Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"We Interrupt This Broadcast"

I was hoping it would stop, and then, as one of the more welcome consequences, for me and imaginably for you as well, I could stop writing about it. 

I have told you – not entirely proudly, but if I only wrote what I was proud about, this blog would have been finished numerous years ago – anyway, I have told you how, because I was unable to set the “Alarm” function on my old CD-Clock Radio, (and no longer had the instructions for it, and the print on the instructions I downloaded off of the Internet was too tiny for me to read) that I bought an entirely new CD-Clock Radio, ostensibly just for the instructions.  (Which I could not figure out but my daughter Anna helped me, and now I’m on top of things.)  (Until they change the clocks around Hallowe’en.)

I have complained about the fact that the cable company issued me remotes made by two different manufacturers, in which, on the new remote, every major button has been repositioned, the result being, for example, that every time I habitually press the button in the place that formerly turned on the television, I discover that I have inadvertently turned off the cable.

I thought I was done with that stuff.  I can (theoretically) program the CD-clock Radio, and only rarely now do I “turn on the television and the cable goes off.”

Who was I kidding?

It (“it” being technological change) never ends, and it never will.

It occurs to me, since this is the case, that I should perhaps stop writing about it, that I should just accept these changes as natural and inevitable, and take them comfortably in my stride. 

Yeah, right.

What am I, easygoing?

So here is the next one, the most recent intrusion on my untroubled existence.

Feeling not quite hated enough for making it impossible for 70 percent of Los Angelinos to watch the Dodgers on television (they bought the exclusive broadcast rights from the Dodgers and then set re-broadcasting fees deemed to be too high for the satellite companies to agree to), Time-Warner Cable, without explanation, warning or practical justification recently decided to move the channels to different locations on their spectrum.  Not all the channels, just the ones I most frequently turn to.  (The exception being on our non-HD TV’s, on which everything has been moved.)

For years, The Westerns Channel was 290, and Turner Classic Movies was conveniently right next door at 292.  Let’s start with those, my two favorite viewing destinations. 

Yes, there was a warning, an affectless automated voice called a few days before the reshuffling and informed me that the channel changes were imminent.  But then I forgot about it.

A few days later, I clicked my remote to 290, where, instead of The Westerns Channel, I found The Soul Player, VH-1’s Soul Music video channel.  No longer TCM, 292 was now Pop Hits.

Okay, so there’s an annoyance because the channels I was used to seeing at 290 and 292 were no longer there.  The considerably greater irritation, however, was…

“Where are they now?”

It is true that there is a “Guide” button listing all the channels in order.  But that “Guide” list currently runs, with some gaps, up to Channel 1999.  And there is no “Search” mechanism allowing you to type in, say, The Westerns Channel, where, after a “Click”, your television will go directly to the location at which The Westerns Channel is now situated. 

Instead, you have to click your way up the channels, one channel at a time, until you finally find The Westerns Channel.

Being as there are nearly two thousand channels,

That could take a really long time.

After dozens of futile “one-clicks”, I decided to use my head.  If you “Click” the “Menu” button, there is a “Magnifying Glass” icon, which, if you click on it, takes you to a list of categories, including one that says “Title.”  And if you click on that, a keypad pops up, allowing you to type in the title of a specific show, which ultimately lets you know what channel it’s on.

I went to “Menu”, clicked on the “Magnifying Glass”, and then on “Title”, and I typed in Cheyenne, a western that I knew was currently playing on The Westerns Channel (and one with a shorter title than The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.)

And I found it! 

The Westerns Channel.

Via Cheyenne.

No longer on channel 290, but on channel 607.

(Am I amazingly resourceful, or what?)

Feeling upbeat for having discovered a channel I was looking for in less than twenty minutes, I clicked up one channel, hoping I would find its former neighbor, Turner Classic Movies.

No such luck. 

I instead found ENFAw.  I do not know what that is.  But the programming suggests it is a movie channel targeted to young families. 

Since TCM has no predictable, regular programming, the strategy that had helped me locate The Westerns Channel was unavailable to me.  So I did not know how to find it.  Other than clicking up the “Guide” channels, one channel at a time.

Which, having more time on my hands than I am (once again) entirely proud of,

I did.

And there it was. 


Channel 631.

Over the days since the “Big Change”, I have, in the most painstaking manner imaginable, located MLB (an all-baseball channel) – formerly 470, now 306 – the three C-SPAN channels – formerly, 201 to 203, now 225 to 227 – and the Solid Gold Oldies channel (1930.)  (No, I did not click through 1929 stations before I got to it.  If you click “Menu”, there is a “Music” icon, which, if you click on it, allows you to click through only forty or fifty channels to find what you’re looking for.  Whoo-hoo!)

And now, with your permission, I shall curtail this chronicle of un-asked-for frustration, and go look for The Hockey Channel.

Click on the TV…

Oh, wait!  I just turned off the cable!


Jack "Time" Warner said...

For future ref:



While reading your post this a.m., I was listening to the TV which at that unseemly hour was showing a flick called 'Don't Knock the Twist.' Lots of 60s rock. Included in the musical was Gene Chandler singing his big hit, 'Duke of Earl,' and I can't listen to that now w/out thinking of you, or, of course, the Earl of Sandwich (when I'm hungry). Seems that Gene is fond of wearing a top hat and a cape when he sings that number (he also wears other clothes). I'm thinking that would be a nice addition to your Wednesday attire when you hoof to the coffee shop. And if you sing the primary back-up lyrics while your hoofing it, Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl, ad nauseum...I'm sure that would lend a lot of credence to your presumed level of sanity. Maybe they'd even give you a free cup of joe and hustle you out the door. The other main man of the movie was Chubby Checker, but he dressed in a suit and tie the only time I saw him on screen, and that's boring!

Jack 'More Time' Warner said...

And tights, you should definitely wear tights!