And now, some thoughts on the amazing putridity that is TV.
Having spent close to three full weeks in the hospital over the past month, I've had ample opportunity to watch more than my fair share of television during this time. Frankly, there's not much else to do besides read, and I've done some of that as well, but since I've been on painkilling drugs that alter my lucidity much of the time, watching TV is the easiest and most brainless pastime there is at the moment.
Despite the presence of my 50" high-def TV at home, I actually don't watch that much TV in my free time (this whole hospital thing excluded, of course), so while I was vaguely aware of the pathetic state of the boob tube, I had no idea as to the extent of just how ridiculous the whole thing really is. From the programming to the commercials, it's hard to accurately summarize in words just how much complete crap there is on TV, but I'm in a saucy mood, so I'll give it a go.
First off, put yourself in my shoes for a moment. You're facing a life-threatening disease and while you have all confidence that you'll win the battle and enjoy a long and prosperous life, you need to always keep your mind focused on positive thoughts and concepts. Meanwhile, you're receiving a constant flow of painkilling drugs that slightly alters your perception of what you see and hear, amplifying the extremes of the emotional spectrum. Ergo, the highs get higher and the lows get lower, and anything with a negative connotation has a more severe effect than usual.
Now that you know a bit more about where I'm coming from, here's what I've learned by watching the 20ish available channels (ESPN not being among them) here at Alta Bates over the last three days, as well as the 25ish channels I had at Stanford before that:
* Over two million customers have switched their phone service to Vonage. I know this because a smug woman tells me so in the same commercial three times an hour, regardless of which channel I happen to be on. Discovery Channel, Food Network, whatever -- the same commercial airs all day, every day, everywhere.
* Apparently Hulk Hogan is really important at the moment, because every time I flipped through Headline News when I was at Stanford, he was on the TV. I have no idea why he's important because I refuse to stop and read the headlines regarding him, but from what I can gather, the world is revolving around Hulk Hogan at present time.
* I can't stop on CNN for too long because 90% of the stories deal with gas prices, the energy crisis, some sort of murder or death or mayhem, or other news that doesn't exactly feed a positive mindset.
* Invariably, network programming presents the same dilemma, unless I happen to stumble upon a comedy. I can't watch any drama shows because half the time there's someone getting killed or the story revolves around someone with a disease, and again, this is not the sort of stuff my mind needs to be focusing on at present time.
* I can always go to the History Channel for a little non-fiction fix, but last night they were running a series called Ice Road Truckers or some such thing. Are you kidding me? What happened to the "History" part of the "History Channel"? And why would I care about ice road truckers? What's next -- they gonna do a show about how deadly it is to fish in open waters?
* The TNTs, TBSs, and USAs of the world have completely given up when it comes to weekend programming. Yesterday I checked these networks several times over the course of the day and I kid you not, these channels were repeating the same movies all weekend. One of the channels showed Spider-Man on both Saturday and Sunday; another channel alternated between Iron Eagle and A Knight's Tale all day yesterday. So let me get this straight -- if I missed that all-important showing of Iron Eagle (a really crap movie from 1986, for what it's worth) at 11 AM, I can still catch repeats at 3 PM and 7 PM? Great, thanks a ton.
I mean, come on, at least try and mix things up a little, would ya?
* Along the same vein, last night A&E was alternating between hour-long blocks of The Two Coreys and Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Setting aside for a moment the fact that these two shows even exist in the first place, whatever happened to the network that brought us Biography? Now that was a show that was often worth watching.
* Apparently pharmaceutical companies have developed quick-and-easy solutions to just about every medical condition out there (except my own), because ads for drugs simply cannot be avoided. It's such a pleasure to be watching a comedy or something, have the show cut to an ad break, and hear a narrator say something like "If you have Type 2 diabetes, then we've got the answer for you..." or something similar. Makes it real easy for me to keep my mind off my own particular medical condition.
So, to sum up: I can't watch the news because it's too depressing, I can't watch network programming because it's too dramatic, I refuse to watch reality TV because it's all crap, and even the commercials are a detriment to my mindset. Therefore, I've been reduced to looking for Seinfeld reruns or even scraping the bottom of the barrel and watching old episodes of Home Improvement (a show that I used to enjoy back in the day, but can now watch for many consecutive hours without laughing once).
Ah well, thus endeth my rant. Thankfully my mom is dropping by to bring me my new Amazon Kindle, which a friend so graciously bought for me, so I'll give that a go and maybe try to do some more reading. I'm sure I'll do some more channel surfing this evening, but I've developed a pretty quick trigger finger for the on/off switch when I find there's nothing even remotely worth looking at (which is typically the case).
Still haven't talked to a doctor yet today, so I'm not sure of how long I'll be here, but as always, I'll keep y'all posted when I find out something new. I'm going to get up and walk around and get a little exercise now before the next pain shot arrives in a half-hour or so... and then maybe I'll look for a repeat of Friends to send me into a quick catnap.
With much love,