June 29, 2005

Ghost In The Machine

The world is a complex place and there are some things in life that will forever remain mysteries. Like…

The meaning of the life, the universe and everything; Jimmy Hoffa; square eggs from fast food joints; Kenny G; Jerry Lewis’ popularity in France; US presidential elections of 2000 and 2004; why, when we can launch people into space and put them on the moon, the majority of us can’t seem to figure out tough concepts like toll booths and turn signals and red means stop; the existence of higher powers and their influences on the peace and tranquility of mankind; disappearing socks lost forever to dryers everywhere; why a bird actually flew into my car on the way to work; Air Supply; Ron Jeremy; why New Jersey is the only state in the United States in which you can’t pump gas yourself; war; Michael Jackson; whether Robert Johnson actually sold his soul to the devil; plotlines on Lost; what we’re going to name our daughter…

That’s all well and good but I was really thinking of something more specific this morning. In our living room, we have a VCR/DVD combo. Because we’re lazy, we’ve never taken the time to set the clock. Yet a few weeks ago, we noticed that, somehow, it was displaying the correct time. Beth and I quizzed each other. I figured she’d set it and she was pretty convinced that I had. Needless to say, we hadn’t. After a few days, the correct time disappeared, to be replaced by the familiar green LED dashes. We went about our business and I’d really forgotten about it. One weekend, I replaced several of the light fixtures. I had to cut the power to the living room to do it. Power was restored, as were the green dashes on the clock and then, two days later, the correct time reappeared. Again, we quizzed each other but it became apparent that neither of us had set it. Last week, we had the living room painted. The television and DVD player were disconnected and moved to the center of the room. A few days later they were hooked up again and, again, the display showed only green dashes. Until last night. When the correct time reappeared.

Do you think our place is haunted? We certainly haven’t noticed anything else. And what a lame-ass job for a ghost, just resetting a DVD clock at random.

Posted by Chris at June 29, 2005 8:30 AM

I want that fine piece of technology installed on every major appliance in my house that has a clock.


Posted by: Jef at June 29, 2005 8:39 AM

I live in Arlington, MA and we aren't allowed to pump our own gas either. No fast food drive thru's or liquor stores either.

Here is a website that I don't know how in the world this kid gets away with it but alot of what he says is true: http://www.arlingtontour.com/

Posted by: Zissy at June 29, 2005 8:39 AM

That's creepy. And if it is a ghost, that's pretty lame.

Posted by: Fraulein N at June 29, 2005 8:45 AM

A ghost with a time fetish...

Posted by: wlfldy at June 29, 2005 8:52 AM

I think (??) that Oregonians can't pump their own gas either. But I might be wrong.

Also, I have many ghosts. One lives in the car's dashboard clock, one lives in my dog's brain -- making him a chewing fiend every now and then, and a few more live in my various appliances. So I feel your pain.

Posted by: ~L. at June 29, 2005 9:01 AM

Not to be a wonder killer (tm pamie.com), but if your DVD/VCR combo is like mine, there is a function that reads the time on specific cable channels and synchs it up with the clock on the device. I don't know exactly how it works but if you land on one of the channels that it can read, the time will adjust. The best I can tell the planets also have to be aligned a certain way because I have no idea when/how it happens, but it does.

Posted by: Dabney at June 29, 2005 9:18 AM

You know how sometimes daugthers sneak out of their room (and then the house)and get into or cause mischief?

Perhaps this is just to prepare you. ;)

Posted by: jen at June 29, 2005 9:35 AM

Lame-ass, huh? I was testing y'all to see your reaction to my charity and goodness. I would have begun to dust and vacuum, but since you called me lame-ass......

Posted by: Hazel at June 29, 2005 9:47 AM

You definitely win the award for talking about Jimmy Hoffa on your site more than any other blogger out there!

Maybe the painters set the clock for you.
Or your cats.

Creepy either way.

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at June 29, 2005 10:05 AM

another buzz-kill here... my dvd/vcr does the same thing. i wish my microwave, stove, alarm clock, car, blah blah blah did the same thing.

