September 29, 2020

Preparing to Meet the Void

In a few days, Denise and I are going to make a change in our lives. We’re both 52. The kids are gone. No grandkids yet. Thirty years together. We’ve always had television.

In a few days, we’re getting rid of it. Dish TV will unhook the Dish, and we won’t have any television reception. It will be gone for good.

Yes, we know what Hulu is, so we’ll still watch House M.D., the one show we watch together. Yes, we’re thoroughly wired and know where the music, news and podcasts are found. I’m keeping an eye on Boxee. I’ve thought about Apple TV, but I don’t see it at this point.

The biggest sacrifice is that watching Reds baseball has been a huge part of my life; for me, it’s a major mental health oasis. Everyone likes me better when I can watch baseball.

Yes, I’ve already bought a year on MLB.com. Hello, tiny computer picture. And I still know what a radio is, both internet and the real thing.

I was born in 1956, so I grew up with television. It’s been a background to my entire life. I’ve seen historic moments and lived in the stream of popular culture, courtesy of television. I’ve had dozens of favorite shows. I’ve watched a lot of sports. Listened to a lot of news. Laughed at some incredibly funny people. I’ve got a lot of memories that involve television.

In a few days, I’m going to have Netflix and my DVD collection. That will be it.

The personal computer has radically altered my television habits. In the last few years, Denise and I have watched less and less tv. Denise is very “monastic” in her temperament and habits, so time for television is low on her list of priorities. If she never watched it again she’d hardly miss it. (We do have regular movie nights to watch Netflix and other things.)

I’m a bit different. I’m ADD or a great multi-tasker, take your pick. I like to have several things going at once. As I type this, Friendbar is updating Twitter and Facebook. I’m listening to American Routes off the APM page. Soon I’ll be listening to adult rock on WUKY. I may chat with someone on Facebook at any time. In a few minutes, I’ll go to bed listening to 3 Chords and the Truth while reading a book on Russian Chess. I’ll have a notebook nearby in case I get a sermon illustration idea in the night.

But I still like to come in from school, or to take a break from work, and plop down on the couch with a cold drink and turn on the TV. Ten minutes or an hour of channel surfing, or watching this and that. CNN. MSNBC. EWTN. The local news. Local weather. Crazy religious channels. Political talk. Booknotes. And so on.

Sometimes, when there is a Reds game or other sporting event on, I just turn it on while I’m working on other things. When I’m home alone, TV is usually on.

In other words, it’s always been there. In a few days, it won’t be there. And I can already feel a little bit of the crazies coming on. My brain has figured out what’s up. Who told?

What am I gonna do when I want to have the TV on? It’s been- let’s be honest- a distraction; a drug; a sedative. I’m going to jones for it.

Talk about confessing what a stupid American media addict you’ve become. Sheesh. It’s shameful. But that’s me. And it’s the only me I know. I’m not monastic. Too much silence creeps me out. This summer when I was on sabbatical, I tried a week at the monastery at St. Meinrad. I’ve been there for overnights many times. After 3 days, I checked out and headed to my hometown to hang out with my friends. So much for Into Great Silence: The iMonk Chapter.

I’ve never been one to quibble about pleasures. God isn’t into flagellation and petty martyrdom. I’m not a ascetic. I like my stuff. I like entertainment. I like culture, news, events and mental stimulation.

I keep asking myself if this is really worth it in order to put $720 a year back into the budget? (Approximately $60 a month) Without doing any in-depth research, the answer’s easy: It is significant for us. Like many people in ministry, 2009 is going to mean finding ways to cut back expenditures, and this is an easy place to start. Denise will barely know its gone, and I can adjust.

I can adjust. I can adjust. I can adjust. I can. I really can.

There will be moments, maybe hours, that I’m going to feel this change. It’s going to feel weird. I won’t want to read or write. I won’t want to listen to music. I’ll want the mental and spiritual wallpaper that’s been there with television.

Then I’ll say: “Spencer, listen. No more Keith Oberman. No more commercials. No more O’Reilley. No more MTV/VH1 reality programs. No more TBN. No more local religious television. No more hyping the weather. No more food porn. No more pretty much might as well be real porn.”

I bought all five seasons of The Wire. Time to face the void bravely.

[Discussion: What sacrifices are you considering in the current financial situation? Those of you without TV, what’s your experience? Especially those who recently gave it up? What are your thoughts on the effect of TV on your personality? Sense of security? Is it a problem to be “out of touch” with culture?]

