Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My beacon's been moved under moon and star

Something weird is going on around here. It's a new something weird.  Perhaps it's sunspots or some electromagnetic field emanating from all the back to school ions.  I've considered and dismissed any supernatural interference.  I'm not  interesting enough to have my own poltergeist.

It started this morning when I turned on the TV to see the weather. I noticed immediately that something was wrong with our DishNetwork because the channel that normally houses Turner Classic Movies showed something decidedly not classic, nor terribly theatrical.  The woman in the lab coat spoke Spanish while an 800 number crawled the bottom of the screen.

I investigated.

Food Network was now Pakastani TV resplendent with waving flags and echoing commercials.  HGTV appeared to be something from China.  Maybe Korea.  C-SPAN was, we assumed, coming from Japan.  The newsreaders bowed to one another.

"This is odd."

MathMan had to get himself and Nate out on time so he showed barely a passing interest. He must have forgotten that I'm banned from tinkering with the electronics.

Sophia and I watched a few minutes of something that looked suspiciously like Full House except it was in Russian. Possibly Greek.  And Uncle Jesse was some punk girl with a head full of long, dark hair.

Slowly, channels came back on line.  When Fox News returned and MSNBC continued to be some sort of French news broadcast, I considered the possibility of a right wing conspiracy.  My ability to understand the channels is usually the other way around - it's Fox News that doesn't make sense to me.  But then MSNBC, HGTV, and whatever channel it is that's obsessed with Little People came back.  Not that there's anything wrong with Little People, but how many shows following around Little People while they live their lives do we need?

Anyway, I breathed a sigh of relief and pulled out my phone to post a Facebook status.

"Have TV again, breakfast is made, hubby and teen on their way to school, tween in the shower, the sun is shining and laundry is going.  Life is good."

Mid-crisis, shame and practical issues prevented me from contacting DishNetwork.  If I reach out to them now, they're just going to demand I pay my bill already.  They'll get paid what we owe, of course, but since we've been considering letting Dish become the latest casualty of our fiscal revamping, it might just do to let the service run out.  A natural death of sorts.  My main concern is for all those programs tied up on the DVR.  Poirots, Sherlock Holmes, a whole mess of Miss Marples, several Alfred Hitchcock movies.  I never remember to ask MathMan to show me how to record them onto dvds until it's too late, he's too tired or someone is watching something else on TV.

Still - in the grand scheme, losing a bunch of programs is nothing.  Nada. Rien.  Diddlysquat.

Later, other things started going wrong.  First, the DVD player became uncooperative.  The menu wouldn't come up.  The fast forward and reverse buttons revolted.  I changed the batteries to no avail.  If a change of batteries doesn't fix the problem, what next?  Sledgehammer?  Elephant gun?

Throwing the thing across the room is largely frowned upon in this household.  Being a good example is such a drag.

Adding to the electronic curiosities was the fact that when I pushed the remote's volume button, it would shift the sound up to 100 without stopping.  When I pushed it to decrease, it scrolled all the way to 0.  The only way to get it to stop at a somewhat decent volume was to play a sort of game - push the increase volume button and then quickly push it again where it would stop and stay on say level 16.

The final straw was a visit to the upper channels - the Island of Misfit Toys of the movie channels.  Not the premium channels.

Oh, that movie may have been British.  It was made in the 1990s or 2000s.  It was set on a country estate.  But that movie was not Howard's End.  There was no Helena Bonham Carter, no Emma Thompson, no Sir Anthony Hopkins.  I did recognize one of the male leads.  Matthew Goode.  He played  Patrick Simmons in Agatha Christie's A Murder is Announced and was most recently in A Single Man, but I only know that from IMB.  I haven't seen the movie.  Dang it.  A little research tells me what was being passed off as Howard's End was actually Brideshead Revisited.

"Do you suppose all of this electronic humbuggery is due to some cloud around me?  I have been rather difficult, putting off bad vibes and all."  The cat to whom I directed my question yawned and tucked her head under her paw.  "I don't suppose Dish Network would give us a month of free service in exchange for having messed with my head."  The cat remained indifferent.

I realize this is more of the same - modern day complaints.  Back when a person like me would have been out feeding the chickens in a blizzard or poisoning herself with bluing while laundering the Lord's and Lady's bloomers, the notion that pushing a button would cause so much fretting and consternation would have made us peasants laugh with our toothless mouths wide open. But I live now and I have certain expectations and when I turn on the television and can understand Fox and Friends better than I can understand anything else on TV, I think I'm entitled to a little modern day groaning.

