July 5, 2011 in Features

The Slice: Sometimes you’re stuck with the ‘Hands of Fate’

By The Spokesman-Review

As a society, we have yet to sort out all of the implications of digital cable TV and DVR technology.

But one thing is clear.

Being asked “Did you record ‘Revenge of the Bouncy Bimbo Zombies’ ” isn’t something previous generations had to deal with.

If you did, in fact, record such a program, you probably need to own up to it.

“Yes, uh, it’s supposed to be a wry commentary on media narcissism and the excesses of popular culture.”

“With a bouncy bimbo motif?”


There is another way, though, such programs can wind up on your recorded-shows list. Well, two ways. But let’s momentarily disregard the presence in the home of remote-wielding kids.

Because digital programming guides allow you to scroll into the future, it’s possible to put a red “record” dot on something in the grid that won’t actually come on for several weeks.

So shows eventually appear on your list of recorded programs that you barely remember having selected. That can be fun. “Look, honey, we finally have that Bill Murray movie.”

There is, however, another scenario.

Once in a while, cable networks change their schedules without warning. So your already-established plan to record “Citizen Kane” at 2 a.m. on July 19 can be undone when the Potpourri Channel sticks something else in that time slot. Say, “Survival Challenge: Spunky Spankers in Spokane.”

Sometimes that switch will erase the preset recording instructions. But not always.

So you can wind up with …

“Another wry commentary?”

“I have no idea how that got on there.”

Like I said, we’re still figuring this out. It is not unusual for understanding and contextual familiarity to lag behind new technology.

Just keep in mind that trying to save one thing doesn’t mean you won’t wind up with another.

“Did you intend to record ‘Manos: The Hands of Fate’?”

“No, I was trying to get ‘Gamera vs. The Marmot.’ ”

Today’s Slice question: What did your visitors from out of town think of the downtown river falls?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Patricia Sexton’s Second Half of the Year resolution is to do “What I didn’t do in the first half.”

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