Monday, December 31, 2007

Returned Christmas gift that don't work. What is the Jeopardy DVD home game?

I am a big fan of the Jeopardy TV show. I fancy myself good at trivia, since I have proven over and over again that I don't know anything important. Thus when Alex Trebek recommended the Jeopardy DVD home game, I made sure that Santa knew that's just what I wanted.

Santa came through and left the game under the tree; I was so excited! This game comes with a box that is inserted between your own DVD player and the TV using RCA composite video inputs. This is the start of an issue since my DVD player has an HDMI hookup to my TV but it still has the old-fashioned hookups. It also comes with wireless buzzers, ahem, signaling devices, that had me chomping at the bit to get this thing going. The setup of the game requires you to program the controllers with the remote of your DVD player and then you use the signaling devices that came with the game to do the rest. The Jeopardy box comes with a wire to an IR emitter that must be positioned correctly near the IR receiver on your DVD player to work. Oh, and by the way your DVD player better support closed captions for the game to work. This is where the troubles began.

Tryout 1: I have an OPPO DV-981HD upconverting DVD player to get me 1080p input to my HD TV. Luckily it still has regular video input so I put the DVD machine between it and the TV and got to programming. Unfortunately I have just found out after many months that this DVD player doesn't have closed captioning. Just press "title" or "subtitle" you say? That didn't work either. Some searching revealed that many of the new digital DVD players don't have closed caption. I love my OPPO player, it works great for me and has a great picture on the TV. No great loss for me, but a big problem for the game. On to DVD player two.

Tryout 2: Glancing around at the TV console and components I noticed my neglected Xbox. That thing plays DVD's doesn't it? So I installed the Jeopardy box between the Xbox and the TV and got started. I should mention that I have many extra cables (even for the non-standard Xbox), so this wasn't a problem for me except for the endless threading of the cables in and out of the entertainment center. This time I made it a quarter of the way through the programming. The game refused to recognize the up arrow on the Xbox DVD controller. Skipping that step left me with a game that still wouldn't work. On to DVD player number three.

Tryout 3: Upstairs in the exercise room we have a Proscan DVD player that is so old that it wouldn't play the Desperate Housewives DVD's or my copy of Being John Malkovich. I had already given it up for lost so I knew that I needed a new DVD player for this room. We will return here in a minute.

Tryout 4: Did you know you can get an Insignia DVD player for $30? Now I do. I grabbed two of these (one for Jeopardy, one for exercising) and raced home to try it out. I opned only one and tried it with the Jeopardy system. No closed caption so no programming! I returned one since it wasn't playing well with the jeopardy game, but now we can watch DVD's while we are exercising. I was ready to give up on the Jeopardy game, but...

Tryout 3 redux: In my desperation I tried the Jeopardy DVD in the ancient Proscan DVD player. It worked! I unplugged that player and got it downstairs. Once again I installed the Jeopardy box between this DVD player and the TV. Then a miracle occurred, I made it through the programming of the remote. Left arrow, Up arrow, Right arrow, Enter, and we were good to go. Let's play a game. Well then it froze up on the way to the menus. I took out the DVD and carefully cleaned it with only strokes across the disc, not in circles around. I blew some compressed air into the player to get some of the dust of years out of it. We fired up the game again and got a game started! I was losing and I blamed it on the speed of buzzing in on the controllers but we checked and they worked, I was just slow.

Impressions of the game: The game is slow and the answers (questions) were only multiple choice. The game doesn't show all of the dollar values under the categories so you don't know whether you are finished a category or not. Don't believe the demonstration video on Amazon, game play is slow and tortuous except for the frantic pressing to buzz in. We made it through a round of Jeopardy and then the game froze up again on the first question of Double Jeopardy. We then packed that game up and returned it to Amazon. There is a help site by MGA, the maker of the game, that doesn't offer much more advice than how to position the IR emitter of the jeopardy box onto your DVD player properly. That wasn't our problem.

This game had so much promise. As we printed out the return slip "Santa" finally read the comments on the Amazon site. They are uniformly negative and seem to have been written in a drunken rage after hours of failure to set up the device. Most folks were unable to program the box and the rest found that the game froze up all the time. Even the youtube comments under one person's video of playing the game express the same frustrations. The game costs $60 to $75, and we know that DVD players can be as low as $30 why didn't the just make a game with DVD player built in that might actually have worked or been preprogrammed. (I am not the only who thought this.) Oh Alex, you have let me down on this one. I guess I will just have to take the test and get on the show if I want to play.

