Thursday, August 31, 2006

Loyal solider, devoted companion, beloved VCR...

Back when, I was convinced for a year or two that I should be a filmmaker. With the wisdom of age and relative sobriety I am now reasonably confident that anytime some person says, "I want to be a ____," they will either:

(a) become "___," but be either mediocre or suck at it (the kind of person you say behind their back: "so-and-so should have stuck to being a [housepainter /dogwalker / jivetalker]), or;

(b) become "____," turn out to be really good at it, but make everyone sick to their stomachs because said person is one of those "success stories" we all hate, and they're probably independently weathly anyways, so the degree to which they truly "realized their dream" is questionable, since they clearly had a leg up on the rest of us shlubs in the first place. Ahem.1

Back then, I was so terrible w/ money I never came even remotely close to being able to make the first step: buying a digital camcorder, which were expensive, back then. Times have moved on, & the other day I dropped the $400 to get a digicorder and necessary accessories, mainly for the purpose of digitizing some shit off old VHS tapes.

So I get home and decide to try and find some certain footage. These tapes are, in what seemed like a simple and clever strategy at the time, simple labeled #1, #2, #3, all the way of to #13. There are no other guide as to their content - leaving me with the joy and agony of watching them all one by one. So I throw a tape in the ol' VCR, watch about 5 seconds, realize I should just start with #1 instead, eject the one I'm watching, and put No. 1 in.

Then it happens.

You see, this isn't about the camcorder, or the old VHS collection...

My vcr, the ol' girl, just sort of IDLES DOWN, if you can imagine a vcr doing such a thing. I hit eject and the power button a couple times. More of the same. I panic a bit. Its kind of late and I have an invite to go to the neighbor's birthday party (including free keg!), so I give it a rest and head out.

Next day, I'm brushing my teeth and it hits me: is my vcr dying?

Fat may recall I had a similar scare about three years ago, and was prepared to take the fair lady out to a parking lot, stuff her full of fireworks, douse her in lighter fluid and give her a proper Viking funeral pyre. Then I just got a head-cleaner and she was okey-dokey.

But this is different. This problem sounded... mechanical.

For the record, I received this vcr as a Christmas present in 1995. Yeah, ELEVEN years ago. It was the cheapest vcr on the market at the time, and it still cost $90 (maybe $125, things were different then) - at K-Mart! 'Course, that high price tag, I'd like to think, even if it was the cheapest model, implied, y'know, some investment in parts and labor by the manufacturer, which is why it took 11 years before I was faced the prospect of getting new vcr (for what? $19.99?).

Still, I'm terribly upset by the prospect the ol' girl's given up the ghost. Eleven years! As far as things go, this vcr is antediluvian! I not sure what else I own could sit in that esteemed company. Probably some books. Maybe a CD or two. I think I have a board game or two kicking around that pre-date '95. Still, this detris of my youth, of this vintage, could probably fill two milk crates.

And let's not forget, a vcr, especially one you've owned for 11 years, signifies a lot of movie watching. There's probably not a single genre of film that I didn't start watching on that vcr. I had a tape once of about five episodes of the second season of Futurama that I taped off Fox with that VCR. I taped CGI cut-scenes from playstation games with that vcr!2 I watched Battle Royale and Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Warriors and Return of the Night of the Living Dead and Zeram and "gray market" Godzilla flix and El Topo and god know what movies I'd seen a billion times before and over and over again on that sweetie.

The next day I get home from work, take the top cover off, kind of poke at the parts, and then, get this, I BLOW ON IT, as if some dust is the problem. And guess what? I hit power and the son of a bitch fires up, ready and rearin' to go!

That's my girl!!!


1 Pardon the butting in of my views about the role of entitlement in this society of ours.
2Come to think about it, I still have that tape of CGI cutscenes (all of 'em from Legend of the Dragoon, then some other stuff. Maybe I'll digitize that!! Yreka!

1 Comments + Unabashed Criticism:

Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

I have a similar story about my first CD player. Radio Shack, $180 in 89 or 90. It died in 1994, and I took it apart to get the cd out of it. Noticed a tiny blown fuse, so I threw a new one in there, which ressurected the unit until 2002/2003, when the tray finally gave out.

Since then, I've been through a pair of dvd players.


5:42 PM  

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