deb Danielle

My husband will say it’s just me, but I think we’re technologically challenged in our house. To be fair, in his case it’s by choice whereas in mine, it’s, well, just my nature.

Today, for example, when my printer wouldn’t work, here’s what I did: I opened it and closed it, turned it on and off, turned the computer on and off, took the paper out and put it back in and then, bringing out the big guns, I took it off the desk, looked at the back of it, turned it upside down, then put it back. After that, it worked.

We have two TVs, one twenty-three years old and the other about ten. I refuse to have either TV on the main floor because it’s such a conversation killer and my husband (aka The Oppressor—see previous posts) would drive us both around the bend because he likes to watch more than one program at a time and is an incorrigible channel flipper. So, one TV is in the basement (on top of a box of my oppressed books) and the other is on the third floor.

And…we don’t have cable. Shocking, especially for thirty-five-year-old urbanites, but we decided we could do without it for a couple of years. We get two channels, which means a decent amount of programming and two national newscasts, plus we can rent whatever we want on DVD, so we’re only moderately out of the loop.

Sadly, in addition to having ancient TVs and no cable, we have bad reception. We tried the rabbit ear things, (which didn’t work,) then we held the unconnected cable, contorted our bodies and held them in awkward positions trying to get and keep a clear picture. In the end, the only thing that works is holding the very end of the cable and having the metal pokey-thing touching someone’s bare skin. My husband gets a perfect picture this way, just by pressing the pokey-thing to his thumb. He can even get it to work by sticking it between his leg and the couch, should he, for example, want to massage my shoulders, drink some beer or throw a ball for the dog. For some reason though, I get bad reception, no matter what position I sit in or how hard I press that darned thing onto my thumb, so if I want to watch TV, I need it hooked up to my hubby. (And what does that say about me?!)

Finally, we’ve recently also lost the remote. There are two other remotes hanging around looking like they need a job, but even with fresh batteries, they can’t seem to do it. We may be the only people left in North America who have to get up off the couch to change the channel.

I realize this is a sad state of affairs and occasionally we get all worked up with plans to get TIVO and an LCD, flat screen, whatever-you-call-it with lovely speakers and so-on. But we also still have two DVD players and two VCRs and we’re the chumps buying up the videos for 99 cents when the local video store has their going-out-of-business sale. And part of me thinks we should just wait until someone can beam CSI and Grey’s Anatomy straight into our brains because no matter what we buy, it will be out of date before we even get it out of the store.

12 Replies to “Technological Travesty by Deb Danielle”

  1. As always, hilarious, Danielle! I can relate to so much here. The funny thing is we did but that fancy LCD thing a few years ago (my husband’s idea) and STILL it only works sporadically, it consists of four separate boxes plus the screen and takes about half an hour to turn on and currently the remotes only work if you’re standing inches form the screen and the DVD player freezes every ten minutes or so and our Satellite is always going out. The good thing about all that is it frustrates me so much I hardly watch any TV at all…

  2. I think it says a lot about me that I can’t fathom someone not having cable. Sadly, I don’t read enough, but no one can ever accuse me of not watching enough TV. We tried to have one night sans TV, but it lasted about three weeks.

    You must have been horrified by the monolithic thing Deke was staring at in my living room when you were here. And I’m embarrassed to admit we own 5 TVs (for a family of 2).

    It must be liberating not to have the pull of television. But the no remote thing kind of disturbs me.

  3. I’m laughing out loud here. You guys are awesome! This weekend my husband, Mr. Technogeek, was out of town, and I wanted to watch a few DVDs. There are FOUR remotes you have to fiddle with (plus our DVD player is actually his XBox 360) to obtain optimum High Definition, letterbox viewing in surround sound stereo; needless to say, I did not watch them in High-Def, surround sound, or letterbox. The faces of the actors ended up all stretched out on the screen, yet I still watched the movies anyway because I was too stubborn not to. I’m lucky I didn’t break something, with all my fiddling around.

