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Time Zones

April 13, 2006

"Let me see you through
'Cause I've seen the dark side, too"
-The Pretenders "I'll Stand By You"

There are subtle differences about living in the Central Time Zone versus the Eastern. If you've never lived in both, or at least spent a significant amount of time in both, you probably don't understand. But, at least during an adjustment period, it can be disorienting.

Last night is a perfect example of that. I've been a fan of the show Lost since its debut on ABC. I did a Google search, and found that my first comment about it on here came in September 2004. It has aired at 9 PM Eastern on Wednesday nights on ABC since it debuted. Unlike other networks (NBC, are you listening?), ABC didn't feel the need to shuffle it around or do anything crazy with its timeslot. The ratings were great, and ABC left well enough alone.

The producers overthought the process on Unan1mous, all the way to the show's name.

Unfortunately for me, having that 9 PM Wednesday night burned into my head came back to bite me last night. Remember, that's 9... 8 Central. I ended up watching the last half-hour of American Idol (with three sub-par covers of Queen songs) and then the bizarre "reality" show Unan1mous (yes, that's how it's spelled), which is like the dark side of Big Brother, with sound effects to make it look as creepy and uncomfortable as possible, with hints of The Chair thrown in with the stress everyone is under (and the gritty scenes of 80s movies like The Terminator... you know, where the future is a bleak, dark, depressing place.) Plus they dug up the voice guy from Greed... okay, he's used on every FOX reality show. But I'll always connect him with Greed.

I had trouble keeping track of everyone on Unan1mous, and there was so much backstabbing and double-dealing going on in that 30 minutes that it made my head spin. All I remember is that the fat truck driver guy was voted off at the end... though he still gets to be in the bunker, as now he has to wear some silly shirt with an X on it, like the poker player who was "voted out" last time did. If this explanation sounds confusing, just try watching the show.

Meanwhile, Lost was airing on ABC, and I was missing it, since I had that 9 PM time stuck in my head. I flipped over to ABC and caught the very end (where they have the overrun of 2-3 minutes.) It's times like this where I really miss my DVR; it would have caught the show for me.

This would be as good a spot as any to explain my cable situation. My apartment complex has some sort of deal worked out with Comcast Cable where you can get cable cheaper via the complex. But you HAVE to go through the apartment complex to get it. I had become used to having digital cable, with the big box and everything... but that became an impossibility, since I could choose between only two options: "standard" cable for $30 or "expanded" for $50.

I have found that I've watched less TV since I've moved here, which is probably a good thing. That was unexpected, as I figured moving to a new place where I didn't know anyone, I'd need some entertainment devices. But I tell you what, my Sirius Satellite Radio is amazingly entertaining, and it lets me multi-task (i.e. I can work on my Draft King site while listening to the Howard Stern replay at night.) And without a ridiculously high cable bill anymore, I come out ahead on my money. Advantage: me.

There are advantages to the Central time zone; events don't start so ridiculously late here, or when it's an evening event (like the NCAA national title basketball game), it ends at 11:30 instead of 12:30. I've always found it interesting that the news on the east coast doesn't start on the big three network affiliates (ABC/NBC/CBS) until 11 PM, but the morning newscasts begin at 5 AM, just like in the Central time zone. It's like east coast people who stay up for the late local news just go on less sleep than their midwest counterparts. Sure, some sleep later, but 8 AM or 8:30 AM or whatever starting time is (it's 7:30 AM for me, but I'm the exception, not the rule) is pretty uniform across the country.

Another nice thing about the Central time zone: NFL games will begin at noon, which is something I became used to growing up and then had to adjust away from when I moved to Huntington in 1999.

I have considered getting DirecTV, though I'm not sure if I can get the correct angle from my apartment to get a signal. Maybe when the NFL season approaches I'll consider it (that NFL Season Ticket would be really nice to have...)

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