An Old Fashioned Epic

It’s been frustrating, I suppose, but mostly I simply have a sense of ‘no time’.

It could have been a nice quiet week with Michelle, capped by a vacation day on Friday. It could have been a fun week with a new toy and a good friend. The new toy, a Media Center computer named Eschaton, was supposed to arrive Monday. It was Kevin’s birthday present. But Monday was just the prologue.

Book 1: It didn’t arrive Monday. It arrived Tuesday, the same day as Michelle. Kevin stayed home to sign for it, despite needing to be at work to prep for some very important meetings. He asked me to pick up an exciting HDMI-DVI adaptor at Fry’s, along with a sexy sound card, and a hot wireless network card. Yeah, we have that kind of relationship.

When I headed out after an atrocious day at work, I realized I’d never driven to Fry’s before. I’d just gone along for the ride. You know how it is, Kevin always wants to be the driver. I almost got lost, but from these clues I put the answer to the riddle together: Exit 5. Sunset Blvd. If you can see the store, you’ve gone too far. You make a LEFT turn to leave the store. At the store itself, the sound card section had vanished. I asked a salesman where the sound cards were and he pointed behind himself, at the totally empty shelf section. Then he directed me to the video card section. Oh, you wacky Fry’s Guys!  There are TWO video cabling sections at Fry’s. One for people who think about televisions, and one for people who think about computers. They’re tricky like that. And the only DVI-HDMI cable I could find cost $100. Agony. Angst. But I got it, in the end, and saved the reciept.

I came home with Michelle, and Kevin and Ray were still at work.  They were waiting for the international contingent of the important meetings to show up, to see if they wanted to have dinner. I was exhausted from my bad day, but I had to do more work after 11 PM, so I had to stay awake. So I started working on setting up Eschaton, stealing the television from Michelle to use as the monitor. The Expensive Cable didn’t work very well; the visuals were bright but very, um, aliased. Is that the technical term? If anti-aliasing is smoothed, wouldn’t jagged be aliased? Don’t ask me. After perusing my trusty companion, the internet, I am stating authoritatively the timing was messed up. No, I said don’t ask me!

So we went back to a cheap, ancient VGA cable. I think bits of metal were flaking off. The cord is yellowed. It’s ancestral. And the colors were not as bright, but the fonts, they did not stab us in the eyes. I installed the wireless network card and let the computer patch. Then I went to install the sound card and realized the only slot open was a ‘PCI-Express x4’ slot. I’d put the network card into the last PCI slot. Hell.

Kevin came home then, abandoned by the international visitors. We discussed and researched and reluctantly agreed to use the wired onboard networking and install the wireless card into somebody else’s computer. We spent an hour trying to make the expensive HDMI-DVI cable look better. And yet we failed. Kevin revealed that a DVI cable had come with the computer and I swore to get a VGA-DVI adaptor on the next day to improve what could be improved.

Kevin had to get up very early to be ready at work for a 9 AM meeting with the international delegation. But he stayed up very late, almost until I was done with my remote work. Eschaton tormented him. And he was gone before I was conscious the next day.

Book 2: We left our place of employment at 5:30 to go to Fry’s and pick up more cable alternatives. It took us an hour to make it to the freeway, because of two flashing stoplights along the way. It took another hour to make it to Fry’s because, in a never-before-seen-event, the 520 bridge was totally closed. Another bridge crosses the lake between Seattle and the Eastside. Both bridge-highways connect to the Eastside north-south main artery, the 405. The 405 is what takes me to Fry’s. The interchange where the remaining bridge connected to the 405 had MULTIPLE accidents. It was dizzying. I would never have been able to hold myself together if it weren’t for Michelle’s encouragement and support. I would have gone insane there, on the darkened slopes of the 405, and our story would have ended.

We arrived at Fry’s. We picked up cables. We went home. I forgot to stop at the store for coffee.

At home, I couldn’t find the DVI cable. I spent half an hour looking for it while eating dinner. Then I decided to do the other needed work while waiting for Kevin to get home and reveal its hiding place. I swapped the wireless card from Eschaton to Charm, my computer, installed the sexy new sound card, and moved Eschaton to its permanent home. It is the heaviest computer I’ve ever lifted.

I tried to plug in the sound card and failed because I didn’t realize optical audio ports have big bulky covers. Trusty Companion Internet and a stray memory of Kevin cursing long ago showed me the way, though. I couldn’t figure out how the satellite was supposed to connect to the TV tuner card and Trusty Companion Internet told me the answer was ‘Coaxial cable’. I exclaimed ‘Coax!!’ a lot. Kevin’s spent a lot of money avoiding basic connections. Yeah, it turns out he’s that kind of guy. Everybody needs a hobby, right? I wandered around looking for another coaxial cable. They just sort of accumulate, right? Like phone cords. We have ten thousand old cables for phones, old game consoles, old computers and other stranger devices. But, apparently, we purged the coaxial. I can almost remember laughing, “Ohohoho, we’ll never need this crap again!”

Finally, under two boxes, I found one. I plugged it in.

Kevin got home at eleven, after a fabulous dinner at El Gaucho for the international visitors. He had no idea where the DVI cable was, and all four of us spent 45 minutes looking for it in the tangled spiderweb of cables our house had become. Finally, after deceit and distraction, we found it, behind the television. We connected the VGA-DVI adaptor to it. Kevin twisted off the mysterious screws on the adaptor that prevented it from connecting to the television. He plugged it in.

It didn’t work.

Eventually, I figured out why. See, it’s a DVI-D (D for digital) cable. It only carries digital data, despite the DVI port offering both digital and analog data. VGA, that’s analog. Duh, what fools we were! DVI-D can’t carry DVI-A data! The adaptor is sending sheer gibberish to the VGA port!

So, another trip to Fry’s is in order.

I switched back to straight VGA and went to set up the TV tuner. The TV looks HORRIBLE through the coaxial cable. It’s an old cable, true, but… it was like a bad dream. But I have some ideas about the mysterious not-actually-a-VGA port on the TV tuner, which I’ll explore when this rendition is done. The bigger problem was that while the computer generated sound just fine, the TV didn’t. Maybe my anti-coax plan will solve that, but I honestly have no idea. Nothing else has worked.

Oh, sideplot: we took the vaccuum in to be fixed by our Best Buy service contract two weeks ago. It was supposed to be done Tuesday. They haven’t called. I would like to call them but Kevin took the receipt on Tuesday to call them and now I have no idea where it is. Kevin was again gone before I was conscious (last night’s bedtime for both of us was close to 2 am). And my cellphone battery spontaneously died when I got to work.

So, to sum up: Silent, terrible, punishing television. No coffee. House full of boxes for computer, cables for computer and giant tv cable nest. Also, bizarrely, a hedge whacker. And Michelle. Danes have stolen Kevin and Raymond. On bright side, can play music from Kevin’s computer across network out living room speakers. In stereo? Not yet sure. I am finding I need more cables. Is this nesting instinct? Stay tuned.

I really hope this is an old-fashioned epic, and no longer than a trilogy.

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Chrysoula

I used to be at attractmode.net, but flakiness is one of my primary traits, and the domain expired. Apparently it was popular enough to be snatched up!

2 thoughts on “An Old Fashioned Epic”

  1. The whole thing seems like a soap opera, set up to take you down. (It is rather a funny story though.) All the irony … and plot twists and world-completely-out-to-get-me themes.

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