Big Question Marks

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Terrible Discovery

It's kind of fun to live in the dark. This darkness I speak of, is being without television. Over the past few months we've been reading lots of books, getting our news from the internet, watching movies on our computers. Sure, we do have a TV set in the living room — it's huge and old and is hooked up to a DVD player: it's good for watching our small collection of movies, borrowed TV seasons, and DVDs borrowed from the library (Toronto Public Library has all kinds of films, from Hollywood bloodbaths like the new Rambo movie to seasons of Flight of the Conchords.... we love our library!). When the World Series was on in October, we flipped around our few fuzzy channels and found we couldn't get anything more than a very staticky Omni 1 and CBC, and some French channel with crystal clear reception. We didn't waste any more time on it — truthfully, we were sick of TV wasting all of our time over the years.

We always get this look of shock when the fact that we don't have cable television comes up in conversation. There's usually a look of pity, a pause, and a comment like "Well, that's probably a good thing..." or even better, "So what do you do with your time then?" Well, we spent 6 months in Southeast Asia without televisions (OK, occasionally we'd score a room with a TV showing Korean soaps, or surprisingly in Burma, we once had a room with a satellite news station from Australia), and managed to entertain ourselves just fine. Is there really nothing interesting enough happening in Canada worth turning off the telly for?

Or maybe it's just that sedate lifestyle of living in one place, working the same job for a long time, and hanging out with the same people that does it to us. We admit, even in Melbourne, when we got settled with an apartment, steady-ish jobs, and a city we knew well, we turned on the tube and zoned out in front of anything that was on. At that time in Australia, there was no such thing as cable TV, only satellite (expensive FoxTel) or antenna reception — even in the city you'd only pick up about five or six channels on air. We got hooked on some pretty crappy cop dramas, a Australian newscaster we liked to call "Space Granny" (see photo, left), and even watched some Aussie Rules Football. And we realized how in Toronto, we take for granted the many channels available, thanks to having that American entertainment juggernaut not far across the lake and well within reach of an antenna if your apartment's on a high enough floor. But television didn't seem to dominate Australian workplace conversations, either, which was kind of refreshing. Here we've been feeling left out.

Anyway, so on Monday night we realized that even after months of living without TV, we weren't ready to miss another season of 24 (we'd forgotten about the first episode on Sunday). Just for the hell of it, we thought we'd try to plug in a cable splitter and cord into the wall, and see if perhaps Rogers screwed up and had given us cable with our internet connection. Well, we didn't even get that far. Adrian attached a cable to the back of the TV set, a splitter onto that, and suddenly we had our channels clear as anything. We flipped around and found out we somehow get all the major networks, without even plugging into the wall. And happily watched Jack Bauer kick down some doors and yell at bad guys.

And there went our evenings. Suddenly, we know when the Law & Order reruns are on, we can rhyme off the weather forecasts, and we've learned Survivor's coming back soon with the villains and good guys. We even watched the Canadian Dragon's Den, which by the way, has anyone noticed the noise that animated dragon (that shows up before and after commercials) makes sounds less like a dragon and more like a strangled puppy? Last night I even watched Survivorman, a show I despise. Anyway, this whole TV thing is a bittersweet, possibly terrible discovery for us — yup, we're back in the loop, but has it really improved our (or anyone's) quality of life? I guess now we've truly settled back in.

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** Well, you learn something new every day! Apparently our beloved "Space Granny", Lee Lin Chin, has more than a few fans online. Here's A BLOG devoted to her oddball fashion sense; a few of her newscasting get-ups on Flickr (HERE and HERE), and according to Wikipedia, she once starred in an Aussie miniseries with Nicole Kidman. We miss you, Space Granny! Is there a Canadian equivalent??

5 comments:

Sean said...

hers's a great find from Melbourne!..http://www.youtube.com/user/jlnoames#p/u/521/Mjw2ikAhOg0
this guy has a whole bicnh of unheard songs for sydney and melbourne 1966...baby.

Laura said...

We don't have any tv channels either. WEll, we get one channel that shows all the annoying kids shows, but Ella couldn't care any less about tv. She is way more interested in emptying the contents of my wallet into Quin's food bowl and eating lipbalm. Sometimes I feel left out of conversations (No, I DON'T know who won the X factor and I haven't seen the latest version of 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here') but mostly I enjoy that it does not even occur to me to miss it anymore. now when I am bored/restless in the evenings I clean the house first, then I sit down to the sewing, blogging, cosmetic making projects that I enjoy so much! Its funny how much time you find to do things that seemed to be impossible before!

Laura said...

One annoying thing about watching tv here in the UK...you have to pay annually for a 'tv license'. the money goes to the bbc, whatever. We don't watch tv! But because we own one, we have to pay. it's ridiculous!

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