Friday, November 11, 2011

We've always got Gosford Park

I'm sure I underestimate the amount of time I spend with the television, especially when I'm half watching while I do other things. There's no denying it. As I go through my day, the TV provides background noise more often then not. Even if I'm only using it for the music channels and not actually watching programs.

When I become acutely aware the television is when it goes away.

Yesterday smack in the middle of Morning Joe, Dishnetwork diminished our service. If you've never experienced an outage due to the an unpaid bill, here's how it works, for Dish, at least:  First they call sixty times a day. Then they start putting a message on your screen every couple of hours reminding you that your bill is late. Next they decrease your number of channels until finally they cut you off altogether and you're stuck watching the instructions on how to use your remote, whatever's on your DVR and that mess of DVDs you've recorded. Thank goodness for all those old Poirots you recorded on A&E. And how historically quaint are those Countrywide Mortgage commercials with the guy who looked like John Kerry?

Then they send you a box and tell you to send your fucking receiver back stat or they're going to send Fred over to yank it out and he won't be putting down the floor mats to keep from tracking mud into your house either!

Not that we've ever gotten to that stage.

Anyway, now we're in the diminished state. When this happens, it's a surprise. You never know exactly when it will happen or which channels they'll leave you with. It's different every time.

This time, we've got the Science Channel, NASA channel, a handful of Christian channels, Current to balance those out, I suppose; ESPN RedZone Preview, Tasty channel so I can learn of all the things I can do with Country Crock, a Spanish movie channel, American Movie Classics, The Military Channel, every shopping channel you can think of, Japanese news and two - count 'em TWO! - holiday music channels. The modern and the traditional. In case you don't want to hear G Love without his Special Sauce, you can listen to Bing croon about A White Christmas.

Because, you know, there's no chance I won't be hating Christmas music by Thanksgiving. I've already heard enough Burl Ives to make me want to build a snowman so I can kick him in his frosty balls and enough Mel Torme to make me demand a martini with a candy cane swizzle stick. The cats are working on the recipe right now. At least, based on the clinking of glasses and hiccuping, I think that's what they're doing.

Not to mention the fact that I find the whip crack sound in the Boston Pops' version of Sleigh Ride oddly arousing.

And what is the idea of keeping the shopping channels? I can't pay my bill, do they really want me buying that set of faux pearl handled vibrators?

But back to the TV. Naturally, none of those channels are my favorite. Even the one movie channel they gave us isn't my favorite. I prefer Turner Movie classics. No commercials.

Do you go through TV phases? Like in the days when my time was spent with young children, I watched PBS from morning til night. I would sing the Celery Bunch and the I Like Fudge songs and close out the day with Nature or Frontline.

Then we were getting ready to move to Georgia and I entered the HGTV days which dovetailed nicely with The Food Network era.

That came after the period when I watched a lot of VH1, catching up with the I Love series. I had no idea my youth was so interesting! Then the kids and I got into watching The N for the Degrassi series and I fell in love with Daria and wanted to be Jane. That coincided with when A&E and The Biography Channel had the wisdom to show the Poirots, Midsomer Murders and Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett on Sundays.

And then there was the complete and utter devotion to BBC America. Sigh.

Some of you will remember the C-SPAN mornings that dragged on all day. Election time, you know.

So for now I'm stuck with the whirring sounds in my own noggin, Christmas music or The Military Channel which I can at least pretend is research for my novel. Thankfully, there's a DVR full of murders committed by people with charming accents. The kids have Netflix. And MathMan has Calculus.

My mother appears at my shoulder like one of those Angel/Devil apparitions and suggests I read a damn book. Yes, but I can't do that and be on the computer......(looks at the stack of books waiting to be read)..... oh.

What's your favorite channel? What's on your DVR or Tivo that you never delete?


  1. I'm one of them weirdos with a telebision that I never turn on. I waste all my time on the internets.

    Especially since I started a blog...the tool of Satan!

  2. The TV is on a lot. The amount of time I actually watch it is pretty small by comparison.

  3. google at my comment. probably because my confession wasn't fit for public consumption. you know the truth anyway. :-)

  4. Gasp! Quick check into a nursing home ... those places usually have cable channels blasting away 24/7.

    In truth, we've never bought cable or satellite teevee. (Well, there was that trial program of one month about 25 years ago but the shoppers/nutty religious channels was reason enough to dump cable.)

