I’ve got a couple of days off work… happy dance, happy dance, nyah nyah. Actually it’s not really smugworthy, given I’m going to the dentist this morning.
On Sunday I unexpectedly went on a consumer electronics buying spree. First, the VCR started misbehaving. Tape playback fuzzy. Same with a couple of other tapes. Found the occasionally used head-cleaner tape, but the liquid bottle was empty. Ahh.. okay. Better get this fixed, because if Doctor Who couldn’t be taped for Isaac on Monday, bad things would happen.
So I zipped over to Dick Smith (with Adrian in tow; having just arrived back from London with my sister, he wanted to figure out how to get a prepaid SIM into his phone so he’d have an Australian number). Wandered around looking for a new head cleaning cassette. It was well-hidden, had to ask, but yes, they still stock them. (Oh great, now two days later I discover they have cleaning fluid on its own for a fifth the price of a cleaning cassette.)
Ooh, what’s that? Cheapie Teac DVD/CD/MP3/etc players… $99… I had been looking out for something like that, to replace my aging and undeniably kaput CD player. It had lasted 15 years, but had finally died. This could be a suitable replacement. So I grabbed one of those too. (Lucky I’m only using it for CDs and MP3s… as it’s region-locked, and apparently not hackable.)
Took the cleaning tape home, figured out how to open the damn cleaning fluid bottle, put it on the tape and… the VCR wouldn’t take it. It wouldn’t go in. Struggle for a bit, then try a normal tape. It wouldn’t take that either. So this had actually made it worse. Dammit, and I like Panasonic products, too. It’s only about 4 years old, and they’ve never given me problems before. My faith in them is now shaken.
I pondered if this was just the excuse I was looking for to buy a DVD recorder. But what about my huge stockpile of legacy VHS tapes? And the fact that DVD recorder prices are currently in free-fall mode? Wait six months and they’ll be better and heaps cheaper. Now is precisely the wrong time to buy unless you’re determined to be an early-adopter. I won’t pretend I wasn’t tempted, it would have been nice to have a new toy. But my money priority right now is a house. So no, I decided it would be a cheapo VCR to tide me over until a DVD recorder in a year or two.
I checked the clock (about the only thing that was still working on the VCR, incidently.) 2:30pm Sunday. 27.5 hours until Doctor Who came on, and 2.5 hours until most shops closed. The clock was ticking. But rather than abandon the day completely, decided to hoon down to K-Mart later on. I’d have time after 6, and though the range wouldn’t be great, they’d at least have something.
So after some fun and frivolity at the park (and an icecream on the walk back, thank you very much Adrian), down to K-Mart we went. Meagre collection of stereo VCRs available. Teenage shop assistant knew nothing about the stock (it was K-Mart, after all). Second cheapest (I reckon never go for the cheapest if you can help it) was a Sanyo jobbie, $189. Not as cheap as I’d like, but still $500 less than a decent DVD recorder. Sold.
Got it home via dinner and supermarket shopping. Plugged it all in, tried it out. Man it’s an ugly, boxy beast. Designed by ex-East German car designers perhaps? And compared to the lovely Panasonic one, lacking in handy features like Index search. Sigh. Oh well, it’ll do the job.
Now I have to work out if I’ll try and get the Panasonic repaired, or just trash it. Maybe I’ll open it up and take a look.