Sunday, December 02, 2012

About to start the next No-TV challenge

Um, yeah.... It's me again. And yes, I've been watching a little TV.  OK, I've been watching a shit-ton of TV. I'm actually embarrassed to see the last post here was in August of 2006, and I've been back to my old habits for quite some time.

On a positive note, I haven't forgotten all the reasons I gave up TV before, and this blog has been sitting here quietly calling to me for the past 6 years. Holy crap, did I just say 6 years?!?!  :(

Anyway, stay tuned cuz I have a new focus in the upcoming new year. I've started up a new personal blog (, another blog where I'm going to review Made in USA products I've been buying for the past 2-3 years, and I have a few other irons in the fire as well. If I work on these new projects like I want to, there won't be much time for TV. That's the plan anyway!

Oh, and I'm also going to cancel Netflix before the next billing cycle starts on 12/13 (more on that later).

For now, keep well and please -- turn off the damn TV and do something productive! 

Monday, August 21, 2006

A New Weapon in the War Against TV

OK, this is a beautiful thing! After my last post, I kept surfing around for more anti-TV stuff to get me motivated. Luckily I found this HILARIOUS article about a TV vigilante in New York who goes around turning off TV's in stores, bars, or wherever he happens to find them!

How does he do it without getting busted? With the TV-B-Gone Universal TV Remote Control of course!

How awesome is that? I'm thinking I could have a blast with one of these little devices. Imagine the confusion and bewilderment as TV's start randomly turning off in department stores, bars, restaurants, homes, etc.

You can read the TV vigilante article here, but then how about going to get your own TV-B-Gone and join the fight against MIND SEWAGE!

TV is McDonaldizing our perspectives, knowledge, tastes and desires!

I've been failing miserably at my latest Anti-TV campaign. My goal, when I started this blog, was to eliminate TV from my life. That hasn't quite happened yet, but I won't quit trying until I'm 100% TV free.

I quit smoking cold-turkey over 15 years ago, so I'm not about to believe that the boob-tube is a stronger addictive force than nicotine! If I kicked the cigs and never went back, I can certainly beat this TV thing!

Anyway, after spending almost 10 hours today in front of the television (no, I'm not kidding), I decided it was time for a little anti-TV motivation. I asked my wife if she ever felt guilty wasting so much time in front of the tube doing absolutely nothing. Her answer, not surprisingly, was "NO." She feels that she works hard, so when she has the opportunity to relax, she takes it.

I question whether having your ass plopped in front of the TV for 10+ hours is really the best way for anyone to relax, but it's almost pointless trying to reason with her.

Anyway, after a little Googling for new anti-TV info, I came across an interesting website. Oddly enough, it's a Islamic site and most of the stuff I read is directed as Muslims. Personally, I think we're all equal in the eyes of the evil TV gods, so feel free to substitute in whatever religion you are as you read. :-)

In addition to this article, they have a whole series called the "UnTV Guide". I love it!

So here's an excerpt from the first article I landed on which was titled, "Television and You"...

Night after night, we sit for long hours in dark rooms. Identical images flow into our brains, McDonaldizing our perspectives, knowledge, tastes, desires.

We spend more hours watching nature shows than experiencing the real thing; more time laughing at TV jokes than making jokes ourselves; more time experiencing TV sports than actually picking a ball in our hands.

Halal and haram are lost when eyes are mesmerized, fixed on that 19" piece of furniture.

Our brains are targeted at the rate of 3,000 marketing messages per day -- twelve billion display ads, three million radio ads and over 300,000 TV commercials toxins are dumped on us. Our attention spans are diminishing, our imaginations giving out, we are unable to remember the past.

While competing for the best of this world, we once in a while recall about the everlasting life. But that moment doesn't last very long. It is washed away pretty fast as we willingly set down for another session with the thing.

Continue reading here...

I don't know about you, but I thought that was pretty powerful! The whole reference to McDonald's was perfect too because I just watched "Super Size Me" again with my parents yesterday. Maybe someday, when I get the TV monkey off my back, I'll start an anti-fast-food blog.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

8 Changes I Experienced After Giving Up TV

Steve Pavlina is apparently doing a WHOLE lot better than I am at avoiding the idiot box. A couple weeks ago, he published this article about the 8 Changes he Experienced After Giving Up TV.

