A Week without the Cable — Days 2 and 3

I’m now on Day 3 of no cable, and it’s oddly relaxing.  I didn’t miss the BCS game Monday (from what I understand, it was such a boring game that most people turned it off mid-way through the second quarter).  I definitely didn’t miss the New Hampshire primary coverage — I got just as much info on it from NPR and online tweets without having to listen to the endless speculation of news anchors with airtime to fill. 

Tonight is Wednesday, and usually there’s nothing on that I watch, so the effect of the TV being on would have been for background noise.  And without that noise, I’ve discovered something interesting.  Well, two things.

1.  I get a lot more done.  So far I’ve inventoried my yarn stash, written 10,000 words for a book and braved the first of three boxes of old photos (no one in my family seems to have put actual names on photos; I’m trying to ID some of these people and places). 

2.  I have some noisy neighbors.  The doors keep slamming down the hall when one set of neighbors get into an argument (every hour).  And the — shrieking — that’s the only word I can use to describe it, coming from the unit underneath me is amazing.  Were these people raised in the wild?

Still, it’s both comfortable having the silence — and unnerving.  You can hear every creak of the ceiling (my building is old, old, old and I”m on the top floor).   Every car that passes outside. 

And every scritch as a squirrel runs across the ceiling in the crawl space.  

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A Week Without the Cable — Day 1

I have watched a lot of TV in my life — probably more than is good for me.  From Dark Shadows and Saturday morning cartoons, through weekend horror film fests and Doctor Who and into the series of the Eighties and Nineties, it would take quite a few pages to list all the shows I’ve seen. 

But there’s very little on the tube now that I want to watch, and so, in a grand (for me) experiment, today marks Day 1 of a week without TV

I realized a few years ago that I was becoming disenchanted with TV.  My cable network has 200-plus channels and it seemed like there was rarely something I wanted to watch.  Oh the TV was usually on, but it would often be running a repeat of something I’d already seen.  It was there more for background noise than any real entertainment.

I’m not a fan of reality shows; they can call it ‘reality’, but seriously, when you point a camera at someone, human nature will lead that person to ‘act’ out of character, and thus it’s no longer ‘reality’.  Even when it was a show I should theoretically like, I couldn’t get hooked on watching it consistently.  I’m a fan of swords and romance, as you can tell from the name of this page, so logic says a show like Knights of Mayhem would be something I would like.  And I tried, really, but it just didn’t hold my interest.  

The comedies I’ve sampled the last three years don’t resonate with my sense of humor.  The dramas all seemed to run together — let’s be honest, how many crime shows can you watch and still tell them apart?  Thanks to the scandals at the college and professional levels, I’ve abandoned watching most sports.  Even the historical and cultural programs failed me — most of the channels that used to broadcast these shows now have switched over to a steady stream of reality shows, and the few historical or cultural shows that are run are repeats I’ve already seen.

As part of this year of transition in my life, I decided to look honestly at my TV habits.  I found that I was actually watching very few shows, and in fact, would only be watching 2 or 3 in the future.  

Bedlam, Law & Order UK and Being Human either killed off my favorite characters or so decimated the cast that I no longer have any interest in following the shows.  Doctor Who and Torchwood aren’t on now, and who knows when, or if, they’ll return.   Luther is over.  Criminal Minds so screwed up the formula for the show last year that I lost all desire to see it.  Even the movies shown on HBO and the extended cable are either films I’ve seen or things I never wanted to view.

That leaves me with White Collar on USA, and then the second series of Game of Thrones on HBO.  And in a year when I’m aiming for fiscal responsibility and paying off debts — can I really justify $75-80 a month for the cable, plus the electricity from running the TV?  Especially now that Pennsylvania has deregulated the electric companies, and my rates are going up 15-20%?

Which brings me to this week.  I’m going without cable.  To make sure I stick with it, I disconnected the box and left it at the office.  I will reconnect it next week, so I can see the end of the White Collar season, but then, depending on how this week goes, I may just unplug for good. 

Let the fun begin.