Sunday!

One month the cable bill came in and Maribou yelled from the next room “how often do you watch television?”

“I dunno. When the loading screens are particularly bad in my game, I guess. Sometimes I watch Chowder on Cartoon Network.”

“The cable bill is $60. Wanna cancel cable and I’ll just buy you the Chowder Box Sets?”

SIXTY DOLLARS?!? We weren’t even getting HBO or anything like that. I quickly agreed that we needed that we needed to nip that stuff in the bud Toot Sweet. (She got me the box sets.)

Soon thereafter, we said “you know what? We should totally do Netflix” and, hey, Netflix was somewhere around… I don’t even remember. I want to say it was like $10/month but that can’t be right. (Apparently, Streaming only was $7.99 a month in 2010… Impossible.)

Well, that was the *BEST DEAL EVER*.

As it turns out, it seems like we were at the very beginning of a disruption. That is to say, Netflix took the risk that nobody else was willing to take and, holy cow, it paid off and paid off *BIG*. But then there was Amazon Prime… and then there was Hulu… And now Disney is yanking their stuff off of Netflix (including Marvel Universe movies) and getting ready to open its own Netflix.

Back in the days of cable, we used to complain about having to pay for stuff like, oh, ESPN. (ESPN people probably complained about Cartoon Network. I don’t know about you, but, as far as I can tell, ESPN was one of those channels that you either had on all the time or you never watched it. I imagine that ESPN folks say that about Cartoon Network.)

And so, very soon, if you want to have all of the options you used to have, you’re going to be paying $60/month.

But! You’re going to be getting the equivalent of a dozen HBOs. With movies a lot closer to first run than HBO played them.

But I’m not looking forward to having the discussion of how often I watch Marvel Universe. “I dunno. When the loading screens are particularly bad in my game, I guess.”

So… what are you reading and/or watching?


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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19 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. I’m already hating that i will pay for the Disney service for at least a while, due to Clone Wars making a comeback and the new Star Wars cartoon that they haven’t told us much about yet. Currently we have Netflix, Amazon prime and YouTube TV. Saving a bunch, but I could see the slow trickle of add-ons as these other platforms pop-up. I want to see Star Trek: Discovery but I’m scared to even figure out if i can get it through Amazon or if they will charge me a separate fee.

    As for what I am reading: I’ve been slogging through Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America for what seems to be years, and i’m determined to finish it this year. I read a little every night until I doze off. Fascinating, but not a page turner. I have a stack of dude novels I will reward myself with if i can make it through the next chapter by the end of the summer.

    Watching: Just finished Season 1 of The Alienest. Suprisingly awesome and i have been recommending it to friends.

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  2. We have been streaming only for about 4-5 years now, and the only thing we thought we might miss was baseball. Well, my wife bought me a beautiful AM tube radio from the 30’s for my birthday, and wouldn’t you know it, she prefers to listen to baseball than watch it! (Unless she is at the stadium) And as I am a late convert to small ball, having grown up in a football household, I am OK with this. So that radio sits on the mantle tuned to the baseball station (Mariners) just a slight tune away from Beaver sports network (the local school that just happened to win the CWS.) So I got that going for me, which is nice.*

    Still working through Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet again, which was definitely the hight of his powers.

    *I do find myself missing commercials, though. Strange as that sounds. Now I have no idea what is popular or normal.

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  3. I’ve had no TV service for about five years now. Netflix mooched off a friend, and Amazon Prime, which just ended because the ex-wife didn’t renew it. What I pay for is high-speed internet. Hell, most of the time my TV is used to stream Pandora and I’m not actually looking at it. That is the situation at this exact moment, as it happens.

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  4. On thing about streaming and leaving cable/sat: Having been overseas so much over the years, including living full time in Europe on two different occasions, not having the normal American TV routine was pretty standard. So after my second stint in Germany, we moved back to the states just as streaming became a real option and we slide right into it. My house has Netflix, Hulu, and Sling, and Amazon Prime and the network channels on the mini cable box that I do not have to pay for at all as the cable company is the internet provider here and it is a package thing. The large TV’s run off Amazon Fire. Sling is probably the most watched service in the house on the daily basis, as the mix between live television and on-demand shows fit the diverse habits of the household. The four together still come in under the cable bill I would have for similar coverage, but it isn’t a money thing in my case. I just prefer it this way.

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  5. Maribou, you inspired me to finally read one of those Scalzi novels on my shelf; I tore through Old Man’s War in a couple of consecutive evenings. It’s good, I enjoyed it enough that I want to read the rest of the series, although to be honest I was not super-impressed with his prose most of the time; it felt a bit pedestrian even for the military sci-fi subgenre. Maybe it’s just coming off of a lot of Frank Herbert and Neal Stephenson and Charles Stross over the past few months, so the less stylized prose is more noticeable, I dunno.

