Necessity is the Mother of Invention, and Maybe His Grandma Too

It was a time of dread…

A darkness had fallen across the household.  Evil Genius retreated to his dark cave to hide from the world.  Children were bored and sad.  Mom was slowly losing her mind because she could not remember where she had put it.  All of this because… we had no satellite…

This would not be so bad, except that the rabbit ears were being, well, very very bad.  We could not move, we could breathe lest the station go out.  We were down to two stations that would actually come in, and even those were extremely touchy.  This is not something that I would care about very much, except that nothing else seemed to be working right to try to help the situation.  I needed PBS back for my hour of sanity per day.  The kids wanted PBS back.  Evil Genius wanted his football.

Finally Evil Genius tired of all this foolishness, and went about a solution.  I didn’t hear much of the scientific explanation as to why all of this was happening. There was something to do with water and electromagnetic something or others in our body that would affect the signal.  I’m sure there was some sort of coefficient in there too.  He set to work, and in a matter of a short time he came up with a very sound solution:

Well looky there. A nail solved the problem.

That was easy.  Jeff Foxworthy would be proud.  Everything comes in plus we gained a station.  No ABC, but I think we can live with that.  At least there is one thing in my life I sort of have control over.

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One Mom Dragged Into the 21st Century

I’m wondering if I will have this conversation with my kids someday?

I guess I could say I’ve come a long way the last few years.  In this past year you could say that I almost am current with technology. ALMOST.  I will probably still be one of those parents whose kids understand the stuff better than I do.

I’ve had this blog set up for awhile to post on Twitter.  That’s all I’ve done with it, because I tend to shun whatever everyone else is doing.  I don’t necessarily desire to be like everyone else (not to mention I didn’t really understand it).  Like I watched Desperate Housewives until everyone else was raving about it, then I lost interest.  I don’t watch Reality TV, or anything that normal people really like.  I never even really texted until my I figured out it was the only way I could get anything through to my husband (because EVENTUALLY he would look at his phone).  Honestly I didn’t have a smartphone or a laptop for quite some time.  The most advanced thing I did for years was pay bills online.

However, I succumbed to peer pressure this weekend from The Bearded Iris, a very funny lady who writes a very funny blog.  She wrote a blog about PMS, and I shared my somewhat witty post with her.  She told me I had to “Use the Twittah”.  So I gave her my handle.  Not only did she hook me up, she even gave me a shout out on Twitter.  How nice!  In addition she referred me to  “Some Twitter Truths You Need To Know” on her blog, which is actually pretty handy. ADD me is going to have to print it out and use a highlighter to figure it all out, because that’s how I roll.  I know, how ironic is that?  People who use paper, funny, right?

So I went forward with it, made a few comments and posted a few tweets of my own.  I am now a proud member of the PMS Club.  I’m not sure what the membership cards will look like, but it’s nice to have someone to commiserate with.  I also found some new blogs to follow, as well gained a bunch of followers myself.  That’s cool!  Welcome to all the new followers, I hope I’m entertaining enough to keep people coming back, and more coming to take a look.

While I am busy not trying to get too attached to technology, The Professor is using an Ipad at school.  The school got a pretty cool technology grant, and I believe they have enough Ipads so that there is one available for each student to use in the classroom.  That’s all I have hear about are these Ipads.  I am sure they are cool, but no, we are not getting one any time soon.  I’d rather spend my money on more important stuff like, oh I don’t know, my utility bill?  He and the Princess are stuck playing games and visiting websites on the ancient Dell laptop that got me started actually doing stuff on the internets.  I bought the laptop after getting tired of fighting my husband to use the desktop computer, since I had extra money coming in at the time with my preschool music classes.  This is the computer that I swear caused the economic downturn-I ordered it off of Dell and the day it arrived my husband’s workplace announced they were shutting their doors.  Nice timing, Sarah.  I shouldn’t have been surprised that right after I got my smartphone the place I worked decided that my employed decided to downsize my job.  I should have recognized the pattern by now, I buy something for myself, bad things happen!  I really need to stop that.

