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Me . . . Unplugged

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I’ve been saying for a while now that I was thinking about getting rid of my DVR and expanded digital cable package.

Well, last night, I came unplugged.

Yep—when the DVR/cable box started acting wonky, not responding well to the remote control (even after putting new batteries in the remote), I figured there was no time like the present—now that almost all of my shows have ended, been canceled, or are on summer hiatus. So I unplugged and disconnected the box and hooked the cable directly to the TV. Tomorrow, I’ll take the box and remote back to the Comcast office and have them switch me back to the more basic package.

No, I’m not completely eliminating cable. I need HGTV and Food Network—oh, and SyFy and Lifetime so I can keep watching the current seasons of Merlin and Army Wives. But I am getting rid of a piece of technology that’s done nothing but suck up most of my writing time for the past couple of years. Between surfing a couple hundred channels and watching recordings of more TV series than any one person should be watching (most of which I couldn’t even tell you what day they were on because I remembered to watch them only when they showed up on my DVR), once I sat down to eat dinner (in front of the TV) I knew I wouldn’t be moving from that spot again for several more hours. Even if “nothing” was on. I’d spend hours either watching reruns of shows I’ve already seen or just surfing through the channels looking for something to catch my interest—instead of turning it off and writing or reading.

That’s my goal for this summer—to break myself of my bad habit of sitting in front of the idiot-box for hours on end and to put that time toward reading. I’d like to read (for pleasure) and finish at least three novels from this list this summer.

What’s one step you can take to develop a new good habit this summer? Or what’s a goal you can set for yourself to get one of those long-term items crossed off of your to-do list between now and Labor Day?

P.S. Check out this unique interview I did for a friend from my local writing group on her new blog, Divine Detour.

  1. Audry permalink
    Tuesday, June 1, 2010 6:46 am

    Congratulations! My husband and I decided shortly after we got married that TV was just a huge drain on our time, not to mention our pocketbook. We also decided we didn’t like being desensitized to the immorality that is so prevalent in so many TV shows. I had never been much of a TV watcher, but he was coming from always having had cable. After a just a couple months of paying for cable together though, we unplugged the box, took it back to the (Time Warner?) office, and haven’t watched TV (except for a show here or there when we visit his parents) in 8 years. We’ve never lived anywhere we could pick up broadcast channels without a cable box, so we literally have NO television access in our house. We don’t miss it at all, and at this point I honestly can’t imagine how anyone has time for TV 😀

    We do have a Netflix subscription, which we use a lot more during the winter when it gets dark early and we’re hanging out in the living room to enjoy the fire anyway. (We knock down to 1-at-a-time, max 2-per-month during the summer, and even at that we sometimes don’t watch 2 movies a month cause we’re outside working in the yard and stuff till 8 or 9 pm)


    • Sylvia M. permalink
      Wednesday, June 2, 2010 3:55 pm

      My family doesn’t have a television either and never have owned one. I’ve seen a few period dramas, mystery series online, but other than that haven’t had a need or a particular desire for anything else. It is very time consuming and addicting. Audry, I agree too about not wanting to desensitize myself to all the immorality. Even the language can make me feel dirty. That’s one reason why I’m glad for good Christian fiction books. We get the good story/entertainment ,but don’t have to fill our minds with garbage in the process.


  2. Jennifer Elerick permalink
    Tuesday, June 1, 2010 8:32 am

    My bad habits include drinking something sugar related during meals. I have been trying to create a good habit of drinking water with lunch and dinner (at least one) each day. It is so hard at times because I eat food thinking the whole time how much better it would taste with dr. pepper or sweet tea. We are visiting family in Arkansas right now and have eaten out a few times and I can proudly say I have ordered water every time. It is cheaper and better for me. I have even made the kids get water some and we usually let them get sprite. We are trying to change our bad habits.


  3. Jennifer Elerick permalink
    Tuesday, June 1, 2010 8:34 am

    As far as tv goes…I watch 2 shows previously noted, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. They are over so I don’t care so much. I do enjoy watching movies though when I am not reading during my free time. I am a tv surfer though when I get my hands on a remote.