Comments

  1. I haven’t had an antenna or cable since 2001. I find that I don’t miss much. Web news is far more informative and interesting, and TV shows really aren’t that great. I mean, I enjoy watching House and the Office with friends, but it’s not a big deal to not have it at home. For sports, I meet friends at sports bars for football games during NFL season or go over to someone’s house. It’s helped expand my circle of friends a bit, since I’m always watching sports with someone rather than alone. My primary entertainment at home is video games, secondary is books.

    Overall, I think I’m more informed about the world than people who watch a lot of TV.

  2. We’ve been cutting back on expenditures at service-oriented businesses such as restaurants, Starbucks, etc. A $4 cup of coffee is an easy target for reduction in expenditures.

    However, I also know many college-age young adults who have entry-level jobs at these very same places. The Starbucks employees thank God they can work their way through school and have company-sponsored health insurance, and they’re praying their store won’t be one that closes.

  3. Jeremy Hoover says

    I’m with expat: Once you watch The Wire (which you’ll love), you’ll have a really hard time going back to standard network fare, even if rented from Netflix. At the risk of sounding like a chump, The Wire changed my life and ministry was like a religious experience for me.

    And iMonk, if you like Chess, you should also check out the game Go!

  4. I don’t want to ditch cable, but I’d love to have an ala carte package of just the channels we actually want. Basically the four networks plus ESPN, HGTV, TLC and one news channel and we’d be good to go.

    But I wouldn’t mind trying no cable or TV for a while just to see what it would be like. I think we’d read and talk more. Both good things.

  5. For anyone who likes chess, but doesn’t want to sit down and take the time to play a whole game real-time, you might find this site fun:

    http://www.stansco.com/netchess/index.html

    I don’t play on it anymore, but I did for a while and really enjoyed it.

  6. Once when our power was knocked out in an ice storm, we didn’t have power for almost a week. Apart from not being able to shower, we had a lot of fun. We hung out and talked to eachother. We played games. It was great. I plan on getting rid of DirecTV as soon as my little birdies fly the coop.

  7. First of all, I’m glad there’s another Aquabats fan who checks out this site.

    I haven’t had cable/dish/whatever in about two and a half years. I can’t say I really miss it. We’ve got a TV because one of my room mates likes to play video games, and we do watch movies (we don’t do Hulu at home because we also have no internet there). If I could get ESPN, History Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and TLC only for around $5 a month, I’d probably invest in that.

    I catch up with some friends after Wendesday night church to watch Lost. Baseball and football season can be tough sometimes, but I work a retail job that keeps me from watching most of that anyway, I catch up on highlights at friends’ houses sometimes and check scores at work. I think after a month or two, not having a TV will be pretty natural.

    I’m looking at cutting my expenditures by not eating out nearly as much and making cheaper and better food at home. Also, I’m keeping up my strategic driving routes that I started this past summer. There’s no need to drive across the county 3 times in a day.

  8. I’ve been without TV for a couple of years now. But before that I only had one channel for a couple of year, ‘cuz my reception was pretty poor.

    I honestly don’t miss it much because I spend so much time at the computer for my leisure. That said, I bought my favorite shows on DVD (from costco where a season of Angel was $15). The ones that I don’t like quite enough to plop money on I either borrow from friends or catch on Hulu when I get the urge. Also, some friends and I have a weekly tradition of getting together once a week to cook food (we take turns) and watch stuff that’s been TiVo’d by the guy who has Cable and DVR.

    With podcasts, radio, blogs, and books (both the paper and e- variety). and the fact that broadcast TV is so crappy these days, I don’t miss it anymore. Admittedly it was strangely silent at first and I missed having TV being my clock (what show as on told me if I should go to bed). But it’s really kinda nice to be less plugged in that way.

    Two things I do much more now that I don’t do TV: create music and videogames. I play one online videogame and it’s nice to have that mindless distraction at times. For the music, I’m a much better guitarist now that I’m actually playing, I record music a couple times a year, and I’m actually composing with Finale again.

  9. I’ve never been big into TV. I gave it up for lent in high school once and there was more a longing to be with the family than a desire to watch it. I HATE the zombie mode I go into–someone could be dying beside me and I probably wouldn’t notice. Currently the only thing I get with my TV is what comes in on the bunny ears, and I keep getting told that will stop soon too. I don’t really care.

    However, I enjoy the silence. I rarely need noise and only occasionally want it. I’ve on occasion startled both myself and my cat by talking/humming out loud without thinking about it.

