This Prank’s Humor Would Have Been Lost

My wife’s fantastic about my sense of humor. She laughs at my lame jokes and puns and even recovers well from the occasional “Psych!” moments in our lives. But having just recovered from a possible crash and burn, this one would have not gone over too well. It’s a good thing I was proactive in testing my assumptions before trying to pull it without time to recover.

I know, for her, there are valley’s and peaks throughout her week. The times she has to herself, away from the demands of the house and responsibilities is one of those peaks, and that’s where she is right now. Watching the show “Lost” is another of those peaks, and tonight’s 2 hour season finalie is one she’s been pacing back and forth over, in dire anticipation. This is a big night.

But it’s also her TNL [see prior post] and as such, she’s out and about, and it’s my responsibility to ensure the show records on our TiVo so when she gets home mid-way through the broadcast we can start watching it and enjoy it without commercial delays.

The prankster in me thought it’d be hilarious to wait for the show to start recording and mess with the cable connection just enough to make it appear that the show was not coming in. It’d just be snow and scattered images. Funny, right? Well, I know they always start with a recap of the prior weeks so I’d just have to time things to reconnect the cable in time for the real show’s start. I’d have a minute or two, easily, and when we started to watch it and found it was garbled and un-watchable, it’d be incredible for a moment to see her jaw drop. Yeah, I’m a prick sometimes.

FORTUNATELY for me the idea came to me at 8.40, 20 minutes before the show started. I carefully shifted the TiVo unit about on the top shelf, located the cables going into the back, and pulled one out.

Nothing happened. The show continued to broadcast. I determined that it must be the passthrough to the TV through which we can watch without going through the device.

I put it back in and started to uncouple the second cable. This one was a tougher one to decouple, as it was not the easier ‘press in’ type, but the older twist on style.

I got it out and started to tinker with the connection. It was great. Hilarious. The signal was easily tweaked and it really would have been pretty simple to make it appear to go out. But what ended up not being simple was reconnecting it. I started to try and reconnect the cable and it was not going in too easily. It felt like it was resisting the effort to screw it in. And I started to panic. I started to realize that, if I screwed the pooch trying to play some lame practical joke, and subsequently was unable to capture the broadcast for her to watch. I’d be the one living on an island tomorrow.

For whatever reason, the cable was taunt and not giving any leeway. Sure, it decoupled with great ease, but trying to get it back into place was not as effortless… and the one or two minutes I’d have had, were this to have been the real broadcast and not a trial run, quickly passed by, without any success on my part.

I also remembered, suddenly and with even greater fear of retribution, that our second TiVo unit died no less than about 3 days ago. Yes, we’ve been a two TiVo family for some time and that came to an end recently. Ironically recently. And there was no way in hell I’d be able to scramble and setup the boxed up VCR that, itself, was “Lost” in the overwhelming pile of boxes stacked floor to ceiling in our garage.

“Tick tick tick” loudly went the timer in my head….

I traced the cable back behind the cabinet and found it was pinched between the cabinets, and with a modest wiggle and tug I was able to loosen it enough to get the necessary slack and start trying to reattach it. Although there was a moment or two as I was trying to awkwardly twist the cable’s attachment piece back onto the unit during which I felt resistance and wondered if there were more issues yet to be resolved, it finally did start to settle into place, the images returned, and my sphincter subconsciously unclenched.

Lesson learned.

Perhaps. :-)


Written by gsm

05/24/2007 at 8:08 am

One Response

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  1. Two technical comments:
    1. The ‘older’ connector that has to be threaded on is imminently preferable to the push-on F-connector you refer to. The signal quality with a push-on F-connector is horrible, and if this is an analog signal then it may be the cause of picture degradation on various (but necessarily all) channels. If it’s a digital connection, then you’d probably not notice it until the error correction algorithm runs out of room – then the picture will just blank out for a moment or two.

    2. The pinched coax cable should be replaced. The pinching action has damaged the dielectic layer surrounding the inner core and will allow outside RF interference to get into the cable and cause further signal noise issues.

    -Ex TV and Video Server Guy


    05/24/2007 at 9:33 am

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