Follow the cable from the wall to the TV, testing the logic of the connections. That's right.
Switch it back to how it was before.
Switch it yet again.
Have the VCR search for channels; it found a few UHF channels way up there.
Um. Stare at the TV. It is not acceptable to fail to tape either Buffy or Smallville tonight.
Swap cables again. Swap cables again. Give up and open new cheap VCR to see if it behaves any differently in this setup.
Swap cables to new VCR. Watch as the end of one of the co-axial cables falls off into my hand.
Ah. Right, then. Glad to know I'm not in fact a total idiot.
Take cable from new VCR's box; set up old VCR. Make note to buy new cables (there's interference to clear up anyway).
Programmed, tapes in, power off. Yeah.
My actual media rants are in claudia_media. Here we go!