I now have my husband’s refurbished laptop, while he got the laptop that would supposedly take over the world.  You have to have that stuff when you’re an Evil Genius you know.  Having a computer that actually can do stuff has been great.  That was what helped me finally get into blogging.  I actually watch stuff on YouTube.  I spend way too much time on it, but then again, I don’t have a lot else to do these days.  I’ve done a few other things with it that haven’t quite come to fruition.  Like getting Photoshop Elements when it was really cheap.  It’s great, if you know how to use it!  Instead, I continue to use Picasa.  The Grocery IQ program?  Working better than I had intended, but it’s not foolproof-if your phone doesn’t get charged like it should and it dies on you, you have no grocery list to look at.  That didn’t work so well…

While I’m raving about my new feats and good intentions in technology, the rabbit ears are revolting on us.  I publicly fired PBS on Twitter this past week for no longer coming in on the TV, even if we sat perfectly still.  How dare they!  I’m not sure if conditions have to be perfect or what.  Princess Tantrum was most unhappy, and I realized just how much I get done when she has her couple of favorite shows to watch.  I tried turning on their laptop and letting her watch her shows on the website.  She didn’t like that.  She would watch a little, play a game, and then shut the laptop off after a few minutes.  Then she would tell me she wasn’t done, and we’d start all over.  We’d have to turn it back on, wait for it to boot up, etc, etc.  Remember my great idea that we could just hook up the laptop to the TV and watch our shows?  If I could only get him to relinquish the thing for a little while, this might just happen.  Damn you, Bejeweled Blitz!

So we’re about halfway there, but I doubt we’re ever going to be the most current ones on the block.  How up are you on technology?  Do you think you could live without it?  I’m sure I probably could, but I definitely would miss it!

Well that’s certainly one way to look at it!

Please Stop Breathing So TV Will Come In: Our Life Without the Satellite

We’re doing it wrong.

Now that the election is over we can get back to what really matters in our house:  TV.  We’re taking a (forced) break from our satellite dish and relying on a set of rabbit ears, Netflix streaming, my husband’s laptop connected to the TV through an old monitor cord, and Family Video as well as our own collection of movies for entertainment.  And maybe a shadow puppet show or two.

It’s not so bad.  But rabbit ears are extremely touchy with today’s digital television.  We don’t get ABC at all.  CBS, NBC, FOX, and a few channels we don’t care about come in pretty well.  PBS does not.  You may recall that we have two kids who live for PBS programming.  There’s been a lot of tension for my kids because of this.  PBS WILL come in if we follow these directions for watching PBS with rabbit ears:

1)  You must sit perfectly still.  There will be no talking, laughing, or moving, or breathing.  No noise, no movement, did you hear me?  NO BREATHING!

2)  You may not walk past the TV.  We may lose the signal for hours.  This includes adults, children, dogs, and cats.  That means no going to the bathroom.

3)  You may not do anything in the kitchen.  That means no cooking, cleaning, or dishes, because that also makes the signal go out.  I was REALLY sad about that one…

4)  You may not sit within eight feet of the TV.  Even if you are sitting perfectly still, because your body’s aura disrupts the signal.

Gone are the days where you could see some of the picture without a real good signal.  It might be fuzzy, there might be a little “snow” and static in the picture, but you could make stuff out good enough to watch the show.  Analog TV had its advantages.  I can’t stand the way the digital signal cuts out with those shrieks and squeaks and loud buzzes.

Seriously, though, living without the satellite doesn’t really make a lot of difference to me.  Yes I miss the DVR part, because I have no idea when anything is actually on, except for The Big Bang Theory.  But most shows I can catch the episodes on their respective websites.  As of yet I’ve only paid for the Netflix streaming.  Since we can hook up our computer to the TV with the giant cord, we can still watch the few shows we watch regularly on the TV.  The Netflix, well, we’ll keep it for a little while, but the selection is about you’d expect for $8 a month.  Since we found some older comedy routines and movies we want to see, it’s worth it for now.

So that’s that.  We only get a few channels and no one has died.  Hey, I only got four channels as a kid and it didn’t kill me!  We may not have access to a lot of great tv, but if nothing else I have found a great way to make the kids sit really quiet and still.  You should try it.  I’d better stop typing now, because I’m disrupting the signal.

UPDATE:  Go here to read the continuing saga of the rabbit ears-Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention, And Maybe His Grandma Too.