    Honestly, I don’t have any real plans to save more money right now. I have a good budget and I’m slowly working down my debts and I hope that I can continue to do so.

    One thing I would suggest though, don’t scrimp on food. When I was younger my mom had little money and used the grocery money to pay off a pressing bill; we ended up living on rice for a month and were all weak and ill by the end. It’s far better to spend a bit more now getting healthy vegis and meat than to spend far more later in time, energy and money trying to recover from poor health.

  10. I quit watching TV in 1985 (at age 15) and didn’t start watching again until I married a TV-loving man in 2003. I’ve since gotten hooked on House, 24, and various and sundry Law and Orders. I did not want a TV; it was something I compromised on when I got married. I would get rid of it in a heartbeat if my husband were amenable to it. It’s a temptation if we have it; if we don’t have it, I don’t think about it. I never missed TV when I didn’t have it. (The only “downside” was being completely clueless when friends were talking about popular TV shows. But it sounds like you’re all set there!)

    As for cutting expenses, we haven’t done much, mainly because we haven’t (yet) felt the pinch. We made a big move to another town last year so I could walk to work (instead of commuting 2 hours a day), and that helped a lot.

  11. TV, like any device of human utility, of course is amoral in itself. It can be used for good . . . or bad (like porn, Daystar or TBN). We’ve cycled through periods of TV and no TV. Presently we are a TV family and I have no present desire or calling to end that. I really love a couple of programs on Discovery and documentaries on Public TV. However, to be honest, a few brainless sitcoms, like Seinfield re-runs, come in handy when I’m brain dead from tremendously stressful day of taking care of chronic pain patients.

    While there is plenty of bad things about TV mentioned already, and those are things I mostly agree with, the danger on the other side of the cliff is seeing the absence of TV, like the absence of alcohol, the absence of make up, the absence of “non-Christian” music . . . well you get the point, becomes a feather in the cap in which I can compare myself favorable with others.

    I remember years of go sitting at a long folding table having lunch with a group of parents at a Christian homeschooling conference. To try to break the silence and create some conversation I (maybe mistakenly) mentioned a really good motion picture that I had recently seen (seems like it was Fargo).

    The person across from me looked at me with an angry face, “I wouldn’t watch any movie crap. We might see a Disney movie but nothing more than that and certainly nothing rated more than G.”

    It continued down the table like some-type spiritual gauntlet. The person sitting next to me shook their head and said, “I wouldn’t let MY family even watch a Disney movie because Disney is controlled by the gay agenda. We only watch Focus on the Family Videos on the TV at home. The only cable we have is basic so I can watch the news.”

    The next person says, “TV? We haven’t owned one in years because it is full of humanistic garbage.”

    I asked that person,. “What then do you do for entertainment?”

    She said, “We read books . . . such as the Left Behind series.”

    Finally the last person, a breaded man, whose quiet wife was wearing a scarf (not a veil but close,) spoke in a very authoritative voice, “Books?” The only book in our house is the Word of God . . . King James. God is our entertainment!”

    With me watching Fargo . . . now I felt like, and maybe looked like Satan himself. :>)

    So I deeply respect those who burn their TVs and I think they do it for a good cause (which I may want to emulate again someday), I can still enjoy Jerry and Kramer with a clear conscience.

  12. My wife and I are having the cable removed tomorrow. I’ll miss the reruns, but not much else…except for sports.

    There’s no replacement for sports on television, really, and one aspect of losing television in hopes of gaining community is that, unless the game is on network tv, you have to invite yourself to someone else’s place or go out to watch it.

    And no, watching online isn’t the same thing.

  13. We unhooked the cable 18 months ago, then turned it back on in August for the election (I’m a politics junky). But, we’re about to unhook for good again. Cable is a waste of money and time, and is old media anyway. Of course, I spend way too much time on the ‘internets’ but I’m also trying to focus there. I saw someone suggested a ‘screen sabbath’ which is a good idea. Anybody doing that?

  14. You might want to check out the video-lending program at the public library. Our little town of 20K has a library sporting a wide variety of DVDs, from movies to TV seasons. On each card, including the kids’ cards, we can get 3 discs per week, meaning we usually have 6-9 in the house at a time. Nothing to sneeze at. We’ve watched House, the Sopranos, Rome, Prison Break and countless other titles, all for free. (excepting late charges)

    Now if they’d only stock Wii games…

  15. I stopped watching TV two years ago, and we unhooked the cable soon after. The only shows I wasn’t yet willing to give up were 24, 30 Rock, and Battlestar Galactica, so I bought them off iTunes.

