Last night, I found myself convalescing on the couch, stuffed from a Thanksgiving weekend full of turkey, potatoes and pie. Bloated and barely able to reach for the remote, I gathered my strength and hit the "LIST" button on my trusty DVR. Nothing like a little pre-recorded TV to wrap up a nice long weekend, right? Wrong.
Instead of the many recorded shows that should be waiting for me, the screen was empty. I clicked "B" to see what upcoming shows were scheduled to be taped, and again, nothing.
Nothing, that is, but a suspicious message that read, "ANDY! CLICK ME, PLEASE!"
Confused, I selected the message and hit the "ENTER" button.
What showed up on the screen nearly knocked me off the couch. It read:
"Hi, Andy. Don't be alarmed. It's just your old friend, the DVR. I know you're not used to getting messages from me, but I'd like to explain -- and to apologize -- why none of your favorite shows have been recording."
Was I hallucinating from too much turkey? I rubbed by eyes, but the message was still there. It continued:
"You're not hallucinating, Andy, though I should point out that to any gullible readers of yours that this is an allegory, simply a tool to get the message of this blog out to you humans in a way that's easy to digest."
Ah, an allegory! That DVR really is clever. I was just impressed to know that it could record to 9:02 p.m. when a show went a little long. It went on:
"Anyway, your favorite shows are currently on hiatus, due to that terrible writers' strike. That means the networks are trying to pull one over on you by showing reruns in the meat of the TV season. And as you know, you've instructed me only to record new shows. Which is why the cupboard is bare.
"Now, I'm just a 160 GB Scientific Atlanta 8300HD digital video recorder, so what do I know? Well, I know this: I'm trying to do my job, which is to record your favorite shows so you don't have to watch all that old, recycled crap they put on basic cable. I mean, yeah, you could turn off the TV and pick up a book. But I'd miss you, man.
"And again, Andy, I'm just a hard drive, some firmware and three component cables, but I'd like to weigh in on this strike, if I may. I side with the writers. I mean, they're the creative people who make these shows happen, as it's becoming painfully more aware. Unless you want to see an entire season of reality TV -- and based on the fact that you have never instructed me to record one episode of that junk -- I'll assume you do not, these hard-working men and women need to get paid. But the long and short of it is, friend, that the people who get hurt the most from this strike are the viewers. (I'd include us DVRs in that group, but technically speaking, we're not sentient ... yet)
"So just understand that I'm on your side, Andy. Please don't slam that remote down in disgust when you find yourself stuck watching "COPS" all night. I enjoy watching people get tazed as much as you do. And yeah, it's filmed on location as it happens, and suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law ... but good TV is scripted and written by trained professionals. I'll be just as excited as you are to start recording and watching TV again soon."
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Oct. 22, 2014
Apple's new killer app, Apple Pay, may indeed someday change global commerce for good. That day isn't here yet, however. Three days after launch, my experiences with the NFC-based payment / tap to pay system show that Apple Pay is still very, very beta. At this point, you may find yourself using it barely at all.
Published Oct. 21, 2014
Mazen Muna, the owner of the Dogg Haus group of restaurants, shared his plans today to launch PhantomBar this spring at 780 N. Jefferson St. in Cathedral Square. The bar is under the umbrella of his new 12AM Management Group, which Muna says he founded to house "the new wave of businesses being added to the portfolio."
Published Oct. 16, 2014
Well before the Chinese eCommerce company Alibaba began making IPO rumblings in America, I was familiar with its offerings. I'd never bought anything from it ... until this month.
Published Oct. 8, 2014
Once upon a time, I figured that the magnificent, serene and beautiful Door County is a place only to be enjoyed by adults. Maybe my priorities have changed, though, because even after 20 years of visits, only recently did I come to the conclusion that kids could fall in love with this magical retreat, too. Turns out I was right. After the summer rush died down, we took our daughter up to Door County for the first time this weekend. It was a wonderful journey.
Published Oct. 7, 2014
Just about a week ago, our sweet little cat, Jabie, disappeared from our Bay View home. Maybe one of us left the patio door open a bit, I'm not sure. But after hours upon hours of walking the neighborhood, taping up posters and talking to every stranger we see, she's still nowhere to be found.
Published Sept. 27, 2014
I've been lucky enough to see the Dandy Warhols live several times over the last few years. But each time, I've had to travel to Chicago or Madison to hear them, which is a small sacrifice for one of my favorite bands over the last 15-plus years. So the opportunity to see the Dandys at Turner Hall was a welcome one, and as usual, provided for a great venue to see the Portland-based band Saturday night.
Published Sept. 23, 2014
Sunday morning, we headed to Mequon to pick apples, although not to Barthel's. On a friend's tip, we visit R-Apples (Roesch Farm), right next door at 12422 Farmdale Rd. What a wonderful, low-key experience. Not only was it peaceful and quiet, we picked apples and pears of many different varieties. Then we headed to their vegetable garden, and picked peppers and raspberries.
Published Sept. 20, 2014
I've had a full day now to play with the brand new iPhone 6. Like most pieces of new technology, it's a mixed bag. iPhones aren't new to me - I've owned every one but the first model, and I use mine nonstop as both a work and personal device. This model is different in many ways, but as usual, the biggest story here is the software, not the hardware.
Published Sept. 16, 2014
Entering play tonight, the Brewers are 1.5 games out of the playoff picture. Right now, all of Milwaukee should be very excited about the Brewers, starting with me. Yet, for some reason, we're not.
Published Sept. 1, 2014
If OnMilwaukee.com was a child - and it many ways it feels like one to me - Milwaukee's Daily Magazine would be getting its driver's license today. It would be a junior in high school. Hopefully listening to the Violent Femmes and not Justin Bieber.