Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wire Gnomes and Crawls

From Ridley

A funny thing happened on the way to the airport. Being a Road Warrior, I am inclined to bring along with me every wire that has ever been included with any item I've purchased. I am worth mugging for the copper content in my backpack alone. And although I won't call myself a type A (others might), I do like things... orderly. Because of this, I neatly organize my wires in a variety of zippered pockets and pouches in my backpack -- I purchased this particular backpack because it has approximately 7000 such pockets and zippers. Each has a particular function: the iPod and earphone pocket with external hard drive; the Kindle pocket; the outer section of the biggest zippered compartment where I will always find my quart sized plastic bag with toothpaste, and next to that my neatly curled power supply, and this of course, next to a similar plastic bag filled with all sorts of dongles and adapters required by my Macbook Air (which is so stripped down it needs a hundred items just to run). There is the front zippered half-pocket with the hand sanitizer, the key ring, and all the pens, highlighters, erasers, cartridges, flashlights (three), you get the idea.

So, my wires go in pretty well-organized. But somewhere between home and the airport, the hotel and the airport, the wire gnomes go to work. They are clever little things. I've never actually seen one, but I know they are there. I know this because their mission is to torture me. Once I have organized my backpack, zipped it up and thrown it onto my back, these devious little creatures go to work. I can picture them in there: running around frantically, consuming my Cheez-Its and Oat Bars, chortling as they do their best to tangle up every single wire in the bag, to lace and braid and knot every last wire so that when I unzip it at my destination my backpack resembles a rat's nest. Just now, it took me close to five minutes to untangle my headphone wire, a wire that went into that backpack perfectly organized and coiled and has remained untouched since -- I mean, what more proof do I need? The real question is: What to do about the gnomes? To my knowledge there is no anti-gnome spray or trap currently on the market (although I think if I could invent one I would be a zillionaire). There are no gnome-detectors that I know about -- infrared devices that can sense the little creatures moving around and trigger an alarm.

I am fraught with despair. Surely, someone, somewhere has come up with a solution to obliterate the Wire Gnomes.

The Crawl

Okay, so maybe I don't like my MTV, but I like my CNN and ESPN. I don't spend a lot of time watching television, but I do like news and sports. And now that we're in the digital age of television, I have a suggestion: if we can put a button on the remote control that can mute the sound and bring up captions in the process, why the heck can't we invent a button on the remote control that removes the crawl at the bottom of the screen? I am a reader. Surprise! Put words in front of my eyes, and I will read them even if I'm trying to pay attention to a woman far too beautiful to have anything to do with news. So it is that my eyes end up on the bottom of every television screen reading information I have no interest in while unable to focus on the news story on the screen that I am in fact interested in. I'm in a hotel at the present, and so had an hour or two to watch television last night, and I was literally talking to the screen telling them to get the crawl off of there, though not in language that can be repeated here. So you geniuses out there, ye who brought us digital television, will you please create a way that broadcasters can broadcast in "layers" allowing the viewer to elect as many overlays as he/she wishes. A single button marked CRAWL, which when pressed repeatedly brings one or two or three different levels of crawl, and outside air temperature, and time of day, and the network logo, and the anchor's waist size, and the station's website, and the name of the fashion designer who dressed the talking head. But don't give it to me if I didn't ask for it. I don't just miss Walter Cronkite (and I do, very much), I long for the days when a TV screen was an image shot from the camera, not composed on a computer. Call me old-fashioned.

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  1. The crawl gives me the creeps.

    I have CNN or MSNBC on in the background all day long. Yes, I can give you the weather in Omaha at a moment's notice.

    I am also tired of pitchmen telling me to buy gold or call an 800 number if I have certain symptoms from prescription medicine. (I have all the symptoms in all the commercials...and I haven't taken any of the medications).

    As for the wires...I seldom leave the house, so I have no need for portable communications devices. I am too busy buying gold.

  2. The crawl is ├╝ber annoying and btw thanks for naming it. I also dislike those animated cartoon figures that pop up to remind you of the next feature.

    And I'm addicted to Cheez-its!!!!!

  3. I thought I was the only one that anal about my cables. Good to know I am not alone. You need to go your local harware store and find the aisle with Velcro. They make the most awesome cable ties. Anchor one end on the cable, roll up the cable, then wrap it with the rest of the Velcro. Easy on, easy off, and easy back on. I doubt there is a cable in my house or suitcase without one. .... Mo

  4. Two words - masking tape. ;-)

  5. And that's for the crawl, not to solve your cable gnome problem. For cables, velcro FTW.