  4. Tuesday, June 1, 2010 9:28 am

    We’ve moved down to the broadcast cable level since many of the shows we like can be watched online now. But this summer we’re really hoping to cut back on so much and just enjoy the outdoors ~ and each other. 🙂 Watching can be a HUGE time-sucker {as can this other screen that I’m using right now….}


    • Audry permalink
      Tuesday, June 1, 2010 9:39 am

      Ah, yes, I probably waste as much time in front of the computer as I save by not watching TV… that’s my official bad habit I’m going to try to break 😀


  5. ComcastMark permalink
    Tuesday, June 1, 2010 10:01 am

    Sorry to learn you’re having a little trouble with your cable service. I’d also hate for you to lose your other channels and get the basic bale. I work for Comcast and I can reach out to my local colleagues to find a better package/pricing for you. You can contact me with your info if you’re interested.


    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations


    • Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:59 am

      While I appreciate your offer, Mark, you obviously missed the entire point of this post. I would invite you to go back and re-read it to understand why I am cutting back my cable package to a more basic level—because I need to watch fewer hours of TV.

      Telling someone who’s just said she needs to spend her time watching less TV and doing more constructive activities, like reading or writing (which is what I make my living from) is just like those people in stores who harp on customers to apply for their store’s credit card during one of the worst economic recessions and credit crises this country has ever had.

      And while I didn’t even mention it in my post, thanks for bringing up the point about pricing. I’m paying WAY too much for TV I don’t need to be watching anyway. So that’s just one more point in favor of cutting back.


  6. Tuesday, June 1, 2010 10:44 am

    I’m trying to convince my family that we can do without cable completely. It’s not that much trouble to hook up the laptop to the television and watch things that are online, and I can make that process even easier, I think. I used to be the one addicted to TV. Now it’s not ME addicted, but the rest of the crew. It would be nice to save that money every month! Congratulations, Kaye. Small steps!


  7. Meredith permalink
    Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:09 am

    Way to go Kay. And by the by, hope your birthday was special. You are getting better…Love Meredith


  8. Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:40 am

    The main reason I would never get rid of TV altogether is because I have to watch the news—local and national. While I could give up my cable news channel of preference (MSNBC) pretty easily (they don’t have a 24-hour newsdesk broadcast, and my favorite commentators’ shows are put up online within an hour of the live broadcast), I can’t give up access to the local news. Not with the severe weather we have around here—and the fact that I like to stay connected with what’s going on in my city and state.


  9. Tuesday, June 1, 2010 12:10 pm

    Congrats on pulling the DVR “plug”! There are a couple of films I’d recorded on the DVR, just hadn’t watched yet – so while I’m packing I will probably take advantage of those programs. Then I will cancel satellite service and make arrangements to add a cable package (sans DVR) to my internet service when I move.


  10. Tuesday, June 1, 2010 2:15 pm

    Kaye, I’m doing something similar this summer–I’m not recording so much to the DVR so I have more time to do other things. We’re not planning on going as far as you, though, and getting rid of it. So it’s a big discipline thing.

    But so far, so good. I’ve gotten rid of some things I used to record and watch a lot less. It is more time to read! And I’ve read some great books lately so that’s motivation to keep watching less.

    The other thing I’m doing this summer is getting back into exercising. My youngest is finally sleeping through the night, so I’m getting up early and heading to the gym.


  11. Tuesday, June 1, 2010 4:24 pm

    TV is kind of like sugar. Tastes good most of the time, but not particularly filling or healthy. You miss it a lot the first few days, but then you barely notice that it’s got once your tastebuds are retrained.

    Enjoy! (PS – I agree re: not giving up on HGTV and the Food Network.)


  12. Jessamy permalink
    Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:52 pm

    We don’t have any kind of TV, just netflix. Which is good, I guess, but when I’m housesitting, I have no willpower. I go in, let the dog out, and watch six episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker. I mean, two words: Silver foxes.

    But my real bad habit is the interwebs.


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