Tuesday, January 31, 2012

WTH is wrong with television these days?

In the last month for some strange reason, I've started watching television on a semi-regular basis, and I'm not really sure why. I've spent a good deal of my adult life shielding myself from the boob tube - what on earth would possess me to engage in TV on a regular basis (albeit semi) just now? I suspect it has something to do with my new-found love for "The Big Bang Theory," which has led to a crush on "How I Met Your Mother," which I'm afraid might eventually lead to a lustful fling with "Two Broke Girls" - and I'm not even a lesbian.

So, it's been a while since I watched TV semi-regularly. When my mom visits or I visit her, I do watch TV, but that's usually like for one week every few months or so. I have hardly ever watched TV at home by myself, and I only have broadband TV because my mother has to have her CNN, soaps, comedies and crime shows when she visits. The only time I'd watch TV on my own was to watch a movie on Pay-Per-View. But somewhere along the way while watching TV with my mom, I got exposed to The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, and I just couldn't get them out of my head. (Two Broke Girls was a side benefit).

However, this post is not about why I've started watching TV again - that will have to be another post. There's something else about watching TV that's really bothering me, so right now I really want to ask the five of y'all reading this blog one thing: WHAT THE HELL has happened to television in the last 15-20 years? Back in the dark ages (when I originally watched TV semi-regularly), there were 3 main channels and premium cable was for the upper middle class and satellite was for the rich. Back then, when the fall came around, so did the new television season, which meant all new shows. Reruns didn't start until, like, the spring. Back in the day, they didn't announce a new season, show a couple of new shows and then show a couple of reruns, and then go back to some more new shows. And yes, you young whippersnappers, back then I walked in the snow to work. 20 miles. Both ways. Barefoot. AND I LIKED IT.


(Ahem.)

Nowadays it seems like the new television season just starts willy nilly, whenever it wants. For example, this month CBS announced "an all new season of The Big Bang Theory!" and "How I Met Your Mother!" What about the fall? Wasn't fall the new season? Aren't we supposed to be winding down towards reruns in April or May now? I'm totally confused. Then I'm watching Two Broke Girls Monday night, and I'm thinking, OK, I guess it's a new season, now, right? So, we should be getting new episodes of Two Broke Girls, right? No, they show an episode of Two Broke Girls that I saw LAST MONTH before Christmas. Twice. WTH?

This even seems to extend to syndicated programs now. I mean, I know these are reruns to begin with, but when I decide I want to watch 2 hours of the Big Bang Theory on TBS, they seem to show the same 2 hours over and over. Since I've missed most of all the seasons of The Big Bang Theory, and I've just decided in the last 3 months that I'm totally in love with this show, I want to see all the previous seasons so I have a little more context. And I'm dying to see when Leonard and Penny started dating the first time around. But no, all I ever see is how Leonard and Priya hooked up, 30 thousand times just in the last month. OK, gang, I really do  know now how Leonard and Priya hooked up and that Priya made Leonard kick Penny to the curb. Enough already! I can never seem to catch other episodes when I want to to have a Big Bang Binge - it's just Leonard and Priya, Leonard and Priya, with a few episodes from the first season thrown in occasionally. That's it.

And don't get me started with the commercials - when the hell did they start making the fucking commercial breaks FIVE MINUTES LONG???? I mean, just when I start to really get into the show, they suddenly cut to commercial and don't come back until I've almost completely forgotten the plotline. They really shouldn't do that to old people. Our memories are very fragile things.

Also, the commercials are FUCKING LOUD. Jebus Crisco, people - I may be old, but I'm not deaf - AT LEAST NOT YET. I'm so startled whenever the commercials come on that it takes me a moment to recover myself to hit the mute button on my remote control.

And then, some days, particularly on the weekend, when I'm sitting down to dinner and want to watch something on TV, THERE'S NOTHING ON. EVEN WITH 100 CHANNELS. What's up with that? I'm paying good money for this; you'd think they'd have some decent shows. Even the Pay-Per-View sucks.

I know that 99% of the rest of the world already knows these things. It's old hat to you guys. You already knew that the new TV season changes around, that reruns can spring up anytime, that commercials are long, loud and obnoxious and that you can have hundreds of channels and nothing's on. (And don't get me started about reality TV).  I'm not telling you anything new, I know. But I'm kinda new to this semi-regular television watching in the Modern Era, or the Post-Modern Era, or the Post-Post Modern Era. And I'm just appalled.