This is a great article and should provide some motivation by realizing how much of a time and energy leech the tube really is.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day 1 - Survived a night without the idiot box

Well, I made it through last night, which I'm considering to be Day 1 in my new anti-TV campaign. As I look ahead, I almost dread all the symptoms I'm going to encounter as I attempt this again. The nervousness, fidgiting, wondering what to do with my time... It's much more difficult that most might imagine, especially if you aren't addicted to TV.

Anyway, I ate dinner away from the tube, and then did some reading and made a few updates to my website. Then I spent about an hour talking to my wife. It was quite nice, and I really didn't miss the TV at all. but then again, the withdrawal doesn't really set in until about the 3rd day.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Another Anti-TV Wakeup Call

Somebody is trying to tell me something... Jesse from "You Need A Budget" just posted an article about investing, and somehow managed to work the TV thing in.

I guess it's time for another full-blown campaign to kill the boob tube! :-)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

No More TV for Steve Pavlina

Yes, it really has been almost a year since I last posted to this blog. And yes, I totally fell off the wagon and went back to watching TV. In fact, I'm right back to watching the tube pretty much every night while I eat, and then later falling asleep on the couch or floor while the TV plays on throughout the night.

It's actually quite pitifull...

But today, I was fortunate enough to read a new post over on about his experiment with giving up TV. Steve's site and blog is one of my most favorite right now because everything he writes about is stuff I'm interested in. His ability to articulate complex and thought provoking topics is really incredible.

Anyway, Steve is in the middle of a 30 day TV fast which be believes will most likely turn into a TV-free life. His post, and a few other anti-TV sites he linked to, reminded me of all the reasons I tried to give up the tube before.

I was successful last year for a little over 30 days, so lets see how well I can do this time. Drop me a comment here if you've already given up TV, or if you plan to, and tell me about your experience.

PS. Steve blogged last year about his whole family doing a 30 day TV fast. It includes many great comments by other readers.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Bonified Couch Potato

Here's another one of those "totally scientific" tests I found to determine if you're a hopeless TV addict or not.

I have to admit the test is pretty easy, but it's still no surprise I scored a perfect Couch Potato.

Here are my results...

You scored 100 out of a possible 100 points.

How'd you do? Compare your score to the ranges below.
0-20: You prefer a good book.
40-60: TV temperate.
80-100: Couch potato!

Go take the test and see how you fare. The website also has some great family ideas for things to do instead of watching TV.

Why Does TV Suck?

Don't worry, I'm still not watching TV, but I'm also not doing much else either. I just haven't felt like blogging because I'm still in a mental funk. Until someone sends me some really good drugs, or until I snap out of it on my own, you'll just have to deal.

I was surfing around tonight and found these really good reasons why TV sucks and I figured someone else might enjoy them as much as I did:

1. It's totally passive. One of the biggest problems with T.V. is that it doesn't take much brainwork to operate it. You turn it on, sit down, and watch. And watch...and for millions of people, it takes up 2/3 of their lives. They come home from work, turn on the T.V., and just glaze over until bedtime. They sit their kids down in front of it and let it baby-sit for hours on end. Kids are subjected to all kinds of worthless programming just so their parents can take a break from parenting for a few hours every day.

2. It spoonfeeds useless garbage to the public. Brainless sitcoms, sleazy tabloid news shows, worthless talk shows, cheesy infomercials, biased & negative reporting, and advertisements that insult the intelligence of the average titmouse. But when the public is trained to love this stuff, how can it fail to please? When T.V. is your third parent while growing up, how can you be expected to turn it off after five hours?

