thinking about dancing with the devil

Once upon a time, we lived at a house where we had some "free" cable, courtesy of the previous tenants. It lasted only a couple of months, but ever since we have referred to cable as the devil, since it easily could suck up severalhours of the week. (And when we first discovered it, it sucked up three whole days before we broke free of its spell.)

So we haven't had cable since -- not actually out of principle, but for budgetary reasons. It just has never seemed like something we needed to pay for.

So we have contented ourselves with the three or four channels that our rabbit ears on top of the TV can pull in: abc, pbs, wb, and sometimes cbs. Luckily, abc's programming is aimed right at our demographic, and so "our shows" are all on that channel.

For the past several weeks, however, we've been contemplating getting dish tv, which could be bundled for a fairly reasonable price with our existing internet and phone services -- I haven't made the phone call to find out exactly what price, because this seems like a huge step and so I procrastinate a bit about it-- but I was talking to someone at work who pays only 20 dollars more than we are already paying and gets all these things together.

One of the big motivators is not even all the zillion (well, 60) cable channels we'd get -- it's to have clear reception -- to be able to see what this show Heroes is (we can't get nbc at all) -- and hopefully to get dvr. Our current vcr is horribly temperamental, and programming it correctly has been a huge pain in the ass this fall. Especially when you combine it with the antenna issue -- on Wednesday nights, my GF has to be sure to be home to wiggle the attenna from the cbs position (we like Jericho) to the abc position for Lost. This is all while we're taping the shows because I don't get home until later.

So we've been talking about this for a couple of weeks, and I was all gungho, and then my financial worries took over and I procrastinated for a while about it. But now, after tonight, I think I'm definitely calling about this tomorrow. Because the other thing our vcr handles really badly (as opposed to our old vcr which gave up the ghost a few months ago) is the speed setting for the tapes -- you have to specifically set it for each program you put in. Tonight, we were taping 2 hours of shows, plus a few mintues because our clock never matches the networks. And because the speed setting was wrong on the vcr, our tape ran out approximately 4 minutes before the end of Lost. AAGGHH. Don't tell me what happened: hopefully I can watch the last few minutes of the show tomorrow from abc.com -- unless because this is the finale of the fall season (what's up with the mini season ripoff??) they're not going to make it available. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that.

And maybe it's just time for us to scrape together a few more dollars each month and move into the 21st century. We're not Luddites in any other realm of our lives -- it's sort of a strange perversity that has kept us wedded to the antenna and static and clumsy vcr tapes. Plus there's a kind of virtuous asceticism that you can put on when you say "oh no, I haven't seen that, we don't have cable" -- kind of like saying "oh no, I don't eat refined sugar." But I'm willing to relinquish that if it means I can be sure to see the shows that I like, and clearly.