television

365 Challenge: Day 312 – Cable

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Cable: a service I use (or may no longer use) to watch television and surf the internet

cable

Last night, I received two communications from the building management company who maintains the co-op apartments where I live. In the first, they noted the monthly maintenance costs were to increase by ~10% to cover some unexpected shortfalls. It’s aggravating, but I will not go into that now. (I kinda wish Ryder could rant about that one… as you know he would!) In the second, they let us know that our cable provider was unwilling to negotiate on the monthly cable costs for our building, and there could be another increase. In full disclosure, I don’t mind saying how much I pay for cable as it’s probably not all that far off from anyone else. For internet and a single television cable DVR box with a few additional channels (not much) above basic, the monthly bill is $205. I don’t even have telephone service with it! In the past, we watched a lot more shows, so it wasn’t too big of a deal, but now it’s just getting absurd. So… I found myself a little project this week: alternative options to my current cable package.

Verizon Fios is also in my building, so I will call them to see what better deals I can get, then ask my cable provider to beat it if they want me to stay as a customer. However, I’m also investigating another alternative and thought I’d throw it out there to see if anyone had experience, opinions or suggestions… We already have Netflix and AppleTV, which is where we tend to watch most of our shows or movies. We watch basic cable stations for current season TV shows, including PBS, FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC, TVLAND, Discovery, BUZZR, COZI, MeTV, FX, and POP. That’s all – we hardly ever watch anything else. Most of the stations have apps to watch through AppleTV or to watch on an iDevice, but you’d have to purchase each subscription to watch current season episodes. There is also purchasing an antenna to get most of these stations, but then you’d have to be home to watch the show when it airs, or buy the DVR to record for about $250.

The alternative, which seems to be a promising idea, is to get an antenna and skip the DVR for watching many of those stations. In lieu of a DVR, I could add a Hulu monthly subscription for about $10 per month and watch current episodes the day after they actually air (really not a big deal, we sometimes wait days to get to them if busy). After 2 years, the cost of Hulu would exceed buying the DVR, but you get a lot more things with Hulu. I’ll be doing my research this week with a goal of contacting all the companies next week to find the best plan and try to reduce the $205 monthly cost of basic TV and cable. I’m not even going to comment in detail on the rising costs, as I’d just be venting which I’ve already done here at home. Between operational costs, actor/actress salaries, insurance and lawsuits, it’s just going to keep increasing. I also know that paying this much is a lot less than going to the theatre or the movies all the time, so I totally get the picture.

My main concern is that I believe I’m paying twice as much as I probably need for the services and products I actually use. I don’t watch 150 channels… just 8 to 10 of them. I don’t spend hours a day watching TV either, maybe 1 or 2 hours each night. In the end, I think this is the right path. Anyone have thoughts on Hulu, the antenna solution to watch broadcast television or any other alternative options?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 226 – Studio

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Studio: (a) room where an artist, photographer or sculptor works, or (b) film or television production company

studio

When I first thought of the word studio today, I remembered the movie ‘Studio 54.’ I rather enjoyed that movie, as I’m fascinated by all things from that generation. I missed it by a few years, but that might be a good thing; who knows how different my life would have been if I grew up in the 60s and 70s… but those are not the two definitions of today’s word that I plan to discuss.

Who has a studio, whether it’s in your home or in some other location? I’m envious of you. It sounds professional, charming and artistic. To have a space you can go where you create beauty and life, but have little worry or interruption. To be able to tell someone you’re off to the studio for a few hours… sounds amazing. All your materials, stored in one location, ready for your fingers and mind to develop something from scratch. Whether you paint or sculpt, draw or write, create greeting cards or gifts, it’s a passion we can hopefully all identify with in some way. Living in NYC does not make it possible for me to have a studio, unless I were to rent a space in a distant part of one of the boroughs. And even then, real estate is just too expensive. I think when I move back to the suburbs (it will happen), one of the requirements is a studio, where I can truly separate myself from my work and my life. Although I love my role these days, it feels 24/7. A studio might offer that special place where you can find the magic without being in the same place all day long.

The other kind of studio fascinates me almost as much as a personal space of creativity. Does anyone here work in a music, movie or television studio where you produce entertainment day after day? Imagine being part of creating a story in words or pictures that brings enjoyment to millions of people whenever they hear or see the final product? I was surprised to learn that a studio opened in my tiny hometown on Long Island. I grew up in Bethpage, New York, where the only famous thing about it, well two famous things, or three if you count me (ha, that’s was seriously awful)… was (1) Grumman, an aerospace company that built tons of weaponry and airplanes and (2) Bethpage was once known as Central Park, but 1920s New York inhabitants and visitors got confused whenever people said “I’m going to Central Park.” Did they mean the NYC park or the sleepy Long Island town? Today, Grumman Aerospace is much smaller and a huge piece was converted to Grumman Studios, where several movies and TV shows are filmed. It’s cool to think that happens in your hometown, but even more cool when you tour studios across the country. I’ve been to a few in California, always enjoying the backstage looks and scenery. I feel the power and energy of something being born within those walls. And it’s amazing to walk through outdoor spots you recognize from your favorite shows.

