Friday, October 8, 2010

Off topic, but a relevant issue in the Alice Palace.

A few months ago, The Human Male made the suggestion of dumping the cable and going to internet-based TV.  His argument was that most of what we watched was online—and what wasn’t, we could get off of iTunes.  The Human Male’s one of those “up on technology” guys, so I thought it was his attempt to be cutting edge and cool.  I didn’t see much point, since it would require buying a ton of new equipment (my TV was circa Time when in-set VCRs were High Tech), and we don’t watch much TV to begin with.  Plus I love the DVR—all the shows I want, automatically in one place, and I can watch them whenever I want.  It’s like having all your entertainment chicks in one basket.


And then I stumbled across the cable bill.


In our house, we divide the bills—The Human Male pays cable and internet, and I do water and electric.  I thought it was even.  I was very, very wrong.


What happened is that over a year ago, we decided the bill was too pricey for how much TV we watched, so we got rid of the super-duper digital cable and went down to basic digital.  It took a giant chunk off our bill, and we didn’t miss the channels at all.  But it ends up that the price I thought we were paying was a special  deal.  So when the year was up, we got the “pleasure of being a long-time customer” increase.  Which ended up being $30 MORE than what we were paying for the special channels we got rid of.


I. WENT. BALLISTIC.  Honestly, I thought The Human Male had missed a bill, it was so high.  But no.  Apparently what I thought was his effort to be technocool was actually an attempt to save well over $1,000 a year.  Considering we could get everything we needed and still have a ton of money left over for that price, cable was dead to me instantly.


That weekend, we bought a new, high-tech TV and started planning our switch to internet-only.  We signed up for Netflix, started researching antennas, and talked about getting a video game system so we could access Hulu Plus/Netflix without having to hook up my computer (it’s very important during football season that I have access to some form of entertainment that’s not football related).  Over the past month, we’ve gotten a pretty good set-up.


Except that I’ve discovered a problem.  A BIG one.


I’ve had some problems using the video game controller (which works as a remote for it).  Apparently there’s a button on the back that pauses things.  So if you go and set it down, it pauses.  You pick it up and press play and it’s fine, but the second you set it down again, pause.  I didn’t know this until I started crying because I couldn’t get a show I really wanted to watch (and was bumped off the DVR the night before for some stupid boy show) to play, and The Human Male had to sit me down like a preschooler and explain the technology to me (he also may have given me a cookie to calm down).


I thought after he showed me that that I’d be able to use the box, no problem.  So today, a half-work-from-home/half-vacation Friday, I thought I’d throw on some girl shows and listen to them as I went about the day.  I clicked on the right source and hit the video game console’s on button—only to find that it was already on (machines being left on is a HUGE pet peeve of mine).  So I look at the screen, and there’s no picture.  Just a message saying that the TV won’t play that resolution, and to change it.


Okay, what?  What’s actually wrong, and how do I change it? 


I figure it has something to do with it being left on all night, so I turn it off.  And I turn the TV off.  And then I cut off both power sources.  I unplug things and replug them in.  I try games, DVDs, the Netflix disc.  Nothing.  Same stupid, idiotic, vague message.


And then I realized what happened: my TV was set up in Malevision.


I think women know what this is—where you try to use your TV, DVD player, or satellite and you find you need a Y chromosome to figure out which series of buttons you need to hit—and in what magic order—to get the thing to work.  I feel like I’ve been cautious in preventing this—I know my parents’ bedroom TV is set up in Malevision and there’s a TV show on every once in a while about the subject.  I’m aware of the issue and vigilant, and feel like I lived alone long enough to identify when things are about to Go Boy.  For example, when The Human Male was trying to figure out which antenna would work best, he devised a “radio tower” that consisted of one of our counter stools (from the opposite end of the apartment) placed in front of our bedroom door, with our patio door opened and the antenna cord stretched wide.  When I said there was no way that was going to fly, he picked it up and held the antenna over his head, then turned hopefully to the TV.  I kicked him out of the house after that.  Anyway, I feel like I’m good at spotting when things are about to go nonsensical to anyone with two X chromosomes, and yet, here I am.


To you ladies out there, have you had this happen?  How did you fix it?  At the very least, can you tell me how to turn on the TV?  And is there any recourse I can take except to load up the Netflix queue with the girliest movies known to mankind?  And do you have suggestions for titles?