Posted by: monique at June 29, 2005 10:19 AM

I wont tell you the secret about the NJ/gas thing if you promise never to tell me about the disappearing socks. Some things should remain mysterious.

Posted by: That Girl at June 29, 2005 10:28 AM

ooooh! I get the shivers just thinking about it. The twilight Zone theme song is now stuck in my head....

Posted by: Marie at June 29, 2005 10:44 AM

~L's right, you can't pump your gas in Oregon. It's crazy! At first it made me uncomfortable, like I was being lazy. But now I like visiting Oregon and having someone pump my gas because it reminds me of the old days of FULL SERVICE. Also, there is no sales tax in Oregon. So it's a good place to shop for other things, besides gas.

Posted by: jodi at June 29, 2005 10:56 AM

I think Beth's just involved in a huge plot to make you feel a little bit like you're losing your mind. Or maybe you're really doing it to her. OR? Maybe one of you sleep-walks and sets clocks on your journey.

Posted by: Queen of Ass at June 29, 2005 10:57 AM

Wow, if you do have a ghost that likes to set clocks, can you send it my way? All of our clocks read a different time and it annoys me greatly.

Posted by: donna at June 29, 2005 10:57 AM

Ron Jeremy will NEVER make sense...

NEVER. Nor will the hedgehog *shudder*

Posted by: stinkerbell at June 29, 2005 10:59 AM

oops by the way you cant pump your own gas in Oregon either...

Posted by: stinkerbell at June 29, 2005 11:00 AM

But does the time displayed have some deep and meaningful significance? Wouldn't it be spooky if that was the time your child was delivered? Some cosmic mid-wife giving you a heads-up on the time?

Posted by: andy boy at June 29, 2005 11:13 AM

I think that appliances are going crazy in general. I mean, did you see Zoot's post about her posessed dishwasher? I'm keeping an eye on all my stuff to see if it's been affected...

Posted by: kitty at June 29, 2005 11:15 AM

We had a ghost that lived with us in Arizona and moved here to Oklahoma. We finally lost him when we moved into our old duplex back in 1999 and haven't seen or heard from him since.

And his job? Flushing toilets randomly. No shit, pun intended.

Posted by: judy at June 29, 2005 11:43 AM


That may only be topped by this story:

At school we have lights with fans. In the fall the lights worked, and then mysteriously stopped working about October. The fans still ran, but the lights didn't. We even attempted a life endangering lightbulb replacement mission.

Yesterday, the electrician came, and our director asked him to check it out. She explained the situation, and he looked into it.

Shortly, he returned and quized her:

Electrician: Are you sure those lights used to work?
Director: Yes, back in September.
Elec: Are you sure?
Dir: Yeah, why?
Elec: Umm... the wire was connected.
Dir: What do you mean?
Elec: I wasn't connected at all. It was taped off.
Dir: How can that be?
Elec: I don't have an answer for that.

Btw, the lights work now.

Posted by: autumn at June 29, 2005 11:45 AM

Not a single one of my clocks matches any other in my house. I think it was done on purpose by my husband but I don't know. I reset them and they end up all askew again...bizarre!

Posted by: zanie at June 29, 2005 11:54 AM

also, my car clock is off by 4 hours and ten minutes. And rather then fight to fix it, I've grown accustomed to it.

Posted by: autumn at June 29, 2005 11:55 AM

Maybe it has a part-time Atomic Clock. You know, it checks in with the A.C. when it feels like it and then screws with you two the rest of the time. Hey, it could happen! ;o)

Posted by: ironic1 at June 29, 2005 12:17 PM

When we lived in our last place, a duplex, we noticed weird things - stuff missing, the feeling that someone else was standing right behind us, etc. Then we asked our landlord about ghosts and he told us that, oh yeah, when they bought the place they were told that one of the previous occupants hung himself in the 2nd unit's closet.

