Play it Again Philip

22 06 2016

Philips DVD Player

This past Saturday, I bought a brand new DVD player. Not much in the extraordinary I understand: people buy DVD’s and DVD Players all the time; so why is mine so special? Well, I say this, because, the previous DVD Player I had I received all the way back in November 2005. Yes, I have had the same DVD Player for nearly exactly 11 years. Yet again, maybe not the most extraordinary thing out there to talk about, but given the time I had it for and had become acclimatised too, plus the panic and nerves I created in buying a new one, I thought it could be an interesting blog post (if anyone is interested in history of personal items belonging to other people, sort of like those posts I wrote last year about my Bed).

New Bed with Bedding

Back in 2004, I got into watching Pro Wrestling. Every Saturday morning for a time I would watch WWE Smackdown on Sky One. As time passed by, I bought some WWE DVD’s to watch, however the only DVD player in the house was down stairs, and it was hard to watch any WWE event on DVD on the DVD Player as other people were not necessarily a big as a fan of WWE as I was. After several months, I decided to buy my own DVD Player, and put it in my room with my TV. So, the day after my birthday, I bought one from Currys, took it home, hooked it up to my TV and was able to watch programming. I cannot remember much about that player, except the title screen showed bubbles, the manufacturer started with an S and it had this blue streak across the front of the machine. That machine was pretty problematic as it would not play some DVD’s, would majorly struggle with others, and by October (less than 5 months after buying it), the machine packed in and had swallowed one of my DVD’s (WWE Armageddon 2004). My Mam took me to Currys, but they could not fix it, and the following Monday when I returned, they were able to take out the disc, but the machine had already totalled. As I still had the receipt, I was able to swap it though, and under the advice of a store clerk, I bought the Philips Machine, which worked brilliantly for over a decade.

Philips DVD Player 2

The machine was a nice silvery colour, and the controller was short and fat, but easy to control. It was a wonderful machine. I remember the week I picked it up, going to Currys with the old one after College, swapping it over, watching some DVD’s on it, then breaking my Knee Cap the following Saturday. It’s not the DVD Players fault, it just happened within a few days of each other. Anyway, it was good and I liked it. Back then I had an old TV which my family had previously rented before buying which I then utilised for my room. It was perched on a table which I still have, and the DVD Player was next to it. The early history of the machine was tumultuous as there were some scart issues. The old TV had only one Scart Plug, so over the years when I got more items requiring a socket, I would have to switch from one to the other, which weakened the connection, so it was hard for it to sit in the socket properly, which was even harder when the TV would get shoved aside, which would cause colour issues. At one point I bought a multi scart from Comet which I was assured by a store clerk would work well, but did not, and it was covered by those ridiculous small prints that once the package was opened could not be returned; I wasted some good money on that thing. Eventually however, I received the old downstairs TV (a JVC), which was bigger and had multiple scart sockets, so problem solved in the long-term.

The TV

What followed was many more entertaining and wonderful years of watching DVD’s, until just a few weeks ago. I had begun to re-watch the first season of Arrow on DVD. After playing the episodes, the DVD Player would struggle to reload the menu screen. I just thought that may be due to the disc being a previously used copy, but it just got worse. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to watch Hellboy, but the machine really struggled to load the DVD, it took forever. I cleaned the disc best I could, but once again struggled. I was able to watch it in the end, but I decided to run a test, if it was the DVD, or the player. I took out my DVD copy of Pacific Rim, something I had only run in the machine twice, meaning the disc was still relatively new. I put into the machine, and it did not load. The player was really good for loading a disc in less than about 12 seconds, after 30+, it did not load. I tried to empty the machine, but it even struggled with opening the tray. Luckily I was able to get it out. I then took the DVD downstairs and put it into one of the Players down stairs, and the disc loaded in seconds without a hitch (once I put it in the right way). I tried one more time a week or so later, and it was the same result for the Philips. I did not bother trying it down stairs; it was obvious the machine was dying.

