Tuesday, June 20, 2006

cable tv and addiction

Big news -- my family has signed up for cable. A PCCW guy came by our house tonight to offer us a "today and only today" deal of free channels based on the amount my parents are already paying for internet. My dad was pretty tired, and told the guy straight off that he didn't want what he was selling. But Mr PCCW was persistent, and quickly had my dad under his spell with promises of free ESPN. So we got a number of channels free for 18 months, some other channels free for 12 months, and eventually, if we want to keep any of them after that, we'll be paying a monthly fee.

So, I guess in a couple of days (when the cable box is installed) I'll be saying goodbye to the simple two-English-channel life that I've been living. Though I'm excited at the prospect of seeing some good movies on HBO and a couple other shows that I've been interested in watching, the thought of having cable does frighten me a little bit. Why? I think the fear goes back to a six-month furlough in the States that my family took when I was 10. In theory, I was homeschooled during that period, but in reality, I spent virtually every waking moment watching TV. And then in college, I gave into hours of comedy central and TLC. So, with this in mind, living in places with limited English TV access has been good for me. Sure it's meant TV binges when I'd be in the States (Ji, if you're reading this, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about!), but then for the most part, my TV addiction has been under control. So we'll see what happens... Hopefully I won't turn into a full-fledged TV addict. I think I'll just have to be very intentional (ugghh... I don't like that word) about what I watch.

Ironically, I just finished reading A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, the pseudo-memior of a man overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. I say "ironically" because as insensitive or just plain wrong as it may sound, I saw some parallels between his addictions and my own. I liked the book, it was a good read, and it helped me to sympathize (maybe even empathize on some level?) with people who are struggling with substance abuse. I'm not sure if what I felt could really be called empathy, but I could relate on some level to the desire to consume... though in my case it's probably in relation to certain foods or television more than drugs and alcohol... I think I'd recommend the book to most people, not to everyone, because it is a little on the raw and explicit side. However, one thing that annoyed me just a little bit was the way Frey portrayed himself in the book. Yeah, he goes into great detail about the horrible things he'd done to himself and to others while he was using, but in the end, I think he comes across as being a bit smug and self-important, not quite "self-critical," as some reviews claimed. But then the reviews I read were most probably written before the fact-vs-fiction controversy, so maybe the reviewers assumed he was being more honest than he actually was? Which brings me to another point -- the inaccuracies that made the book so contraversial did bother me a bit. Sure it's OK with me if an author takes some creativie liscence with his memories. BUT it's annoying that he (or some publisher) didn't think his story was interesting enough on its own, and felt compelled to sensationalize it in what seemed like a cheap ploy to increase sales. All that said, I liked the book and could hardly put it down this past week. And now I feel like I'm going through book-withdrawal and am eagerly looking for my next fix. Maybe a reading obsession can keep me from turning into a couch potato (though technically, I guess that reading and sitting on the couch are not mutually exclusive...).

1 comment:

commenter said...

I do know exactly what you're talkin' about. :) Oh, by the way, I read all of your posts - and enjoy every every single one of them! Keep 'em coming.