3. It's increasingly anti-male. This is something I began to notice years ago. Do you ever notice how men are treated and portrayed in commercials and sitcoms? The average male on T.V. is a shallow, bumbling idiot with no common sense whatsoever. Now, before some of you women out there claim that this is reality, think about it. Do you think this is accurate because all the men you know are stupid, or is it because men are classically portrayed as idiots on T.V., the greatest influence on our culture ever? Commercials are the worst...usually the man is an overweight, balding guy with glasses who needs some help from his omnipotent wife. T.V. men are incompetent and helpless without their smirking, intellectually superior spouses. Once in a while I'll see a woman acting silly and superficial, but usually it's a man. (Radio is getting this way as well. I can't count the number of times I've driven to work and yelled at my radio all the way because of man-bashing ads. They're usually subtle, but sometimes they're just outright vicious.)

4. Too damn many car commercials. My God...why can't I sit through a half-hour show without having to suffer through 10,000 car and truck ads? I'm not saying that we need regulations against it or anything, but when will enough be enough? Whatever happened to looking in the Yellow Pages or reading the newspaper?

There are definitely a WHOLE lot more reasons than these why TV sucks, but I don't feel like coming up with any of my own right now.


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Couch Potato Syndrome?

I finally figured out what ails me! Read this article about a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Here's a short excerpt which is a real head slapper.

NBC 10 NEWS - Health - Study: Too Much TV Is Bad For Health: "People who spend a lot of time in front of the TV have this kind of couch potato syndrome,' said Dr. Frank Hu, of the Harvard School of Public Health. 'They eat more food, eat more calories and eat more junk food because of constant exposure to TV commercials. And they also exercise less."

As soon as CPS (Couch Potato Syndrome) is recognized as an official disorder, I can apply for assistance under the Americans With Disabilities Act and finally get some time off work. ;-)

If you're so inclined, you can pay for access to JAMA and read the entire study.

My Brain Won't Remember Anymore

I found a blog post by "Storypage" talking about his break from TV. He's been away from it about 30 days now too, but something he mentioned in his post caught my attention.

My Frugal Life: No TV: "I don't see TV pictures in my head. I see (as in notice) more things as I go through my day, live more mindfully, remember more."

I've been noticing that I can't seem to remember anything lately, and I have to wonder if it's somehow related to my long-standing TV addiction. My brain has been turned into complete mush from the hundreds of hours of TV I subjected it to, and now it's getting even.

When I do try to remember something, I can't seem to get the information to surface when I need it. It's like a wall up there blocking the details from getting to where they need to be. Then, hours later, when I no longer need the info, it pops into clear view! Maybe my brain is trying to heal itself and get all those synapses working again between the two hemispheres.

Hey I don't know what it's doing, but I certainly hope and pray it will get better the longer I'm away from the tube.

The Big 30 Day Milestone

Where has Dave been since July 3rd?? Good question...I'm not sure either.

For the past week, I've been totally in the dumps (mentally) for some reason. I haven't felt like doing anything. I'm not sure if it's because of the weather or because I'm depressed about our modular home. Or it could be because I discovered a bunch of water damage in the master bathroom of our existing home. I've just been laying around the house and doing a whole lot of nothing (it seems). I try to read or surf the net a bit, but nothing holds my attention.

Weather wise, it's been way too hot to feel good about doing anything. I haven't been out on my bike, or working in the yard much. And then to run the air conditioning inside, I'm always stewing about how much that is going to run our electric bill up. I'm hopeless!

As far as the modular home on the lake thing goes, nothing seems to be working out. We never did hear anything back on the counter-offer we made on that piece of property. I guess they didn't like the terms of the offer. Oh well... Now, Michele and I are arguing about whether or not to list it with a realtor and just try to get rid of it. She REALLY wants a place up on a lake in Michigan, and I just want to dump the place.

So anyway, the good news is I've made it to the big 30 day mark of my break from TV!!! I have to say the last week has made it a bit rough and I even had one minor back slide.

Yesterday, which was day 30, I watched one show on CNN called something like The Turnaround. It's where they take a struggling business and bring in a mentor to completely turn the business around and make it more successful. It was around lunch time, and Michele was already watching it. The people talking on the show caught my attention because I love to learn how businesses are able to turn things around and become successful, so I didn't see the harm in watching just while I ate my lunch. It was a very interesting and educational show, and I'm not going to beat myself up about watching it.