Philips DVD Player Controller

In the end, I decided to buy a new machine. The Philips I had for all that time was a very good machine and had served me well, but even I knew it was time to say goodbye. I did some pre-checking in PC World and Currys, before then deciding that this past Saturday would be the day I would buy a new machine. It was quite handy too as I had been in town before purchasing it to get some books, and watch Princess Mononoke at The Dukes. I went into Currys and had a look. It was nerve-wracking as for one I did not want to spend too much, but two, because the TV was old, it would need some form of old connection as standard in order for me to be able to use it (and three, having previously bought a terrible Matsui from Currys many years ago, was hoping to buy something not so terrible). While I was in Currys I did ponder whether it would be best to get a new TV too, but given my current employment status (desperately looking for work) I knew I would have to raid my savings to buy a new one. So for now it was just the DVD Player. In the end and with some help, it came down to 2 machines, a Sony and a LOGIK. Knowing it would be better to get a more trusted brand, or at least one I had heard of, I went originally for the Sony as it had the Yellow White Red connections in the back, but when someone in the shop said that strangely the box might not contain those cables, I thought in that case I would buy the LOGIK as it had a Scart Connection too (although did not come with the cables, but I could still use the one from the Phillips) plus the coloured connectors and USB (and HDMI I think). After purchasing it plus buying some other bits and bobs quickly, I brought the machine home, and soon after set to work plugging it in.

Philips and LOGIK DVD Player Controller's

It was relatively straight forward in the end, just swap out the Philips, plug-in the LOGIK and then test it. Yeah, pretty simple. When it came to testing it which was simple enough, I knew I needed something good and clear to test it with. The TV is not HD, and frankly I do not care about HD, but I still wanted a clear enough picture. So, I chose the film AKIRA. AKIRA is of course the animated Japanese film from the late eighties, and knowing due to the film’s high sophisticated choice of colouring, knew it would be ideal to test it with. And it worked absolutely fine. It loaded very quickly, and it was a clear picture.

Neo-Tokyo

The controller is a lot thinner than the old one, but still easy to use, and unlike the Philips, does have an open/close button. Once I watched a little Akira, I tried it again a couple of times later, watching an episode of The Detectives, and the video diary of Tim Vine (from one of his DVD’s). Altogether, I like my new DVD player. It’s thin and black and fits nicely where the old one used to be. It’s black so fits in with the Virgin Media box sitting comfortably on top (both are very light, but did not fancy placing the player on top the box, as it’s wider), is quick, and very easy to use. So turns out I did not have to worry so much. So, so far so good. Will it last another 11 years, I don’t know, but as long as it lasts a good comfortably long period, I won’t need to worry about buying another one for some considerable time. So, all in all: good.

LOGIK DVD Player

GENEPOOL (Pop Quiz Hot Shot: What is the above title a line reference too that most people get wrong)?

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Pleasant Dreams And The World Of Nightmares: A Short History In Honour Of What Was Once My Bed – Part 2

4 03 2015

My Bed 1

You may remember a few weeks ago I did a post on the demise of my bed of 20 years. Well over the last few weeks I have been preparing for its replacement. When the first bed broke I was ill with a sore throat and a cold. I was not in the best shape to go out and get a new bed. So for the period of over a week I slept on the mattress on the floor. While it may have not been a real bed I was able to get straight to sleep.

My Bed 3

The second Saturday after the original bed breaking, I was well enough to go with my dad to a shopping/business estate between Lancaster and Morecambe (White Lund Industrial Estate I think) to go and buy a new bed. We went to Bensons for Beds which was located in a store of Harveys; on the top floor. There we met a sales assistant who showed me a bed. I wanted a frame one as I needed the space underneath it to store stuff. The first bed he showed me was great. I pretty much decided there and then that it was the bed I wanted. It was comfortable and large enough for me. There was one problem though. It had a mattress underneath it also for use as a temporary second bed if I had guests around. I did not really need it, but they said they could give me one without, so job done really. Next up he showed me a mattress. A large one on another bed. It was rather comfortable too so my bed was ready. First bed with Second Mattress.  The bed however was made to order so it would be about 2-3 (possibly 4) weeks after the order that it would be delivered. Late February (last Thursday). So it was back to the floor mattress bed for now.

My Old Bed Ends

Over the next few weeks I got used to my new sleeping position. Then as the week of the bed delivery approached, crisis struck. I had another sore throat. Exactly 4 weeks from the last one. I think I caught it off a member of the family. Luckily it was not too bad but bad enough for me not to do any dissertation work at the time. I just went into recovery mode. During the week though it developed into a minor but bad possible case of the flu but quickly turned into a cold. Last Wednesday (the day it became a flu/cold based illness) I felt well enough to go to Preston and University. Throughout the day though I had a really bad case of dehydration. So much so to the point that on my way back to the train station, even though I had had 2 bottles of Drench (and recently) I felt so dry and horrible. I still went to play Board Games (my weekly Wednesday activity) at Juicafe where I got a hot chocolate which helped. For the rest of the week till Sunday, I had a very bad cold. I am a lot better now though.

