punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

More Cable SNAFUs - The History of Punkie and TV

Mysteriously, yesterday, the cable modem went back on all by itself. In the time since then, it has gone up and down. This morning, it was down, but as I type this, it's back up again. The previous cable techs said I needed to have a "dedicated pull" for the cable modem, and so someone is coming to my house today to do just that. Then someone came to our house yesterday to survey our back yard to lay the new cable down when the ground thaws, because right now, we have a temp wire snaking across the grass, over the sidewalk, and down the hill in the back to the green dome.

Of course, we have to take off work to be there. Today's the "big day" with the dedicated pull, replacing old and decaying (literally) cable, as well as fixing the horror of several Y-splits in our attic. The cable TV has been good, we're finally getting all the channels upstairs, and since they laid the new cable in the back, it's clear! I have lived with slightly staticy cable for ... gosh, since we came here in September of 2000. The static channels would move around, but the old "split" between the old A and B channels were the worst. Sometimes channels 50-60 were totally unviewable.

When I was growing up, we didn't have cable. Not because my father disallowed it (which he probably would have, I was never allowed to watch TV), but because our neighborhood was real snobbish about those green domes. See, back in the 1970s, if you wanted cable, a small green R2D2-looking dome was put in your front yard, and that was so gauche for the Southridge Neighborhood! My word! Well, I nevah! Finally, in the late 1980s, they relented, and cable came to our neighborhood in 1987. Green domes were finally "approved" by the Southridge Nazis, and the irony is, once they were finally put in... cable came out where you DIDN'T have to put in green domes anymore. If they had just waited another year...

Down the street, in the Tyndale neighborhood, my best friend Kate had cable. As a teen, I spent a lot of time at her house, watching cable TV while we did homework. So I finally got to see MTV, Nickelodeon, and other channels. We had it on MTV a LOT, and I recall videos started to suck around 1986 or so, with big hair bands, bubblegum R&B, and whiny crooners who cheaply just showed videos of them in concert. BOR-ING! Come on, we wanted videos with a story or at least a sense of humor. Something freaky.

Christine grew up with cable. They had it in their house all the time. She grew up with the TV always on, and always something to watch, because her home town was small, in a valley where TV reception was just not possible, and there was nothing to do anyway by hang out by Johnson's store, asking random strangers what their names were. Because of this, her TV viewing carried over to our marriage, and we watch a LOT of TV. Even if we're not watching it per se, but doing other things like laundry or something. Then, by extension, so does CR.

Growing up, I was not allowed to watch TV. We had two TVs in the house: a luggable color TV in my parent's room, and a small black and white one in the kitchen. My father only let me watch PBS, and that was a "rare treat." When my father was at work, my mother allowed me to watch Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers, but quickly, I started to watch some of what she was watching, which were a lot of cop shows like Dragnet, Adam 12, Barnaby Jones, Baretta, the Hardy Boys Adventures, and Quincy. When my father was out of town, she let me watch even more, like the Love Boat/Fantasy Island combo on Saturday nights. By the time I was a teen, I was watching TV when my mother was drunk and my father was away. This was necessary, socially, because all the other kids watched a lot of TV and it was part of their lifestyle. As a young kid, I was a total pariah in part because I didn't know who Charlie's Angels were, nor had I seen an episode of S.W.A.T., The Six-million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, the Hulk, Saturday Night Live, or any kid's cartoon on Saturday mornings. I didn't know who Scooby Doo was until I was 14 (1982). The Amazing Spiderman? Pah. But by the time I was a teen, I was so much on my own, I watched TV every chance I could to catch up. Luckily, a lot of this stuff was in syndication already.

Finally, after the Child Abuse trials and the court-ordered psychiatric treatment in 1985, my father just abandoned me in disgust. At a garage sale, I got an old portable B&W TV for my bedroom for $10. It sucked, but had its own charm. The tube was almost shot, and someone had spray-painted the case a Harvest Gold color to match their appliances, but I loved it! My mother knew the neighbors that sold it to me, and when she told them how funny it was that I didn't care and loved the TV despite all its fault, the woman apologized immensely that I had spent $10 of my own money on something her husband was supposed to throw away. She then "traded" the TV for another generic, no-name, drugstore-sold B&W TV. I don't know where it came from, but the sticker on the back was all in Korean. The front only had "STS-50" for a logo. I have no idea how old it was, but it had a crisp, clear reception and that little TV worked great until 1994, when the tube finally blew. Great buy for $10!

Of course, my son does not have these problems. I would have to say, while I hated some of the shows he used to watch (Barney and Friends, Power Rangers, Catdog), most of them were pretty good, and I didn't act like TV was beneath him. I didn't even mind Pokemon, because he was into Pokemon before it hit the US, and got in when it was still cool, and in Japanese. Right now, though, he's been grounded from TV until his grades improve.

TV that I watch now is mainly Comedy Central, Discovery, TLC, and HGTV. I used to watch CNN Headline News, but since the AOLTW merger, their quality has gone right down the toilet into the sewers with Fox. It amazes me how bad and junior-high quality of writing it has gotten. But that's another rant; the cable guy is here and I have to post this before I lose connectivity.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000063.html
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