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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Regular Programming, Interrupted

Sometimes, you just can’t win. Other times, you can win… but you end up wishing you hadn’t.

Take this afternoon, for instance. I was hanging around the house watching football with a buddy of mine. And I was explaining, between plays, how I spent several hours this weekend trying to talk sense into my TiVo.

It’s not the TiVo’s fault, of course. The TiVo’s like any other computer; it mostly does what you tell it to do. And for months now, the missus and I have been telling the TiVo this:

‘Tape Law & Order. All the Law & Orders. Ditto CSI. And if you miss the Simpsons, you’re done. We’ll gut your circuits and mount your CPU on a spike.

“Every time we turn on the television, it’s recording blood and gore, murder and depravity, sketchy perps and brutal policemen. And hardly ever softcore porn yoga.”

(That last one is mine. I’ve been hurt before, see. A while back, our old VCR went on the fritz and I missed the Treehouse of Horror episode that year.

I turned the insides of that machine into a set of wind chimes. To warn the other appliances when we bring them home.)

The point is, we do like other shows. House, for instance. Good Eats, of course. Various home improvement shows (but not ‘Home Improvement’). And yoga.

(Because we’re interested in staying fit, and maintaining overall health. Not because all those limber women in skimpy outfits is borderline softcore porn.

That’s my story, anyway. So far, so good.)

Problem is, when you tell TiVo to tape your favorite shows, you have to rank them. And with the various permutations of Law & Order and CSI on nineteen different channels every hour of the day and night, that’s mostly what we get. Every time we turn on the television, it’s recording blood and gore, murder and depravity, sketchy perps and brutal policemen. And hardly ever softcore porn yoga. Or Alton Brown. Or anything else.

So I fixed it, which was easier said than done. We bought one of those souped-up refurb TiVo models, and the hard drive holds a couple of hundred shows at once. As a computer programmer, I’m morally obligated to use every byte of free space on the device, so our list of shows to record has ballooned to nearly one hundred. And seemingly, ninety of those are cop shows.

I spent the bulk of Saturday taking care of that. Some rerun-only requests came off the list. Other shows went on the list. And lots of shows we like — but never see any more — moved way up to the top. It took a while, but it was worth it.

(And besides, what else does a Syracuse football fan have to do on Saturday afternoons these days? Watch them get their asses handed to them again by thirty points?

I see plenty enough carnage on the police dramas, thanks.)

Back to this afternoon. My friend and I were sitting here, drinking beer and talking football. Between the vicious hits and long bombs, I explained my little project — and wondered aloud about what interesting new entertainment we might soon have. With the old cop show reruns out of the way, what cool shit would we get instead? Monty Python classics? NFL Films Presents? Even skimpier yoga?

Just as we were discussing the possibilities, the TiVo beeped to say it wanted to change the channel. Away from football. To tape a show. Right away. The show?

Divine Design“. On the Home and Garden network.

So the reprogramming worked. The missus is happy, because we’re getting more shows that she likes now. But I’m pretty sure my Man Card has been revoked. And my friend is frigging relentless with the digs. This is so not cool.

On the other hand, the girl on the show did show us how to make some really nice chenille curtains. Those would look fabulous in the living room. Or so the wife said, when she poked her head in to investigate all the laughing and pointing my buddy was doing.

I guess that’s my project for next Saturday now. Ah, well. It still beats watching another David Caruso episode. But just barely. Stupid TiVo.

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