Thursday, November 20, 2014

#387 Yes, I Still Use A VCR

In this highly technological age of DVRs and On Demand, I still use a VCR.  I got it when I bought my house in 1999.  I use it every week and I’m not ashamed to say I love it. 

I record four shows a week on a regular basis:  CBS Sunday Morning, Castle, The Soup and Saturday Night Live.  Then there is the occasional show I throw in when I’m not home, in addition to some shows I see that are starting that I want to tape.  When I do this, all I have to do is press a record button on the front of the VCR and it will add time by 30 minutes up to two or three hours.  The remote has buttons where you can choose how long it will fast forward.  I usually press “6” and it will FF for three minutes, which is the approximate length of time commercials last. 

In the back of my mind I know my VCR won’t live forever, but I try to push that thought out immediately.  What would I do?  Well, Monday night, it acted possessed.  As I watched a recorded show, I pointed the remote at the VCR and had not pressed “6” yet and it FF on its own.  Weird!  I was still able to watch and everything seemed fine until the clock struck 10 p.m. and it was time for Castle.  It turned on as usual, but immediately FF to the end of the tape without recording.  What??  Noooooooo!  I messed with it a little and then went to bed, adding that to my list of bedtime prayers. 

The next evening I pulled out the head tape cleaners from the back of my cabinet.  I admit that I haven’t cleaned the heads regularly and it’s probably been several years.  I did the wet cleaner once, and then ran the dry cleaner a couple times.  It still acted strange so I just popped a new tape in and turned it off. 

Last night I let it sit.  I tape The Soup each Wednesday, and at 10 p.m. it turned on and taped normally.  Yes!!!  It seemed to tape normally; I will check that out tonight. 

In the meantime, I’ve checked out used models online.  I found my exact model on Amazon and ordered it today for under $40.  My dad bought a new VCR a few years ago and it’s terrible.  I looked online for new ones and it looks like they are all part of a DVD/VCR combo. 

I mentioned my dilemma to a few friends who were all shocked that I still used a VCR and said they were embarrassed for me.  “Why don’t you get a DVR?”  I am not embarrassed to use a VCR.  It does what I need it to do and I own it.  I don’t want to pay $10 a month to record shows and waste money.  I was also told, “You can record so many more shows!”  I don’t want to record more shows.  I like certain shows but don’t want to spend all of my time watching TV.  I pay enough for cable and I like the variety, but don't want TV to be my life.   

Others ask where I get the tapes.  You can still buy them, but I have a nice stash at work.  They were going to be tossed so I saved them in a big drawer.  My parents use them too and my Mom will sometimes call and ask me to bring over three or four.

Hopefully my trusty VCR will work fine from now on and I will remember to clean the heads on a regular basis.  If it still acts wonky, my replacement arrives next week.  And all will be as it should.  Viva la VCR!! 

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