I may just start renting episodes of TBBT and HIMYM so I can see the episodes in consecutive order without commercials (I'll probably skip the Leonard and Priya episodes though). But I probably won't rent TBG when it comes out on DVD; renting three shows seems a bit excessive to me.

That might work out better for me. I've wasted way too much time watching shows on television that I've already seen. I could be putting that time to a much better use. Like going back to surfing the Internet for hours on end and tweeting. At least that way I'm using my reading, writing and social skills, right?




Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm not a Twitter virgin anymore - #GOD HELP US

Tuesday and Wednesday I nearly wore myself out tweeting. Which is amazing, considering I opened a Twitter account over two years ago, tweeted about four times and stopped. I just didn't get it. It seemed like such a big fuss over 140 words. Booorrring. I just didn't see the point. I did gain two followers, but they were my stepmother and my cousin, and we never really tweeted to each other. I just sort of shrugged my shoulders and forgot about my Twitter account except whenever some spambot with boobs tried to follow me and I'd have to sigh and report them to Twitter as spam. I mean, guys, come on, I'm a heterosexual, menopausal female. I don't get into either boobs or Viagra. Know your demographic before you try to follow it.

Anyway, in the last few months I started reading The Bloggess' tweets in order to tide me over until her next post, and I found them as hilarious as her blog. I got really hooked on reading her tweets. Often times I wanted to tweet back to her, but I didn't really understand how. And I was afraid to try, afraid I might shoot myself in the ass. But I was happy reading her tweets, and sometimes the tweets of her followers, or the tweets of the people she stalked, like Nathan Fillion. But I didn't dare tweet, not to myself or anyone else, no sir-ey. Too scary, too risky. I just wasn't sure of myself. It seemed like only the cool kids tweeted, and I'm not a cool kid.

Then I took a long MLK vacay to do art this week. Which I did, but then on the last day of vacation, January 17, out of the blue I decided for no good reason to do what I hadn't done in a long time. I tweeted. Then I tweeted again. And I liked it. So I did again. And again. And again some more. No one was really there to hear me, so to speak, but I amused myself pretty well.

Then late Tuesday night, The Bloggess tweeted about SOPA. I'd read about it before, but she reminded me that I needed to do something, even if no one heard me. I wrote my little post on SOPA, then I took to Twitter to tweet a little about it. Then I went to bed.

Wednesday I went back to work, but I got all crazy with tweeting about SOPA, and I even did the #SOPASTRIKE hashtag. And when I did that, my tweets magically appeared under the hashtag with other people's tweets! Wow! How awesome was that! There I was, hanging with the cool kids, tweeting my little heart out about a subject everyone was pissed off about. I was intoxicated like I'd had 10 margaritas on speed (not that I've ever had 10 margaritas and/or speed). I could just feel all my little dopamine sensors buzzing away and the addiction center in my brain lighting up like a pinball machine. Or the flashing lights on an ambulance - take your pick.

I stopped for a while to work, but found myself clicking back to Twitter to tweet throughout the day. So THIS is what everyone is all excited about, I thought to myself. Blathering on if only to amuse yourself. After work, I went home and tweeted some more. Then I found to my amazement that I had picked up another follower, someone who seemed legitimate, not like the spambots trying to follow me and entice me with their big boobs and come-on lines, not giving a shit whether I was a horny awkward young male or a granny in Minnesota darning socks. That was cool too.

But I really wanted to share this experience with someone, someone on Twitter, someone I knew. However, my stepmother and cousin haven't tweeted in over a year. At all. And yes, I have a new follower, but well, I don't know him from Adam just yet. There's not really anyone else I know personally who tweets.

I did think about The Bloggess. I know her, but I don't really know her, and she sure as hell doesn't know me. I emailed her once, and I comment on her blog from time to time, but she wouldn't know me from a zombie off the street, except I'm a little more alive and my limbs aren't falling off and I don't smell like two-week old fish, at least I don't think so. And she's got a zillion people emailing her, commenting on her blog and tweeting to her. Plus, what if she didn't respond to my tweet! OMG!  That would just be awful! I also was afraid I'd tweet like a blathering idiot and just look like a sycophant.

So I decided not to tweet to her, even though I was dying to tweet: "@The Bloggess: OMG I just started tweeting and I cannot stop! God help us all! HAHAHA #NEWBIETWEETING." Or some such nonsense like that.

