This life in pictures.

Life

Wherein I Recast Myself as a Conspiracy Theorist or, Where Did My DTV Signal Go?

As many other ‘Muricans, I’ve ditched the cable in recent years. I still have a cable modem, but no overpriced TV.

It’s been a nice experience, overall. You know, there were the normal fights to get a signal and small compromises (few channels). Once I got an external antenna, however, things really turned around. I was able to pull in every expected signal from the region and a few of the less likely ones, too. Most were local network stations, but almost all had an alternative channel that played good movies and classic TV shows. Plus, I had something like 7 channels of PBS. I could almost always find something to watch at nearly any time of day.

Then, one day this summer, things changed. A line of powerful, potentially tornado spawning thunderstorms moved through the area one afternoon. Suddenly, nearly half my channels disappeared like someone had flipped a switch… or a transmitter had been hit by a lightening strike. As the days went on and the signal didn’t appear, I spent a lot of time and endured a lot of frustration trying to dial the signals back in. As summer turned to fall, we just became numb to the inconvenience.

Two weeks ago, the missing channels suddenly reappeared. Signals, which had barely registered strengths in the teens, suddenly shot up into 80 to 90% range. It made absolutely no sense. I began to suspect that my equipment was faulty, but then I spoke with some other people in the area who were experiencing a similar problem. “Damn it, they’re onto us boys, no more free lunch… them cable companies be jamming our signals,” I joked in my worst pirate/30s gangster/dust bowl migrant worker accent.

But what if it’s not such a joke after all?

The abrupt loss and return of the signals seems suspicious. Two of the big cable providers are in serious competition with one expanding the area and the other launching a low ball pricing campaign, each hoping to grow market share in an industry losing customers daily. What if one of them decided to somehow interrupt the transmission of an alternative to their product? Could it be done? I have no idea. Seems like one of them there achievable sci-fi realities, though. Could there be an “agreement” between a cable provider and local networks to reduce transmission power? Perhaps for a modest pile of money? Could the FCC be looking the other way in order to help save a declining media cash cow?

I don’t know… seems kind of too evil, even for corporate ‘Murica. But stranger things have happened and they are pretty evil, them corporations.

Oh, and one other thing… Nearly half of my stations disappeared again last night…

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Hurry Up and Stop.

It occurs to me that it’s been ages since I appeared on the blogs. I know there’s a couple of fine folks out there who look forward to my “content” who have been disappointed by my silence. For that, I sincerely apologize.

The issue is not one of outright neglect, I just have too many interests. Often of late, photography takes a back seat and blogging about out even more so. I have projects in mind, photo experiments to test, hell… I even have photos sitting on the card (still in camera) waiting to be processed…. I just haven’t ben able to afford the time to do much about it.

I’m beginning to think that my time might be better spent diversifying this space and talking about more of my other interest outside photography. I really feel I could be one of them daily bloggists if I unshackled myself. Maybe I should take a moment to figure out how the nuts and bolts of this wordpress thing work and set up some seperate pages for this url. Maybe I should stop thinking “out loud”.

Anyway, expect something a bit different in the future, dear reader. Hopefully the cart won’t get upset too much and all the apples will remain. If not, I thankee for your readership thus far.


The Real Price of Lost Things

The Mighty Boo
The Mighty Boo

Primed for Adventure!

This is Boo… A ten(ish) year old calico that’s been in our family for most of those ten(ish) years. In that time, she’s been out of the house twice. The first time was over five years ago and was resolved very quickly (we found her shaking under the neighbor’s stairs five feet from the window she jumped from). This last time was a different story, however.

I first knew she was gone a week ago when I opened a can of tuna and she didn’t come running. I can’t begin to explain how unusual this is. In fact, she’s usually underfoot whenever anyone is in the kitchen for any reason. A quick look around the apartment showed no signs of her, but we’re messy pack rats with a lot of prime hiding space available for a cat that doesn’t want to be bothered, so we let her have some more time. Once Thursday rolled around with not even a hint of Boo, we became pretty concerned. I started slowly scouring the neighborhood with a container of food, calling and shaking… calling and shaking. The sun set with no sign. I talked to neighbors who may have seen her late Wednesday afternoon out in the yard and another who, inexplicably, claimed to have seen her in the basement and assumed she was a stray, leaving the door open for her to get back out.

The Flyer

This went on for the rest of the week and through the weekend. I made up this boss flyer, hung it in local businesses and handed it out to everyone I came across. I put ads on Craigslist and various online pet finder boards. I plastered the flyer across Facebook and was a general nuisance about it. Then I went back to scouring the neighborhood. Call, shake… call, shake… I must have walked 20 miles looking for this cat. I searched through the basement, garages and storage rooms again and again and again… nothing.

The, Sunday night, I came home from playing an open mike in Providence to find her sitting halfway up the stairwell! She had started going a bit feral and had certainly lost some weight, but was otherwise remarkably clean. We had gone through a couple days of rain while she was gone, yet there wasn’t a speck of dirt or mud or dust or cobwebs or anything on her.

Had she been in the basement or storage room the whole time? I guess we’ll never know. All I do know is that we (the humans) were happy to have her back and that our other cat was dismayed over losing his new alpha status (the dust is still settling there).

So, that all makes for a nice anecdote, but what does it say about the cost of losing things? Consider the time I spent over 5 days of searching and posting and worrying (I didn’t even mention the number of times I stopped while walking by a window to scan the yard). We’re talking about hours and hours! That is time away from family, time away from maintaining the home, time robbed from working on projects, and a general lack of focus. True, a lost set of keys or wallet or a missing cell phone might not turn out to be as much of a life sucking experience as a lost pet, but there will still be the time searching them out.  There’s also the distinct possibility of monetary cost should the item not turn up. And if you do lose something with critical information in it, be prepared for the hours of due diligence necessary to protect your identity.

Be careful out there.

And a special thanks to missingpetsri, Ivy’s Place, Michele & Jacob for being so helpful in the search!