Sunday, December 21, 2014

Life Without (Much) Television

Four and a half months ago I moved to Hawaii, which is a pretty big change from Texas in itself, but moving that far away can mean even more changes than a normal move.  My brother and his wife moved here over a year before I did, and they, for example, sold most of their stuff and started here with very little.  I followed in step, except I admittedly am more materialistic than they are (not in the sense that material things mean the world to me above, like, people... but in the sense that I didn't want to sell my stuff before I moved here haha).  I am a bit of a hoarder, just a bit.  Not that I have a Public Storage unit somewhere packed full of anything I've ever owned or held, but just that I do keep things like video games/movies/CDs instead of trading them in for new ones or stuff like that.  I also can't seem to part with my first car which I've had for something like a dozen years now, but that's another matter altogether in my eyes as I am a car guy.  But before I get any further off topic, what I did was box things up and luckily have nice enough parents to spare some room in their house for my stuff for the time being.  However, sacrifices were made...

TV is a pretty big one.  Not only did I leave behind my physical LCD television set, but I came into a situation here where we don't have television service at all.  I thought I would miss it a lot more than I actually do.  I was/am big into racing, and had gotten to where I watched most NASCAR Sprint Cup and Tudor United SportsCar Championship/Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races, along with all Dallas Stars games and various other shows like Top Gear and many others I won't bother to name here.  You start to add up the time invested into TV though, and wow.  You will feel some shame.  So, I knew coming here we might not get cable TV, but the main thing I really wanted to be able to keep were the Stars hockey games, which my brother was cool with since he is a big Stars fan as well.  We got NHL GameCenter Live in order to satisfy this, for better or worse... I want to love the service, but the app for the PlayStation 4 is pretty terrible.  We have good internet and a good router and all that, and it still has subpar quality and often times has to rebuffer and in general does not have a very user-friendliness about it, like with fast-forward and rewind "scrubbing", which skips minutes at a time.  I want to go back eight seconds like I could on my Tivo back in 2005, but this thing goes in four minute increments - really?  Anyway, we also have Netflix, which pretty much takes care of any other movie/TV needs we may have.

I do miss some shows like Top Gear and seeing some live races, but for the most part, I just don't see how I'd have time to watch more TV than the Stars games anyway.  It really hasn't been as painful a transition as I thought.  I was a big supporter of DirecTV for a long time, but it really is stupid the way cable and satellite companies charge you tons of money for channels you don't even want.  You should be able to pick channels individually and pay for each one alone, but that'll probably never happen.  Streaming is a cool alternative, with services like Netflix out there, but still you're paying a rate fee for access to tons of stuff you don't care about, not to mention the fact it's all older stuff - you don't get live TV programming obviously.  If you've considered ditching TV though, you might be surprised how much time you free up for yourself on top of the money you'll save, and that's a good thing.  I have no regrets in doing so!  The only thing I may regret is NHL GameCenter, haha.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Opinionated With Reserve

I remember the moment when I realized that I am quite opinionated.  I'm pretty sure it was in high school, and I thought "Wow, I feel pretty strongly about certain things."  Which is silly, granted, because everybody has opinions.  Yet I wasn't very assertive or vocal back then or now, but at least around friends I would argue my cases and want people to see it my way.  What I've realized since then, is that everybody a.) has opinions and b.) wants you to see it their way.

The thing is, everybody thinks that they are right, right?  About any and everything, if you think about it.  Do you think oranges taste better than apples and that Pepsi is better than Coke?  Do you feel strongly that your sports team deserves victory over the others?  Do you agree or disagree with "Mopar or no car"?  Whichever way you swing on these, you do believe you are right, don't you?  Yes, some of these might be simple preferences which you can easier shrug off as "Yes, I prefer the taste of Pepsi and oranges, but I don't think there's a 'right' or 'wrong' answer, it's just my personal preference." But what if you take it to a deeper level, like your political or spiritual beliefs?  What about ethics, what you believe IS right or wrong?  There's less arguing those, right?

But everybody thinks that way, everybody thinks they're right.  You don't walk around thinking you're just wrong about stuff.  So, I think I have more and more become reserved when it comes to my own personal beliefs, especially the big picture ones.  I keep most of that to myself, unless someone specifically asks or is interested in having a conversation to discuss it.  Otherwise, it's kind of a waste of time, right?  Most of the bigger beliefs you hold are woven pretty deep within you, and it's just plain annoying if someone tries to tie in their own beliefs onto your fabric.  OR the opposite happens, especially in social media (namely Facebook), and suddenly you're sharing something personal that people will either agree with and read, or ignore altogether because it doesn't pertain to them.  In that case, I'm just not sure I see what good it does to post/share it in the first place.  Which is definitely ironic because this very blog entry is my opinion on opinions, and here I am posting/sharing it which means it will probably either be read by those whom it makes sense to, or ignored completely by the vast majority, heh.

So I suppose I should come up with a purpose or overall point here I'm trying to make, because what I'm not trying to do is convince anyone of anything except to maybe just keep this in mind:
Everybody has opinions/views/beliefs which they believe are the unwavering truth; so instead of trying to force and spread your own ideas on others, maybe it's more beneficial to seek/ask/learn about others, and to try to understand why they see things the way they do.  Above all else, respect other people's viewpoints.  That's all :)