A new hope: If you would like some Jeopardy questions and trivia to keep you entertained in the absence of a good home Jeopardy game there is the Jeopardy archive maintained by fans of the show. You can also go to the official Jeopardy website. There is a new online search scheduled for late January. Are you in?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sci-Fi Sounds quiz

Neatorama points to this Sci-Fi quiz.

Your Score : 85 credits
You're an extreme sci-fi geek! You're probably wearing your very own homemade TRON costume right now!
I only earned 85 credits, but I thought I knew more than that. There are some pretty old movies references in there. My dad would love this one.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fixinng the bubbling spring

Work crews are out at the water cover to fix the leak. I wonder if it a leak or broken water main or if there really is a difference.

The test will be if I can turn into my street tonight or if they need to turn off the water.

I missed the point of fresh squeezed orange juice

We purchased some squeezin' oranges as part of my nephew's fundraising efforts. Then we pulled out the 1950's mixmaster with mechanical squeezer juicer attachment that I have from my parents. That mixer is comfortably older than me, but it works great. Each morning since we have had fresh squeezed orange juice.

My only issue was that the oranges weren't cold so the juice wasn't. I thought I would pop the freshly squeezed juice into the freezer to hurry the cooling process. Then I forgot about it. You can see the next day's result - a frozen block of orange juice on the side of the container. On the side since it was on its side in the freezer.

I am guessing that frozen freshly squeezed orange juice, besides being an oxymoron, defeats the whole purpose and is an abomination unto nature. All this freshly squeezed stuff is wasted on a cretin like me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bubbling water probably not a spring

I noticed this water bubbling out of a steel cover at the end of our street, but it was during a big rain storm so at first I thought that the storm drain might have been a little overwhelmed since we do live at the bottom of the valley that Shellpot creek runs through. I thought only a movie would give the true bubbling effect.

Now after a dry day it is still bubbling, and I notice the cover has WATER written on it. A call has been placed to the Wilmington water department (302-576-3891) and they are well aware of the leak. My fear is that I will get home today and I won't be able to turn into my street because of the big hole in the middle where they are fixing this problem.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Blog readability test for this or for your own blog.

The Honest Hypocrite blog's reading level.


This says a lot for the high caliber of reader that frequent these pages. Congratulate yourselves on your genius and thank you for your support.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Two snowman enter, one snowman leave

One recent shopping trip to Marshall's reveals this snowman horror from something out of a Calvin and Hobbes snowman phantasmagoria.

Apparently these two snowman had a gladiatorial combat to the death and one won by cutting off the head of the other and celebrated by brandishing his opponent's head over his head.

Snowmen are so bloodthirsty (snowthirsty?).

(Howard reminded me of his Calvin and Hobbes snowman link from some time ago)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Will Rogers and his horse Teddy

Will Rogers is not only an Oklahoma native son, he has the Oklahoma City airport named after him and this lassoing monument out in front of it.

I think all my life I have been confusing him with Roy Rogers (whose horse was Trigger, hence the joke about Trigger burgers at Roy Rogers, now mostly at travel plazas) I do know the difference between those two and Buck Rogers. He is in the 25th century.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Time of the dinosaurs

I am stuck in Chicago with a brachiosaurus worth of time until my next flight. Snow in Chicago in December is not so unusual an occurance, and neither are cancelled flights.

This friendly Brachisaur is a replica of one in the Field Museum in Chicago.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Let sleeping birds lie

I had intended to put up some Christmas lights on the porch, but I had to move the extension cord and remove the Halloween lights. The Halloween lights haven't been on for a month but they just needed to be moved out of the way. I decided to do it tomorrow since very tiny but extremely fluffy bird has taken up roost right on the nail holding up the extension cord.

I thought is was a nest at first but then I noticed a tail poking out of a fluffy feathered body. You can see how tiny he is by comparing him to the plug of the lights into the extension cord. Another chapter in the continuing story of the wildlife refuge that is my yard.

When the cock crows thrice

From our recent Key West trip, where we went for the Stone Crab claws but also encountered polydactyl cats, and Key West roosters, I was able to capture a movie of one of the famous Key West roosters crowing. I waited for three crows because that is so traditional.

They really do say cock-a-doodle-doo.