Where’s the F$&*#@^ Remote?

The television remote went missing last night. My daughter and her friend had been playing in the den all day and, somehow, no one knows exactly how, the remote vanished.

Let’s be honest. This blog is mostly about First World Problems. That’s what I write about because that’s where I live. Disappearing remotes are a significant annoyance. Disappearing remotes are maddening. They are piercingly aggravating. There is a small basket where these things are meant to go: the remote for the TV; the remote for the DVR; the remote for the DVD player and the remote for the VCR. Yes. We have four separate remotes. Please don’t judge. I know people who have more.

The point of this story is not remote control madness. This is not even a moral tale of laziness and being ruined by point-and-click convenience. The point, if there is one, is the blind fury of discovering the missing remote at 11:30pm and the obsessive worry that follows realizing the missing device might never be recovered. The mind races toward the scenario of having to purchase one of those awful universal remotes with too many itty bitty buttons and the work of reprograming all those settings by pressing all those itty bitty buttons and waiting and cursing and pressing and waiting and cursing some more.

And the point of this story is the crushing self-pity that comes at the end of a long, tiring day when all that is wanted is a few stolen moments of Netflix before bed and the disappointment that comes when you are deprived of that simple, restorative luxury.

And how the mind races around the room, seeking all the places that controller might be. Places dark and secret. Logical and profoundly illogical. And how, in the mind’s bright panic, the upsetting realization that the remote is not going to be found and that there is no other button so neatly labeled Netflix to resolve the situation and restore order to the collapsing shambles of the day. And how, gripped by fits of fear and frustration, the mind forgets how many other ways there are still to watch the thing that wants watching. How the DVR button still controls the TV. How the VCR and Wii can work together to funnel Netflix down from The Cloud. How laptops and iPads easily stream Netflix and, in a pinch, the very phone in my left front pocket can deliver everything I believe that I need.

But I cannot rest. I cannot relax. The remote is lost. How are people sleeping? How are their dreams not curdled with existential fear?

I search and search in the way I have of not really searching. I have stopped looking about twenty minutes ago and now it is just a parade of frustration and inventive imprecations toward the wayward slackers who don’t place remote controls back in the remote control basket. The proper place where such things belong.

My iOS5 dilemna

People are asking me what I think about all the great new features loaded into iOS5. It is sweet of them to ask. By asking, they are implying that they think of me as one of those people who is always at the leading edge of things. I like to be thought of that way. Unfortunately, it isn’t true. Here’s the blog post to burst that bubble.

I haven’t upgraded to iOS5 yet. I tried to but I don’t have enough free memory on my laptop. More precisely, I no longer have enough free memory on my laptop to fully backup my iPad and iPhone, which is, in my mind, a requirement before installing a new operating system.

Not enough memory? How is that possible, you ask? Isn’t memory pretty much free these days. Yes and no. Here’s my situation:

I use an HP Pavilion with a 105 GB hard drive. I have only 2.25GB free. Most of the used space is occupied by music. All of the music on my laptop is currently also backed up on a 60 GB book. The rest of my music is on a 120GB external hard drive which I currently have no way to back up.

In order to free enough space to back up my iPad and iPhone, I will need to offload some or all of my music files onto the external hard drive. Since I have no way to backup that off-loaded data once it is moved, this option makes me very nervous.

Still, I’m planning to move it all over to the external hard drive and free up lots of space on my laptop so I can do backups, update operating systems and resume podcast downloads as well.

First, I’ve got to find time to move the files and then have iTunes map the files out again. Not much for me to actually do while this is happening, but I want to keep an eye on it in case there are problems.

Then the actual updates for iTunes, iPhone and iPad. That’s probably an hour or so of patiently waiting.

Simplest solution: get a new laptop with more memory. I’m eager to move from Vista to Windows 7 anyway. That, however, costs money, which is, by the way, in short supply these days.

So there you have it. The simple, sad but true reason why I haven’t upgraded yet. I expect to upgrade this weekend so I can once again be the kind of person people ask for an opinion on the swank new features hidden in the new OS.

And yes, I am fully aware that there is nothing in this post of sufficient import to set the world on fire. To my social activist friends, yes, I do realize that these are fake, First World problems. I say with all humility, “The First World is where I live.”