I mean, a person can only take so much, right?

What buttons are you pushing today?


  1. that...is so crazy and perplexing. don't...um, don't get too close to the internet, all right? *worries*

  2. All I have to say is that if an elephant gun weren't immediately handy, the laughing toothless peasants would grab a sledgehammer and smash the device to pieces.

  3. The problem is easy to see, you're suffering from Electronicus Delusionia. The fix is quite simple. First, remove all pets and children from the house. It's optional to sandbag the windows. Then, with wire cutters, cut the red wire. Do not cut the blue one. When the debris settles, call the fire department and your insurance agent. Remember to act innocent.

  4. elissa - I am staying ten feet back from Twitter. The rest of the internet will just have to cope.

    Susan - I think you're right. And the best thing about the sledgehammer is the lack of moving parts. Very little of that can break. Super practical!

    Will - Oh, I see. Should I wear protective head gear or will that be a giveaway when the authorities arrive?

  5. Blame the meteor shower. ;-)

    Hope you're otherwise OK.

  6. D.!!! Problem solved? Can expect more fun tomorrow? If I still have Dish service, that is. The testy little bill pay reminder keeps coming up on the screen.

  7. I blame the recent coronal mass ejection.
    (Don't get ahead of me here.)

  8. sorry i vote poltergeist
    none of the kids are IN the teevee are they?

  9. As someone emerging from my own cloud of electronic frustration, I learned that telling myself it was more an inconvenience and annoyance than a great tragedy helped. For no more than two days.

    Weird stuff, indeed, though. I wouldn't write off the whole poltergeist thingy just yet. Remember, you live in the south, where American gothic reigns like no where else.

  10. Everyone has these witty comebacks. Alas, I have none, except when the tv or the computer doesn't work I cry. And then Michael fixes it and says he hopes he doesn't die. Sigh.

    I'm afraid to call Comcast because they always want their money. How dare they.

    I'm sending you something soon. Keep an outlook for brown paper packages.

  11. I read right all the way through and got to the bottom to discover that I long for a concrete house. With solar panels. And an ironing wench.

  12. Disconcerting.
    I actually went without any TV, cable or basic network, for about five years. It's a unique experience. It helped. Changed my perspective. Like isolating on desert island, but with all your other conveniences.

    (Thank you for participating on my humble blog: you have an energetic range of interests and a generous spirit.)

  13. Wow, that's very weird, Lisa!! And it would have driven me CRAZY--I can't stand it when electronics malfunction.

  14. Um. That really IS weird! if my Television was broadcasting in foreign languages, I would have been on the phone with my provider ASAP!

  15. Button pushing... I am deep in the shit of the corporate world. While on hold to pass off someone's problem to someone else, I mean transfer a call, the company corporate message says "your call is important to us, if you already sent a message or fax, please allow 3 weeks for a response".
    The computer opening screen says "May Superstars". I feel bludgeoned by their mediocrity. Your call is SO damned important we are going to take about a month to get back to you. And yes, there were some great employees in May.... but June, July & half of August.... no so much- give it more effort people. (lash of whip sound effect here).

    So if your Dish provider is up w current corporate sub par behavior-- you probably would have been talking with Sanjeet in India, who goes by the name Sam.
    He would politely tell you he will look into the matter of your television channels in foreign languages, or he might lecture you on your lack of diversity, and announce this is actually a new multicultural/lingual test program & you failed to check the box that declined being a test subject. And by the way that will cost extra.....

    Bah! I'm really down on "the man" these days & so very much corporate crapola.
    Help me! I'm drowning here!!!

  16. Personally, I hate those little people shows. And those bakery shows stink too.

  17. Now THAT is weird. I too blame the solar flares.

  18. Since you asked... I'm pushing the 'delete' key. I would press the 'denied' key but there is none on my keyboard (not very forward thinking of them). I'm in IT and I'm getting a lot of requests in today. So today is the day of 'denial'.

  19. I know this feeling. Our DVR went out a few months ago, and we had to get a new one, and the remote is different and drives hubby nuts, and we lost a bunch of stuff we have recorded. Just a few days ago, our server wouldn't let us on, and that was a 4 day oddyssy in insanity. I want to open the back of these machines, remove the little imps and spank 'em I tell ya.


And then you say....

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