{ Tuesday, September 06, 2005 }

What's this with the buttons now?

Go wish CanadaDave a Happy 30th Birthday!

Last Monday I stayed home from work most of the day being useless with toothache. Naturally, daytime television was on the agenda.

I'm not great with the television. See, my TV has a thirteen inch screen and no remote control. It takes rabbit ears and the color is beginning to fade around the edges. I "bought" it from Waste, I believe for fifteen dollars which he spent on food.

Steady happens to own some an absurd quantity of televisions, all of which have large screens, reliable color, remote controls and in his world, all televisions broadcast cable.

And so we have cable on a big television hooked up to a computer. It's all very complicated. Don't let Steady tell you it's not. I've learned to navigate the menus and how to play recorded TV. I can even pause, rewind and fast forward the recorded TV.

Back to last Monday. I turn on the television and there's a screen up. It wants to know if I seriously want to exit MythTV (that's the name of the television... software(?)). I've seen this screen! The last time I was home sick, I accidentally said "Sure! Let's get out of here!" when it asked me that. Not because I wanted to leave, but because I didn't know how to work the remote.

That turned out to be a big mistake. I ended up at a Linux command prompt. I majored in information systems. A command prompt shouldn't freak me out. I found the website for the program and that did not help. I asked CanadaDave and he had much sympathy but no help. Finally, I flat guessed the right-ish command and the menus came back. (It was not running the way it was supposed to run but it was running.)

Then the computer informed me that it was going to record baseball now and I could watch baseball or I could find something else to do with myself. There was also an option for not recording baseball and making my boyfriend sad. I opted to find something else to do with myself.

So, this time the answer is NO. I do not want to leave MythTV. I want to watch television. Except... the buttons on the remote are not doing anything. This is strange.

I e mailed Steady. He got back to me with a lot of technical blahblahblah (that education sure is coming in handy). I had to use the keyboard! And hit Escape and everything would be fine! I did that. The e mail also said to watch a movie for a second and that would fix things so this wouldn't happen to me again. The e mail even told me how to make the movie stop.

Yeah, so, being a silly, silly girl, I totally scrolled through the menus of movies on the computer and chose porn. Which I then could not figure out how to turn off. I hit lots of buttons. I could fast forward and rewind and alter the volume, but the porn was not going away.

I gave up. I turned off the TV. The noise of the porn continued to play. Because this isn't just a television hooked up to two computers and digital cable. It's also hooked up to audio things that continue working even after you turn off the television.

Awesome. So I am now home sick with a toothache listening to porn. This is exactly what I was going for when I started this. I turned the TV back on. I tried the keyboard. Hitting escape worked!

(The instructions said to hit the "green" button to get out of the movie. I was picking the wrong green button on the remote. The one I was supposed to hit was not one I'd ever touched before.)

I found my way to the menu that includes "Watch TV". I chose it. The screen was black. I changed the channel. I remembered that the system is not designed for perusing television; it's designed for recording television. There's a delay when changing channels. I waited. Nothing happened. I examined the remote control that dangles in front of the cable box.

This remote control is a delicate thing that my boyfriend soldered together himself on a serial cable. Some days, the cat and I exist only to give Steady heart attacks by accidentally touching it. The remote control looked whole to me. I changed the channel again. Nothing changed on the cable box. Still black. I went out and back in. Black. Nothing.

I gave up. A couple hours later, Steady called wanting to make sure that I got his e mail and the television was working. I explained my problem with the black screen.

"Is the cable box on?"

"Yeah. It's showing the time. It just doesn't do anything when I change the channel."

"Check the power on the cable box."

"What? It's got power. It's displaying the time."

"Press the power button on the cable box."

"Where is that?"

"On the cable box. The power button."

"Why would the power be off? Why would it still show the time?"

"The power button. Press the power button."

"Oh! Okay! That fixed it."

(Steady begins laughing at me.)

Apparently, sometimes the cable company just hops on in to the box and changes things and then turns it off. And normal people know this. Now I know too.

Give me six more months and I'll be able to work the television without calling my boyfriend for help.

The Fine Print:
2004: I'm not sure what this was about. It was written during the weekend I took to my bed.

2003: A short post brought to you by a drug riddled brain.

2002: The one the search engines do so love. "I don't know what to say."

2001: Took the summer off.

posted by mary ann 10:07 PM