The epic quest to borrow a VCR

I decided to make this amusing blog post and promise followups as the story unfolds. I have a simple problem:

I have a small box of VHS tapes that I want to digitize to my computer, in order to save the video content indefinitely (ish, lets be real about codecs and file types).  I don’t have a VCR.

Sounds simple right?  Just borrow a VCR from someone.

First angles of attack: ask my parents. I know for a fact my parents have a VCR. What I wasn’t expecting in return is that they still use it. I am a full time IT professional and basically build infrastructure. Every day I play and use stuff that is the internet. Hearing that my mom still uses her VCR every day to “record [her] soaps” is downright embarrassing. Furthermore unplugging her VCR would result in a catastrophe from “WHY IS IT BLINKING 12:00?!” phone calls followed by messed up timing schedules on precious Days of Our Lives.

One would argue, “Why don’t you just go to your parent’s house and hook up a laptop?”.  You see, as a tech guy, that invites endless tech support for everything else that is ailing them. When I stop over for dinner, I typically have to fix antiviruses, apply windows updates that somehow defy automation, and worst: show them how to use their iPhones. Its endless tech support. Is it worth a home cooked meal? Someday’s no. It is not. I love my parents, but wow are some of their tech issues endless and bizarre.

The in laws I think have a VCR but we see them less. Similar issue about using their VCR at their house. I end up doing Android support for my brother in law (who is a great guy) but can’t use his Android. I own and have always owned an iPhone. I feel horrible when I have to help him with his phone since I even have to google the answers.  They visit us very rarely so having them bring a VCR over is probably out of the question.

My two brothers are in similar states as I, having rid themselves of a functional VCR years and years ago.

My coworker, who is native to India mind you and here on visa, laughed when I told him I couldn’t find a VCR. He asked if America is that developed that it doesn’t have one I could buy. There in lies part of the issue too: I don’t want to pay money for a VCR.

I read an article once from some minimalist who says he “rents things from Craigslist”. IE: he buys the item outright like a chainsaw for example, then resells the item after he is done to someone else. This sounds practical in theory, basically shuffling stuff from person to person or perhaps to a hoarder who doesn’t need it. But after doing my 101 Things challenge I detest using Craigslist for anything other than me buying something I really want or need. The thought of having to resell a $1 VCR to strangers makes me almost suicidal. I’d rather smash it in the street for a laugh on YouTube than go through the process of reselling a VCR on craigslist. But even then I don’t want to buy something just to use it one weekend and throw it away. Such waste and then that Native American from the littering commercial shows up on my door step with his single heart-piercing tear.

No, I am committed to borrowing a VCR! Someone somewhere HAS to have one I can borrow with a reasonable amount of effort and travel.

I will post a followup blog post when I find one. Until then: adjust your tracking and be kind rewind!

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