Sometimes you just have to tune it all out and focus on something else, or at least, I do. Outrage overload is bad for the soul, and I’ve almost certainly earned a gold medal in the outrage overload event this week. What better time, says I, to launch a “Just Fuzzy” thingy in which I’ll write about *gasp* not politics; I’ll tag them in the header “Just Fuzzy” so that anyone not interested in my inane ramblings can skip them.
I’m so rusty in this whole writing about random things that catch my interest thing that I actually had to dig back through the Fuzzy files to see what that even sounded like. Apparently, I was once interested in things like my laptop (oh for those simpler days!), buying a new chair (okay, it’s really about complimenting good customer service), and nothing at all. And just so you can appreciate the coming inanity of “Just Fuzzy,” I also wrote bizarrely-lengthy posts about Brussels sprouts, Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs, and “stuff.” Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Today, I’m torn between talking about some of my favorite “escapist” television shows and my garden (well, “garden” is rather generous; it’s actually a bunch of pots on the porch), but I guess I’ll go with the tv thing.
I’ve been toying with the idea of getting rid of cable (now satellite) for years, and I’m finally there. I just have to pay the penalty for canceling before my contracted two years, and I’m free. I honestly can’t stand the leftist crap that makes up most of cable (I’ll just use that as the catch-all term) television, but I worried that I’d be “out of touch” or unable to watch the debates or whatever breaking news, blah blah blah. I can get all that online, and should internet access mysteriously go down in America, watching television will be the least of my worries.
The big hurdle for me was that I like to watch tv. No, scratch that, I love love love to watch tv. I’m a couch potato, a lazy troglodyte who can spend–quite literally–whole days watching movies and tv shows. I’ve been addicted to Buffy, Lost, Battlestar Galactica (the remake, of course), and Firefly. Well, to be honest, the Firefly addiction came after the show was already cancelled (inexplicably and wrongly), but it’s good stuff. How on earth was I going to get my tv / movie fix without cable?
Enter Roku. Was ever a better product invented? Okay, we’ll tip our hats to the printing press and sliced bread, but Roku is awesomeness. By the way, there are several versions, but I wouldn’t even bother with anything beyond the basic version–Roku LT–unless you’re an HDTV person, then go with Roku 3. The others just don’t cut it as far as I’m concerned. Roku LT has what you need to make just about any television an internet-streaming miracle, who needs “instant replay” when you can get the same thing by hitting your left arrow button and then play? The 2XD also makes no sense to me; if HD is your thing, just fork out the extra one-time $20 for the Roku 3. Do keep in mind that I’m not the most technologically-savvy woman, so take all that for what it’s worth (probably not a whole lot, but I have the LT and love it. In fact, I’m getting another one for my other tv as soon as I dispense with this dish thingy).
So I have Roku, and I love it. But I’m not sure that I’d love it so much if I didn’t also have Amazon Prime. Sure, I try to spend my money on companies (etc.) that aren’t blatantly anti-conservative, but there’s just no substitute, yet, for Amazon. When there is, I’ll go. In the meantime, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love Amazon Prime (and no, neither Roku nor Amazon are paying me to write all this, promise): not only do I get guaranteed two-day order delivery (a serious plus now that I live off the beaten path), “free” shipping (it’s not even close to free, the shipping is just built in to the price, and it pays to shop around locally before buying on Amazon), and a variety of lending and buying privileges on my Kindle (another wonderful thing), but I get a wide wide range of television series and movies that I can watch for free. Well, again, not free, you pay the Amazon Prime “membership” fee (currently about $90 for the year, so a steal when you’re ditching about that per month in cable).
Since I got my Roku + Amazon Prime, I’ve watched gazillions of great shows, from old favorites like Buffy, Firefly, and BSG (yes, I watch them over and over, what can I say?) to new favorites like Downtown Abbey, Sons of Anarchy, Sherlock, and many more. I am in couch potato heaven–all I need are some bon bons (okay, I mostly hate bon bons, but you get my drift). I’ve watched a lot of “serious” stuff, too, from the David vs. Monsanto documentary to the quite wonderful Fat Head (a much-needed, sane response to the Supersize Me idiocy). And just this week, Amazon got Grimm (which I’ve been dying to see) and Alphas, another show I thought I might like.
I’ve also watched (with no remorse) several seasons of Pawn Stars, Top Shot, and Cake Boss. Yeah, yeah, I like that kind of stuff, what can I say? I’ve caught a couple of movies, but my “No Buy” list is getting longer with every leftist hater insulting the Tea Party, conservatives in general, and America, so I’m happy to skip most of them. Even if they’re “free” with Amazon Prime, they probably keep track of how many people watch what, so I don’t watch anything with anyone from my “No Buy” list. Ever.
A couple of downsides to the Roku + Amazon Prime (with no cable) set-up:
1. A lot of shows that I would like to see, or see more than one season of, are $1.99 per episode. Yep. Per episode. Add that up, and you’re better off buying the whole season on DVD and being able to watch it more than once. Of course this limits what I will watch on my Roku.
2. You might put a show’s season or a movie on your “watch list” only to find that when you go to watch it, it’s suddenly $X. Hmph. (The other side of this is that a show’s season or a movie that you want to see may be $X one day but be “free” the next, so it does pay to keep track. I watched–and regretted watching as it happened–One for the Money for free after declining to pay an extra $9.99 to watch it, over and over?, for 72 hours.)
So apart from the crazy pricing (and this is true on Kindle, too, who’s going to pay almost the same thing for an “e” version of a book as for the actual book? not me), the Roku + Amazon Prime thing works out great.
If you don’t want to do business with Amazon (they’re on your “No buy” list), then there is still a LOT of free material you can get. You can watch clips from Fox News, whole episodes of Fox News Sunday, movies and old television shows with the most annoying and misplaced “breaks” on Crackle and other “free” options. If you’re a conspiracy nutter, there’s every channel known to man available–some for free, some not. Oh, and yeah, there are free versions of everything from the tabloid media (CNN, MSNBC, etc.) to al Jazeera. I skip those, but then I did on cable, too.
Over all, I love Roku with Amazon Prime; not only am I (going to eventually be) saving money, but I’m also watching stuff that I want, when I want. By the way, you can watch Netflix, HuluPlus, the Blaze, Disney, and a host of other channels (some pay, some free) on Roku, but I tend to stick to Amazon Prime (and their “Newscaster” which includes Fox News).
Some great shows I never would have seen but loved: Alcatraz, Sherlock (yes, again), Jekyll, Sons of Anarchy (yes, yes, again), Robin Hood, and Red Dwarf. Some old favorites I was happy to watch again include Fawlty Towers, Black Adder, I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, and Good Neighbo[u]rs (aka The Good Life).
I still, technically, have cable, but I never ever watch it. I watch my Roku or my DVDs, and when something happens, like a Congressional hearing and, next year, debates, I’ll just watch them online. I’m happy to leave the expensive and unsatisfactory. Why do I have to have crap like MSNBC and OWN when I would never ever dream of watching them, except perhaps for the comedy potential? Why must I pay for ten versions of ESPN when I don’t watch sports, and when I do, I would certainly not watch ESPN after what they did to Hank Williams, Jr.? No thanks, I’ll watch what I like when I like and pay for it as I go (or in one annual sum).
Capitalism. It does a wallet good.