Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Off The Air, Part 1: The Experiment Begins (Thu, July2, 2009)

I am about to state something that may surprise many people and astound others. I have turned off the television (and vice-versa). Ok, that in of itself is not the astounding part. At least, not in the context that one would generally assume with that statement. What I mean by it is that I no longer have television reception in my home. I, along with the fetching Mrs. B, have had our cable TV completely turned off. And if anyone thinks one can get television reception without cable, living in an apartment, they obviously do not live in Mckinney.

I can see you sitting there with your mouth hanging open, wondering what kind of an idiot wants to live without television. Well, my kind for a start. I have found that television keeps me from doing things that I should be doing or that I want to be doing. Neither of which is a very palatable concept. Television has caused me to vegetate away a great many hours of my life. They pass away like sands through a glass. To paraphrase an old "War on Drugs" commercial, nothing happens with television.

So, the wife and I have given it up. Oh, we still watch things on our set. We pull things from our DVD collection which holds not only movies but classic television series. We also have signed up with Netflix to receive DVDs through the mail as well as streaming video straight off the internet.

Why did we decide to undertake such a preposterous endeavor? Part of it was financial. It started as just a reduction in our cable bill. You know, the "let's drop the premium channels and just go back to basic for a while". Then, somewhere out of the blue, Mrs. B got the hair-brained idea that we could just turn the whole thing off. At first, I thought she was joking. This is a woman who cringed in terror when I suggested just dropping the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) part of the cable. And now, here she was, madder than a March hare, suggesting that we drop all the cable channels, everything, all together. But, I didn't respond with a "are you nuts?!" retort. Instead, like the guys in the Guinness commercial, I remarked, "Brilliant!"

So Thursday, July 2, 2009, became our Independence Day. Independence from stupid commercials, inane reality shows, ubiquitous celebrity gossip updates, and the like. It's only been a few days, but I have to say, I am not regretting this one bit. Yes, I don't get to watch all the sports on weekends that I used to. Though I do get some succor by streaming sports on ESPN360. But I feel so much better about getting to choose what gets put on television and what doesn't. Not to mention, that many of the network television stations put their shows on the internet, available for streaming. Really, I will end up missing very little of what I want to watch.

Therefore, I guess I am not actually giving up television. I am just giving up paying out the nose to the cable company for it. I will keep you informed on the progress of the experiment.

In the meantime, I'm off the air.