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Sunday, December 2, 2001

My legendary incompetence regarding all things physical was validated tonight when I managed to pull the kitchen drapes down into the sink, strewing rings and hooks all over the place. I suppose anyone could have accomplished this feat, but I give ground to no one in my ability to make a bad situation worse.

Before I even knew what was happening, I had the rod balanced between the window sill and the microwave so that I could reconnect the rings and hooks. That was the plan, anyway, but the first seven or eleven times I tried to do it, I'd soon have everything back on the floor and counter. This usually happened just as I thought I was making progress. One more connection to go, and then blam! Time to start over.

Anyway, that's how I spent my evening — doing something I'm singularly unsuited for. It took small motor skills that I never had, and patience that I've lost somewhere along the way. I was never very good at cursing, either, but I'm proud to say the expletives were flying all over the kitchen tonight. That's one skill I've picked up over the years, while all my other abilities were blowing away in the breeze.

For the past year or so, I've tried about once a month to make my DVD player work. To recap the problem: great picture, no sound. I've tried every possible way of connecting the player to the amplifier. I've done it through the TV set, through the VCR, and even through the satellite receiver. The simplest way, the way I keep thinking should work, is directly connecting the audio cables.

Needless to say, I haven't had any success. I own the largest collection of silent DVDs in the entire North Bay area. I can watch Bruce Willis pantomiming his way through The Sixth Sense, or Humphrey Bogart mouthing the dialog in The Maltese Falcon. This isn't the satisfying digital experience I paid for, though, especially with a near-state-of-the-art sound system. Sort of.

So when Eric volunteered to come by this afternoon and see if he could get the fidelity high enough so I could at least hear it, I was grateful, even hopeful. But I side-tracked him first, when he got here this afternoon. I've been waiting even longer to have my rear speakers connected.

In one of my famous incidents, I manage to get myself caught at the top of the ladder with a halfway connected speaker in my hand and nowhere to go. This was the last time I tried to fix anything in this house. It was just a little too scary, standing there all by myself, too tangled to come down the ladder and too frightened to climb any higher. I finally just yanked out the wires and left the speaker hanging there. Better it than me.

We spent over an hour getting the wires strung and the connections working, so that all seven of my speakers are now emitting sound. It was no easy task, and it involved giving up on any idea of hiding loose wires behind the bookcase, but eventually I had sound coming from all directions, and for that I'm deeply thankful (and humble).

Then we started working on the DVD player. Eric tried all the possible set-ups, just as I had, and with the same result. We used The Princess Bride as our test disc, and he gave it a good shot, but in the end the best I could say was that I hadn't missed anything, all those months I'd tried to fix it myself. The only answer seems to be that the player has decided it won't read the audio on any more DVDs. This is curious, because it plays audio CDs perfectly well, using all the same connections that fail to perform with DVDs.

So I'd be shopping for a new DVD player, if this weren't the holiday season.

cat in the wind

Before the rain started again this afternoon, a cat found a perch in my yard and made its stand against the wind.

Now that December is here, I've brought in the two small boxes of decorations I kept in the garage all summer. The big stuff is still in storage, and I'll go get it out some time next week. But the big change is that I'll start listening to Christmas music again. I've held off, but now's the time. I just love those old familiar songs, and the sentimentality and innocence of them.

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