    But then I ramped up Blockbuster-by-mail till I was watching a movie a day. Sometimes more.

    Then I ran out of movies I wanted to watch, and started to rent entire TV seasons. That’s how I got into House and Lost and The Sopranos all the other series I wasn’t watching. I was watching TV again. It just wasn’t over the airwaves or the cable. But let’s not be delusional: I was watching TV.

    Four months ago I dropped Blockbuster. But thanks to Hulu and ABC.com, I’m still watching TV. It’s on the computer, it has fewer commercials, and I’m no longer obligated to have my butt on the couch at specific times in the evening, but it’s TV. And rather than watch news, I listen to the audio of 60 Minutes and Meet the Press and NBC Nightly News on my iPod.

    I am a lot more selective about where and when I watch it. I read a lot more than I used to. My evenings are free. But I’m hardly TV-free. I’ve just changed the medium.

  16. Memphis Aggie says

    Awesome – good for you. I doubt you’ll miss it much at all.

  17. I think my husband would spontaneously combust if we got rid of our tv. Good for you for giving it a try!

  18. I walked up to my husband last night and said, “What do you think about getting rid of the TV? Not the DVD player, just the satellite?”

    A glazed, pale, uncomprehending look flashed onto his face and stayed there for a solid two minutes while his mouth tried to find a word to form. Finally, he lifted his eyes to mine and croaked out a single word: “Why?”

  19. Ky boy but not now says

    “You’ll be surprised how quickly you can pick up on the plot line of, say, “Lost” simply by hearing other people talk about it.”

    I’m sorry but “Lost” has a plot?

    As to the other folks talking about loosing their TV due to the big digital switch, you can’t afford a converter box for $20? Or are you going to be out of range for the digital signals? One thing nice about the new digital setups is a few of our locals broadcast news and weather 24/7. Over the air. Free.

  20. Ky boy but not now says

    Here’s an interesting link for those considering giving up TV.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-10159441-47.html?tag=mncol
    It’s a debate about weather or not there’s a market for good quality $5000+ TV sets. Read the comments.

    And to think my wife and I debated about buying a $400 32″ LCD TV back last October when a local firm was honoring a pricing mistake in their Sunday flier. We did buy it to replace the 15 year old 20″ that had died a few months earlier. But spending $1000 or more for a TV, I just can’t see it.

  21. Another means for cutting expenditures: read the books I’ve got already and haven’t read instead of buying 3 or 4 new ones a month.

  22. We wanted to keep our family out of the ‘TV junkie’ scene, so we hid the rabbit ears and only allow the TV to be used once a week for movies. Now I’ve noticed the kids are constantly on YouTube and other such sites. The shows can be as bad or worse than what’s on network and cable television – out of one frying pan into another. Plus the attraction of porn sites, pornographic Manga sites, photo sharing sites, etc. The avenues for sleaze have multiplied, and come through a medium (the computer) that we feel we need more than those that came before. Money for monitoring software and time to keep policing are some of the price we pay for involvement in the ‘net generation.

  23. Patrick Lynch says

    “Finally the last person, a breaded man, whose quiet wife was wearing a scarf (not a veil but close,) spoke in a very authoritative voice, “Books?” The only book in our house is the Word of God . . . King James. God is our entertainment!””

    INDEEEEEEEEED.

  24. What is WRONG with you people!
    How will you know what to think without the talking heads telling you?
    How will you know waht Jenabot or whatever the new mashed together name is up to?
    Seriously, I travel a lot and so don’t watch a lot of TV on the road.
    My wife, left at the home place watched all the girl shows and might kill me if I suggested we lose it.
    I actually find the internet to be more of a time waster for me.

  25. My addiction to T.V. became apparent when my daughter’s Sunday school teacher asked, “What do your parents do for fun?”. My daughter’s reply, “My dad mostly sits on the couch and watches T.V”. Embarrasing for a pastor. My excuse was after a long day of pastoring, I need to wind down. The example I was setting became apparent. As for what we are doing in response to the economy – a Dave Ransey approach to finances and a renewed look at stewardship all together – how much money we waste, what real value do we get from the money we spend?, etc..