But then, just before I went to bed, The Bloggess tweeted:


I could not resist. I lived with a geek/nerd for almost seven years, and have worked with them for many more. Hell, I almost became one myself! I know what they're like, and when it comes to geeks and nerds, duct tape is almost always involved. And not in a kinky way, either. Suddenly, I knew what I could say to her that was clever and witty and sure to get a response! So I said:


But before I sent it off to the intertubes, I pondered for a moment: should I really do this? I read over it again a few times. Did it make sense? Was it really that clever or funny? Probably a bazillion other Bloggess followers responded with something similar, and some probably said it in a much wittier way than I did. Still, it was fast approaching 12:30 am. I needed to go to bed. I was tired, but still high from my Twitter mania. I held my breath, thought a second more, then said, Oh what the hell. I clicked Tweet.

Then I closed my laptop. I went to bed and had grandiose delusions of The Bloggess reading my tweet, laughing, retweeting it, and then I'd wake in the morning to hundreds of followers and the stats going through the roof on my blog. Well, just for a moment. Of course I know how ridiculous this thought was. What do you think I am, a fucking idiot? Well, probably so, and you'd be right that I am an idiot, but not a fucking idiot. I really didn't expect The Bloggess to find my tweet endlessly amusing and retweet it. She's got better things to do, like get into absurd fights with her husband Victor. Or record the audiobook version of her new book, which she's been doing most of this week.

Morning proved me right. She didn't retweet my tweet. If she had time to read it, I'm sure she went, "Yeah right, so what, duh!" and moved on to a much wittier tweet. And, really, I'm glad. I don't know what I'd do if she retweeted my little comment. Probably wet myself with glee and dread.

Still, it was fun to come up with something kind of clever and tweet it to The Bloggess, even if it was lame and any duffus could come up the same thing. And I probably could have said it better, but I'm not sure how.

Besides, it's not about getting The Bloggess to retweet something you said in the vainglorious hope that you rack up Twitter followers and stats on your blog overnight. It's about taking a chance and reaching out to communicate with another human being and maybe make them laugh or think with a few sharply written words. And I am discovering that Twitter is great practice in learning how to write concisely and well. Which is why I'm really enjoying using it. When I write a blog post (or anything really) I write too long. Sometimes it even bores me. God help you five people who drop by here and read this crap.

But with Twitter, you have only 140 words to say something. And yes, you can string several 140 words to communicate one thing, but you still communicate it in a lot fewer words than in a blog post, or anything else. It forces you to boil the essence of your thoughts down. It refines your thinking, your writing, and even your wit. It's so efficient. I think that's part of the reason I got addicted so quickly to Twitter.

Now if I could just get some folks who aren't scammers or big-boobed spambots to tweet me. That would be really cool. Then again, if that happens I might not ever stop tweeting. That could be a scary thing for us all - God help us, indeed.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SOPA SUCKS

OK, I know I don't have a lot of people who read my blog right now, but I just wanted to let the five of you know that SOPA SUCKS and if you don't know anything about it, you need to go find out now. Then bug the shit out of your Congressperson (if you live in the US) or the State Dept. (if you don't) so the US guvment won't vote for this crazy piece of crappy legislation. Keep the Internet free, folks.

Now that I've done my civic duty, I'm going to bed. Now go do yours, then you can go to bed too.

Nitey-nite.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Resolving not to resolve

Well, here it is now, 16 days into the new year of twenty-aught-twelve, and I'm just now posting and writing about resolutions. Better late than never, I suppose. Everyone else seems to be writing about their new year's resolutions, so I guess I'll write about mine, but I have to say one thing: I think resolutions really, really suck.

We have all these grand ideas about how we're going to start the year fresh and new: we're gonna detox, lose those 10 pounds we gained over the holidays, exercise every day and eat our veggies, quit cursing and be nicer to the jerk who stabs us in the back at work. Be all Christian, or Buddhist or whatever. So we drink disgusting shit for two weeks to clean out the icky shit in our guts, we go to the gym every frickin' day for a month, give up red meat, bite our tongue from saying "fuck you" to said jerk at work while our stomachs churn with acid as we try to put the "white light of love" around him while he tells the boss you're the one who fucked up the project when it was his fault all along.