My Old Bed Nuts

During the week though I still had to get my room ready. So on one day I took the old bed to pieces and stored it on the landing until they could be removed.

My Old Bed Slides and RIbs

I then removed the boxes from underneath it and storing them in my brother’s room (he currently lives in Edinburgh and the room is used for storage). Doing this though brought on an element of nostalgia though and I couldn’t help but rummage through bits of my old train set (something I intend to redo at some point in the future), and especially take out Smokey Joe and dust him off a bit.

Smokey Joe

I now fancy getting some track together and a transformer to see if he still runs.

Where My Old Bed Was

Anyway my room was now ready for the new bed and on Thursday it arrived. Due however to being so ill, I did not fancy either moving it upstairs to my room or putting it together, so it was left in the corridor.

New Bed In Corridor

On Friday I was feeling a little better and was able to do some Dissertation Work so I moved the bed upstairs with help from my Brother. However still did not feel too great. Then on Saturday I decided to give the construction a go. After putting the bolts into the bed ends I stuck the first series of Black Books on and built my bed. It was relatively easy, but rather complex to do on your own, particularly when it comes to tightening bolts. A spanner was provided for the bed end bolts but the holes were rather small to get the spanner in. Eventually they were as tight as I could get them. I then used the wooden bed frame as a work bench to put the metal frame together. This took one whole episode to do (the one where Manny thinks he is a Policeman). The main problem was bolting four bits together with 8 screws and having to line all the holes up. A couple of times I had to loosen tightened up bolts just to get other bolts in. But soon it was done. Next I had to put the ribs in. I asked my parents which way up they should be as the ribs had a bend in them. My dad suggested that the bends would straighten when the mattress was put on top of the ribs with the bends in up. Putting the bends in was relatively straight forward as all I had to do was put them in plastic holders and then put the holders in the metal frame. After this all I had to do was put the wooden frame right way up, then put the metal frame in and then put the mattress on top. Even though I put the metal frame in first then put the ribs in instead of risking them falling out of the metal frame when stood up. All that was left to do was put the mattress on top (even though a rib did jump out so I needed to replace it quickly).

New Bed Without Bedding

When I did that I noticed how tall it looked. I also felt the surface was rather rough. I then checked underneath it and discovered it had a softer side. Realizing I Had put it the wrong way up I turned it over and then it was done. I then pushed it into its correct place and watched the last episode of the first series of Black Books. During the evening I popped out to Southport with a few friends to attend Young Life but when I returned I had new bedding ready to put on my new bed. So I did that, and as the night came in I had my first proper sleep in the bed. It still felt quite high up. Earlier in the day I just sat on it and it and my feet could not touch the floor. But this time I did not mind all that much, and instead had a great night sleep. Since then I still have been getting some good nights. On Sunday evening I found myself having lack of sleep due to having a nap earlier in the day. Altogether though I am enjoying my new bed and am glad that I now have it. I still have some remaining work to do including sorting out the boxes in my brother’s room, getting rid of the old bed altogether including the mattress and disposing of all the rubbish and have a Hoover of my room. But for now I am glad that I can sleep in a bed once again, hopefully for another 20 years.

New Bed with Bedding

GENEPOOL





Pleasant Dreams And The World Of Nightmares: A Short History In Honour Of What Was Once My Bed

28 01 2015

 

My Bed 1

Last week, when getting into bed, it finally gave way, and broke. While other members in my family have been through many beds, mine just kept on going and going and for 20 years (yes…..20). In honour of such a well-made, well-built piece of furniture, I present to you, The Story of My Bed (I doubt this will be a long post).

Cot

When I was young; I, like many babies, slept in a cot. It was white one. Then I remember having a trip out to a furniture shop and then a few weeks later a new double-decker bed was in my room, and one night, I no longer slept in a cot. While my sadness for that passing was big, I soon got used to my new bed. The idea for the purchasing of the bed I think was for my brother to also sleep in it when his room was being used as a guest room. So he would sleep in it. Some of the activities and games I got up to during my youth in that bed included using it as a vantage point to shoot my bow and arrow at cardboard people used at a church holiday bible club, watching people trying to represent events from World’s Strongest Man, playing football on the top bit, pretending it was a bus using a small arcade games machine (I think from a car boot sale) which involved driving down a road and running over crabs, probably pretending it was a train at some point, and much, much more. I used to sleep on the top bunk a lot, but eventually went down to the bottom one. One night I remember the ladder bit came off and being worried that some structural rigidity had been lost. Eventually though, in 2006, the bottom part broke. I can’t remember how, it just did, and my dad and brother helped me get it sorted, by lifting off the top bunk, removing the bottom one and putting the top one down. So from then on, that’s what my bed has been like.

