I haven't posted anything in a week because, well, it's been busy. My birthday is coming up so we're planning a trip south to Portland next week to visit some friends and family. My mother flew in from out of state and she and my grandmother are both currently here visiting. Add on daily life and I just haven't found the time to sit and post. The next installment of the backstory requires a bit of clean-up or I would have posted that. I also have a New Years resolution post coming together in my head that I hope to get out over the next week or so.
I do have a little story from the past week. Over the weekend I was carpooling into work with a co-worker and he asked what I had done during our days off (since we typically work on nights between Wednesday and Sunday, we tend to refer to "days off" rather than "weekends"). When I said I had gone for an overnight at a campground in the Olympic National Forest he questioned my sanity. Being from Nevada, this particular co-worker has no appreciation of the Pacific Northwest rain. I told him about the Skokomish river flooding over the road and admitted that I could have done without that part, but it was a great chance to check out a new area, do some reading, relax, and commune with nature, even if it was mostly from the shelter of our VW bus.
On our way home we were talking about work schedules and he asked how we deal with the school schedule which brought up homeschool. But his mind really blew when I told him we don't have TV. I have found this often the most difficult of our family's lifestyle for people to wrap their heads around.
"You don't have a TV?!?", is pretty common, followed by the explanation:
"No, we have a TV, we just don't have any television stations going into it. We have a VHS/DVD combo, a TV, and that's it."
To be fair, we do watch TV. With shows coming out on DVD we own a few series that we really enjoy like Northern Exposure, The X-Files, and most recently, The West Wing. We rent shows from the video store or, even cheaper, borrow them from the library like Lost, The Riches, Battlestar Galactica, and my son's favorite, Mythbusters. True, we aren't up to speed with what is going on until each season is over and then released, but we don't really mind. If we REALLY need to see something right away, though, if it's been broadcast it's probably online somewhere.
What we don't see, and what usually leads to the discussion above, is commercials. After seven or eight years without television I can not express the joy of life without commercials. Yeah, I know that TiVo makes it possible to skip over commercials and it's virtually impossible to find a DVD without some ad at the beginning. Plus I admit that there are some ads that are pretty entertaining. Someone turned me onto the MAC/PC ads with Justin Long a few months back and I was able to check several out on YouTube. That's pretty funny. Here is where I am on the subject, though. My son is nine and his brain is still developing. Eventually he is going to have to learn to deal with input overload because that is just the way our culture is and I get that. Personally, though, I just want his brain to have more time to develop before he is exposed. I've seen the difference between his "normal" life and how he is after watching commercial TV while visiting someone who has it and it's crazy how he will change. I blame the rise of ADD on television and video games, but that's a whole other discussion...
Also, I have tried to watch commercial television since giving it up and it just makes me tense. I find the interruptions jarring and annoying. I don't see any sense in paying $40-$60 a month for a load of programming that is on someone else's schedule and full of ads I don't want to see. Maybe if I could pick and choose channels like, say, The History Channel and Discovery and just pay per channel, I might go for it. But then the temptation is there to just flip the TV on and sit in front of it or run it as background noise and I start thinking "Kill Your Television".
We have found that it's better for us if we have to want to watch something and then seek it out and watch it on our schedule. Just one more way of taking our lives back, I suppose.
It seems fitting to wrap this up by mentioning that I bought the movie Food, Inc. yesterday and watched it last night with my mom. Well, it was late and my mom slept through most of it, but I was impressed that she volunteered at all. We (my wife, son, and I) saw the film when it was in theaters and I knew I wanted to buy it, even if for no other reason than to support the work. I wish more people could see this film. It does a really good job of introducing a lot of important information for anyone who eats food. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.
Until next time...