, Part 3

Ah, to be back in California. Palm trees, fake boobs, and perfect weather. When I walked to the shuttle island at the airport the digital thermometer on the worker’s booth read 70ยบ. I had my jacket off and the sun warmed my bare arms. Seven hours before I had waited at the end of the jet bridge in Cedar Rapids to board my flight, the bitter cold wind blowing scattered snowflakes into my hair. A woman waiting for the same van to Huntington Beach asked me, “Is it always this nice?” I nodded with a smile.

No snow, no ice, no freezing rain. Also, no ESPN, no Nat Geo, no BTN.

After two weeks of watching TV — football and basketball games, compelling documentaries, and InfoVision (how could I have forgotten about Iowa City’s interactive television system?) — I’m once again reduced to being cableless.

Tonight was the season premier of Friday Night Fights, the one and only television program I tune into religiously. Did I get to see two appetizing undercards, Teddy’s fight plan, and an entertaining main event? Hell no. I couldn’t even watch it on ESPN360, The Leader’s broadband network, because Time Warner Cable doesn’t support it.

As big of a college football fan as I am you’d think I wouldn’t dare miss a second of last night’s BCS National Championship Game. Not quite. I only saw split second snippets as I walked through the living room or when I peeked out of the kitchen while cooking. A moment of Florida’s first touchdown replay, Oklahoma at the goal line, a distraught Gator lineman after a false start penalty, and Sam Bradford jogging back to the sideline after throwing his second touchdown pass. That was it. But to tell you the truth I wasn’t too bummed. I’m not so much a fan of the corporate controlled, sponsorship saturated “championship game” as I am the four months leading to it. In my opinion it’s an inadequate and insufficient end.

(I did, however, keep track of the game using the game tracker on Fox’s website. I also tried listening to the ESPN Radio play-by-play online, but after a few connection issues all I got was “The BS Report.” BS is right. Hopefully ESPN gets its S straight when it inherits the BCS games in 2011.)

Ah, life without TV. Writing, reading, and the occasional video game. Though my cableless respite in Iowa has worsened my itch to buy a cable splitter — oh, to tap the glories of college hoops! — I may stick with the TV-less life a little longer. Last night I read 30 pages, and God knows how productive I could be if I started writing something other than a blog post. Now is an excellent time to restart my novel, or begin the essay I’ve had in mind for months. The creative and productive possibilities in a life without the boob tube are truly endless, and I should try accomplishing as much as I can without the distraction of Teddy Atlas’ punchy schnoz. It’s not hard to imagine the amazing things I could achieve.

I wonder what my roommate could do if he didn’t spend all his free time watching what former FCC chairman Newton N. Minow called “a vast wasteland.”


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