Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cramping My Style, Part One

I like to watch television when I knit. I turn on the tube to one of my three stations (NBC, CBS, and Fox) and sit back, letting the television play on while I fix dropped stitches, twist cables, cast on, and bind off. I love to knit, and having something to listen to while I plug away at the new socks in progress or repeat a lace pattern for the zillionth time.

I know some people like audio books, but I think they get in the way of the imagination (face it, I'm a book type of girl--I like something I can hold in my hand and pages I can turn). So I channel surf and, usually, come up empty.

My friend Jennifer has things easy. She has cable. She can't tell me with any certainty how many channels she really has, and that's without the on demand movies and tv. To me, that's just cheating. The whole point of television is to wait all week for a new episode of something or other only to be disappointed when that show is cancelled for the Billy Graham special or interrupted for more sports or talking about sports or off season sports.

There has been only one recourse. I set up my happy little DVD player next to my VCR, using my sad little antenna cable and an RFU adapter and my at-home voodoo kit to get my little 19inch television to play.

The best part of living is the invention of the Complete Season on DVD. With one of those, I can actually watch Monk, or Lost, or the old episodes of shows that should never have been cancelled, like Keen Eddie, Serenity, or The Pretender. I can even watch shows from years gone by, like The X-Files and The West Wing. But what could easily be best is the joy of sitting down to re-runs of my current favorites. On demand.

Right now, I'm on a Criminal Minds kick. I have always been a psychology buff, and with a bit of deduction thrown in (along with Dr. Spencer Reid and the Dream Sweater I must knit at all costs)...I am a happy girl.

[In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, I will tell you how this picture came to be so I am not drug away to a dark, cold cell somewhere and pelted with things or alternately put on the naughty list by the network that makes the show I love. I did a print screen thing on my laptop to capture this picture from the DVD I have of Season Two of Criminal Minds. The episode this is taken from is Empty Planet, Criminal Minds is on CBS on Wednesdays...the actors are Mandy Patinkin and Matthew Gray Gubler (who is wearing the sweater). I hope that is all I needed to say in my image citation... Now, back to the blog.]

But they have started doing something they didn't do at first with DVD Seasons. They now wait until the week or two prior to the season premiere of a show, release the season, then give you one marathon week of TV watching to get caught up and one of actual pleasure before the new season starts, sucking the joy right out of my new season and into the newer one.

Couldn't they just give me a month? Or two? Enough to get tired of the old episodes and want new ones? I mean, it's not like they play reruns on television anymore or anything. No, we need a 30th season of Big Brother or to watch the extremely overweight be screamed at on The Biggest Loser. So I spend my weeks wishing for good television and having none, all summer long. But the seasons see me through the hardest times, like the misery of the mid-season break or football season.

But the going has gotten tougher lately. Not only have we lost PBS, the cursed Digital Transition has come to be, and I will never, not even on a good day, be able to get that box hooked in with my DVD or VCR. Nope, not going to happen.

Nor is my almost-unemployed self able to upgrade my television set to a digital one to save myself some misery. I'm going to have many, many sit-ins at the Geek Squad counter to figure out a solution. If I can. That's forgetting the fact that I may well never be able to record a TV show I'm going to miss. Since we only get dial-up torture where I live, I'll have to go to the library to watch something I've missed. And the horror of it all was brought to further fruition, when I discovered the most horrible possibility of all had come to pass.

My DVD player died. And I don't mean a little skipping, it died completely, totally, and left me helpless in the face of three channels of nothing.

That was a week before Thanksgiving. Since then, my laptop has played personal DVD player, and it isn't playing the role very well. Not only have I given up playing a show before I fall asleep at night, I have given up watching TV in my room altogether. My Christmas Wish of a new DVD player didn't come true, either. Probably because I didn't sit on the lap of a festively-dressed gin-soaked pediphile and pledge my desire to obtain one.

It's a sad, sad world for Laura.

Verily, I am in distress.

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