 

Bunk Bed

It wasn’t exactly a conventional bed, due to the barriers on the side, getting into the bed each night was like doing the High Jump (I wonder if I should apply for the Olympics; I have the experience?) and to begin with I wondered for a few years if the barriers could be removed, but as I got used to it, I just forgot about it. The story of my bed just continued on and on for many years, but I knew it’s time would come. A few weeks ago I started to hear creaks as I got into bed, this went on for a week or so and I looked underneath. There was some damage, but the one that stood out most was a rib that broke several years ago (when I was trying to practice a leg drop; back when I wanted to be a Professional Wrestler). But I thought nothing of it. Then, last week, as I did what was to be my last daily high jump routine (I didn’t actually jump, getting into the bed naturally still involved getting my leg over the barrier then twisting my back in what may one day be known as the Arthur Twist), settled into bed and immediately, it collapsed. I got out, saw the damage. A beam had broken off. The only thing preventing me from hitting the floor was all the boxes underneath it. My brother got the mattress out for me; put it on the floor so I could still sleep. That is where I am now, sleeping on the floor in my room until a replacement bed comes. If it wasn’t for a sore throat and a cold, I may have gone out by time of writing this (Monday) to get a new one.

My Bed 2

While the future of my next bed remains uncertain, My old bed supported my sleeping weight for 20 years as I slowly got heavier and heavier. It has been a fun ride stationary one at that, when it wasn’t an imaginary train or bus) filled with 2 decades of sweet dreams, nightmares and my own version of the Fosbury Flop. Sweet Dreams my old bed, you’ve earned it.

My Bed 3

GENEPOOL (While that bunk bed picture is not my original bunk bed, it does look a lot like it).





A Fire Every Thursday

29 01 2014

Fire Alarm

You know that feeling when you are in bed and suddenly the fire alarm goes off? No? Well I do. When I was at Teesside University there would be a fire every Thursday. Why? Because that’s when they as in the people who managed the residence would test the fire alarms. An ideal thing to do yes, but not at 7:00 am when you’re trying to sleep.

TU

When I first went to Teesside University, within a week of moving in, there was a fire alarm going off. At first I thought it was the alarm clock, so I covered my ears, and the sound drowned out a little. Then (a couple of minutes later) I realised that it was still night time and that the sound was louder than the alarm clock. So I got up (with only some pants on) and tried to leave, but then I was told by a flat mate to get some trousers on, which I did before the head warden urged me to get out of the building, the alarm still going off. Eventually the sound finished and all was clear, no explanation as to what happened. A few minutes later it went off again but that was due to it not being turned off properly, but that didn’t stop people running for the door. The following Thursday it went off again at 7:00 am, so me and my house mates bolted for the door to be told that it was just the time when the alarms were tested. And it was the same for the next few weeks until I got to the point that I could have a mini lie in and not notice it, something that was probably not a good idea to do at the sound of a fire alarm. But we could rest assured that Fire was an impossible eventuality on Thursday’s, and even if there was one, it was nothing to worry about as it was only a test gone wrong, so back to sleep.

Bed

My halls of residence, well the whole university was weird but that’s a story for another time, but I will say this. The common space in our block had one of the world’s greatest inventions in it; a shopping trolley.

Shopping Trolley

Well a couple of weeks after the first fire alarm, there was another one, thankfully at a better time, so that’s at least one thing, however it turned out to be a drill, So I don’t know what the one ‘TWO WEEKS EARLIER’ was about? I remember what the woman said after the drill, “Next time, it will be real”. Well that was not exactly the case. We still got the fire every Thursday, but the next 2/3 times we had a fire alarm going off it was mainly mistakes made by students (sorry, residents) who couldn’t do the ironing.

Halls Of Residence (Teesside)

It was about January when the last one (back in 2011) took place. It had been snowing outside recently (I think it was January) and when the alarm went off at about midnight, you instinctively knew (unless it was Thursday) to get out of the building. I was wearing nothing more than a t-shirt, trousers and shoes and I had to cross my arms in hope of keeping warm, while everyone from the upper floors thought that when the alarm went off you took your time to put your dressing gown on instead of running out of the building. They were there, all nice and warm while I was freezing in the snow at about midnight wanting nothing more than to get back inside. In the end this one turned out to be almost real as it was indeed someone leaving the iron on. Disaster averted and then there were no more fire alarms for the rest of the year……….except for Thursdays of course.

Freeze-side University

GENEPOOL








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