Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Now and then

I have a VCR/DVD player recorder, these devices exist, basically, to convert VHSes to DVDs.  I have a lot of VHSes.  A lot.  The wall currently opposite me is covered in shelves and every shelf is filled with VHSes.  Some may be older than I am.  (When were VHSes invented?)

Back in the old days when I wasn't the sole occupant of this house, in fact so far back that current TV was not yet purchased, recording things to VHS then copying them to DVD without the commercials was a viable way to do something.  Current TV is HD which means that it looks at DVDs made in this way and says, "The quality is crap.  Don't believe me?  I WILL SHOW YOU THAT THE QUALITY IS CRAP SUCH THAT YOU CANNOT IGNORE IT!"  This is annoying, but it's just part of life.

The problem was always keeping up with the transfer, which I never quite managed to do.  So the VHSes would pile up, in piles, which are separate from the ones on the wall opposite me.

Since I was trying to cataloge my DVDs I thought it might be good to see what is on the unlabled piles of VHSes.  They're unlabled because they were always intended to be temporary.  Record something on it, transfer it to DVD less the commercials, rewind, tape over what was previously recorded (which is how I found that one VHS contains only the second half of the movie where Cerberus defends the sword of Genghis Khan whenever it is removed from his tomb, a sword that originally belonged to Ares because Khan was totally Greek... yeah... that's it.)

And the VHS player on my VHS/DVD Player Recorder just crapped out.  I tried putting one of those cleaning tapes in it, first it just turned itself off.  Then it spat it out, more fussing, more tantrums.  It's dead.  Professionally recorded mass marketed VHSes will not play.  This isn't like when the DVD part acted up earlier.  It is, very much, dead.

And now we come to now and then.

Right now this is an expense I can swallow if I want to.  I can dip into my savings, recently replenished by surprisingly generous donations, and buy a new machine that won't crap out on me.  Not on the DVD, not on the VHS.  I can get everything in order and have that be a first step towards cleaning the seemingly untamable mess that is my house.

Maybe I can even get back to regularly watching The Daily Show and reintroduce some laughter into my life.  VHS is useful for that because the quality doesn't really matter and taping over it is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

That's now.  Now I have enough money to deal with the problem that just reared its head now.

But what about then?

What about when the ominous repeated refrain that the amount I'm paying to stay in my house isn't enough to justify staying in my house when I can barely afford to pay that much stops being something about the future and starts affecting the present tense?

What about university?  Change in medication that doesn't seem to be helpful but was necessary to be able to pay for medication (and to argue for insurance paying for the one we know works if it turns out to be all that works) aside, progress seems to be being made, this is not the time to change teams.  But my mental health doctors are both linked to the university.  If I'm not a student I don't get to see them.

So if I want to solve my problems rather than spend the rest of my life as someone who is just getting by and receiving a monthly payment for being disabled spending another year in university is the clearest way forward.  Things are working, progress is being made, another year of this and I can (I hope) be ready to start with new doctors but right now it just seems like it would fuck everything up.

And here's the difference between now and then.  My savings now are more than enough to pay to replace the VHS/DVD machine.  They're about a tenth of what I need to pay for university.  Which starts in 48 days.  That's assuming that the health insurance I have covers what I need.  If it doesn't I may have to get the university's health insurance (not necessary to see my doctors but possibly necessary for other things) in which case you can effectively double the cost of university for me.

Now I have enough money, but then, which isn't very far away, I won't.  Do I fix my current problem which could go a long way towards cleaning one of the most disordered rooms in the house as well as giving me an emotional escape hatch when things get too bad (movies and shows are great for escapism, but only if you can find and watch them) and get even further from the upcoming problem, or do I focus on the fact that while now I may have enough money to deal with the movie playing machine then I'll be screwed over for cash like you wouldn't believe?

I know just what machine to buy, too.  One that merely having it can save me a lot of frustration not just because it will deal with the current VHS problem.  My cat is sitting on a broken version of it right now, and one (not-broken) is for sale at what I think is a rather good price.

But if I buy it now will that be the mistake that screws me over then?  (In all likelihood I'll be screwed over then either way.)

This is what's on my mind today.


  1. Not entirely a tangent:

    As I understand it, one doesn't need a personal recorder to watch the Daily Show. You, personally, don't even need a cleverer proxy than I have readily available: you live in America.

    1. This is true, but there's something about: I have a tape, I'm going to watch the tape! that makes things easier.

  2. How much does thingy cost? Laughter sounds like a good birthday present...

    1. I ended up buying it anyway. As to the cost, from Amazon: almost 600 dollars; what I paid: more like 216 (that includes shipping) which means Nicolae Carpathia was probably involved because 6*6*6.

      But how I'll pay for university in 40 something days is completely unknown to me.