    I could live without cable, if only I could still get the Food Network, Turner Classic Movies, and HBO. The rest? Pffft.

  4. I’m proud of you! Just think of all the time you’re not wasting by bypassing the idiot box!
    We do have a TV in our living room and I loathe the thing. It IS a conversation killer Not only that, it is just so much noise pollution.
    We have something like 5 remotes that have to be coordinated to use the cable, DVR, VCR, DVD and the stereo (which of course has the evil surround sound). I borrowed an Italian DVD from a friend of mine last FEBRUARY but still haven’t watched it because I have absolutely no idea how to coordinate 5 remote controls (i can’t even figure out the basic cable remote) to get picture and sound happening at the same time on the same screen. And when my kids are home (the ones who do these things for me), they balk at that movie playing because it’s in Italian. Plus I’m not sure how racy it is, so I don’t want to expose my kids to inappropriate visuals…although they do watch the horrid MTV so they’re already watching serious sexually-overloaded trash…
    So, anyhow, feel fortunate that you are in a relatively TV-free zone: it’s a good thing 😉

  5. Thanks for laughing with (at?) me everyone! It seems I’m not alone in my befuddlement and that the old adage “less is more” is particularly apt here.

    Gail, you’re funny too. And I’m interested to hear from one who has gone to the dark side (ie bought the LCD) and found it to be lacking.

    Joanne–Oh yes, I’m shocked and horrified. Not sure we can be friends any more if you have FIVE televisions. Seriously, if that big TV were in my living room, I’d stare at it all the time too. It’s just self-preservation on my part not to have it.

    Eileen–That’s what we missed–the tin-foil! We’ll have to try it tonight after the baby goes to bed. (Is it me or does that all sound a little kinky?)

    Jess–I can just picture you, alone with all those remotes, all that technology and all you want is to watch a simple movie.

    Jenny–Five remotes, huh? Sounds like you may have to wait for the direct-brain-beam to watch that Italian movie.

  6. Aha, I may have a semi-solution for you, Danielle! It’s obvious that you’re aware of the popular TV shows that air on a weekly basis, but did you know that some are offered for FREE viewing here online? Also, let’s not dismiss TVs too quickly because — in reality — that what we’re all watching right now! 😉

  7. Ah yes, the dirty little secret in our house…how much time do we spend on our computers…. Now I better get back to making my tin foil antenna. The one REALLY cool thing about tv in our house is that it’s the great equalizer as far as weather goes. It doesn’t matter if the show is set in Miami, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, it’s always snowing!!!

  8. Your description of your printer fixing technique sounded pretty spot on to me.

    And it’s strange how some people seem to affect technology while others do not. ie. Your hubby’s thumb. I have a clock radio that some days will only work if I put my hand on the top of it.

  9. I love your printer-fixer skills. I often find a good thump works well. WOrks on my wireless mouse too.

    We wound up with a free jumbo LCD or plasma TV. My husband was beside himself with excitement, still is. But here’s the kicker–we have to set it to small screen viewing and have two grey bands of nothingness down the sides, or else everyone on the screen appears several inches wider than I’m sure they’d like to be. So we have this huge flat screen box and watch a picture no bigger than our old TV gave us. There’s some progress for you.

    You new debs rock.

  10. Sorry to come back so late, everyone!

    Larramie, you’re right, I need to look at the online TV options and I certainly don’t want to dismiss TV entirely–I like it! I just like it in moderation.

    Spyscribbler, I love the idea of a TV in the closet. At one point, in our last house, I actually had my office in a closet and it was kind of cool.

    Yes, Maureen, the pound, kick and turn upside down method of fixing things is cheap and works just as often as anything else, as far as I can see!

    Tish, that’s hilarious. How can the design be so totally flawed?! Thanks for stopping in!

    Thanks and goodnight everyone. And see you next week!

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