March 13th, 2010

krazy koati

Everybody's got new clothes, makes me feel kind of old

When I saw the flat-screen TV box in the living room I assumed it was the one from my parents' TV in their bedroom, so ignored it until I was getting the WiiFit Balance Board out for my exercise and my mother pointed it out. It turns out we've become a two-HDTV household. The effort to take out the old TV and install the new, and my taking the chance to straighten out the horrible cord tangle in back and plug everything into surge protectors would eat up an evening that could otherwise have been used for exercise and only popped one circuit breaker. It turns out the TV cabinet had a little built-in extension plug which we weren't using, and since plugging that in caused that circuit breaker to ... break ... we now know why we weren't using it.

And so for a week we had crystal-sharp pictures on the DVD and WiiFit but fat, blurry pictures from the Tivo since we still had that old one. Last Saturday we had the appointment to get that replaced, sometime between noon and four, so you will never in a million years guess when the cable guy (actually the satellite guy) arrived. Fortunately he likes cats, so the one who wasn't hiding under the bed didn't bother him. And now the TV set I see most often also has wide and somewhat brighter images.

About ten minutes after the cable guy left my father asked if I had tipped him. I hadn't imagined such a thing, so my father hurriedly took out a five dollar bill and handed it to me, saying, if I hurried I might catch him yet. He likes to tip people who do us a little extra service, which here meant he left us the old Tivo's remote as a spare, so now we can leave one remote at my mother's chair and another at the sofa. The cable guy was of course long gone.

But everything has some irritating little footnote, and in this case it regards the closed captioning. The new TV had a convenient button to turn that on; the new Tivo, however, gloms up that signal and insists on providing the captioning itself. That would be fine if a little imperious except that it doesn't place the captions on the screen right. It puts all the lines of text in about the same place, text overwriting text, so that the captions aren't actually legible. I need to call the satellite people and get that fixed, if it can, but you'd think they'd have encountered this problem before and not gone around breaking the closed captioning.

Trivia: The United States Patent Office issued its first three patents for lawn mowers in 1868 to inventors in New York and Connecticut. Source: The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession, Virginia Scott Jenkins.

Currently Reading: The Ultimate History Of Video Games, Steven L Kent.