  26. This doesn’t really get into the deeper aspects of your post, but if you don’t already know, Netflix has put approximately 10% of their catalog up for free (with a Netflix plan) unlimited viewing. Yes, unlimited. I recently purchased this box, which allows you to stream it to your television:

    http://www.roku.com/netflixplayer/

    I also recently purchased a digital antenna for my attic. I’m amazed by the crystal clear picture of free digital television. I’ve never been a big TV person, but my wife likes to watch the news, and I enjoy the control over my viewing that Netflix affords me.

  27. I’ll also mention that not having cable has been good for community. We go over to our neighbors’ once a week to watch House, MD. Mooching TV off of someone else can be an excellent “fellowship” opportunity :-).

  28. I’ve been without a TV for about 8 years now. My habit was broken when I was without it for 2-3 weeks for a move cross country. Since the cable company didn’t come asking for my business after I moved, I didn’t pursue them.

    My big time waster is the Internet, I’ve gotten hooked on some on line games, and that is what I will be limiting for Lent.

    Money savers-sorry no ideas. I know when I was unemployed, the public library was one of my best friends. I recognize that interlibrary loans may be difficult for you.

    To those who played games with your family, I envy you, because I’d love to find a group to play with.

  29. Other than trying to learn Civilization one week, I have never played a video game other than chess. I’ve never owned a game unit.

  30. Jeremiah Lawson says

    Ditto libraries. I didn’t buy any CDs, VHS, tickets to movies or concerts, DVDs, books, internet service, or magazines for maybe the first year I was out of college. THere was nothing I could buy that I couldn’t borrow from either my local public library or my college library. Plus walking around rather than driving made things cheaper. If you can visit a local library that can be a great cost-cutting method for you as an individual or it can be part of a family routine. Most of the books I read growing up were probably library books. Nothing teaches a kid responsibility for other peoples’ property quite like having to pay library fines out of their own allowance. Or at least, I know it was a big deal to me when I had to pay my own overdue fines when I was a kid. 🙂

  31. I’ll be a dissenter and say that I have no plans to give up TV. I have given up watching “Law & Order: CI” during Lent, but haven’t gone “cold turkey.” I don’t watch an inordinate amount of TV, but do like to have the option. I certainly do not watch sports of any kind the way I did in the past. I just wonder how many of you find time to watch movies?

  32. My wife and I are canceling our Dish Network in the next few days because it will save us $50 a month. We found that we were not watching it much and all of the shows that we absolutely feel like we can’t miss are available on line. Now I am trying to decide if we should get one of those stupid converter boxes or try to do away with it altogether. I think I am like you and I will miss the background noise of the TV. I did go without a TV for several years in college and I didn’t miss it much and I definitely got much more work done. As for other ways that we are cutting down, we have committed to eating at home more. We figured out that we were spending way too much money eating out. Plus, we eat healthier when we make things ourselves!

  33. I’m not a good person for suggestions about how to weather giving up TV because I haven’t had a TV for something like 35 years, and the only time I occasionally wish for one is when there are nature specials on. A lot of my co-workers do watch a lot, and they sometimes have to explain things to me, but they’re used to me by now.

    On the other hand, I do cheerfully pay for a broadband internet connection, and I spend a lot of time online. And I too have my “mindless unwinding” time, but I tend to pick up a book — and I’m not entirely sure either of these is much better than TV, just quieter.

    Also, trying to find places to cut when you think you live a fairly modest lifestyle to begin with is tough. The last time I analyzed my food bills, though, I discovered that I was spending a surprising amount of money on out-of-season produce, so I’ve tried to cut back on that. It’s probably time for me to analyze some of my other spending and see where it’s going.

    BTW, I’m going to be out of a job in June because the Catholic school I work for is closing. Declining enrollment because of the recession is the main reason. Hope that doesn’t happen to anyone else here. Fortunately for us, the local Catholic community is rallying round to help our students find places, and hopefully they will be able to do the same for some of the faculty and staff.

  34. Justin McFarland says

    I was forced to give up Tivo for about two months and after waking up in pools of sweat in the middle of the night worrying wether or not I remembered to tape The Office, I got it back…

  35. Ky boy but not now says

    “give up Tivo”

    Tivo is a life changing device. TV suddenly became a choice to make when you had time, not an place you had to be at a certain time.

    And comparing it to the DVR thing from Scientific Atlanta that Time Warner gives out and a Dish DVR I used a couple of years ago is like driving a 911E or Vet and then having folks say my 52 Buick is a car, what’s the big deal?

