August 2007


ReMote TV

Watching FootballIt wasn’t that long ago that I wrote about the new satellite television decoders in my apartment.

At the time I had just installed the devices and I shared my horror at the discovery that a large number of channels carried disgusting aberrant sex: naked boys with naked girls doing the most unspeakable and unnatural acts imaginable. I didn’t have a chance to find out if any of the channels offered natural and interesting boy-on-boy sex before blocking the channels for the summer and sticking a highly confidential password on the decoder box.

A week after returning to Weimar I popped into my living room, noticed the television, and decided to turn it on to see if there was anything interesting on, and to unblock the unnatural channels in the hopes that buried somewhere between things that give me nightmares there might be one or two channels that would give me wet dreams.

Much to my dismay the remote control for the decoder box in the living room is missing, and I couldn’t find it anywhere: not between the cushions, not hidden behind the GameCubeBoxBrainDrainer™, nor under the sofas.

Fortunately when I purchased the decoder boxes, I’d had the foresight to realize that the remote might be lost, so I insisted upon a box that included front panel controls. At the time it seemed logical: I could behave like days of yore, head to the front of the box and manually switch channels, just like I did with the first television (and second) that my family ever owned.

I still remember that when it was time to change the channel, one of us would stand up, walk to the television, and turn the knob—when it was time to watch Star Trek on Channel 2, one turned two clicks down from Channel 4. It worked that was on the family’s black and white television, as well as on the color television that was, in 1985, bought to replace the not quite dead yet B&W model. To this day I have no idea what prompted my father to buy the color television—I still remember that it was made by Portland, and we bought it at some kind of sale that Safeway had at their warehouse located a couple miles north of our house.

Color was a revelation, but then again so was cable which I first met my freshman year at UW. There was TBS, CNN, MTV, and more—all of these choices. I wasn’t limited to channels 2 (independent), 4 (NBC), 6 (PBS), 7 (CBS), 9 (ABC), 12 (PBS), 20 (independent), and 31 (Fox)—and let me say, it was a pain changing between channels 20 and 31 without a remote control; the UHF station dial had the tiniest clicks and it was really easy to overshoot.

Eventually I acquired a television of my own—big, black, and with a remote control, so I could watch “Are You Being Served” every night at 10:30 before turning off the television and falling asleep. I got rid of the television before moving to Indiana—trading it in for a more sedate 13-inch model, something that I prompted hooked up to digital cable.

My television consumption has had its peaks and valleys over time: It’s currently in a pretty deep valley—I really only want to watch news channels, but when I discovered the remote for the decoder was missing, it suddenly dawned on me the disadvantage of having 500 channels with no remote: the channels I want to watch are somewhere in the middle. No matter which direction I start switching channels, whether up or down, it’s going to take a long time to find the interesting channels.

Strangely I quickly lost interest at sitting directly in front of the alter: I ended up switching off the television and picking up a book.

I still want to investigate the currently blocked channels, but until I actually have a remote, it is impossible to unlock the channels, for to enter the password, I need a numeric keypad, something missing from the front of the decoder.

Followup: There is a comment from the Groom regarding the natural attire of the upcoming wedding.

1 comment to ReMote TV

  • Ed

    Oh the simple days of yore. The old T.V.’s had a dial and only 3 or 4 stations available. I remember my Grandmother laughing about her neighbor. The networks said they were going to start broadcasting in color. The neighbor thought her Black and White T.V. would start showing programs in Color. We all had Black and white sets. Only Old Jenny Heitman and her daughter had a color set. My cousin John and I would go to their house and watch it. The screen was almost round and the color wasn’t that great, but to us it was marvelous.