Sometimes I wonder if I’m too retarded to live in this modern, electronic age. Sure, I can do the basics, I can turn things on and off, plug in and all that crap, I can sort out my printer. I can even programme my VCR and I worked out how to connect both it and my DVD player to my (old) TV. I can work my ipod [wow] and even manage to seriously fuck up my blog. It’s even been a while, touch wood, since I had anything blow up on me. All of this makes me feel almost, but not quite, normal in an electrical age. Those who read regularly or, indeed, know me at all are aware that mechanical and electronic things are not my forte. I don’t know what my forte is but, you know, I know what I’m not. All very uninteresting, I can hear you say. What’s the point? The point is that I’m going through a period of enforced TVlessness. Which in itself is bothering me remarkably little – turns out that I can live without TV and, I already knew this part, mostly have the TV on but pay it little attention. I live alone without a pet, it’s company, ‘kay? Only now I cannot get the damn thing to work properly. Actually, that’s not exactly true. Insofar as I can tell the TV works fine.
Let me start at the start. My mother, in one of her odd, Sydney, fits of generosity bought me a set top box because living where I do I get really extraordinarily bad reception. Seriously, the ABC had snow for like the whole time I lived here – nothing could get me a decent picture. SBS was almost as bad – the subtitles had shadows, very nasty. The planes flying over every five minutes don’t much help either. Anyway, it was nice of her but after a fairy desultory attempt to connect the thing and the news that my sister [aka the technical wiz of the family] was coming to visit, I kinda gave it up as a bad joke for a while. A while passed and my sister finally arrives only to complain endlessly about the size of my TV [again, I live alone and company…] and the reception and whatever else she could find to have a bit of a whinge at [yes, runs in the family, as does alcoholism, insanity, and threatening people with violence, let it go already]. And she hits on this plan to buy me a bigger TV, which I didn’t want and tried to refuse. As anyone with an elder sister knows, they are a force of nature and you cannot ever, no matter how hard you try, ever beat them at anything. Once they decide something, and for some reason they’re usually terribly decisive, that’s it, the final word. So I end up with a new and bigger TV and a set top box that I cannot work.
It took us all day and an alarming amount of dusting [well, I did that part, didn’t I] to get things into working order. TV working, and with picture fed into the VCR by the set top box, connected to an irritating indoor antenna. All good, yeah, great, until last week. Last week the remote stopped working [for the set top box] and left me stranded on ABC2. Okay, fine, something to put on the background, I’d figure out how to get other channels later [it wasn’t the batteries, not even I’m that stupid]. On Sunday I consult my sister and with a breezy ‘oh that happens to me’ she suggested that I unplug at the wall. Great. Now I have a blue screen and nothing else. Things appear to be working but…no damn picture. The worst thing is the niggling feeling that I’ve overlooked something really incredibly simple. That I really am that stupid. But for the life of me I don’t know what and all I have for company is a blue fucking screen.