Dear God, it exhausts me just trying to type that shit up. Because ya know what? I've been there, darlin', I've been there. And usually within two months I'm sick of eating vegetables and no bread or steak (or bacon) (or bacon dark chocolate), I don't ever want to see another treadmill with twenty TVs blaring in front of me, I want to say fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck, and I want to (lovingly) tell the jerk at work to, well, fuck off. And I think most of us feel the same way, or at least those of us with Type B personalities do. You Type A's just get yourselves off on the challenge. Well, go knock yerself out, honey. I'm not joining you this time.

Cause you know what? This year, I'm really tired, and thinking of resolutions just wears me out. I don't want to make them anymore. I'm tired of making resolutions and then defaulting on them two, three months down the road. Then I feel all guilty and resolve to try again, only to cop out again another two months later. Then the cycle repeats itself until December, when I just say, screw this! and proceed to eat every cookie, sweet potato fry and piece of bacon (and bacon dark chocolate) in sight until past New Year's when I make the same damn resolutions again, in great hope, dread, and nagging shame. This year I'd rather save myself the self-disparaging thoughts, agonizing guilt and self-sabotaging poundage.

This year in June, I'm turning 48. That means I'm two years shy of 50. It also means that I've spent a good portion of my life making new year's resolutions and breaking them. It means I've spent a good part of my life striving to be a better person and failing miserably and feeling disgusted with myself the whole freakin' time. And you know what? I'm so done with that. I'm done with feeling guilty all the time. I'm done with trying to be better, think better, feel better, do better. I just want to be. I just want to enjoy my life. Who knows how much longer I have to enjoy it. I hope I have a lot longer, but no one knows for sure how long they have. The point is to enjoy life while you're here, not when you can keep your sucky resolutions.

Resolutions seem designed to keep us from enjoying life, despite all the protestations to the contrary. Except for those Type A's who seem to enjoy flogging themselves into submission against their basest desires for that entire bacon dark chocolate bar while watching a night of Big Bang Theory reruns (oh wait, that's my basest desire - I'm projecting again. Type A's fight against wanting to consume an entire gallon of Hagen Das ice cream while watching back to back episodes of Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, and The Kardashians - and those are indeed base desires worth fighting against, IMHO).

Sorry, got off track there. What was I talking about? Ah, yes. Resolutions are the antithesis of enjoying life. You spend your time doing a bunch of stuff you hate doing that eventually you quit doing and then you hate yourself because you're not doing them because if only you'd do them and do them successfully then you could start enjoying your life because then you'll be thinner, healthier, smarter, wittier, kinder, more loving, and purer, and you'll be like a cross between Mother Teresa and Albert Einstein except you'll have longer, shinier hair, toned arms and thighs and glowing skin. And men (or women, depending on your sex and/or sexual preference) will be falling at your feet in worship of the ground you walk on.

Isn't that what resolutions are all about? Trying to attain something we can't possibly attain, thinking it will make us happy, only it makes us absolutely fucking miserable? NO THANK YOU. I've figured out your ruse, Resolutions, and I'm not falling for that crap anymore. So my only resolution is not to make any. And to enjoy my life without making any unattainable resolutions. Which means no more guilt and shame.

Now, this doesn't mean I'm going to suddenly become absolutely reprobate and debased. I'm not going to sit on my tush consuming endless bars of bacon dark chocolate while watching endless reruns of Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and MASH. For one thing, I can't afford to buy endless bars of bacon dark chocolate at seven bucks a pop (though I might watch endless reruns of Big Bang Theory cuz I'm just frickin' in love with that show). And no, I'm not going to tell the jerk at work to fuck off, because, well, thankfully I don't work with jerks anymore. But if I did I don't think I would start telling them to fuck off, but, who knows? It's a brave new world in no-resolution land.

But no, I only want to do the things I enjoy as much as I possibly can. If I exercise, it will be taking walks outside, because I love that. If I eat veggies, I will eat the ones I love and sometimes with the flavorings I love, including butter and bacon. I'm not going to force myself to love the jerk at work (or any jerk anywhere else), but I'm not going to focus on hating the guy either. If I want to watch a night of Big Bang Theory reruns, I will from time to time. And I will enjoy a square of bacon dark chocolate occasionally, maybe once a day for a week without guilt (besides, dark chocolate and bacon are super foods, according to my mom). And I will create art and write poetry, because I enjoy it. I will spend time with people I love because they're fun to be with.

These are all resolutions I can get behind. Not one of them involves debased behavior. And all of them lead to enjoying life, without any guilt. Now this is what resolutions should be all about.