They are my heroes. Two husky, hunky, he-men possessed of technological ability far beyond that of us mere mortals, they arrive at my house promptly at 8:30 a.m., on a SUNDAY, no less, when lesser mortals would be whimpering in their beds, nursing their Coors Light hangovers. These guys just power down a couple of Santana’s breakfast burritos apiece with extra hot sauce and hit the road. They are like superheroes, pulling up in their cool #13 Geek Squad van, a real, bone-fide van, like the A-Team, not some candy-ass soccer-dad mini-van. I’ll give you a little back-story as to how I was fortunate enough to have these tenured professors of all things techno grace my pathetically techno-phobic domain, but first a brief montage to the coolness of all things geek:

The Rad Van


Their Radness


So, this all started about three weeks ago, when right in the middle of the movie “Doubt” our DVD player decides to gasp its last ten year-old breath. Bummed but resolved to replace it with a most likely much more technologically advanced device, we switch back to network TV and plan a trip to Best Buy the following day.

Next morning we toodle our way down to the Mission Valley Best Buy, actually a little excited about our new purchase, as we have not so much as looked at let alone purchased a new electronic device in at least eight years, with the exception of my now four year-old and probably on its last legs laptop and my recent Blackberry (which I, upon finally mastering its many abilities, ADORE), and are anxious to see what advances have been made in the DVD player arena.

Well, let me tell, a lot of advances have been made, what with the DVD players now being able to stream directly from your wireless network, and sporting USB and camera card ports to watch slideshows of your photos - you name it, these new machines are amazing. Our lovely salesgirl is explaining all the new features, while we absorb all this new information with a sensation something akin to anticipation mingled with dread.

You see, being of a somewhat impatient nature, my husband and I have what you might call a low threshold for frustration, the sort of folks for whom the phrase “turn-key” was made. We have made many times in the past, before we consolidated our remotes, an entry into one of the remotes that rendered the screen a snowy blizzard, unable to recall the path that led to this dilemma and unable to get a picture back. The conversation then goes something like this: “WHAT DID YOU DO? OH, MY GOD, GET THE PICTURE BACK!!!” “I DON’T KNOW, I CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT!!” We would then proceed to call Cox Cable, who would kindly reset our box remotely and re-establish peace in our living room. They have since replaced our cable box, which went on the kaput about six months ago, and god love ‘em, got rid of the extra remotes, replacing them with a universal.

We decide on a Panasonic, that being the brand of our TV and our recently deceased DVD player, and also purchase an adapter cord of some sort because our TV is an older model high-def and for some reason expensive add-ons are necessary to make this all work. They suggest we have the Geek Squad install it for a mere $129.00, which my husband dismisses with a wave of his hand. “I can figure it out.” We get it home, take it out of the box, unhook the old one and start plugging the cords into the new one. Only, there are six areas to plug cords into on the new one, and eight cords came out of the old one. Huh. We can get a picture, but no sound. Just a loud hum. Now I am getting frustrated. I can see what is going to happen. “WHAT’S WRONG? I KNEW WE SHOULD HAVE HAD THE GEEK SQUAD COME OUT!! WHY CAN’T YOU GET IT TO WORK? TAKE IT BACK. I’LL FIND OUR OLD MODEL ON E-BAY!!” My husband, “I DON’T KNOW, FINE, I’LL RETURN IT!!”

He takes it back to Best Buy, and I embark on a quest to find a replacement, which proves fruitless. Every other technologically challenged person in the world has bought up the old DVD players to replace their defunct ones, this confirmed by a few Craig’s List calls for our old model. “The minute I placed the ad someone called.”

Unfortunately, rather than keep up with the latest gadgets every year, we replace our electronics and technological devices only when they break, so we are sometimes perplexed when upon purchase of a more sophisticated replacement we are confronted with the 300 page instruction book for its use and/or installation. Being possessed of what we consider at least a passable level of intelligence in all other areas of life, my husband and I prefer to hurl blame back and forth at the other for not knowing how to navigate these instructions with ease and have said device working in a matter of minutes. This time, I knew I was beat, and so did he. After the old player sat on the shelf with its cords hanging out for three weeks, a useless and constant reminder of our incompetence, I said “that’s it. I’m calling the Geek Squad.”

This was the best move I have made in my life (well, in a long time). We went back and repurchased the same model, confirmed that the adaptor cord was the right one (the first one was not and could explain at least some of our inability to get it to work) and then made the call. I tentatively asked if it would be possible to come out on a Saturday, and they suggested Sunday, which was even better! The nice guy on the phone took a bunch of information about the state of our entertainment system, and the age, etc. of its components so the Geeks would be prepared.

Sunday they arrive and I am in the other room getting ready to go out for the morning, but I can hear signs of progress. The next thing I know, the overhead speakers are tied into the remote, the auxiliary button has taken on a whole new meaning, and new life has been breathed into our television viewing life. It is with much embarrassment that I admit that for the last two years we have been paying for high-definition cable, its working condition being confirmed by the Cox Cable employee who installed it, only to find out it had never been hooked-up. The Geeks got the high-def going, and it is now like we have been living in the dark for the last several years. Even if we had been able to get the DVD player working, we would not have had all the other amazing features figured out and we would have wound up paying for an expensive DVD player without utilizing all of its capabilities.

