Check Me Out.

who needs men around the house, anyway?

Why, yes, that was me carrying a bag of trash to the dumpster this morning, all by myself. Yes, I did dribble trash juice on my shoes. No, I didn’t mean to do that. No, we aren’t going to talk about it.

I don’t want to ruin last night.

I’ve mentioned before that I script the Americanized dub scripts for Japanese anime. Well, each twenty-minute episode generally takes about five to six hours to script and format. I have four episodes due in a week. I have been a big fat fatty slacker about these particular episodes because I’ve been busy with the Bad Dog opening up and whatever other excuse you want to fit in here.

So I figured I’d crank all four episodes out while Eric was out of town. The plan was perfect:

  • Sunday Night: View and script Episode 17
  • Monday Night: View and script Episode 18
  • Tuesday Night: View and script Episode 19
  • Wednesday Night: Rose’s birthday. Watch “Young Americans.” Recap episode.
  • Thursday Night: Finish recap if still leftovers, View and script episode 20, pack.
  • Friday on plane: Finishing touches on all four scripts, character lists, blah-blah.
  • Monday evening: Mail in finished product.

See how easy?

Sunday night the scripts wouldn’t open. The computer spit them out as garbage, and I couldn’t print them or even figure out what they were supposed to say. I tried a few tricks, but nothing worked. The scripts were corrupted. I sent out a letter to the Houston office Sunday night, asking for new scripts.

Last night I had the printed scripts in hand, ready to start, only an evening behind. I popped the videotape of episodes into the VCR.

The tape didn’t work.

You put the tape in, hit “play,” and the animation would appear on the screen for two seconds, shut off, and then power off the VCR. Sometimes it would play, but the screen would be frozen. The tape wouldn’t advance. I couldn’t rewind or fast-forward. I pulled the tape out and rattled the cassette a bit, hoping to loosen the reels just slightly. No difference. I tightened the spools. No difference. I pushed down on the cassette while it was in the VCR. I could watch it frame by frame, but there was no sound. Not possible.

I decided that maybe part of the tape was stuck. I pulled on the tape and quickly hit fast-forward. The tape loosened, and the tape fast-forwarded twenty minutes. Feeling confident and cocky, I hit rewind and brought it back to the beginning of the tape.

An hour had gone by. I celebrated fixing my tape with a quick viewing of a Mr. Show rerun.

I put the anime tape back in. The same problems. It wouldn’t play. It wouldn’t rewind. It kept shutting itself off.

This time I couldn’t move the tape in the reel at all. It seemed stuck, frozen.

I don’t know what possessed me to think that I could just open up a cassette tape and fix the insides, but that’s exactly what I proceeded to do.

I got a screwdriver and figured out how to open the videocassette. I pulled. Screws and small plastic parts flipped into the air and fell around my lap.

It was right then that I remembered that I had no idea how to fix a videotape.

I didn’t cry right away. I pushed and pulled on things for a little while. I held the screwdriver in my mouth as I prodded pieces into where I thought they’d go. I figured out how the spools work. For five minutes, I wasn’t sure if I had just put the tape back in backwards.

I pulled some of the tape out of the spool and reeled it into the other spool. I tried putting the tape back together.

There was a small plastic piece sitting out when I was done. I recognized it as the button you use to open the top of the cassette.

Terrified that I was going to have to call the anime company one week before my deadline to tell them that I needed a completely new set of working materials, I pulled an old videocassette and slowly took that apart. I watched how all of the pieces fit together. I put the anime tape back in the same manner.

When I was finished, it wasn’t perfect. In fact, the little button to open the lid was still missing, but I knew it was in there.

I took a deep breath and did a whole lot of hoping, and stuck the tape back into the VCR.

It worked. It works perfectly. There are sections of the tape that are eaten up from me pulling and twisting them earlier when I was trying to fix the situation, but I somehow fixed the issue of the spools not turning.

I’m a bad ass.

My mother has always been able to fix anything. I always wished I had that talent. But last night, as I was sitting working until three in the morning, thinking that if I hadn’t had the Videocassette Fiasco, I probably would have finished one episode, but now I’m almost two evenings behind, I realized that it was still better than having to call the anime company and tell them that my VCR ate my work.

I’m also starting to feel the effects of the amount of work I’ve been doing.

My right wrist aches. The muscles between my pinkie and ring finger have been cramping up. I’m a bit concerned, as I can’t really take off and not write for the rest of the week, but I keep having to stop and rub my wrist and hand. I’m not sure what to do.

And my car’s AC died again. I just got that fixed two weeks ago. It makes me just want to cry, throw the car and buy a new one. I have no idea how much that will cost, and if it’s a good idea right before I was going to move. Should I wait until after I’m there? Is it better to drive out with a new car or an old one? Is the old car worth more in Texas? Will I not have service if I move the car out of the city limits? Can I still lease? Should I? What’s a good car and how much should I expect to pay? Why don’t they teach this in school?

I take it all back. Obviously, I’m still not doing too well on my own. My eyes ache. My shoulders ache. My right shoulder, specifically. And I’m really worried about this sharp, shooting pain on the side of my right wrist.

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