I'll get back to blogging on a regular basis again, mainly for me, because it helps keep me on track and focused on the reasons I stopped watching TV in the first place. I also need to figure out what to do to get out of this mental funk I'm in. Exercising would probably do the trick, but every time I think about doing that, some little voice in my head quickly talks me out of it. :-)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Finally - TV Addicts Anonymous :-)

I just found out one of my blog visitors, Chris S., has also been blogging about his TV addiction. I believe he's on day 9 of his TV abstinence. Way to go Chris!

The absolutely hilarious thing is that Chris and I have discovered we're going through very similar experiences during our liberation from the boob tube. Specifically, the withdrawal symptoms and our desire to start organizing everything!

So, I encourage you to visit Chris over at his blog, TV Addicts Anonymous, and show your support.

TV and Procrastination - A vicious Cycle

Check out Kat talking about her TV addiction and how it feeds her procrastination problem. Boy oh boy, can I relate to this blog post!

Here's a short excerpt I pulled out:

First and foremost, I am a complete and utter T.V. addict. If they had a T.V. addicts anonymous, I'd be at the front of the line. I turn on the T.V. when I wake up in the morning and as soon as I get in the front door after work. It's a habit I've nutured since my car accident and I'll be the first to admit that it's soaked up almost all of my writing time. And I've let it.

Read the entire post here at...THE SOAPBOX:

Saturday, July 02, 2005

A link between TV watching and ADD

Alright now, I'm certainly no expert but I just knew there had to be a link between the television and ADD. Here's a quote from the article I found:

Studies show ADHD increased with the introduction of children’s television in the 1950s and then spiked higher in the mid 1980s when VCRs and home video became commonplace. Although the condition is known to be genetic, scientists have noted its rapid spread throughout every social class of children, and guessed that there could be an environmental cause. TV watching is a cause, this study shows.

Read the whole thing here...

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Long Awaited Before & After Office Pics

It's not perfect, but I'll take it! Here are the long awaited pictures of my office after the I-can't-watch-TV-so-maybe-I'll-organize-something bug bit me.

There's definitely more to do, but it's a great start. My bookshelves need some serious help. I plan on eBay'ing all the books and manuals I no longer use or want. The printer you see sitting on the floor should be up on eBay sometime this weekend too.

If you look at the right side of my desk (in the above pics) you can see a couple of stackable trays. Out of the entire mess that used to be on my desk and around the office, that's all I have left to process. Well, OK... I lied just a bit. There is one box left in my closet which contains the remains of all my sorting and purging. It's not stuff I really care about now, but it is stuff I need to file away for reference/archive purposes.

Here's a brief reminder of what my desk looked like just two days ago:

I vow, right here before God and all my Anti-TV peeps, I will continue to collect, process, and purge all my "stuff" until only the important "stuff" is left.

Now here's the biggie (for me anyway)... I'm also going to get my personal financial information back up-to-date in the computer, starting at January of this year.

Back in the day, I used to keep my info (bank, credit, and investment records) up to date in Quicken like it was a religion or something. It felt really good to be in total control and know exactly where we stood financially at a moments notice.

Today, I have a pretty good idea, but I'm not in control like I used to be. I miss that. It's also hypocritical of me to preach to others about matters of money when I myself have managed to get slightly off track recently. Hey, I blame it on the TV!

So this year, I've decided to dump Quicken and make the big switch to Microsoft Money 2005. I spent some time playing around with Money 2005 and it's a HUGE improvement over past versions. Where they were lacking in past versions, there are now several great reasons to switch.

I'm rambling about things you probably don't care about, so I think I'll sign off for the night and get some sleep.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

My Life Has Been Reduced to...


That's right fellow TV haters -- you're looking at bag #2 of feckless indoctrination obliviated into tiny bits of nothingness.

Actually I did most of the work last night, but was simply too tired to care about taking a picture at the time. Tonight, I finished up one last small stack of shredding that needed to be done. I even took time out to watch Coach Carter on DVD, which I highly recommend by the way! It was inspirational...I laughed...I cried...I felt good inside.

