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Flash - Flash

For the first time since I was, like, eleven years old, I am without cable television!

When cable first arrived in the small village in which I grew up, it was a stunning technological breakthrough, offering us twelve - count 'em - twelve channels to chose from, instead of our limited two (three if you counted the really grainy channel 7 from Corvallis) local stations. Among those twelve stations was KPTV 12 from Portland... with Brunch Theater, an afternoon movie program on which I first saw the incredible Earth vs. The Flying Saucers; and KTVU 2 from Oakland, California, home of Bob Wilkins' Creature Features, which introduced me to the original Flash Gordon movie serials and classics like Yog, Monster from Space and The X from Outer Space. "Looks like a giant chicken." Best. Movie. Line. Evaar.

Recently television viewing in our household has been minimal. Probably less than four hours per month. At close to fifty dollars, this makes for some pretty expensive viewing. So, we canceled the cable on Friday.

Perhaps appropriately, the last program I watched last night was about 15 minutes of the new SCI FI Channel version of Flash Gordon. What is with that show? I remember better special effects on a 1980s show called Project: UFO. The effects on Project: UFO were created on an Amiga computer. Seriously. Apparently the new Flash Gordon didn't have the budget for an Amiga. And the acting puts the "board" in cardboard. Belabored junior-high-school emoting, consisting of pursed lips and scowling countered by "jocular" grinning. Good lord. After five minutes I was longing for the subtly nuanced characterizations of Space Academy.

Of course, Pamelyn Ferdin never exactly dressed like the girls in the new Flash Gordon. Apparently there's "a look" these days: impossibly flat tummy, impossibly narrow waist, implausibly firm bust, and impressively toned shoulders and biceps, form-fitted into a tight t-shirt. Every girl on every show has the same look. Like Lara Croft... only, (almost) real. So who needs plot, acting, or decent SFX, if you've got eye candy?

Maybe I'm living in the past. Perhaps nostalgia has become a sickness for me. I still prefer Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon and Jean Rogers as Dale Arden. Hey, with those big eyes, the 1930s Dale Arden looked like a real live anime girl!

Anyway, no more cable TV for now. It's a weird feeling, like I've become some kind of Luddite, or a religious fanatic. I really can't stand people who flaunt their holier than thou "kill your television" attitude. I think people should watch TV sometimes. I mean, there's stuff you just have to know to fit into our culture, like American Idol and Dog the Bounty Hunter and Ice Road Truckers and America's Top Model and... okay, changed my mind: KILL YOUR TELEVISION!

Just kidding. It's just that right now I don't see a point in shelling out fifty bucks a month for something we don't use.

I'm considering canceling NetFlix as well. But then I'd have nothing! We receive NO over the air television reception in Waialua, by the way. None. Zero. Zip. It's cable or nothing, baby. So maybe I'll start to catch up on my backlog of NetFlix pics that I've copied... er... that I haven't watched yet.

But probably not. I waste too much time on the internet.

Curiously, I actually read a book today.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 9th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)
Wow. No antenna channels? Here a pair of those little bunny ears from KMart or Radio Shack will at least bring in 5 channels, albeit snowily. I suppose those huge mountains of volcanic rock between you and Honolulu are to blame.

The only thing I miss about cable TV is . . . nothing.

You can torrent pretty much anything from the Sci-Fi channel the next morning, if you feel you need to.

Sep. 9th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
I've never tried the bit torrent thing. Maybe it's time I get hep to the 21st century.
Sep. 9th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
I use: http://www.utorrent.com/download.php

It works very well. The only trouble I ever had was at first it didn't work right away. Perhaps this won't be the case with a Mac. With Windows, I had to set up one specific "listening port"

If this happens to you, too, here's what you do:

options> references > connection >

Type in a made-up random port number (like 57854), that isn't already in use:

uncheck "randomize port"
select "enable uPnP"
select "add to firewall exceptions"
Click "Apply"

and then it works fine . . .

It took me a while to figure out something I was trying to download was a dead torrent (there are quite a few of those, especially for old stuff).

Sep. 9th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
You might have a use for your ThinkPad here . . .

I just checked, and it said bittorrent clients for the Mac were all pretty flawed.


Sep. 10th, 2007 02:04 am (UTC)
Re: PS
Thanx for the torrent primer! It sounds like I should probably try to set it up on the desktop PC.

In a way it makes sense that bittorrent clients for Mac don't work as well. You see, there's not as much demand: Mac people respect intellectual property rights.
Sep. 10th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
Auw, reading a book!? What a weird concept ... O__o'

Maybe I should check the invoice (it's on automatic pay instruction at the bank).
I almost never turn on the TV. I think the last time was a couple of months ago to watch Rome on the BBC. Sometimes my brother turns on the TV to check the weather forecasts on TeleText but I don't know how often he does that. I suppose we still have air-chanels but nobody has the typical TV-antenna on their roof anymore. And people with satelite disches are Turkish or Morocan immigrants who want to watch a home-channel.

I see one good reason to keep the cable and that's as backup for the telephone line. I am using ADSL on that for internet but a good backup plan doesn't hurt. But I should check the cost.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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