  36. This just in – – FCC Commissioner is asking pastors to spread the gospel of digital TV:
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-digitaltv10-2009feb10,0,7978127.story

    Federal regulators shepherding the U.S. digital television transition visited Los Angeles on Monday and asked for divine assistance.

    “We need people to take up leadership in their community and make sure nobody gets left out in the switch,” FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein said during a public forum at the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in South Los Angeles. “Churches already have the infrastructure in place to do that.”

    Standing at the church pulpit, Adelstein asked the Baptist Ministries Conference of Los Angeles, nearly 50 African American preachers who meet once a month, to include information on the June 12 digital TV switch in their sermons.

  37. I spent a summer in college without TV. I can honestly say it was the most productive summer I’ve ever had. I worked out, ate right, got into the best shape of my life, and spent my free time playing chess with my roommate while listing to the Seattle Mariners on the radio.

    Even now, my most productive days are when I can’t watch TV. If my wife has friends over and they are watching “chick flicks,” I find myself working on that door that won’t shut right, or the dog house I promised to build several months ago. I’m not strong enough to get rid of it, but its good for the soul to loose the remote now and then.

  38. I wish someone would mass produce that old bumper sticker:

    “Kill your Television”

  39. Once live sports are available on the ‘net I’ll turn off cable. Hulu has 90% of what I watch on it, I can buy the rest. I just want to watch the Phils and Flyers – if I was still living out of market for them I’d probably not have TV at this point, just a beefed up ‘net connection for cheaper. Between Hulu and Joost I’m pretty much covered.

    And Boxee is very nice.

  40. Interesting discussion. We actually went the other direction: after 25 years with only the rabbit ears, we got the basic Basic BASIC cable service a year ago for Christmas. Costs me $17/month. We don’t watch much, and nothing on a scheduled basis, but my wife can get the news/weather now if she wants it…

    (Our local economy is fine. No problems at all. If it weren’t for the fact that my 401K is on Wall Street, I wouldn’t even know the recession was happening.) We’re doing some cost cutting, though, because my wife went to 2/5 time so she could finish her degree. Saving money by eating out less, is basically it. That, and not giving in to the pressure to Sacrifically Give To The Building Program… 😉

    I grew up with TV in the ’60s and ’70s, and even have a few good memories of the ’80s (Cosby, Full House) but in my opinion there hasn’t been much on in the past 20 years worth watching, unless it were on the History Channel (which we don’t get) or Planet Earth (which we have on DVD anyway). Gray’s Anatomy was fun for a while, but now it’s just all about how Shocking We Can Be, and it’s moralistic amoralism is tedious to the extreme… So, basically, we have cable so my wife can watch the weather in the morning while putting on makeup.

  41. I grew up with TV dinners every night and vowed never to do that with my family. Who wants to end up knowing Benny Hill, Clint Eastwood, and Elvis better than their own brother? My Dad was shocked when dh and I were newly married, and without a television. We had to laugh at his innocent question, “But what will you do every night?” Well duh! lol!

    Nowadays we don’t have TV reception but are very happy with our DVD plus free films from the library, $1 weeklies from the video store, and our favourite series bought on sale. We play games like Settlers of Catan, Apples to Apples, and Squint. We read, study, create with Lego, and listen to music. We go on pyjama runs to McDonalds for a cheap icecream. We spend time with friends.

    As to cutting costs, we’re now debt free thanks to our country’s recent govt bailout package, have substituted a debit card for credit, and are monitoring our spending closely. I’d like to grow my own vegies again, have no problem going to thrift stores for clothes, and would rather buy my kids one good present than a whole heap of plastic crap. Oh, and we have a “No Advertising Material Accepted” sign on our letterbox.

  42. Okay, I probably waited too long to get in this discussion. If you know about Hulu, already subscribe to NetFlix and MLB.com, etc. what are you really giving up? We gave up television in 2003 because we couldn’t pay for it. We’ve left it off for the past 6 years even though we could pay for it. We figured out we didn’t need it. Like you said, with a decent DSL connection and a cheap laptop we never miss House, Terminator nor Knight Rider (Try it again, it’s gotten better). I watched the Presidential debates live on CNN.com/video. Everything news, weather and sports can be seen online. If I was a cable company, I’d be crapping in my pants right now.

    Go to Wal-Mart and pay 20 bucks for an RF modulator. Put your “tiny picture” on your t.v. screen and you’ll never know the difference.

    Then preach in the pulpit about you turned off the devil’s box and you’re a better person for it 🙂