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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why I'm Tossing Our DVR Right Out The @#&% Window

We have very recently joined the 21st Century and obtained a DVR.

If you're a member of the second-to-last household on the planet to get one, I'll try to explain the complicated technology behind this device, as I understand it. It's a box-like doohicky, one end of which plugs into the wall, and the other end of which you apply to the back of the TV with duct tape because it's too dark back there to find the Coaxial Input Video Receiver like the instructions suggest. After moderate grunting and a few swear words, you are all hooked up to the DVR System (hooray).

If you can figure out the remote control, it allows you to fast forward through commercials, and subsequently lets you rewind because you've inevitably gone too far and missed an entire segment of the show you were watching. Not to mention, in case you have a Troubling Television Conflict such as TLC airing a must-see new episode of "Hoarding: Buried Alive" at the same time that FOX is re-running the episode of "COPS" that features your old college roommate, not to worry; with the DVR you can record up to eleventy million hours of additional programming, which you'll never have time to watch even if you live to be a thousand years old.

If that didn't clear up the DVR Basics for you, feel free to visit this helpful site, home of what is easily the most boring Wikipedia page in the history of ever.

Normally I'd be too cheap and stubborn Fiscally Responsible to agree to such a frivolous expenditure as a DVR, despite the fact that Gerry used to have one before we got married, and for years I was subjected to subtle comments such as, "You know, IF WE HAD A DVR I could rewind this show so you could hear that hilarious line you just missed, but I guess I can't do that for you, since we don't have a DVR."

But I finally agreed we should have a DVR, a decision that just happened to coincide exactly with the cable company's decision to send us one for free* in response to an irate phone call Gerry placed to their customer service department regarding our ridiculously high bill.
*Free for the first three months,  that is.
"Oooh, how delightful.  How did I drag myself
through the meaningless days back before I could
record something stupid while I was watching
some other dumb thing?"
Cable company, if I may digress, we aren't as think as you dumb we are. I know what "free for the first three months" means. It means you think that, in three months' time, we'll become so heavily dependent on your television gizmo that we'll be completely unable to survive without it. You believe that a previously fully functional almost normal family will turn into a pile of slobbering, weeping wastes of flesh in three months if we're forced to give up the DVR instead of ponying up the sudden Crippling Additional Monthly Surcharge. How will we manage, watching 5,000 channels of REGULAR LIVE TV like a bunch of idiot cave people, after being introduced to the wonders of your Magical Recording Box?

I can tell you right now, I would have no problem going downstairs this very instant, ripping the duct tape off the Digital Pixel Optics Cable behind the TV, and drop-kicking your DVR right onto my front lawn. I would then send a polite email to your Corporate Headquarters informing them of the whereabouts of their machine, threatening legal action if they didn't endeavor to get it off of my property immediately.

Why so harsh? you ask.

Let me sum it up for you.

Examples of times when I have found the DVR to be useful:
  • Never. In fact, its installation has messed up all the channels. Whenever I try to watch something on the trusty old channel that I'm used to, my husband wanders in, takes the remote, and says, "Are you watching that on a non-HD channel?" using the same voice he would employ to ask someone why they were wearing a pile of poo on their head like a hat. He then, using Television Witchcraft, switches the channel to the same program in HD, which by all appearances is identical except the channel number is now in the upper 6000's where I'll never find it again.