    I’m a little ways now into Stross’ Glasshouse, which is a pretty funny little transhumanist tale about a 27th-century amnesiac possible-war-criminal who escapes from people trying to kill him by volunteering for an isolated government-run social experiment that makes a bunch of people recreate what the scientists’ degraded understanding of late-20th/early-21st century life in order to try to recreate the starting conditions of the posthuman age. So it’s basically a bunch of transhumans LARPing as us, trying to understand our backwards social structures and primitive technology, and since it’s first-person the main character’s internal monologue is pretty hilarious.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. He started out as a non-fiction writer and his prose style reflects that, I think, particularly in those very early works (holy cow, Old Man’s War was 13 years ago!). Once it became successful and he started to focus a lot more on the fiction writing, his style did develop some. I still rely on him as a palate cleanser, though, someone who isn’t going to be as “heavy” a stylist as many of the other writers I enjoy.

      I think one of the things I like most about Scalzi is that he makes me laugh. Humor on the page rarely does that for me, generally a quirk of an eyebrow or an appreciative grin is the most I will react to funny in a book… but with Scalzi I’ve had to put almost every book I’ve read down at least once so I wouldn’t lose my page while cackling. His timing is exactly right for me.

      I don’t even know what I’ve been reading. Has been a long week. Mostly Yoon Ha Lee, I think – his stories are really great, writing is very tasty to Maribous, I called the first on a “tour de force” in my Goodreads review and I meant it — but they’re also very dense, and I get a bit restless at taking 7-8 sessions of reading (or more) to read one relatively short space opera…

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  6. Cable bill over here was approaching $200 before the cable was cut, not out of choice but necessity. Some people can be quite obstinate and demand things go their way. The internet still comes from a local cable provider as a necessary evil.

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  7. Except I predict the streaming services will race to the bottom, and it will become “pay $7.99 a month for what you think will be movies but which turns out to be re-runs of “Criminal Minds” and “Hoarders.”

    I still have cable because I would have zero local tv without it (am too far for reception). We recently were told “Good news! You are going to start getting Sundance and Oxygen network!” and I thought “Hey, Sundance! That’s indie movies!”

    So far, every single time I’ve tuned in to it, it’s been either a re-run of “Law and Order” or a re-run of “Criminal Minds.”

    I think almost every channel that starts out as innovative quickly finds it’s cheaper – and heck, maybe gets just as many eyeballs – to show the drek every other channel shows.

    (The cartoon channels seem to be a bit of an exception, but I don’t really know how many times Cartoon Network thinks it can show “The Road Chip” without people really complaining)

    I’m still not quite to the point of cutting the cord yet, but I am closer, given that apparently my cable bill is going up $2 more because of those “exciting new channels.”

    (What I’d really like is a cafeteria plan: I’d get the cartoon channels and the food channels and TCM and maybe one of the local channels that has local news and the weather-radar channel….and forget the rest)

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    • Given that bandwidth is now, effectively, free, I’m surprised that there isn’t a channel dedicated to Cartoon Network 1996 and MTV 1983. Just replay footage that the station showed back then. You don’t need to change anything but the commercials between the footage.

      Hey guys, stay tuned! We’re going to watch the new one by Rick Springfield and then Boy George is going to stop by and play “Church of the Poison Mind” for us *LIVE*!

      Sure, it might be a hair dated but it costs nothing to produce.

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      • Price the server side bandwidth needed if such a channel were successful, then talk about whether it’s “free”. One of the tech battles I lost at <giant telecom company> was over providing IP multicast in the backbone network. Given multicast, such services do become dirt cheap.

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      • I once posited that the future would be infinite channels, so there would be, for example, a channel showing the existing Gilligan’s Island re-runs on infinite loop, and one showing I Dream of Jeannie, and so on, and so forth.

        Instead of 60s sit coms, it seems we’re getting 90s-2010s crime dramas or freak-show shows on infinite loop instead. Darkest timeline and all that.

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        • That’s the IP multicast future I alluded to above. Anyone with content can dump it into the internet; if no one’s watching, the packets are discarded at the first router. If people are watching, a spanning tree that delivers a copy of the packets to each of the viewers emerges that minimizes the bandwidth used. I actually envisioned it as a means for delivering live largely-local content: every high-school football game, every college play production, etc. If it’s for-pay content, the viewer pays a modest fee for a decryption key that’s good for today.

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    • I once read a crime novel that centered around language and language development* that had a deconstructed version of The Tempest in it, that took place in a beach-blanket-Gigit type setting.

      *Box 9 by Jack O’connell if you are interested.

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