    We've gotten by with an old fashioned antenna atop the roof. With it we get about 12 channels - enough to satisfy our TV habit.

  5. Only you could make a 'holy fuck we can't pay our fucking bill' post comical. With cable, they just axe everything in one fell sweep. Dish is quite innovative.

    Chiller used to be okay until they started showing more and more garbage instead of Hammer marathons which they should be doing daily. I don't have DVR or Tivo.

    If I didn't love sports, I'd probably nuke the thing. My online pirate stream-fu is crap.

  6. The death of our TV is something I fantasize about almost every day. I loathe the damn thing, swear to god. But my husband is a sports junkie, so if I want to keep him, I'm stuck with the TV. (Okayfine, I MAY watch the occasional football game, but only when Tom Brady's on the field.)

  7. The diminished dish punishment is such a sanctimonious ploy --like you're in time out or grounded. Christ.

    I am not of fan of watching tv w/ the fam, due to their channel surfing ways. I'd actually relish a sudden decrease in channels (but that's the sanctimonious bitch in me).

    I hate to admit it, but I like the sports channels. The various ESPNs and the Fox Soccer stuff. Am gearing up for a whopping gang of college footballers tomorrow: Stanford VS Oregon. Chips and dips and expletives a-plenty! But first, I'd better see about that Comcast bill...

  8. When we first got cable I watched VH1 alot and various other music stations. Then VH1 was wall to wall music no adverts unlike now. The I went through a Hallmark stage, Judging Amy and 7th Heaven but used to clean up etc while watching so that was OK!

    Then I got sucked in by Jeremy Kyle ( a sort of Brit Jerry Springer) I justified because I am really a sociologist not a teacher. But after the summer and an overload of this I decided enough is enough so now I watch the odd bit of cricket, tennis that isn't on the pay extra sports channels. To slave my conscience I knit while I watch.

    We pay by direct debit so I don't know what would happen if the bill was late getting paid.

  9. I refuse to pretend I don't like watching television. Comedy Central for Stewart/Colbert, FX for Archer and The League, Cartoon Network for Squidbillies, The Venture Brothers, Children's Hospital, and NTSFSDSUV, and PBS for Nature and Globe Trekker. It balances out all those 19th century novels as far as I'm concerned.

  10. The cable company we use for our internet connection is still in shock we don't watch television. We do have one but it's mainly used for PS3 gaming and occasionally a Cube or Wii - not by me (well, hardly ever - I recently played a mean Clank to Jer's Ratchet).

    The other use we have for the set is for dvd watching or movie streaming when cooperates, that is. There is no real Netflix here and the Canadian version of that kind of service meant having at least 80 movies on your list (only half of which were actually available) and a 2-3 week delivery time for whatever they could scrounge up. We eventually passed and go to the local movie rental place now. It's name is Video Difference and they call themselves VD. Haligonians are strange - me excepted.

  11. I go through TV angst, every time my wife turns the fucking thing on.

    I was in bed before nine last night and she came in at three A.M..

    I hate the idiot box with a passion.

  12. One of the reasons we don't own a television is because I'm addicted. I could watch LIFETIME FOR WOMEN all day and never flinch.

  13. Comcast claims their equipment is worth $500. If that's true, why didn't they come pick it up when we made an appointment and they said they'd show up between 8 and 11am?? Because they didn't show at the appointed time everything about our move got delayed. They UPSd empty boxes to our new address. When we didn't immediately send their stuff back that's when we got the threatening letter with their claimed equipment value.

    Now we are limited to watching what we can get off the intratubes as our outside antenna blew down last June. With a HDMI cable from the confuser to the TV we can watch on the TV what we find on the intratubes. There is a lot of free stuff available. There's Hulu and a ton of networks, the only drawback is the shows aren't available until sometime after it airs. Anywhere from a day to a week to a month after.

  14. I only see TV at my mother's house. She is a serious TV watcher, though.

    [Local cable monopoly] has never figured out that while I might want Internet and land line, I'm not willing to pay for TV I don't have.