Maybe someday I’ll be involved in a studio production of something I’ve written in my own home studio… a boy can dream… I enjoyed today’s word, but it was not one I thought of on my own.  Thank you to the wonderful Janet’s Smiles for today’s 365 Daily Challenge word idea! If you don’t know or haven’t met her, go check out her site for her wonderful approach to life. Maybe she’ll tell us how she feels about the word ‘studio.’ I enjoy her posts as they make you laugh, believe and smile. Kudos to Janet!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 21 – English

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English: containing roots from England

We’ve concluded another week, and on this, the third 365 Challenge Sunday, it’s time to select one of the countries from which my ancestors hail. I’m about 33% English, though Ancestry says my DNA is 81% English; however, those numbers include Irish, and Scottish, which will be next week’s “end-of-the-week” post, thus covering my four primary heritages. But I’m pretty certain at least half of me hails from Great Britain when I look at all the records and the family genes. I am pretty pale, remember! My favorite English last name in my family history: Pantridge. So formal and eloquent.

I’ve been fascinated with the royal families and ascendancy to the thrones of England for years. At one point, I could name most of the Kings and Queens in order, but I’ve forgotten some of those details in recent years. I would love to find out that I descend from one of them, but I highly doubt it’s true. Perhaps Henry VIII’s court jester is my real ancestor!

And in keeping with tradition, I’ve located the Top 10 English traits… but this time, it’s according to the Metro UK news. Let’s see how I fare:

1. Talking about the weather

  • I do often use that as an easy line of conversation, given that I tend to be shy and quiet when it comes to conversing with others. I am fascinated by whether it will be warm or cold, rainy or dry. I hate, loathe and despise hot weather. I prefer the temperature to be a nice 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A good topic for another day!
  • Score: 1 out of 1.

2. Great at queueing

  • Yes! I love lines. It’s the most fair way to ensure those of us who arrive early don’t get left out when a crowd forms. My favorite place for a proper queue is at the airport, but it does not always happen. Each American airline (don’t get me started on other countries’ approach to the ticket counter) calls group by group to queue for an orderly on-boarding to the aircraft. EXCEPT, most Americans (of which I am one) are RUDE (not me, I am orderly). They all just run to the line even though their group hasn’t been called, and then orderly people like me have to ask people to move, step over all their luggage, blah blah blah. Get the @#*& out of my way is what I really want to say. Wait your turn. If you’re group 5, don’t stand right at the beginning of the line. Don’t be an @$$^&*%.  OK, rant done.
  • Score: 2 out of 2.

3. Sarcasm

  • I had a post dedicated to that… remember? Although, someone wise said I am probably more clever, so…perhaps not. But in general, I think the English are sarcastic like I am – never in a cruel way.
  • Score: 3 out of 3.

4. Watching soaps

  • Yes, I must confess. I used to watch a lot of soap operas when I was a teenager, not including prime time soaps. Let’s see if I can remember them: Loving (became The City), Another World, Days of Our Lives, As The World Turns and Guiding Light. I had lots of VCR tapes going while I was in school. And I also had 3 magazine subscriptions to keep me well read when not watching them on TV. Such a LOSER!!!!!
  • Special Kudos to anyone who can name the fake soap opera in the clip below.
  • Score: 4 out of 4.

5. Getting drunk

  • I remember covering this during the Irish post. Are all British drunks? Or is it really just everyone in the world at this point? Yikes. But no, I’m not a drunk. I drink but know when to stop on most occasions.
  • Score 4 out 5.

6. A love of bargains

  • No, definitely not me. I am careful with money, but I am not a bargain shopper. I like to get a discount, and I will usually balance quality and cost when making a purchase, but I always wonder “what’s wrong with this?” when it seems like a bargain.
  • Score: 4 out of 6.

7. A love of curtain twitching

  • I am stumped. What the… is curtain twitching? Let’s Google it……… OK, I’m back. OMG, I would not have guessed this. Seriously? OK, well curtain twitching is “a nosy person who watches his or her neighbours, typically from a curtained window.” AND it uses the British spelling in the word “neighbours.” Laughing so hard, I can only think of one thing. AbFab! Too bad they weren’t actually curtain twitching the neighours in the clip below. But yeah, I’m a little nosy sometimes. Remember curious?
  • Score 5 out of 7.

8. Stiff upper lip

  • Sometimes I do, sometimes I do not. I tend to be pretty strong, but not always. I’m gonna say yes to this one.
  • Score: 6 out of 10.