Examples of times my family has found the DVR to be useful:
  • Any time I am almost completely asleep on the couch and Gerry sees something amusing. I'll be innocently snoozing, only to hear, "The 70's called and they want their sideburns back," or a similar snide comment, followed by a nudge and, "You've gotta see this guy's sideburns." Suffice it to say, in the days prior to the DVR, I would not  have to see "this guy's sideburns," because there would be nothing short of a time machine that could conjure the image of his sideburns back onto my TV screen. Instead, I would still be asleep. I'll give you one guess which of those options I prefer.
  • When the children latch onto a line uttered on a cartoon. Back in the good old pre-DVR days, if some moronic character on TV (let's just say, for example, a yellowish squareish spongebobish character - hypothetically speaking, of course) said something like, "Shake your booty" in a squeaky voice and then proceeded to wildly shake his/her booty, I could count on it being repeated only once or twice by each kid before they had to settle back down and be quiet, lest they miss an important part of the show and lose track of the complex plot line. Now, thanks to the DVR, I could at any time be subjected to a high-pitched "Shake your booty" marathon on an endless loop, accompanied by enthusiastic imitation from the peanut gallery.
     
  • When commercials for Stupid Kid Things come on. Instead of using the fast forward feature to skip commercials like normal people, children use the pause feature to halt ads mid-pitch so they can come running to interrupt whatever you're doing and beg you to come and see what overpriced piece of junk it is that they think they can't live without. The DVR has only been here a week, and already I long for the days when I could say, "Well, I guess I'll have to try to catch it the next time it's on. Now get out of the bathroom."

  • During televised sporting events that I don't care one iota about. I'll often sit with Gerry while he watches two colleges I've never heard of stumble up and down the basketball court; during that time I do important, intellectual things like read Toni Morrison novels peruse Smithsonian magazine play games on my phone. I can't tell you the number of times that something athletically spectacular has happened and I've been required, by the Laws of Good Spousehood, to interrupt my game of Jewel Fever while he struggles to make the Unresponsive Playback Feature function properly. It can be pretty irritating to hear, "Oh my God, babe, you have got to see that pass, that was incredible... wait... ugh, went to far... what - it skipped ahead... hang on... there it is - oh wait, I have to rewind farther... just a... there, did you see - ARG, why didn't it stop... hang on, you have to see this..." considering how little I cared about the play when it happened on live TV, and that I sure don't care about it now, and how desperately I just want to get to the next level on Jewel Fever.
And so, that's why I'm not overly fond of the DVR. Everyone else in the house, however, is (obviously) crazy about it, so I have a feeling there are going to be some impassioned arguments made for keeping the thing three months from now. If that's the case, I might have to resort to some pretty unsavory behavior to make my point. Maybe I'll fill up all the available DVR memory with Sex and the City reruns and record everything that airs on Lifetime. I'll wear out the rewind button, making them repeatedly relive the Shocking Reveal at the end of every HGTV home decor makeover show. I'll call the kids into the room and force them to watch commercials for feminine hygiene products.

I still don't like my odds. I should probably start saving up now for that Crippling Monthly Surcharge.



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20 comments:

  1. They should put your post on the DVR packaging, like a cigarette warning! :)

    We are still in the last century. Our tv is one generation after the black and white kind!

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  2. Hey, Tumbleweed! I thought about contacting the cable co about adding a warning, but they screen my calls since Gerry has to call so often to complain about their various rate hikes.
    I'd advise you to keep your current tv - the technology race is no fun! Just when we start to make some headway, they come up with some new thing - Blue Ray, or 3D-tv - and I want to hide under a rock. Or smash the DVR with it.

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  3. Well well well. If you weren't such a Luddite, perhaps you could learn how to use the thing and avoid the situations to which you refer. Except the ones where I'm controlling the remote, of course.

    And the monthly cost really isn't bad. I mean, our kids might not even WANT to go to college.

    Also, if it weren't for the dvr, I wouldn't have been able to get that Mumford and Sons song stuck in your head.

    You're welcome. LG

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    Replies
    1. First of all, it's not worth the effort to learn, for the 2 times each fiscal quarter I'm allowed to touch the remote. Also, I should've added "when Gerry uses it to get songs stuck in my head" to the anti-DVR list. And our kids weren't going to college anyway, due to the cost of our Super Special Premium Channels. :)

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  4. My husband did that to me last night. I was watching Glee or New Girl and he came home from a meeting and was like "why aren't you watching this in HD?" I'm like I thought I was...then he clicked the buttons, and I'm like, "ok, thanks". Fortunately we don't have a dvr, I don't know where anybody finds the time to watch the extra shows they record on top of what they normally watch. I suggest hiding remotes...maybe that will help?

