Thursday, September 28, 2006


We've got television.

The Charter cable guy came to set us up yesterday afternoon while I was in class. He didn't do a particularly good job negotiating the web of cords that connect the DVD and VCR to the TV and the stereo, so I had to reinstall a bunch of it.

We got it for hockey season, you see. We want to watch Pittsburgh Penguins games.

The options for ice hockey fans in the middle of California are few. You could drive to Fresno or Stockton to watch ECHL games there (we'll go to a few Stockton Thunder games this year, of course), or out to San Jose to watch the Sharks (we've got tickets to the Sharks-Penguins game in November), but for being an everyday fan, you need some television coverage.

Luckily, there is a full-season pay-TV NHL package you can get for $150 or so a season. That's what I wanted: to see the entire Penguins season. Which meant: cable or satellite.

Our townhouse complex requires a $200 deposit and $100,000 worth of insurance coverage for a satellite dish. They also prohibit the installation of the dish on the roof, walls, or any other permanent exterior structure of the unit, and permit installation only indoors (again not attached to the permanent structure) or in the backyard or patio. We'd have to have the dish sitting on the patio, with cable running under the back door, along the wall or ceiling, into the living room.

That meant cable was the only option. So I called Charter. Charter doesn't carry the hockey package in this region. (This makes no sense. It can't cost them anything in terms of bandwidth or fees that they couldn't easily recoup from subscriptions.) But, I thought, at least they'll have the regional Fox Sports network (Bay Area), and on that we can at least watch Sharks games. They'll probably be good this year.

Apparently, Charter doesn't carry Fox Sports Bay Area. They do, however, for reasons surpassing imagination, carry Fox Sports Atlanta, Fox Sports West (which includes Texas and Arizona) and Fox Sports Pacific (which seems to be 24 hour USC Trojans football highlights).

Ah well, they have OLN, the Outdoor Life Network, known for its fishing programs, and, yes, NHL hockey as of last season, since ESPN decided that celebrity poker tournaments were more sporting than hockey. (This is of course because hockey is a minor sport in the US - where the vast majority of pro hockey teams in North America are located. And it's a minor sport in the US because it's too good for Americans.)

So maybe we'll get to see a game a week.

And we've got TV.

Already, the fact of TV is bugging me. It's mere presence, even when it isn't on (and the cable box must remain on, or else it takes it 10 minutes to recognize and right itself when switched on) disturbs my sense of place. It's like an overloud guest who never takes the hint that it's getting late, you have to get up in the morning, and that his jokes aren't all that funny anyway, especially not the one he keeps repeating and laughing at himself.

Inappropriate, I guess, for me to be comparing TV to a person. But the place feels like it's been occupied. And think of it in those terms, just a minute. If TV were a person, would you ever invite it in?


Bobo the Wandering Pallbearer said...

Lighten up, Francis.

Doc Nagel said...


It's not about being un-light. It was just really creepy. We've adjusted to it, mostly. And hockey season starts Wednesday.

Robert Kirkman said...

It's easiest to live with a TV if you can hide it in a back room (preferably a closet) or, better yet, in an attic. It's also important not to let them outnumber the human and/or feline inhabitants of a household, a fact of which many Americans are tragically unaware.