So it's been a little over a month now since I got my DVR. Or, more accurately, my Explorer 8000 Home Entertainment Server.
And I'm enjoying it, but I’m also kinda terrified of it. Doesn't that name sound like a joke from Futurama? I mean, I love tech toys, but there's also a point where I start to get a little creeped out in a Maximum Overdrive sort of way. The remote, for instance, controls everything in my house. Seriously, I can microwave popcorn from the couch. If I leave food out on the coffee table overnight, it's gone in the morning, and I don't have a pet. Well, I guess I do now!
It does not do the thing I was most afraid of, that I heard somewhere TiVo does do: recommending shows it thinks I might like. This is a relief, because if it's anything like the recommendations system on Amazon we'd have trouble. (You buy a perfectly innocent David Sedaris book and it's like some buzzer goes off that says "Oooh, we've got a gay!" and for the rest of eternity it recommends every crappy gay novel ever published. Just because I like reading people who are smart and funny and happen to be homosexual doesn't make me queer. And just because I am queer doesn't mean I want to read a "a story of teen love, steamy romance, friendship, loyalty, understanding, and an ancient prejudice that still has the power to kill. ...A tale that breaks the stereotypes of the ignorant and peers into the soul of two boys who want what we all want; to love and be loved. The story of...two sixteen-year-old high school athletes, a tale of love and happiness torn asunder by a world that understands too late." (I didn't make that up, but I'm not going to link to it because I don't want to give it that much validation.) And anyway, I'm sure that not everyone who buys The Object of My Affection, thinking it will have something to do with Jennifer Aniston, also wants The Joy of Hot Man-Sex. On the other side of the spectrum, lord help me now that I've clicked on the Olsen Twins' game.)
But I digress. Unfortunately, I don't seem to need a machine to fill the recommendations function, I'm quite capable of destroying all free time myself. I decided on the second day that it would be a good idea to record shows that I really enjoy but often miss and don't care about enough to spend time and space taping on actual tapes. This requires very little effort. The Explorer 8000 Home Entertainment Server will now record Family Guy, the UK Coupling, Graham Norton, The Daily Show, South Park and The Sunday Night Sex Show, and while they're rerunning the Ritter episodes, 8 Simple Rules whenever they're on. And if I run out of room on the drive and haven't watched them yet, they will delete themselves, so it's no big deal to over-tape.
What I didn't think through when I set this up, is that there's now no such thing as nothing on. There's an excellent chance that I will always have something stored away on my little DVR. I've barely left the couch all week. I know in theory I could cancel all the timers and go back to my old channel-flipping ways, but...well, I don't think I have the strength to fight the Explorer 8000. I think it was the brains behind Arnold's victory. [I'm gladly accepting submissions for a better joke, by the way!]
The machine seems to offer a friendly level of control, though if I'm not careful I'll wind up taping Queer Eye all seventeen times it's used as filler for Bravo's overall lack of programming, and I'm worried about what else it might do when I'm not looking. The brochure calls it "A machine that thinks," and I'm fairly certain that one of the things the display said while booting up was "HAL." I'm not kidding. "Dave? What are you doing, Dave? I think you do want to watch that 90210 rerun, Dave. Donna, Donna, give me your answer, do...."
I'm sure I'm being ridiculous, but I'm nervous about having any machine in the house that's smarter than me...or is not as smart as me but still thinks it knows what I want. I really feel like the remote could strangle me in my sleep if I'm not careful. It's all very Terminator 3.
"Sarah Connor? Watch TV if you want to live."
Why is it that when I worry that the robotic vacuum cleaner might take over the house you laugh at me, but then you go all Maximum Overdrive about the DVR? ;P
And I also note you (for the sake of decency) refuse to link that awful teen gay romance novel (Right here!), but you include two (TWO!) links on your blog to the Mary Kate and Ashley Video game?
I think your judg(e)ment about what is REALLY dangerous is faulty.
boy | Email | Homepage | 10.17.03 - 8:39 pm | #
Well, I was laughing because you're funny, not because the notion of the RoboVac taking over the world is funny. You just presented it in an amusing manner. There's a forthcoming post about the Roomba and how its coolness just taunts my robot fears.
As for Mary Kate and Ashley, I only link to the game once. The link in this post is to that other post, not to Amazon.
Adam875 | Email | Homepage | 10.17.03 - 9:43 pm | #