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  5. Em S, great suggestion! What I can't figure out is why people (by "people" I mean our husbands) think it's important to see a sitcom in HD. I mean, if it's sports I get it (instant replay, etc plus our old tv was so blurry you couldn't even read the scores)- I looove New Girl, but I can't say that I love it SO MUCH that I need to be able to read the label on the dress she's wearing in HD. I don't get what difference it makes. But then again, I'm dense sometimes.

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  6. You are rational and right, of course you are right. But I still love my magical recording box. This is the second week in a row I've loved your Finding the Funny post, but last week my effing iPad (magical usually non-functioning tablet device) wouldn't let me comment.

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  7. logyexpress, thanks for coming back, and thanks for commenting despite having to wrestle your iPad to the ground and put it in a choke hold.:) I know, I'm one of the only people on earth not to like the dumb DVR - it's probably because it's an enabler for my tv issues. If I miss a show, then meh, I don't care. But if it's recorded I MUST WATCH IT. I MUSSSSST!

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  8. Hysterical! My 5 yo filled up our DVR by setting it to record the entire NHL season. Then it missed the shows we wanted because it was full!

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  9. THANK YOU, Jessica! I'm totally going to use your example in my campaign to send the DVR packing. :)

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  10. I'm a member of the 2nd to last family to get one. And from what I have read, I don't want one. I'm also in the 2nd to last family to upgrade any of our tv's to the 21st century. We still have the huge, heavy, space taker uppers.
    Really. We are so behind in the times.

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  11. Bravo, insomnia! If I lose my anti-DVR battle, I might have to come live with you. Do you have a spare bedroom? Or a cot? Anything to avoid the replays. Last night he hit rewind so I could read the oddly long name of the weather service that brought us the Winter Weather Advisory that had already scrolled across the bottom of the screen...

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  12. Very funny! My daughter insists we put all Dora/Diego on our DVR. Kinda of annoying,lol. Come link up if you like:)

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  13. Melissa, now that you mention it, I forgot what a lifesaver Dora can be with a toddler in the house (my last batch of toddlers being - thankfully - out of the Dora stage). I might consider keeping the DVR for Maddie's entertainment, on the condition that Apple comes up with a Strangle Dora app I can use to take out my frustrations the 300th time I hear the map song.

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  14. Ha! I totally get what you mean about rewinding it to hear stupid Sponge Bob. I get that. I just wouldn't be able to survive without the DVR! I'd never watch any current TV. By the time I can watch TV, all the shows I like are off. I would probably be more productive without it. The part about your husband asking about the non-HD channels made me laugh! So glad you linked this up with #findingthefunny! Following you now. :)

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  15. Thanks, Kelley! Glad you enjoyed it and that I'm not the only one subjected to Spongebob's grating laugh, aka the soundtrack to my nightmares.

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  16. So funny! MY husband says the same thing to me about the HD channels. He drives me insane!!! seriously I never watch HD because I just can't remember the channels lol.
    We also just obtained a DVR and now I don't watch anything but Max and Ruby, Peppa Pig, Caillou, Bubble Guppies and Wow Wow Wubbzy around the clock! Ask me the state of our country or anything going on in the world and I haven't a clue!

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  17. Me too, Jenny - my husband comes home after talking to grown-ups and listening to NPR on the radio all day, and mentions something offhand like, "Oh, that's what they're trying to do with that thing out in New Jersey" and I'm like, "Uh, what?" Sometimes I wonder if he makes up fake news just to mess with me - I'd never know.

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  18. Well, I have mutiple DVRs at home and so far working good with things I need to do. The remote programming too works good for me. However, you are right in some case we do need things get advanced for better results.

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