It’s a Timeshifted Life

November.6.2007

This is one of those topics that I have meant to blog about for a long, long time, but I never really got around to it. Kind of ironic once you read the rest of my post.

When I was younger, I remember a time when schedules meant something. For any of your entertainment needs, you needed to be ready to commit a timeslot to it. Then, as a nation, we participated together.

This often led to a cultural mindset around a common experience. We all watched Saturday Night Live at 10:30 PM (CST) on Saturday night. We all watched the Packer game at 12:00 PM on Sunday after church.

Occasionally you would meet someone who would record things on a VCR and it was almost a game to tell them a little about what they taped without giving away the entire show. It was cruel, but it was the way we did things.

Now things have changed. With the proliferation of Tivo and other similar DVR units, it is no longer a common experience that we rally around. Instead, it is the norm for everyone to “Tivo” their various shows and then watch them a day later with no commercials. While this is convenient, it has caused some interesting changes to the American entertainment psyche.

For example, it is now almost a sin to release a “spoiler” now. It used to be a great common experience to share what happened on the latest episode of your favorite show, but now if you even start to mention Lost or 24 in a crowded room, you will more than likely get stopped as if you are violating some sort of classified information restriction.

Also, while we are watching less commercials thanks to timeshifted viewing, I am willing to wager we watch more TV overall. Now that we can record multiple shows on multiple channels at any time of day, the inventory of “my shows” has increased for most people. My wife and I installed a 100 hour DVR two weeks ago. Do you know how long it took to fill it? Sadly, 1 week. Are we abnormal? Perhaps, but I’m sure we are not alone.

Finally, and perhaps the most obvious, the good part of the DVR. Thanks to watching shows we both care about, carving out time to simple watch TV is much more desirable for me and my wife. And for my marriage (and I’m sure countless others) this shared bonding time is pretty important. Even if it is in front of a TV.

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"There’s no time!!!"

January.16.2007

Now that we are 4 inches buried in snow (which is a good thing since it is already mid-January), the nightlife of Jamie and I largely consists of TV. Sad, but true.

The most obvious viewing right now is the two day 24 hour season premiere which wrapped up last night. It was a good start with some compelling moments including Jack Bauer wrestling with his own mortality after getting out of a Chinese prison. Oh yeah, and they blew up a nuclear bomb at the end of the last show. That always makes for good TV.

The craziest thing about 24 though is all the implausible events an liberties they take with the show. Here is the short list:

1. Jack’s cellphone battery life – Seriously, no one has that much talking battery life with out plugging the phone in.
2. CTU’s “amazing” computer tricks – Enhancement of a pixelated image doesn’t just make it crystal clear. A pixelated image is a pixelated image. Sorry.
3. Terrorists sure know each other well – There is a reason why terrorist groups are successful and this show does not show it. It’s not because they are smart or innovative, it’s because they are so seemingly un-connected that they are near impossible to track.
4. Jack’s support team = death warrant – Alright, next time you are on a tactical squad to help Jack, just don’t go. You are going to die, he is going to live.
5. Arabic families are all linked to terrorism – Season 4 & now season 6 have shown arabic families with strong ties to terrorism. The media is having a real hard time showing arab families in non-threatening situations. Kind of sad.

I know it’s just a show, but it’s just hard to commit to the plot when there are so many red flags going up in my head. Hopefully they can tighten some of this stuff up so I can get drawn in without having to come up for air so often.

Badgers Vs. Funny-Helmets

September.23.2006

Today the undefeated (and underrated) Badgers take on the number 6 team in the nation, the Michigan Funny-Helmets. I don’t have unrealistic hopes for a win, especially after the Notre Dame beating Michigan cranked out last Saturday, but if they can keep it close…

Too much TV!!!

September.21.2006

Having a DVR is such a mixed blessing. While I truly enjoy being able to watch the shows I want and skip commercials, it also gives you too much power. With the recent crop of actually good shows (Studio 60, Heroes, Survivor, Biggest Loser, Jericho, The Office, etc.), my wife and I are suddenly buried in TV. And that doesn’t even bring our Netflix into the picture.

As nice as this problem is, it also kind of stresses me out. I never thought I would feel the “need” to watch TV, but I almost feel obligated to watch my recorded shows in a timely fashion. There is no actual expiration or rule that we have to watch shows quickly, but it does feel that way.

So here is my new plan: only watch 1 show a night. While that will put us way behind (see? I treat it like it’s work or something), it is probably for the best of our family and it will help us to appreciate the now dwindling daylight.

So tonight’s show is The Office, with Survivor being recorded. Maybe we can holdout and watch Survivor tomorrow….This is going to be painful.

It is really bizarre to now treat Wednesday as my new Monday. Heck, it was weird enough treating Tuesday as my “weekend.”

We did get a lot done around the house yesterday though. We hung most of the pictures we own which is really not that many. I ordered a couple videogames (Ratchet & Clank 3 and God of War) for amusement while Jamie and Leah are off in Ireland. I’m really going to miss them while they are gone. Hopefully I can just keep busy so the time goes fast.

I am also slowly adjusting to the dial-up nightmare for internet access. It is ridiculous that it takes me an hour to upload 1 photo to Flickr, but if I start it at 9 pm, watch some TV and come back, it’s usually done. I just need to pace myself so I don’t have a huge back log of photos. It also sounds like the plans to have satellite internet are moving along fast than planned. Probably by fall at the latest!

Not much else going on here at camp. It has rained the last few days which has made life kind of miserable. I’m hoping everything will dry out today so I can at least walk around and get my head straight. It always makes my job easier and more enjoyable when I walk around and realize how important this place is to so many ministries and how clearly God moves in this place.