Posted by: Jason at June 29, 2005 1:16 PM

Hmmm...very weird indeed. Have you noticed any other peculiar activity in the house other than the DVD clock? I agree that it's a lame job if that's the best it can do. It should at least scare the be-jeebus out of you by turning the lights on and off. (I've had that happen a lot.)

Oh, and you can't pump your gas in Oregon either...I was quite perplexed by this when I drove through there.

Posted by: Bayou at June 29, 2005 2:16 PM

I was amused with this post till towards the end. My VCR clock has been doing that too, lately. You know what the deal is? In the clock settings on your VCR there is an "automatic" time set option. When it's on, if it talks to a device of yours that knows the time and shares that signal, or finds a tv channel with the time signal, it'll adjust to find the time. If you set it to that option, at first it'll take a long time to find a channel that does it, but eventually it'll pop up with the right time.

Make sense? :D

Posted by: Phillip at June 29, 2005 2:28 PM

That's a lot of contemplating. Time for a nap. :)

Posted by: Spring at June 29, 2005 2:36 PM

If you can't pump your own gas, is it still mandatory to tip the gas attendant?

Clocks that reset themselves would freak me out. We have a closet door that always is open when neither me nor my husband have been in it. Maybe it's the cats? Yeah! It's your cat. She got tired of being told to get a job so she did, resetting the dvd/vcr clock. She probably travels all around the neighborhood re-setting clocks. You should ask your neighbors. Then she goes out and spends all her money on smokes while she watches Dr. Phil in the afternoons. Yep, that's GOT to be it.

Posted by: Dooneybug at June 29, 2005 2:54 PM

I always found it funny that you couldn't pump gas in Oregon, but they'd sell you as much Oregon Everclear as you wanted even if your license was from California (where it's illegal!).

Posted by: heels at June 29, 2005 3:17 PM

And it's not mandatory to tip the gas station attendants in Oregon- they get paid damn well to do their job.

Posted by: heels at June 29, 2005 3:19 PM

Most VCR/DVD players have a function where they set themselves off the cable feed from the Public Broadcasting channel. Another reason to support PBS.

TIP? the pump jockeys!?! They are not allowed to accept tips.

I keep forgetting when I'm in OR to find out what the fine is for pumping your own gas.

Posted by: nrp at June 29, 2005 4:13 PM

Maybe your cleaning lady?

Posted by: JuJuBee at June 29, 2005 5:24 PM

I'd blame the cats. For everything.

Posted by: bmh at June 29, 2005 5:33 PM

I'd prefer to have a ghost who sets my alarm clock when the power dies. :)

Posted by: Carla at June 29, 2005 6:25 PM

I think you should rid yourself of that demonic machine....immediately.

Posted by: kate at June 29, 2005 10:17 PM

If it is haunted, it's by a pissed off ghost who thinks you guys are lame because you haven't set the clock LOL!!! Me, I don't even know HOW to set the dang clock on my stuff hee!!!

Posted by: Nina at June 29, 2005 10:50 PM

yea there are ghosts for DVD/VCR combos. Interesting. But hey, for a couple of days, the time is right, huh? and since they dont mess with anything else, let it be! i would say its faulty wiring.

names for babies are always fun. i say stay up for a couple of days, and once you get past that point of no return, then find a name for the baby. tee hee...cactus flower comes to mind.


Posted by: melanie at June 29, 2005 10:51 PM

Oops. I should have left a note. I snuck in there and set the time. And damn you all to hell for making me come back and do it again and again.

Posted by: bhd at June 30, 2005 1:43 PM

i am sure someone else said it before me since i'm reading late but in oregon you can't pump your own gas either. i was flabbergasted when i drove through there this last fall.

Posted by: angel at June 30, 2005 3:55 PM

That whole light/wire thing is pretty strange. I'm all for free electricity- if I have to live with a ghost to get it, so be it.

Posted by: lucy at July 1, 2005 3:01 PM

Not being able to pump my own gas has become more of a gift than anything else. I'm loving it. Truly, truly loving it. Especially considering that the gas prices are still cheaper here than most others.

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