The VCR Chronicles – In For A Penny, In For A Pound

I thought I was doing well, despite, well, you know…covid.

But after many months of being home and living more in our bubble than many around us, I was craving a home refresh.

But any new furniture or home decor must be able to be delivered, or not too heavy or large if I buy it somewhere and it must be in my budget.

le sigh.

Too many constraints on my wild need to redecorate our space. This refresh would bring me some adventure and change in a time when spring melts into summer into fall and I barely wear pants.

Shaka keeps saying we have outgrown the space. I keep saying, we just need to reorganize.

So I looked around our space to see what I could redo.

Our office/guest room has a tv/vcr combo that is taking up some space. As is the shelf of VHS tapes. I bought some hardware and software to convert them with the tv/vcr combo. I tried it but it didn’t work.

My sister said when she was doing the conversion, she used OBS Studio. I tried it but it didn’t work.

I ended up getting a new computer. It didn’t work.

I got another capture device. It didn’t work.

I sent out an inquiry to work people on our intranet.

First guy said his dad was moving and had a vcr/dvd combo I could have but he wasn’t sure it worked.

Another guy at work had a working vcr but needed to get it back from someone who had borrowed it.

The vcr/dvd combo ended up working like a charm.

Then it stopped working.

Thank goodness the guy with the working vcr was able to get it back and was willing to still loan it to me.

Then…that one started working ONLY with the OBS studio but no sound.

I went to bed racking my brain for solutions but I am not tech minded.

I then bought a head cleaner to see if that would do the trick

Shaka smirked from the couch, “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

It’s true! It’s expensive to send them to be converted but I was on my way to spending more if this didn’t work soon.

I became fixated on making this work. It HAD to work! And it had to work soon. I couldn’t finalize my plans until this first row of dominos fell. I didn’t want to live in a half completed project. I am already living in a half reality as it is.

It reminded me of my friends and relatives who are Trumpers. They are not the 1% but they still believe somehow that he is their savior. It’s quite gross. And distressing. They believe in his cult of personality. They believe his lies.
They too, are in for a penny, in for a pound. They double down with vigor and anger as they tell me I am the snowflake or that they won’t live their lives with fear. Though their very tone is quite fearful. I am afraid.

But unlike them, my obsession isn’t based in misogyny or lies or straight out thievery. Mine is all about finishing this damn project. By myself. The only lie I am believing is that I can do it.

I went to Youtube University to learn a new trade (fixing vcrs), but alas, it confirmed what I already suspected. And it’s that I stop paying attention when there are more than 8 steps involved in the first 2 minutes of the tutorial.

Then, I went back to the vcr/dvd combo that had stopped working. It ate a tape. I took off the top of the vcr and started to blow on the inner workings (you might want to take notes, pupils…this here is the technical portion of the lesson – hahahaha). Shaka walks into the living room to see me with an exposed vcr playing and me holding down the tape with my finger.

“Who did I marry???” he laughs

“It’s working,” I cry out like I discovered gold in them thar hills, “It’s FINALLY working!!!!”

I am now nearing the end of the project. Many vhs tapes down. Many hours of watching stuff I didn’t need to digitize like old Bill Mahr or David Letterman or Dharma and Greg promos, Everybody Loves Raymond, Mad TV or other shows I can’t remember. The pile is but a wee stack.

I am finally feeling a win. Once we move the tapes and donate the tv/vcr combo, we can move some furniture around and rearrange things. Move your stuff…change your life!!! My life will be on track!!!!! Okay, that’s a stretch, but it will be some movement.

But during this laborious process, I was finding a time capsule into my past.

I was able to digitize old commercials and old films I was in.

I also found a vhs tape from my friend Debbie (whom I wrote about before https://poppeacock.com/2019/07/18/quicksilver-people-finding-it/ ).

She has been sober for a long time. This tape was made before then and right before her world drastically changed. She filmed her life on her last day (and night) in SF before moving to Ojai.

The label read: To Ginsu Girl from Beecharmer.

I digitized it.

Early in the shutdown, I got back in touch with Debbie. It was like no time had passed, but for sure…multiple lives and experiences had existed in the interim. It was like feeling some movement in a finger that had gone numb.

After I digitized a film we had both been in (actually she was the one who got me the role), I emailed her to let her know that I had a digital version of the film and the SF tape she made for me and did she want it.

The time between hearing back from her was a strange pause because I didn’t want to send her anything that was triggering to her sobriety.

I was in a certain headspace of archiving my memories and projects but that didn’t mean she was.

I waited.

And then I heard back….

TO BE CONTINUED

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