Tragedy has befallen us.
There are a few appliances in this house which must be operational at all times in order to maintain my happiness. I'd put the water heater, the refrigerator, the toilet, the coffee maker, and the Tivo in this category. Also, the wife. The loss of any of these devices would impact my life unacceptably.
Recently, however, the Tivo has been wigging out (a technical term). Actually, it's not apparent that it's the Tivo. It could be the satellite dish, or the cable leading from the satellite dish, or the Tivo/receiver doohickey. All I know is that recently when I've been sitting down to watch my Daily Show or Colbert Report, the reception has been all wigged out. You know, jiggy. Conflurmagated. Astromapixelatified. Unacceptably so.
For a couple weeks it was only affecting the Comedy Central shows, and not every night. Since I have more TV to watch than time to watch it, I put up with the issue. However, things came to a tragic head this weekend when the transmacorruptifluximafication affected Battlestar Galactica. Crucial bits of dialog were garbled. Unacceptably so.
The wife and I quickly constructed a plan. I'd do a little troubleshooting to try and figure out where the problem was, but meanwhile we'd download the most recent episode of Battlestar Galactica from iTunes and then somehow connect our laptop to our TV. It was a good plan. However, it required cables that we did not own. Since I had more money than time, I made a quick trip to Radio Shack, aka, the nerd's last resort.
Radio Shack isn't a horrible store, but it's not cheap nor do they have a particularly good selection. What they have is a lot of locations, including one about 2 miles from my house.
I journeyed to one on Sunday morning to pick up the cables I needed. My wife had also asked me to pick up some etchant (ferric chloride) for an art project she was doing. I found the cables by myself, but I asked the Radio Shack Assistant Manager to help me locate the ferric chloride. He snorted in exasperation and grabbed a bottle for me.
I eyeballed him as he rang up my purchases and identified him as a fellow geek, probably having a bad day. "I'm glad to get these cables," I announced in a friendly manner, "I'll finally be able to watch this week's Battlestar Galactica."
I wouldn't normally utter that phrase outside of my geek cocoon, but my nerd-sense assured me that I was among friends. It was wrong.
The Assistant Manager snorted again, derisively this time, and announced, "I have a satellite dish with a Tivo."
I had been served.
It was on.
Nerd equipment fight.
"I ALSO have a satellite dish with a Tivo," I parried, "but the images have been pixelated recently, so I'm going to download this episode from iTunes and connect my laptop to my TV."
BAM! I call your receiver and raise you a download!
He exhaled dismissively, wiggling all the overgrown nose hairs protruding from his nostrils. "It's your satellite cable. You need to replace it."
"No. It's NOT my cable. The distortion only happens on a couple of the channels."
We jockeyed for position.
"Oh, it's your cable. The same thing happened to me, but it only affected my secondary receiver, which I don't care about. You'll need to call your satellite provider and have them check it out. They'll charge you for the visit, of course."
"We'll see. I'm not done troubleshooting the problem," I growled, testosterone oozing out of my every port.
"It's probably time to replace your equipment anyway. Do you have HD? Analog broadcasts are going away in 2009, you know."
"I know! And, no, I don't have HD yet."
"Ohhh!" His eyes perked up. "You know, we have a selection of HD TVs here. Our LCD models are quite reasonable."
Aha! So this was the reason for the nerd fight! He just wanted to sell me a TV. His sales fu was weak.
"I will NOT be buying any TVs from Radio Shack today," I explained condescendingly. I grabbed my bag and marched out of the store, still bristling from the encounter.
Like all true nerd fights, this one ended unsatisfactorily. No slap fights (sorry, Pablo) or scratch marks. Frankly, I'm not even sure who won. I'll be back for Round Two though.