06.28.2006 | 8:59 pm

We’re only a few short days from the Tour de France. To commemorate this exciting upcoming event, I have sampled every performance-enhancing drug known to man.

Wait. That’s not true. I’ve put that behind me.

Let me begin again.

What I meant to say is that to get ready for the Tour de France, I have purchased a gadget of such extraordinary geekitude that taped black-rimmed glasses have spontaneously appeared on my nose. At an awkward angle.

Also, my voice has started cracking again.

What can this superlatively geeky thing be? And how can a geeky gadget enhance one’s Tour de France experience? These are the questions you have, and I will answer them. Just as soon as I adjust these glasses a little further on my nose, and pull my pants up to a painfully high position.

There. Now I’m ready.

I bought myself a Slingbox.


What’s a Slingbox?

Two of you immediately understood what I’m doing. The rest of you are rapidly losing interest and hoping that I’ll get to the point, or at least explain what a Slingbox is.


A Slingbox is a clever little device that you route your home TV signal through, as well as connect to your home broadband Internet connection. Then, after installing the corresponding software on any computer, anywhere (as long as it’s got a high-speed internet connection), you can make the Slingbox stream whatever TV channel—or whatever’s on the TiVo (if you don’t know what a TiVo is, that’s your own problem. Look it up on the Wikipedia. Oh, you don’t know what the Wikipedia is? Forget it. Just forget it.) onto your computer.

Which means, dear reader, that I am now set up to watch the Tour de France on my computer during my lunch break. Or other break. Or when I just can’t wait a single second longer.

I shall now chortle. And adjust my pants a little higher. Eep!


The Problem

There’s just one problem, now that I’ve got the Slingbox working (and believe me, it was not a pleasant experience to get the Slingbox to work outside my home firewall, which is evidently very labyrinthine and stymied even the Slingbox customer support people for a little while).

It shows whatever channel is currently on the home TV. Now, that’s not a problem if nobody’s home, or if the TV’s off. But if the twins are watching Dora the Explorer, well, that’s what’s on the Slingbox, too. Of course, I have the capability of changing the channel. But they have the capability of changing it back. And thus ensues a war of channel changing, in spite of the fact that my twins and I are not even in the same county.


The Solution

The twins, however, can be bribed. It turns out, in fact, they can be bribed rather cheaply. A colored pencil does the job nicely. As does a popsicle. As does practically anything that costs less than a dollar.

We’ll be knee-deep in cheap toys and popsicle sticks by mid-July. But it’s worth it. I’ve got a tour to watch. On my computer. At work.

I shall conclude today’s blog by giggling nasally, punctuated occasionally with a grating snort.


  1. Comment by Random Reviewer | 06.28.2006 | 9:13 pm

    i am uninterested in the slingbox, per se (you must now take me seriously seeing as i’m speaking latin), because it’s a silly thing, however, i have a question about it and you:
    do you not have two televisions? can you not let the twins watch their dora the explorer on the main television, while you hook your stupid rube goldberg machine to a secondary television?
    if the answer is, you can, but you haven’t thought of that, which i doubt, then yer dum.
    if the answer is you can’t because it doesn’t work that way, jackass, then i respect that, but still think the the slingbox is dum.

  2. Comment by Unknown | 06.28.2006 | 9:19 pm

    so. jealous.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 06.28.2006 | 9:22 pm

    Coming this fall… Fat Cyclist in… SlingBox.
    "I lahk them french fry pa-taters."
    "Reckon you can make me some biscuits?  Mmmmmmhemmmm."
    "Mustard’s good on ‘em."
    "Reckon what you like to eat in there?"
    "Coffee makes me nervous when I drink it. Mmmhemmm." 
    "They call this a SlingBox.  Mmmmmhemmm."
    This film is not yet rated…

  4. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 06.28.2006 | 9:32 pm

    dug, you are a luddite and a fool. and a nosepicker.

  5. Comment by Unknown | 06.28.2006 | 9:56 pm

    When I first saw your new professional title, I didn’t understand it. I couldn’t picutre what someone with that title actually did at work all day.
    After reading your post, I understand your true brilliance. You’ve managed to bag a job that not only allows you to buy a really nice house in a nice town, but also accomodates 3 hours a day of TV watching, and it’s all because your bosses aparantly don’t understand what your job title means either.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 06.28.2006 | 9:56 pm

    Oh, and as for dug, he’s much more of a farmer blower than a nosepicker.

  7. Comment by The Dana Files | 06.29.2006 | 1:01 am

    I seriously learn so much when I read your blog!  I never had a clue about what a slingbox was!

  8. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 06.29.2006 | 9:32 am

    You’ve got an iPod and a Slingbox… welcome to the 21st century.
    P.S. (for botched, literally and figuratively) Sadly I notice that despite ignoring the siren song of the P.S. you still couldn’t resist "afterthought insertion syndrome".  Well done on disguising the P.S. as a totally indepenent comment.

  9. Comment by Unknown | 06.29.2006 | 2:00 pm

    MIKE, I could use wit, wisdom, and cutting sarcasm to distinguish my comments, but instead I use post scripts. They’re a lot easier to come by than wisdom.

  10. Comment by regina | 06.29.2006 | 2:42 pm

    nice use of luddite.

  11. Comment by Tim D | 06.29.2006 | 4:00 pm

    fatty, I think you’ve missed a trick here.  What you should do is send me the Slingbox thingy and I will connect it to my satalite box and we can both enjoy Eurosport’s coverage of the tour, including all day coverage of the main mountain stages.  If you sent me your TiVo and DVD burner, I could cut DVDs for you as well.  How selfless of me is that!

  12. Comment by Unknown | 06.29.2006 | 4:39 pm

    As a computer-guy, I’m surprised it took you this long to get one of those!  I join Big Mike in welcoming you to the 21st century.  What’s next, a DVD burner or 802.11G home network?  How about one of those new-fangled USB thumb drives?  I kid, I kid.
    Anyhoo, just make sure you don’t try watching MLB on your computer while out of town or out of state.  Have you heard they’re up in arms that this is violating their license agreements?  "No part of this telecast may be rebroadcast without the express written permisiion of Major League Baseball…"   Morons!

  13. Comment by Unknown | 06.29.2006 | 4:39 pm

    I am going to watch the tour also.
    I can’t use a slingbox, though, because even after your explanation, I don’t know what it or Wikipedia (sp?) is, or was.
    I don’t work, so I will just watch the Tour de (Plasma re-injection after EPO, HGH, and Belgian cocktail injections AND masking) France with the same dull wit and cynical attitude, like always. I kinda hate France, except for wine, and the Tour, so it’s a tough, mind-wrenching ethical breakdown to spend this time in this way. I will be thinking of Al M. as well as the FC blog.
    I think I will (actually go out and!!!) ride my bike after the broadcast/stream is over on the tour race days.

    Respectfully, #4529,
    Operacion Puerta

  14. Comment by Unknown | 06.29.2006 | 4:45 pm

    man, after 4 years in my house i still can’t
    pony up and get cable.(you can only watch
     i am, however, hotly anticipating the 2003
    tour from NETFLIX. did lance win again?

  15. Comment by brendan | 06.30.2006 | 10:05 am

    What’s the point?  Ullrich is out.  Basso has been "named" and will probably be out as well.  Might as well watch the Australian Curling Championships instead.Or go riding.Orgo blblblblblblblblb


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