I believe it was this New York Times article, Atop TV Sets, a Power Drain That Runs Nonstop, that was circulating my Facebook buddies’ walls that got me thinking about my cable box. Funny thing is, the people who posted or commented in agreement were mostly musicians. Really, dudes? Like amps aren’t huge energy wasters…like listening to music isn’t an energy waster either, especially when you have the volume pumped up…
I would (jokingly) consider myself a banana, yellow on the outside, white on the inside. I can’t understand Asians with thick accents. I order things by the number at Asian restaurants with the fear of pronouncing things wrong, but hell, I was born in the US, went to preschool in Okinawa at an English-speaking school, and spoke tagaglish, until my dad was stationed in California by the time I was 6. English is pretty much my only language. The thing that makes me not so white on the inside is the frugality of the industrious Filipino race and an Asian distaste for super-sized anything, unless it means I can take it home and have enough to eat for a week. Unlike most cheap Filipinos, I don’t troll Wal-Mart, Ross, or Target for deals. Unlike most cheap Filipinos, I lack the tendency to buy everything just because it’s on sale, especially if it is ill fitting, ugly, and triple red-tagged (god, my donor pile of unwanted Xmas gifts gets pretty epic year after year). I wouldn’t buy tampons with coupons even if I were well beyond menopause, like my grandma did. I hate coupons…period.
Personally, I like to troll Ebay, Amazon, and online sample sales for deals. One time, I scored a hand woven alpaca hippie hoodie for my kid that was worth 140 doll hairs, for around 90 tax return dollars! This other time, I found a Betsey Johnson wool coat with heart buttons for 60 bucks on Overstock! And, both of my SX-70 Polaroid cameras came into my possession for under 40 bucks apiece! I don’t even know why I’m talking about this, but the point is I am very keen on saving money so that it could quickly leave my wallet elsewhere.
When it came to setting up Internet and phone service it was cheaper to include cable on the bill. Big Tall and I just thought, “Hell, at least we can watch Blazer games.” I hadn’t had cable television since 2002 when it came free with my old apartment. Even then I didn’t watch it much, because I had access to one of the most amazing video collections in the world (mine, my ex’s, and our roommate’s collections combined were almost enough to make the most obscure, independent video rental place cry). I was also obsessed with whatever Grand Theft Auto game was out at that time. Fast forward to four years ago…
So, yeah, because I was depressed and jobless and I had access to cable, I managed to watch a lot of crap like For the Love of Ray J, Celebrity Rehab, Flava of Love AND Rock of Love. But, you know what? this has always been one of my mottos: You won’t know what’s good, unless you know what’s bad.
As soon as I subscribed to Netflix, my love affair with terrible shows on cable television was all but over. TV time was exclusive to Blazers games and Oregon Art Beat on OPB (Oregon’s PBS). That is, until Project Runway started broadcasting on the Lifetime Channel (our package didn’t include Bravo for some reason).
Then, FX and AMC started busting out with awesome shit. Then, I finally gave 30 Rock a chance on Netflix (at this point I was mostly watching TV shows on Netflix instead of movies), and I found myself watching network television. Now, we have Grimm! And, Walking Dead! Hell on Wheels! More Madmen coming soon! Damages! Breaking Bad! The ever so delicious Timothy Olyphant in Justified with Walton “Clogging Champion” Goggins and his teeth, which is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world! Peg Bundy kicking ass in S.O.A.! American Horror Story (McDermott = McNummy)! I think you get the picture
So if you’re so keen on saving money, then why do you still have your energy eating cable box? Well, I started unplugging my cable box after I read that article, and it has improved my energy bill. I also, and this had been my plan for a very long-time, installed Belkin Conserve surge protectors. I have two types. One has a remote a switch that is plugged into my computer and its many periphials. The other has a master outlet that my television is plugged into. When I turn my television off, it turns all but two outlets off. Anything that is plugged in to an outlet, regardless of whether or not in use, drains energy. Belkin Conserve surge protectors don’t do that once they’re turned off. (I am in no way getting compensated for praising Belkin surge protectors on high. I have stood by Belkin for a very long time)
I am also finding my life is much more organized now that I have to schedule everything around my shows. So, don’t tell me that television is bad; that it rots my brain and eats up unnecessary energy, especially if you are a musician who thinks TV on DVD is okay. I probably read more than you do and get more shit done than you do, regardless of the inhumane amounts of television I watch every week.