Saturday, January 3, 2009


According to the UPS site, a package that I was to receive yesterday left Bogart, GA at 8:02am in the morning…and didn’t arrive at Rancho Yesteryear until 8:22 that evening.

Those are some pretty long hours to work…yet the gentleman who delivered the bundle was in remarkable good spirits. (Back in Savannah, our UPS guy used to dropkick packages onto our porch, just for spite.)

My mother asked me if there was anything in particular that I wanted for Christmas this year and, outside of world peace, I asked her to get me a DVR so that I wouldn’t have to stay up late nights in order to catch movies I’d been wanting to see. I looked at a few TiVos online—I had really just wanted to lease one from the cable company, but she wasn’t too keen on that—and I think the thing that bugged me the most about the TiVo is that in addition to purchasing the equipment, I had to sign up for the service.

So I nixed the idea of the TiVo.

What I really was wanting was another DVD recorder—something that would allow me to save stuff I’d recorded if I took a particular liking to a movie. This is something DVR’s don’t allow you to do—well, in a way they do…but eventually you’re going to come to a point when you're running out of room and you have to “bargain” with your collection (do I really need these Bachelor Father reruns?) and I’m pretty much doing that with pre-recorded DVDs right now. So I figured I could sell her on the idea of getting a recorder…particular since they were priced cheaper than the TiVos.

I set the recorder up last night, and either they’re making them easier to operate or I’m getting smarter (my money’s on the machine) because it didn’t take me long before I was in bidness. It could also be the fact that I’ve done this before; I received one for Christmas back in 2004 which worked extremely well up until the point when it was hit by one of Savannah’s notorious power surges and…well, it was never quite the same after that. It would record for about an hour, and then decide that it deserved a nap and would shut down for no apparent reason. (I later found out that this model, a JVC, had a reputation for doing this after reading a gazillion complaints from other, customers online.) When I was packing things up in April for the big move to Athens I tried to see if there was anything I could do to resurrect it; I plugged it in and it coughed, sputtered and stared at me as if it were saying: “Ferchrissake, take me out and shoot me already.” I did the next best thing; I wrapped it up in a trash bag and took it down to the curb—how I ever got it past my father is still a mystery for the ages because had I been discovered unlawfully dumping crap that no longer worked we’d still have the damn thing.

My game plan was to take some DVD-Rs that I've been keeping in a box and dub them off to new DVD-Rs with the new recorder but since I dubbed these nearly three years ago a bit of pixilation has set in and now the only thing I can play the discs on is the DVD player on my computer. So I abandoned that little project, and as I type this the recorder is working away on a copy of A Taste of Honey (1961), currently being offered on Flix on Demand. (Last night, I was lucky enough to get the Thelma Todd-Patsy Kelly comedy short I mentioned earlier since it was going to “expire” on January 3rd [today]. I followed it up with a recording of Farewell, My Lovely [1975].) Fortunately, Flix doesn’t offer too much stuff to record (they’re rerunning Billy Liar, and I’ll probably grab that) otherwise I might run into that little “space” problem that I had at the old Rancho Yesteryear.

The new recorder will also allow me to dig into several boxes of videocassettes I am currently keeping in my father’s storage building; I will be able to dub them onto DVD and enable him to have some free space. My mother, who you may remember was a bit nonplussed about the crap he used to keep in the garage back in Savannah, very much wanted to get some of her Christmas items out of the shed for the holidays but upon seeing the state it was in (i.e., no room to swing a cat) threw up her hands in the universal sign of giving up and uttered a very audible “F**k it.” (Then she wanted to go bowling for some reason.) On New Year’s Day, the ‘rents and I were watching The Brian Williams Show (aka The NBC Nightly News, though Lester Holt was filling in for Bri that day—does Lester even have a life?) and we saw this report on an abandoned mine in Pennsylvania that’s used to store the country’s “national treasures.” As the report showed stacks and stacks and stacks of shelves and boxes, Mom dryly remarked: “Look, dear—it’s your storage shed.”



Glad I've discovered this blog - just great

Julia said...

May I ask what model you purchased? I've been dying to convert all my old cassettes into something more portable and space saving for years, but haven't found a unit I trust.

I have the dvr from the cable company. It works fine. It lacks some of the bells and whistles offered by Tivo, like the search feature.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...


I got a Toshiba D-VR610KU, which is available from Best Buy here:

It's on sale. and the feedback was very positive.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...


Glad to have you aboard...and as always, thanks for encouraging my behavior.

If you'd like to plant the Union Jack after "discovering" the blog--I think there's a space available over in the corner. :-)