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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Life without cable TV

  • Good news, everybody, I've become one of those insufferable, self-important twerps who canceled cable and is now out in public (well, semi-public, I see what my blog stats are like, and seriously where have you been, Mom?) talking about how he canceled cable. LOOK AT ME, I will shout to the world from my newly unplugged mount...
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  • Good news, everybody, I've become one of those insufferable, self-important twerps who canceled cable and is now out in public (well, semi-public, I see what my blog stats are like, and seriously where have you been, Mom?) talking about how he canceled cable. LOOK AT ME, I will shout to the world from my newly unplugged mountaintop, which in my mind will be surrounded by classics of modern literature and several Stephen Hawking texts and telescopes and smoking beakers other iconic pieces of Deep Unperturbed Thought, I AM DONE WITH THE DEVIL AND MY BRAIN IS FREE TO ROAM. YOU MAY ENJOY YOUR REAL HOUSEWIVES AND YOUR LIVE SPORTING EVENTS AND YOUR ICE ROAD GOLD DUST DEADLIEST TRUCKERS, I WILL BE OVER HERE ACHIEVING INNER PEACE IN A REALM FREE OF COMMERCIALS ABOUT ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION DRUGS. Boy I hope this happens soon, because having cable apparently makes me write entirely in all-caps.
    So yeah, cut the cord on Tuesday. Took the box in to the Cable Place, where the flatscreen in the lobby was screening a loud, awful and clearly fiscally lacking series about Vegas Cops, on which youthful drunks were getting to be on TV for having McLovin fake IDs. Basically it was the You're Making The Right Decision Show.
    It was a long time coming. We're not big TV people in the house, and cable TV costs money now, and we live far enough away from our hometowns that we're not getting our favorite teams anyway, and no I'll not be dropping many hundreds on tickets or packages or season passes, thanks. Also, helpfully, NBC has canceled each of the two shows we were into, so that was helpful of them.
    Moreover, a few years ago I got Apple TV, because it was a thing with an Apple logo on it and I can't think for myself.
    Moreover moreover, a few months ago I began talking with a buddy about getting an antenna for the house, and then reading about antennas, and discovering that antennas get REGULAR NETWORK TV SIGNALS, news that I approached with the kind of wild-eyed wonder you wouldn't expect from a guy who grew up watching TV from an antenna that got regular network TV signals. Seriously, after enough reading about putting antennas on my house, I started to wonder how I could be so impressed by technology that was available to my grandparents, which I regarded like WHAT IS THIS MAGICAL FREE TELEVISION RECEPTION DEVICE? If someone invents a free way to listen to music on some sort of small transistor machine, for real, watch my brains melt.
    Anyway, this was a wonderful plan that I was very excited about, even after learning that many modern television antennas closely resemble 1950s television antennas except they're larger and receive fewer Steve Allen programs. More importantly, I discovered I live in a forest 40 miles away from a the nearest signal, and that antennas don't work for either of those reasons, despite my spending an afternoon clambering around my roof pointing a large gray serving tray at the sky.
    Page 2 of 2 - So this brought me back to square one, and this is where I froze for a while, convincing myself that the occasional raises in monthly rates were justified by the convenience of actual TV and the niceness of having football on Sundays. And then, I don't know, one day I snapped. I got a bill from the dank cable minions that indicated that because I was such a good customer my rates were going up; when I called to ask what happened, they were like, "Not sure! Want a land line phone?" Which is cool, because I actually do have some things to do in 1988 this week.
    Primarily, though, the problem was the 9-year-old, who, like many 9-year-olds, has developed the ability to read words that are in front of him on a screen. And we're pretty tight on the TV situation at home - considerably more liberal when it comes to the viewing of "MythBusters" DVDs and Lego train movies on YouTube, but whatever - but at some point there would come the day when he's flipping around like, "Hmm, I notice Bravo is showing a new episode of 'TALES OF MURDERSEX VII,' now THAT'S something that sounds considerably more interesting than this Scooby-Doo cartoon."
    So here we are, cable-free for a week and not really noticing a difference, other than the tangled mess of wires and outlets and extension cords behind the TV looks slightly less flammable. Well, there is one difference: Since we lost the access to regular TV, we've been looking around Apple TV and Hulu more, and long story short, my wife's downstairs watching "Downton Abbey"; it's been two days and she's four episodes in. The clear takeaway here: Cut cable, you end up watching like WAY more TV.
    Jeff Vrabel would like none of you to spoil "Downton Abbey" for him, it is getting SO GOOD. He can be reached at http://jeffvrabel.com and/or followed at http://twitter.com/jeffvrabel.
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