So, Geek Squad, I owe you a great debt of gratitude. $129.00 is a small price to pay for the wealth of knowledge you brought, along with the peace you restored in my now electronically upgraded home. I feel a little more with it, and my husband is ecstatic watching the bike races in high-def. Continue to wear your Geek badges with pride, you great American heroes, you kings of cool, and I will continue to sing your praises…..

Real American Heroes, Mr. Geek Squad cool van drivin’ DVD player installers……

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nan shartel May 28, 2010 @ 8:22 a.m.

good to know Grantie...i'm not a technophobe but i'm not nearly as technoliterate as i wish i could be

all hail the technoroonies!!!!!!!


MsGrant May 28, 2010 @ 8:40 a.m.

Thanks, CF!! I don't usually plug any business, but these guys were truly awesome.


MsGrant May 28, 2010 @ 8:42 a.m.

I hear you, nan!! It's not like I am afraid of technology, I just don't have the patience to get the stuff up and running. Or the intelligence.....:P!!


nan shartel May 28, 2010 @ 9:21 a.m.

u know Grantie..i sometimes feel afraid to get too familiar with the ins and outs of computing because i'm will the young ones accept me wanting to know everything about in a way it's almost their turf

recently i learned how to torrent music..because i passing music around to peeps

i was a DJ for 6 years in Oregon and have about 500 CD's...mostly rock...i got tired of sending 4 or 5 tunes on gmail and wanted to send whole i learn about Limewire and Torrenting

but it wasn't easy...and fortunately a young one was willing to teach me..but that doesn't happen often


CuddleFish May 28, 2010 @ 9:55 a.m.

Okay, MsG, I have a little time now, yesterday was just hit and run. :)

Like you, I buy a gadget then use it until it dies. I have no understanding or patience for electronics. Very much like you when I push a wrong button or the screen goes blank or doesn't do what I want it to do, I call my son and yell at him: "What did you do to the insert broken gadget here?" And he says: "I didn't do anything to it!" In the meantime he looks at the thing and figures out what I did and undoes it, and peace reigns again.

I think I was the last person on earth to own a computer, nan. I had a Brother word processor that worked just fine, both as a word processor and an independent typewriter. I was complaining that I couldn't find ribbons or floppy disks, and everyone was telling me to get a computer. By the time I was forced to buy one, fortunately eMachines had come out with their cheapy versions -- you may recall how expensive PCs were at first. Everyone told me, don't get an eMachine, they will fail. But I had that eMachine forever, in fact, still have it and it still works. But just ran too slow. I have three PCs now and a laptop, each one faster and more capacious.

My poor little Brother word processor is sitting in a corner, with a plastic cover over it. I think most of my electronics belong in a museum, they are so old -- but still working!

As for your Blackberry, I am still in mourning for your old phone, wish you hadn't posted that picture, bless its little chips!


nan shartel May 28, 2010 @ 10:12 a.m.

my first computer was an Emachine Cuddles...and i loved it..upgraded it was a fine machine!!!


SurfPuppy619 May 28, 2010 @ 10:34 a.m.

Emachines were such a great deal! We bought one too. I have no idea if they are still even in business.

I rememebr back in 93 when a 66 Mhz PC cost $3K, then came the sub 41K computres a few years later. Now you can get a screaming laptop for for $500, and less. And still even elss for a desk top, which I don't use any more.


MsGrant May 28, 2010 @ 11:01 a.m.

Well, I can trump that in the way of electronics - in my OLD office of about 4 years ago still sits my IBM Selectric, handed down from me to my replacement, who still uses it to this day to correct documents (in my old profession we still have to use a typewriter to add vesting to deeds, etc.). My mother gave me that typewriter, which she bought when she worked for IBM, when I moved to San Diego almost 25 years ago. But finding ribbons and correction tape for it is a mother!!!!

The Brother Word Processor was my first introduction to any sort of computer. I remember it could only hold maybe a few paragraphs. We hated them at first. When I started working, everything was done on typewriters. We did everything on them. When computers and printers were first introduced to our business, some revolted and left the business. They just could not handle it. I'd say I came in at a good age, because I had only been working a couple of years before the switch. But the older ladies refused to work on computers and were left behind or like I said, they quit.

But then I have an IPod that just sits in a drawer. I got it, and then I never really used it.

Nan, I think we use technology as much as we want to. I don't feel the need for much more than a good laptop and a good phone right now, but who knows? You were a DJ? That is so cool. Ever think about going back into it now that the young 'uns have passed on their knowledge to you?

Poor little Sammysung, he was a good little phone, but he needed to retire. My Blackberry is actually really easy to navigate once I got over my initial fear!!


CuddleFish May 28, 2010 @ 11:56 a.m.

I may have to call the Geek Squad to get my VCR to stop blinking!


MsGrant May 28, 2010 @ 12:05 p.m.

Did you say "VCR"?!??!? Ha, ha!! I don't know if they even know what that is!!


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