  15. I LOVE reruns of the show "Wings." I really need to start reading more again :)

  16. I just watched the entire "Numb3rs" series on Netflix, start to finish.

    I keep a steady diet of The Doctors and Sons of Anarchy on the DVR "just in case".

    Our TV is generally on ESPN, thanks to the TWO sports junkies in the house. You know it's bad when your kid has a favorite sports announcer (Mike Wilbon).

  17. I got rid of cable years ago when I did a cost-benefit analysis of paying $600 a year to watch Buffy reruns. I don't miss cable much; I do miss Buffy a lot.

    (And yes, to answer your question, even with Netflix streaming I go through phases. I watched the entire run of the BBC's Robin Hood recently, and I'm getting hooked on Mad Men.)



  18. I watch WAY too much TV. But, I am partial to the E! Channel.

    And, I REALLY hope you can restore your service 100% sooner than later.

  19. we have family who only have a television for DVDs and the rest of the family mocks them b/c we can't understand how they live w/out it. they are extremely productive. who knows if the two are correlated. i'm a tv person. i like it on. regardless of what's on. channels: A&E, Bravo (i know), HGTV (mostly for house hunters) and comedy channel for jon and steven. i've got shirley mcclain's visit on oprah from the last season that i can't bring myself to delete.

  20. Still living in the jurassic period. We only get local channels no TIVO, DVR, or Dish.
    We get tons of DVD;s from the library & occasionally splurge on Red Box movies for a buck a piece.
    That means crappy programming.
    Lots of free TV is all murder/cop shows. Nothing like cozying up to some bloody crime show each & every night of the week. (Why so much violence in America???).
    PBS is a lifesaver. Art, Travel, Documentaries, & some British comedies.
    We almost signed up for Dish a few times, but one brand is Rupert Murdoch owned & the other has less selections. So much crap you won't watch included in packages. So much more fine print of extra charges & fines & what not.
    Scares us off every time!

  21. Bing always turns it to CNN. Always. And then there is me, turning it to Amazing Race on Sundays and Survivor on Wednesdays, followed by Modern Family. Our family watches Fringe on friday nights en masse, but basically....she is the sophisticated television watcher and I am show nut.

  22. For years in the 80's, it was MTV. Loved it. Then along came Cartoon Network in the mid 90's. Then they created Boomerang. A cartoon channel that channeled my retro child.

  23. The fact that you have the military channel is a sign, damn it. A sign!

    DVR- Sex and the City
    Dr. Who
    The Biggest Loser

    Man, that says more about me than I'd care to admit.

  24. I do tend to keep the TV on "for company" with some frequency. I am a bit picky about what I will actually stop doing everything and sit down to watch. I like deleting ftom the DVR because I feel guilty aboiut taking up space with stuff i recorded and then don't take time to watch.

    I think the way the cable company reduces the channels is interesting and probably pretty effective - you keep trying to find something to watch rather than finding out you can get along without it.

  25. I love television but because I have a very addictive personality, I don't allow myself to watch it.

    Since my kids moved out, I turn it on maybe once a week. In fact, I recently mentioned eliminating cable altogether, and my youngest son shrugged and said, "I guess that means you never want us to visit."

    I'm pretty sure he wasn't joking.

  26. I have been ripping off cable for years. I do nice wiring.
    If it wasn't for re-runs, A&E, History and football... I wouldn't watch much. Never between 9am and 7pm.

    and Packer games ... Big Screen HD at the bar...the bartender brings pretzels and the cable provider don't!

  27. Why not explain to them that you are atheist and the believers in the house are Jewish? They might change some of the Christian channels for something else and drop the Christmas music for RHCP (I really don't like Christmas music). And isn't having Christian channels as the only religious channels against the law? I have given up the Hallmark Channel because they have already started their Christmas movie marathon.

    I remember when my older nephew, now 22, was 5, I told him my favorite song was Sallie the Camel (Barney). His was Achey Brakey Heart (Chipmunk version) and Tears in Heaven (that broke my heart).

  28. i don't have a tv now--starve the beast--but I did ten years ago, when I had surgery and needed to rest and had little else to do. I watched a lot of Iron Chef (the chef competition show...I think that's the name). And I liked it. But maybe it was the drugs talking, because as soon as I recovered I couldn't stand to have it on for even a minute.


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