57 Channels and Nothin’ On

Since I’ve been working from home, I’ve had to tell my co-workers that they can’t just call me out of the blue and expect me to answer a call.  Other than the fact that I really, really want to put my headphones on for calls, the main reason is that where I live is both too quiet and too noisy for me to go through the day without something on for noise.  I live in a smallish village/town in a rural area, which means that, in general, there’s not a lot of noise during the day.  So for the most part, then, I hear everything else, meaning creaks in the house and other things.  And when I don’t, the house is dead silent.  That can get a little creepy.  However, I am in a town and sometimes there is noise, like people walking down the street, or cars and big trucks driving past — I’m on a main route to a school and two churches — or construction or people fixing things or mowing the lawn or whatever.  So I need to have something on for noise to cover up the silences and the noisy parts, and so if someone calls I need to shut that noise off because obviously if it’s loud enough for me to hear and to cover up other noises it’d be loud enough to hear over the call, even with the headphones.  And this would be even worse when I was watching “Dark Shadows” and so there’d be the potential for horrific screams happening in the background.

Now that I’m on vacation, I still need to have some noise (and don’t have to worry about someone calling me and having to mute or turn off the noise).  What I would have liked to do — and had done in the past — was simply leave the TV running and use that both for noise and for something to look up at when I’m doing something like playing an MMO where I get some time to look up from what I’m doing.  But long before I went on vacation, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do that, because flipping through the channels I have it was abundantly clear that at the time when I most needed it — mornings, basically — there was absolutely nothing on that would work.  And since I have a couple of channels that show movies and vary that line up, it wasn’t just the case that on some days there wouldn’t be anything.  My expectations from checking it out before I went on vacation was that if there ever was anything on that would be the exception, not the rule.  Thus, I might be able to find something on, mostly on the channel that shows classic sporting events — they actually ran classic Grey Cup games leading up to that event, and showed old curling events at one point, which did kinda work when I didn’t want to do something else — but in general there just wasn’t going to be anything on.

Now, in the past, there had been.  I have a couple of game show channels and the Canadian one used to show some decent shows in the past that could at least carry me through most of the morning if I wanted it to.  But then in the fall they redid their schedule and stuffed their mornings full of shows that I not only don’t care that much for, but actually actively hate.  While I could tolerate “Cash Cab”, I strongly dislike the lead character in the reality series “The Liquidator” (and, to be fair, I think even he’d acknowledge that what I dislike about him — his aggressive approach to business — is a fair take on him and something that, yeah, people can dislike) and I tried out “Instant Cash” (a show about a cash machine that runs people through trivia questions and stupid dares in malls so that they can win money) and ended up loathing it because I hate the stupid and embarrassing dares it foists on the people.  And that’s the morning.  When the American game show network gets out of infomercials, it actually has some shows that I don’t mind watching — “Catch 21”, “Master Minds”, and “People Puzzler” — but there are a couple of problems with that.  The first is that that doesn’t start until 8 am, which is a bit late for me, since I start actively doing things by about 5:30 or 6 am.  I’d need to find something else for two hours before that can fill in (which means that it actually works not too badly on weekends, when the scheduled shows shift a bit to “America Says”, because on Sunday, at least, I have errands to run that mean I’m not really in the house at all until that time anyway).  The other issue is that for a lot of the shows I’ve already seen those episodes, and they are not shows where you can rewatch the episodes and be anywhere near as interested in them.  I’d likely have forgotten a lot of “Catch 21”, but not the other two, and when you know the answers and know who won then there’s just not that much that’s interesting about the shows anymore.

So, I need — and have needed for a while, even while working — something else.  Now, while working things aren’t as complicated as this, but on vacation my morning schedule varies enough that some options won’t work, or at least not as well.  Since ’tis the Christmas season, I wanted to listen to the collection of Christmas CDs I have (all burned to USB).  This works very well on the mornings that I want to do housework or write blog posts or program.  It does not work at all when I want to play MMOs or any other game — which means it doesn’t work in the afternoons since I’m usually playing Persona 5 Royal then — because all it provides is noise and I already have noise from the game.  What I want when playing a game is to have something that I can look up at when things aren’t happening, which was usually done by leaving the TV on and doing that.  In the afternoons, the Canadian game show network has a number of classic game shows that interest me enough to at least leave on while playing — “Match Game”, the “$100,000 Pyramid” and a rotating cast of other old shows — but as already noted that doesn’t work for the mornings.  So what I decided to do — and I had done this while working as well — was take some movies out to have on while playing the MMOs and then rely on music for the other times, with perhaps the TV filling in if there was something interesting on (usually on the weekends if there was an interesting sporting event on).

So for the MMOs I started with the Star Trek movies and then moved on to the James Bond movies.  However, I also realized that except for on the weekends there wasn’t anything on while I was eating lunch either and so stuffed some movies in there — some of the Star Trek movies I wanted to watch and not just half pay attention to, mostly in the TOS era, the “Scary Movie” movies, a rewatch of “New Mutants” and the two “Gremlins” movies so far — to watch.  There is just one little problem with this:  I found that while playing the MMOs I wasn’t paying any attention to the movies.  At all.  The worst was with the James Bond movies where I barely noticed what happened in them and only noticed when they ended.  So I can’t be said to be watching them at all.

This could mean that I don’t actually need to have them on, but then at some times I did pay attention to them — long runs in DAoC, for example — and so I don’t want to give up on them yet.  However, I guess I can’t really say that I’m actually rewatching them either, and they are movies that I do like to watch.  Fortunately, if I want to actually rewatch them I could always actually do that at some point, and I’ve seen them all many times already so I know what happens — which is why they fit into these slots since if I ever want to look up at them it won’t take me long to figure out what’s happening — so I don’t really miss it.  It’s just a bit odd that at least this time I’m not paying attention to anything at all, when I know that with TOR specifically I more often did pay attention to at least part of the TV shows.

And, of course, on New Year’s Day I need to figure out how I’m going to deal with noise while working, since I have at least two or three more months to be exclusively working from home.  In the past, I watched shows like “Doctor Who”, “Pretty Little Liars” and “Dark Shadows”, but two disks a day of the longer shows — most noticeably with “Dark Shadows” — meant that if I ever had to run an errand or skip changing a disk or something they’d run too long past the time I want to quit working and cause me some issues, and I also didn’t get the chance to listen to music either, which I like to do.  So something will probably change there.  I haven’t decided yet.

If there was just something remotely interesting on TV, that wouldn’t be a problem.  But there’s 57 channels and nothin’ on.

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