9. Love of all television

  • I watch TV almost every day. Besides reading, it’s the other hobby I have that involves sitting down a lot. 🙂
  • Score: 7 out of 9.

10. Always saying sorry

  • I used to do this ALL the time. I’m much better about it now, but if I get too close to someone and almost bump them, the first words out of my mouth are “I’m sorry.” It would never occur to me to say “excuse me” or “watch where you’re going!” I always assume it was my fault.
  • Score: 8 out of 10.

And what does this tell me?  I am emblematic of 80% of these things… and that matches the 81% noted above. How am I always so in sync with my DNA? Quite a stumper…

The Blog is Growing!

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When I first started this blog about 6 months ago, I thought it would be an entertaining experience… but somehow in the last few months, I’ve got close to 100 followers and I’m on here posting nearly every day. It’s been really fun and challenging, but ultimately I want it to deliver valuable content, insight and laughter. I’m super excited with the results so far!

Now I need to start adding new content sections. Starting next week, a few posts each week on the following topics:

  1. Book Reviews
  2. TV & Film Reviews
  3. My Book: “Watching a Glass Shatter”
  4. Other Fiction I’ve Written
  5. Vacation Spot Experiences
  6. 365 Daily Challenge
  7. General Blog & Thoughts

What else should I add?

  • More animations?
  • Restaurant Reviews and link to Open Table and FourSquare reviews?
  • More author and book content?
  • Or keep it streamlined as it is now?

Let me know your opinions and let’s see what we can come up with next! Thanks for everyone’s support.

Thanks.

-jjc iv

 

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TV Show Review: Sherlock

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4+ of 5 stars to the Netflix series “Sherlock.” I’ve only watched the first episode of the first season, but I’m already hooked. Let’s get to the details:

Story

 

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson… classic detectives from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary mystery novels… but re-imagined in the 21st century with computers, cell phones and cars. Sherlock is a “consulting detective” on the police force. Watson is a war hero doctor looking for a job and a place to live. By the end of the first episode, they live together and fight crime side by side.

Sherlock Holmes is played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Who wouldn’t want their detective to be a such a handsome devil. He’s got the expected charming arrogance, but when you see it brought to life, you’ll easily fall for him.

Dr. John Watson is played by Martin Freeman. He’s quiet and shy, but has a certain hint of risk and danger about him. He’ll also send a few shivers in your direction.

Strengths

  1. The characters are well drawn and depicted. Sherlock’s mannerisms and style are evident and on target. The setting and plot are captivating. The dialogue is witty. You want to reach into the TV and smack them both on occasion, but then you just want to sit down for a cup of tea or brandy with them, too.
  2. There are many versions of the Sherlock Holmes stories that have been filmed, and I’ve only see a few; however, both the lead actors have fantastic methods for transforming characters from written words to the TV screen. You watch to see how they will handle each action or story; it’s as much as about the portrayal of classic heros as it is about the mystery.

Suggestions

Part of the charm of the stories written about 125 years ago is lost when re-appropriated to modern times. It’s still very strong, but I’d love to see a little bit of the past weaved in to ensure we feel transported into the intrigue and cleverness of the stories. Maybe we’ll find about some of their ancestors… and they investigate a century old crime!

Final Thoughts

I’m glad there are only 3 or 4 episodes per season, as you don’t want to sit and watch them all in one day… catch one every few weeks, in between reading some of the actual Sherlock stories. Get immersed.

Review: Here We Go Again: My Life In Television

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Here We Go Again: My Life In Television
Here We Go Again: My Life In Television by Betty White

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this book to me, noting it would be a light read and likely a good break from all the mystery, suspense, murder and thrillers I generally choose. He was right, a definitely a light one, but I’m on the fence on how much I enjoyed it. I rated it a 3 because the sections I loved, I loved. But the sections I did not love, I did not love!

I’m a huge Betty White fan and find myself on the lookout for anything new she stars in. I knew a lot about her career for the last 35+ years when I was alive to watch it but little about anything before about 1980. I had hoped I’d learn a lot but also enjoy what I was reading. Unfortunately, it’s very fact-based and felt more like a list of things that she did rather than taking me on the journey of her life. I wanted to see more about her childhood (connections to TV), a chapter on each major TV show or series she did, a section on her business and personal relationships thru the TV experience, et al. Instead, it felt a bit disorganized and jumped around a lot. It wasn’t bad, just not what I was expecting and not my favorite style.

With that said, once she got to the shows I watched, it was much more enjoyable. I learned a few things and felt even more connected. I skimmed the parts I didn’t know much about or care much for but read with clear focus on the ones that spoke to me. And it worked out… as I write this, I feel like my review is a little disorganized like the book felt. Totally intended that way… Ha!

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