Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Electronics Update 

Two of the four tv's are now cabled and mostly functional. I was watching the Boston Pops show on the fourth, waiting for the fireworks to start. The Girl promised that we would go watch the fireworks live this year, but then Eric Clapton scheduled a concert at the Tweeter Center for the night of the 4th. So two deals were struck. I really didn't want to sit in traffic in Mansfield on a holiday, so we took two cars to my sister's cookout. I stayed while she picked up a friend and went to the concert. In exchange for my not being pressured to go to that concert, The Girl was released from any obligation to see the Patsy Cline tribute show I'm taking my parents to see for their birthdays (Mom will be 83 this month, Dad 82 next month). That was deal number one. Deal number two was that she now has a double obligation to go to the Boston fireworks with me next year. I'm not sure what that really means in practical terms, but hey - it's out there.

So anyway, I'm watching the Pops on the huge screen tv, with the sound coming through the stereo. The 1812 Overture is in high gear, the cannons are firing, the bells are ringing... and at 9:59 Tivo pops in to let me know that it will be changing to Showtime in a moment to record Queer As Folk. Decision time. I decide that I don't want to wait another day for the new episode (and wasn't that a heart-breaking ending, with the usually full of himself Hunter crying to his dads because he thinks no one will ever love him?), so I literally run upstairs to finish the Boston show in the bedroom, on the large but not huge tv. Which I hadn't yet hooked up to the cable, or even plugged in to the power. A flurry of activity ensues, with me practically hurling myself over the back of the entertainment cabinet, pulling up cables, feeding them through to the lower shelves, and hooking everything up. But not soon enough to catch the end of the Overture. Turns out the big fireworks didn't come on for another 15 minutes, so that worked out okay.

What was that about the tv's being "mostly functional?" I think the picture tube is going on the huge tv. Once in a while the picture goes dark, but the sound comes through fine. Turn it off, wait, turn it on. Picture's back. It acts like this repeatedly every few days, then goes on fine for a few days. In retrospect, I think this had been going on with The Girl's mom as well, but I misdiagnosed the problem during the periodic phone calls. The Girl gets her electronics aversion from her mother, so whenever some new gadget needed to be installed, I would go over and hook everything up and explain how to use it. Then I would get occasional calls (more frequent after a new installation) for emergency instruction. "How do I turn the tv off? I left it on all night last night because I couldn't figure it out." One time the described symptom was that she could hear the tv but the screen was blank. I thought she was just hearing the sound through the stereo and didn't actually have the tv itself on. After having her play with the power button and the video1/video2/ant buttons a couple of times, the picture came on. I assumed she had simply turned it on, but in hindsight it seems likely that the tube had flicked out, and during the button activity she had turned the tv off for a minute and then on, thus giving the tube its needed rest period.

I need to find a tv repair shop that makes house calls, because there's no way we can move this hulking thing ourselves.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:13 AM