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:: Cutting Cable

Bills.. bills.. bills.. And not the kind that's known for losing the super bowl either. No, today I'm complaining about all of the monthly bills that have been clogging up the Noodles' mail box. Land-line phone with long-distance: $50. Cell phone with roll-over minutes: $40. Basic Cable TV: $15. Cable-based Internet: $45. Two-movie Netflix: $15. Pickle-of-the-month membership: etc.. While nothing really stands out as a bank-breaker (besides our mortgage), they all add up and make you feel like you're being nickle-and-dimed into middle-class oblivion.

Throw in the fact that there's a lot of service redundancy and it becomes even more annoying. Ideally, we'd ditch the land-line and switch to making all of our calls on the cell phone. However, Cingular doesn't get great coverage out here, so I often find myself standing outside whenever we're home and someone calls us on it. Another option would be voice over IP. However, I don't put much faith in the 911 handling of voip. Plus, we'd still be stuck with cable-based internet, which is the most bill we think is the most outrageous.

The lack of an obvious optimal solution has resulted in us doing nothing for quite some time. But then.. out of nowhere, the TV shows we watch on a regular basis (Lost and 24) all had their shocking season finales. Once those shows ended, it was clear that there wasn't going to be anything good on for several months. So.. we decided to take the plunge and cut cable service (TV and internet) all together. And that's why we haven't updated the web page in a long time. It's because we've adopted an Amish life style.

Ok, not really. We in fact ordered DSL Internet service through SBC/AT+T before the cable went away. The price was unbeatable for the area: they had a deal where it's $18/month for 1.5Mb/s DSL with free equipment. They also gave us three free months because we switched from cable. While cable was a little peppier (3Mb/s), we hardly even notice since we really don't move that much data these days.

I have to admit that living without cable tv has been kind of rough for me. You never know how addicted you are to something until it gets taken away. As a means of getting my tv fix, I've rigged up an indoor antenna that brings in about 10 fuzzy channels. Unfortunately, seven of those channels are in Spanish (Telemundo!) and one is in Korean. The one English channel that comes in really well is Action 36, which has a tendency to alternate between COPS and Tyra! reruns (no joke- they show two hours of back-to-back COPS every Monday night). I'd like to say that the endless COPS programming is a deterrent to watching TV, but like I said, I'm hooked. No, I don't watch more than a few minutes at a time, but I have to admit there's that spark of hope in the back of my mind that I'll turn on the tv at some point and there will be an episode where COPS is driving through my old neighborhood in Atlanta.

We'll see how long we can go without cable. I feel that my tv standards can't drop any lower, so maybe we can survive or learn how to live without it. Bah..

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