Technical Meh

I know now that I'm not the only one. In fact, I have proof.

My friend Kathy of The Junk Drawer wrote recently she plans to say "Sayonara" to her uber-surround-sound-indoor-personal-home-multiplex the moment her husband, Dave, snuffs it. Such is her increasing animosity to the beast.

(The multiplex, I mean. Not Dave. She likes Dave.)

My own relationship with my home entertainment system is thus:

Getting the bare minimum hooked up and working properly in the first place has been a Light-Beaming-From-the-Heavens-Chorus-of-Fat-Kids-With-Wings-and-Harps-Flapping-Around Miracle. One not to be screwed with.

Adding or enhancing this system is absolutely out of the question.

Yes, I admit it. I am perfectly content having reached a state of Technical Meh.

I have worked it out so I know where the cables go for the current items I own. No more, no less. This alone had been finalized through lengthy consultation with a friend, a dad, a Radio Shack employee and pinpointed through a series of pencil drawings and weeping phone calls.

When I have moved domiciles, or exchanged dead home entertainment technologies for happy live ones, the cables are all marked with careful, specifically-coded systems so detailed and mysterious, Tom Hanks and Dan Brown are doing a book-to-feature movie about them.

This system gets threatened about once every three years, as my dad comes to visit for Christmas.

He sees that I have three remotes. One for the TV. One for the cable. And one for the video player. And he feels that in his deep and abiding Dad Knowledge, he can streamline this for me into a single Omniscient Remote.

But while that idea is a lovely fairy tale we might enjoy pondering in dappled garden glens, I do not, in fact, want One Remote to Rule Them All.

I like my Triumvirate of small black buttoned boxes. What the Pop learns after a few hours of research on the matter is that my technolgy currently teeters on the precipice of Ultimate Doom.

One subtle change could render the entire system into electronic paper weights.

These days, when the spirit moves him to reach for remotes with renewed vigor at the challenge, I slap his hand and tuck a mug of egg nog in it.

But that's family for ya, isn't it? Always trying to push your buttons.


Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hey Jenn.

I hear you loud and clear. Recently, though, I set up a wireless computer network in my house. The CD that came with it was idiot-proof, seriously. Three clicks later, nirvana.

I've also discovered that cell phones are great for taking pictures of items that are better shown to the staff of Home Depot and Radio Shack. Like the one of that car battery sized thing that runs my home alarm system. Sure the alarm company will walk through the door to replace it in 5 minutes, but it'll cost $105.

Unknown said...

Beer Drinker- I can't tell you how happy I am to hear this, and from a GUY, and one I know is no dummy, too.

That's really exciting about the wireless-- you had to be sort of waiting wondering when the poor instructions and the confusion were going to kick in.

I find I always brace myself for instructions in ancient Mesopotamian or something.

I love your idea of taking photos to bring with you. I'll definitely remember that. That's brilliant!

Anonymous said...

My husband always has to have the newest thing out there. He has our house pretty wired up with all sorts of things. He is working on getting a new sound system that we will barely use until the kids get older. I have no plans to keep all this stuff once he is gone either. The worse part once something gets outdated not broke it gets moved to our basement. I will have a lot to get rid of considering how fast things are changing nowadays.

Jenn Thorson said...

Susie- It sounds your basement is the elephant graveyard of technology-- where old equipment goes to die. :)

JD at I Do Things said...


Now, I would love an Omniscient Remote. One that did everything with only, like, 3 or 4 buttons. And I do mean everything, including answer the phone and do the laundry.

(I'm a little envious of Kathy's husband's set-up, tho I wouldn't know the first thing about how to work it.)

Jenn Thorson said...

JD- I believe that Omniscient Remote of which you speak is, in fact, a House Maid/Butler. :)

Cari said...

This is why I love having a husband who is not only in the computer industry but is a TECHNICAL WRITER. That's right, everyone, he writes those manuals no one ever reads. :P

We, too, have the Plethora of Remotes. A veritable herd. We have one for the TV, one for the cable, one for the tuner (gotta have that surround sound), and one for the Blu-ray player. It's a chore keeping them out of the hands of the baby.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I can SO relate. When I lived by myself, I knew how everything connected and could fix said connections by myself. Then I had the audacity to fall in love with...and move in with...and MARRY...a techie junkie. So we have DVRs and DVDs and video-to-DVD's and somewhere there's a laser disc player too. And since it's impossible to get old fashioned, old tech TVs anymore, we have all these newfangled flat screen thingies.

I used to know how to record and play my VHS tapes. Now I need an Idiot Remote Control ("What do you want to do? "Watch TV" WHOOSH...done!) to do anything. Life used to be so simple...

Jenn Thorson said...

Cari- All hail your husband. May his written words ring loud, clear and true! :)

And yes, remotes DO herd. I hear they are actually attracted magnetically to chubby baby fingers. Scientific fact.

Sharon- You're so right about how we get pushed into transitioning into the new technologies whether we want them or not. The reason I currently have a BluRay player is only because my DVD player died a tragic death and it ended up being, oddly, a better financial decision to get the BluRay. It makes no sense. The cost difference was strangely minimal.

My mother never did figure out the VCR.

Kathy said...

I love "Technical Meh." It's perfect. It's how I want to live. I do not need flashing lights, 3D, or any of the latest gadgetry that some pimply nerd says I'm no one if I don't have.

"Give me simple or give me death!"

Jenn Thorson said...

Kathy- I hear your cry for autonomy and less than 12 remote controls at a time, my friend!

You mention 3D, and that's RIGHT-- it was you I first heard about 3D television from because your hubs was all jazzed about the idea.

Well, I guess it could be worse-- he could hook up all your lights, stove and everything else to a computer, in one complete console. :)

ReformingGeek said...

Amen. If Hubby's gone, I'm screwed.

Melanie said...

When my hubby cashes in his chips, the tv, the surround sound, the remotes, the wires, the speakers, the what-its and whozeits are all going right straight to the dump. I will live a blissfully television free existance thereafter!

screwdestiny said...

I HATE that if I want to actually learn how to work that complicated sound system/DISH cable/Blu-Ray player with the four effing remotes, I'd have to sit down for like, two hours with someone teaching me how to use it. It's just too much for me. I miss one remote with the on/off button and the volume and the up/down channels. It was all so simple and wonderful.

Jenn Thorson said...

ReformingGeek- Heh, it used to be wives were stuck when their husbands died because they didn't know how to drive, or balance the checkbook... Now we don't know how to work our televisions. :)

ScrewDestiny- The irony is that if you had a person who really knew how to explain things, it wouldn't be that difficult. But when you've got booklets written in technobabble translated from about three different languages, things get dicey.

Anonymous said...

My goodness, I've been saying this for a year or so - we are headed for a technological melt down. Technology keeps changes at such fast past that it now controls our lives and we can't seem to get anything done without it.

Forget about yesteryear's Y2K. I think we need to beware of a digital implosion.