So guess what I did last Friday? C’mon guess? Give up? I changed my Comcast Cable Subscription to *basic*. Yah that’s right, buh-BUH-basic! Do you want to know why? Because I am up to here (side of hand to middle of forehead) with paying the man, m-kay? When I moved, Comcast offered me a promo: basically a shit-ton of premium channels (and internet) for 80 bucks. Far be it for me to pass up a deal. After all, according to Azz, I am a “Chewy” (half Catholic; half Jew). When I locked in this deal, the Comcast Service Rep said when the promo expires; I will be charged the full cost. Whut-evah! Because I am so organized anal, I set reminders in my Outlook calendar for when the promo was due to expire. A few days before the expiration date (Read: last Friday), I called and canceled all the premium channels. That’s when I decided to take it one step further and cut my cable down to basic. I don’t have time TV, let alone Cable TV. If you’re me, then you’re spending every waking (not walking) hour working on a money-pit of a house. Believe me when I say after spending a full day or more, neck-deep in some suck-ass project (projects like: The Back Porch), who the hell has the energy for TV? I’m lucky if I can stay awake past 8:30 p.m. on a regular day. I will say this, it wasn’t easy changing my cable to basic, no sir and it’s not what you think. They, you know the *they* on the other end of the Comcast Customer Service line wouldn’t let me. I’m telling you, the woman I spoke with should receive an Academy Award or an Emmy for her performance. I have to hand it to her. If it were me, I’d be on the line agreeing with the customer. I mean seriously, Cable, Dish, Direct TV, Fios et al. is the biggest racket out there. Am I right? Would you believe that despite having reduced my cable down to basic, I still have to pay? Christ! I’m old enough to remember a time before cable TV, remote controls, cell phones and internet! Yes, I’m that old! What really burns my ass is I’m paying for stations that used to be FREE! What do you get with basic cable, you ask? [Well you might want to sit down for this.] What you get with basic Cable is (drum roll please) Channels 2-22. Taadaaaaaaaaa! [Are you ok out there? Do you need a minute?] Hey listen, as previously mentioned, 2-22 is just fine and dandy because I don’t watch much TV anyway, in fact who needs TV at all? But that aside, it still goes up my arse 90 MPH that I’m paying for channels that used to be free, ah hello?
Maybe I should just cut the cord forever…
Well call me His Girl Friday because I did a little digging (natch) and as it turns out there is a plethora of ways to get TV stations without paying for them (did the heavens just part?). I found a slew of fantastic, informative sites explaining how to cut the cord with cable; however, the one site I felt was the most information without being overly tech-y is this one from Wise Bread (my all time favorite site). I also found this article. I’ll spare you the details of the articles. I mean hey, if you’re intersted in learning more, you’ll click on the link. If not, well that’s ok too. 🙂
A time for reflection…
I never thought I’d see the day when I would hear myself repeating (or agreeing with) what my parents used to say when I was a kid: “TV rots your brain.” Five thousand channels and there is never anything on but fake reality TV. Have you ever thought about the countless hours of your life you’ve wasted in front of the TV? Do you find yourself vegging out on the weeknds in front of the TV while a list of things you should be doing rattle around in your head? I know people who cannot make time for exercise (something that is good for them and will keep them healthy), but always manage to remember to watch the line-up of their favorite shows. These are the same people who claim they never have time to cook a meal, either.
Do you want to know why my (shrinking & old) Italian father dislikes Cable? Because as he says, “If I want a loaf of bread, then I go to the market and buy a loaf of bread. But with cable, I have to buy eggs, milk, cheese, toilet paper before I can buy the bread.” Well put, dad. In other words, you cannot get the stations you want, without the stations you don’t want. Bundling bastards!
In closing, allow me end with this thought: Do you ever wonder how productive (Read: healthier: physically and mentally) everyone would be, if we eliminated TV and Facebook from our lives (which is why I don’t do Facebook)? Heck, let’s take it one step further, let’s eliminate computers and mobile phones altogether. Personally, I find spending an entire labor-intensive day outside very cathartic – it clears my head. On a typical Saturday (or Sunday) you will see me outside mowing the lawn, edging, weeding and tending to my garden. After a full day of hard work and a nice hot shower to follow, I feel like a million bucks – a feeling going to the gym has never given me. I’m convinced the reason is because of the fresh air and sunshine, but also the constant exercise: walking, lifting, bending, pulling… its great, and no gym required. Recently on NPR I heard some statistic that X (I forget the exact number) number of Americans are on anti-depressants. That’s really sad (BTW, no judgement from this corner of cyberspace world but it is sad all the same). Perhaps what these people need is some time away from the TV (and computer) and more time outside. Physical labor never killed anyone, at least, not that know of.
So before you turn on the TV, ask yourself, “Is there something else, something more productive I could be doing instead of watching TV?” Think of the energy you will conserve (not to mention the $$$ you will save) by not turning on your electronics. Hey, I gotta tell ya, nothing and I mean nothing makes me happier than a low utility bill. I also saved $$$ by canceling my gym membership, with no regrets. Since moving to this house I get more exercise from not going to the gym, then I did when I was faithfully going to the gym. Noodle on that for a bit.
If you’re like me and desperately trying to reduce my carbon footprint (which is the point of this blog), then consider the amount of energy your electronics suck and leave them turned off for a full day or two. You know how we have *Meatless Mondays*, well why not consider a *No Electronics Saturday or Sunday*. By literally unplugging and leaving my electronics off 1 day a month, sometimes more, last month’s electric bill was $30. How much was your bill?
Wow, GE…you and your father really nailed this one! All of it so true and I’m laughing out loud too! A $30 electric bill to boot! I live alone and my last electric bill was $117.(Okay, part of that is for AC usage in August..but still) 😦 I’m pulling the plug as soon as I post this comment! 🙂
LOL! Thanks for the laugh. 🙂
In the winter my electric bill is over $200 – but that’s part of cutting down the carbon footprint. We installed geothermal heat which uses electricity, but not fuel oil. Overall it helps (though the power plant burns natural gas).
Good idea about going without electronics, but I’d have a revolt from a nine year old and a six year old who are already too addicted to games and TV (though Cartoon Network’s “Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out” was worth it!) But that’s all the more reason to try it!
It is easy for me to adopt these new ways of living because I do not have any children. That said, you can still reduce the amount of energy your appliances/electronics etc consume if you unplug them completely.
My brother-in-law uses a pellet stove to heat his house. I like the idea of a pellet stove, but I’m not sure where I would put it, my house isn’t very big.
I wished I had read this article before posting. Darn! http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/09/cord-cutters-why/
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