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Himeji Castle

Now I Can Cure Cancer

I had my cable TV cut off yesterday. It's all part of my looming Canadian exodus, but it's also a conscious decision that I've been pondering for a while. I'm not turning into one of those guys, but I have been getting pretty tired and frustrated with the whole medium. I can get pretty much any shows I like through either DVDs or the internet, and I can watch them on my own time, not on the cable company's schedule. I'd also like to avoid having my brain ground into fetid mush by the mad, creeping horror that is North American television advertising.

Another angle of this change is to remove a major source of distraction from my life. Crappy shows are relatively easy to ignore, but too often I've trickled away entire evenings watching stuff I've already seen a dozen times. A classic example is the Al Pacino / Robert De Niro movie Heat, which seems to get played at least once a month on cable, and somehow I end up watching it. I don't mean to - I'm just flipping channels and hey, it's the bit with the bank. Or the bit with the armored car. It's a good movie, so I keep watching... and bam, there goes my evening. The really stupid part about this is that I own Heat on DVD. It's right over there on my desk, ready to be watched whenever I feel like it. I don't pull it out of the case and watch it often at all, but if it's on television I get sucked right in. That's ludicrous.

I had resigned myself to sticking with cable for the rugby games on the Fox Sports Channel, but Shaw's coverage was so incredibly piss poor that I eventually gave up. Of six Super 12 games played each weekend, they'd show only one, and the coverage would be delayed a week, just to ensure that everyone already knew the outcome when it eventually aired. The games were shown at the bleary time of 11pm on a Monday night, making it clear that only hardcore rugby fans were supposed to be tuning in, and they weren't any highlights of the other games. If you didn't like watching the Cats vs the Sharks in Bloemfontein, you were out of luck until next week. The Tri-Nations was covered in much the same way, but the recent NZ and Australian tours of Europe were completely ignored, apart from the NZ vs Wales game, which was only available on pay per view, but for the crazy price of $25. Of course I bought the damn thing, but I felt like I'd been molested by a large man named Bubba for days afterwards. I understood that being in Canada would mean that rugby would take an automatic back seat to hockey, but I expected better for my cash.

So now, it's all gone. I've unplugged the Shaw digital box that I bought last year, and sped up my internet connection by adding Shaw's Hyper Z Xtreem l33t package. I doubt I'll learn French, become an accomplished marble sculptor or write a best-selling book on the pancreas with my extra time, but I might watch a few more episodes of Six Feet Under. Kinda weird how that works.