Monday, July 05, 2010

Mixed Signals

After criticizing myself for procrastinating so much, I have realized another reason why I tend to put things off. Sometimes, things turn out to be just as unpleasant to deal with as I feared.

Take my cable situation. I got the new box all set up, and it worked fine for watching the news and Friday Night Lights. Finally, I could watch an entire program without losing the picture or having the picture distorted. I didn't check for any of the other channels, though. Then Saturday morning, I was in the mood for cartoons, and I've recently been hooked on Phineas and Ferb on the Disney Channel (it's delightfully geeky). The Disney Channel scheduling is rather odd, though, as the schedule that's published in the newspaper TV listings has very little to do with what's actually showing, and even the digital channel guide on the cable system doesn't match what they're actually showing. But the newspaper said an episode would be on at 10, so I turned on the TV and switched to the Disney Channel.

What I saw was a scantily clothed woman writhing around a pole. I thought, "I know Miley Cyrus is trying to change her image, but this is ridiculous." Then I saw Dr. House ogling the dancer, and then the "info" bar at the bottom of the screen went away, revealing the USA Network logo. Mind you, the info bar did say that this was the Disney Channel. So I went to the USA channel, and it just said "This channel is not available at this time." It turned out that I wasn't getting most of the cable channels, and the ones I was getting were all in the wrong places. The Style Network was on the Turner Classic Movies channel. MTV was showing up on the Speed Channel. ESPN was on WGN. The funniest switch, though, was that Comedy Central was showing on CSPAN. That's oddly appropriate. The on-screen guide would say something about discussion of issues of the day, but what was showing was some guy on a stage telling jokes.

I tried rebooting the box, and it was still doing all this, so I called tech support. The service rep (who was awesome and funny) sent a signal to my box, and I started getting my HBO channels, but the others were still all mixed up. She was located in my city and was on the same cable system, so she went to her office TV, and we went up and down the channels together, comparing what we were seeing. They had not rearranged the channels. It was just me. I was still getting the right channels in the right places when I bypassed the converter box. It was just the box that was all mixed up.

So now I've got what I was trying to avoid, one of those "between this and that time" cable service appointments. I'd thought that getting the box myself would mean not having to deal with that, but now I still have to. At least I'll know by the time the service guy leaves that I'll have proper service. I hope it's that Miller High Life guy I had last time because he was cool (he reminded me of the guy on the beer commercials who goes around confiscating beer from snooty people who aren't properly living the high life). Because of the holiday, they can't get someone out until tomorrow, so I'm having to adapt. It was weird watching an NCIS marathon yesterday on the Disney Channel.

My Independence Day weekend festivities got rained out (my town did fireworks on Saturday, and they did still have them, but it was raining at the time we would have needed to go, so we stayed home and watched Independence Day). Wouldn't you know, it was nice on the day they weren't having fireworks. But I still had barbecue and pie, and there were fireworks on TV (on a station that was on the right channel).

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