Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cable Cutter

I can no longer watch television in my own house.

We cut back on our cable television package last year when the Great Recession hit and my uncertain status as the Extra Historian On Call at Home Campus seemed to recommend such cuts. And in truth, we really didn't miss the stuff we cut. We don't watch a whole lot of television anyway, and most of what we do watch is either cartoons (for the girls) or on Discover, the Food Channel, HGTV or one of the various ESPN networks, all of which can be found on the smallest package you can get and still get internet service, which Kim and I both need for our jobs so that was a Justifiable Expense and Well, Meet and Good.

And then Kim discovered Lost.

It took the better part of four months, but she went from never having seen an episode to being completely caught up and waiting impatiently for the start of the final season, which should take place in five days, seven hours and twenty-nine minutes or thereabouts, not that she's counting or anything. Or that the girls are counting, either, since they too are hooked on the show.

Thank whatever local deity you choose for Hulu, or there would have been much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth around here.

Our friendly local Mega-Cable Monopoly has been deluging us with promotional materials for some months now, eager to have our business back, or get us to provide them with more business, or just hand them more money on general principles - it's hard to tell - and finally I opened up one of the letters and read it. It had a Fantastic Offer, one that was so Fantastic that even MCM had a hard time understanding it when I called to take them up on it. Seriously - it took four phone calls and twice through the computer-generated audio fine print (where you have to say "yes" every time the voice pauses or your offer becomes Unfantastic very quickly) before they decided that I wasn't lying about how Fantastic this Offer was. But eventually it all got worked out, and the cable guy came over to install our new equipment and get us up and running.

The key point, as far as Kim was concerned, was that this new equipment included a DVR, which could be used to record episodes of Lost. Plus, since the Fantastic Offer also included unlimited long-distance telephone service, we could cancel our other long-distance provider and actually save money overall. Win.

On the down side, all this came with a new television remote.

This new remote could land the space shuttle. It could track Osama Bin Laden to within six inches, launch killer bees to make him miserable, and then put capsaicin in his benadryl to make him even more miserable. It could solve the energy crisis, make sense of British politics, cash in on the Nigerian email scam, and find intelligence in Sarah Palin. It could locate the Lost Tribes of Israel, pass health care reform, and make a margarita that will kick you to the curb and leave you wanting more.

But I still can't figure out how to get it to show me television.

Oh, sure, I could ask Tabitha or Lauren - they've already got it figured out and are happily enjoying the plethora of new cartoon channels that seems to have been part of the Fantastic Offer. Or I could randomly hit buttons and hope that somewhere, in between the killer bees and the Nigerian scam buttons there is a television button that I could use to change channels from whatever cartoon network the girls were last watching. Or I could learn to enjoy the cartoons.

Perhaps I'll read a book instead.


Beatrice Desper said...

Is a DVR that gizmo that zaps through ads? It wouldn't sell in France.

Beatrice Desper said...

And by the way, let me know if you ever figure out British politics!