a rickety bridge of impossible crossing

Dream log: Mr. Schwarzenegger's Old TVs

This is a dream I had last night.

I was going with one of my junior high school teachers to see Arnold Schwarzenegger's home. He offers public tours, and I think this was just one of the sights we were seeing during a class trip to California. Because of a lucky bureaucratic oversight, this class only had one other student besides me,1 who was probably off doing his own thing; so it wasn't that unusual that it was only my teacher and myself, although the timeline was weird and everything was happening in the present day.

On the way to his house on a cool foggy morning, we saw Arnold out on a jog with a young woman. Arnold smiled and gave us a friendly wave, but the woman he was with seemed terrified, and she got as far away from us as possible on the path. "Huh," I said, "wonder what her problem was?" My teacher shrugged. "Must not have seen us through the fog."

We arrived at Arnold's house and I rang the buzzer. Another young woman opened the door and greeted us. "Hi," my teacher said, "you're doing tours today, right?"

"Yes, please, come in!" The young lady said. A well-dressed man offered to take our coats. "I'm very sorry, but Mr. Schwarzenegger is out for the day, so there won't be a meet and greet. Is that okay?"

We nodded. "We just saw him out on his jog!" I said cheerfully, to show that we weren't too disappointed. She threw back her head and cackled like it was the funniest joke she ever heard.

She started showing us around. Like all extremely rich old people, his mansion was full of TVs. Every room had multiple TVs of varying sizes. They were all CRT sets that were probably top-of-the-line in the mid 90s. They were all tuned to cable news or sports channels, muted with the closed captions on.

The tour guide was showing us Arnold's bathroom, with a beautiful claw-foot tub and sink fixtures set into huge slabs of marble. The tub and toilet were spotless white porcelain and everything had shiny gold trim. Incongruently, there was a wooden shelf with multiple small TVs. On the tiny CRTs, the 16:9 pictures were even more squished and indistinct.

"You know," I said, seeing this as my golden opportunity to help a rich person, "I can make those TVs look better." The tour guide looked pleasantly surprised. "Mr. Schwarzenegger always complains about how bad TV looks these days! Please, give me your number after the tour, someone will get in touch."

The tour guide got distracted by something, and my teacher looked at me, eyebrows raised. "You can?"

I nodded. "Open source scan converters." I knew OSSCs could upscale an old video game console to look good on modern TVs, so I assumed the principle also worked in reverse 🦝

  1. This part is actually true. I was in the gifted program up through high school. In elementary school, I and the other students in the program would get on a bus and go to a different school one day a week, which served as a central gifted program hub for the area. My junior high school had a dedicated teacher for the program—which was just one class period a day and filled a slot for an elective—but the class never had more than 4 or 5 students. One year, it was literally just me and one other person. Incredibly, he has exactly the same birthday as me. If they're reading this, hi Chandler! Hi Mrs. Eagan!