So you may remember my entry from a couple of weeks ago when I told you that I conquered the internet/cable providers and got us set up with civilization at home.
Well. I was sitting pretty with my 1-megabyte internet connection and 60-odd channels. I was extra pleased because it was the first time in my life that --get this-- I had that feature on TV where you can watch one channel while checking what's on the others. I was also VERY excited because the new remote had a SAP button that worked on all the cable channels.
But Alexandre just couldn't leave well enough alone.
If you're Brazilian or if you live in Brazil, you may have an idea of what transpired when the NET guy came to install our internet and cable stuff. It's Ok if you don't know. I'm going to tell you now.
Alexandre and the NET guy get to talking. The NET guy whips out this fancy digital cable box that's way nicer than the one we had in our last apartment and starts doing all his programming things.
To test the waters, Alexandre comments, "Wow! Such a nice cable box like that, it must be impossible for people to convert them into illegal cable boxes anymore."
NET guy takes the bait. "Nope." :: tongue click tongue click:: "As a matter of fact, I have my own illegal one at home."
"Reeeallllyyy???" Alexandre feigns surprise that the conversation has taken such a turn. "That's interesting. How's it different from mine?"
"I have about 350 channels," NET guy boasts. "All the movie channels, music channels, news...."
"Sport TV? PFC? The Combat Channel?"
"I have about 20 sports channels all in all."
An almost imperceptible gleam began to sparkle in Alexandre's eye. He tries to maintain formalities in the face of such excitement. "And so... Can I ask... How does one go about getting one of these better cable boxes?"
"Well, as a matter of fact," NET guy says casually, "I sell them."
(Cue me in the corner, silently wishing I could fall to my knees and cry out "NOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOO!!!" in dramatic throes of despair.)
Poor little Alexandre. He was like a kid standing in front of his presents on Christmas morning, being told he has to wait quietly for everyone to wake up before he can open them. He was trying so hard not to just burst with elation.
"Oh, you sell them, do you? Where do you get them from?" He asks with a shaky aloofness.
"I know a guy."
That answer seemed to be suitable in ManSpeak, because Alexandre just went on with the questioning. "And... would this cable box work in another apartment if we were to move to another city 10 months from now?"
"Sure, sure. It's universal."
"Very, very interesting! How much do you ask for them?"
When the guy said his price, I thought it was a bit steep for a box that someone probably stole in the first place. But Alexandre quickly reminded me (for the umpteenth time) that, if we can still use it when we move for his residency, we're saving money on cable in the long run, and to just ignore the tiny fact that the whole thing was illegal and immoral.
I repeated my case that I'd rather stick with the legal cable bill to prevent any problems, but that he'd be paying for said shady cable box, and it was his money.
You can guess whose argument won.
All right. So flash forward to a few nights later. NET guy comes back with the contraband, and spends about 40 minutes explaining everything to Alexandre (and by "everything" I mean "the remote"). I wasn't really interested and figured Alexandre could just explain it all to me later, or that I'd figure it out for myself.
After NET guy left, Alexandre was bouncing around the house with happiness.
"TV! TV! TV!"
Then he started to explain all the features to me at about a mile a minute. Most of it went in one ear and out the other. Oh, except for the part when Alexandre joked that he had forgotten to ask NET guy for the password to the porn channels, because I knew that was a lie, and I had to quickly call him on it. I just told him to skip to the part where he tells me how to do the cool things that the last cable box could do, which were put the SAP on and check what's on other channels without actually changing the channel.
Those two features seemed significantly more complicated on this new cable box, so I thought, "maybe I'll just leave the TV alone for a while."
So that's what I did. I just didn't even touch it for 2 days.
When Alexandre came home after work on the first day, the first thing he asked was, "Did you watch TV?!" to which I responded, "Nah.... I had work to do."
When Alexandre came home from work on the second day (today), the first thing he asked was, "Did you watch TV?!" to which I responded, "Nah.... I had -- "
"No?!!? You've gotta try it! Look! It's so cool! Let's turn it on right now!"
I've gotta say that I'm just not that impressed by TV in general. It tends to make me feel more irritated and doomed in a hopeless world of debauchery and immorality rather than, you know, entertained.
But during tonight's bout of coffee-induced insomnia, when Alexandre was already fast asleep, I decided to try out the cable a bit.
CABLE FAIL. I'm, in a word, overwhelmed. A lot of the channels say "Canal Codificado" (?) and just have a black screen. There seem to be about 4 different ways to get to the info screen. And on the info screen, which is supposed to show what's playing on which channels, some of the lines are blank. Some channels seem to repeat, and some numbers don't exist. The SAP thing requires multiple button pushing and is inconsistent.
After unsuccessful fiddling during each commercial break of an episode of "What Not to Wear," I decided to just give up and turn the thing off. I decided that all the effort was not worth it just to get an episode of "The O'Riley Factor" on Fox News or "American Chopper" in English. With those slim pickin's, I'd much, much, much rather not watch TV at all (see "doomed" comment above).
(1) TV isn't that much fun as it is. Don't suck its tiny bit of fun out it by making it a chore.
(2) Who needs TV when you have internet?! ::pets computer affectionately::