Saturday, August 11, 2007

Engineers 1, VCR 0

Recently, I checked out a video tape from the library, a documentary called Genghis Blues, a pretty good film about Tuvan throat singing and a San Francisco blues musician who taught himself how to sing in that style and then traveled to Tannu Tuva to meet some of the other artists who practice this most unusual craft of singing multiple notes simultaneously.

It had been a while since I played a tape at home (as opposed a DVD), but I coaxed my VCR into playing and even rewinding the tape successfully. Then I pressed eject and felt the button bottom out with no effect, and no amount of jiggling, pressing, or coaxing helped. Now, I had a library video tape stuck in a VCR.

I briefly pondered returning the entire VCR to the library. "Hi! Um, here's your tape. You figure it out!" Then I thought I'd better have a look inside, to see if I could recover the tape, at least.

As it happens, the trouble was that the little plastic lever on the right had popped off of the plastic bezel, on the left. When I pushed the button, the lever failed to transmit the motion to a small switch on the main circuit board, and flopped around uselessly, instead.

I pressed the button on the board directly and the tape obligingly popped out. Three strategically-placed dots of super glue later, I once again have a working VCR.