My office is starting to really show promise. I can see the top of my desk, and I've eliminated at least 3 of the boxes that were sitting around on the floor. However, it looks like I might need another day before I can post some 'after' pictures. So stay tuned...

If you're wondering about that little dog head sticking out of the bag, I'm not sure what to say. I tried to keep him away from the shredder, but he kept begging and jumping up on it. Next thing I knew, he was getting sucked in. Thankfully it got stuck at his shoulders, overheated, and turned off.

HA! Just kidding! Now I hope that doesn't generate a flood of hate mail from a bunch of animal lovers. Trust me, I would NEVER do anything to hurt my little Reeses boo! :-)

Of course, I did use him against his will to pose for the picture. That's pure poochie exploitation. Hey, he got a treat out of it!

I'm sure you're asking yourself why Dave spent 2 hours tonight in front of the evil boob tube to watch a movie. Well I've talked about this in previous posts, but I do think it's OK to "use" the TV once in a while for a little entertainment. It's also one of the rare occasions when I can still spend some time with the family. Remember, they're all still possessed by the thing, but I'm slowly working toward a full exorcism.

Simply trust that there is a method to my madness.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Time for a Party - I'll Bring the Confetti!

Friends, that is one MONSTER bag of shredded uselessness!

In case you're wondering why I've posted a picture of a bag filled with tiny scraps of paper, you'll need to read my previous posts from earlier tonight. Er, make that from late last night.

As always, you can click on the pic for a larger view.

If I had to guess, I'd say it weighs at least 30 pounds. I even had to squish it down with my foot twice to get more in there.

Do you realize that bag represents about 4 years worth of old receipts, statements, bills, and God knows what else? All the while I was shredding, I kept asking myself, "Why...why in the world would I save all this crap?!?"

Wait, I know! Because I was too busy doing other important things like trying to make a permanent imprint of my butt in one of the couch cushions.

Geesh, would ya' look at the time? I'm obviously delirious from sleep deprivation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

BEFORE: The Home Office Wasteland

After my last post, I decided to throw you a little bone by at least posting the before pictures from my home office nightmare.

Check these out... (click any picture for a larger view)

Can you believe that mess?!?! How do you suppose I can find anything in there??

Oh, news flash -- I CAN'T!!! :-(

The boxes you see sitting on the floor contain paperwork I've been moving from house to house for several years now. And there are at least three more boxes in the closet which you can't see in these pics. If you ask me, that pretty much defines insanity!

Like I said, I'm working on it now, and I'll post the "after" pictures in a few days. I would've never got around to doing this if I was still watching television.

The Paper Clutter MUST BE STOPPED!

It's Day 20 of my TV-fast and either I'm getting really bored or my energy is returning and I'm finally starting to get more productive.

Why? I'm gonna tell you...

At the moment, I'm sitting in my office next to three boxes and several stacks of old paperwork and receipts I pulled off my desk and out of my closet. Next to the paper mess is my shredder and a garbage bag full of shredded paper! For the past 2-3 hours I've been sorting and tossing, mostly tossing.

Gosh it really feels good; almost spiritual if you can believe that! Having tons of old useless stuff around you all the time literally saps your energy. You might not realize it, but you are always thinking about things in your life that are not done or not in their proper place. Even if it's totally on a subconscious level, it's still consuming your energy and affecting your daily routine.

Remember my post from a couple days ago about the book, Getting Things Done, and how it spurred me to completely empty my email inbox at work? Well, it was last Thursday when I did that, and it's STILL empty today!

This is a very strange phenomena, but I truly feel about 10 times more productive at work. Since I no longer have 1000+ not-dealt-with messages in my inbox and I'm now dealing with new emails almost the moment they come in, I'm able to get a lot more done, and feel much more in control of my day. If I'm away from my desk for a while, I take 5-10 minutes when I return to deal with everything that has accumulated. No matter what it is, I either delete it, defer it to someone else, file it away for future action or reference, or I create an appointment or task out of it depending on what it is of course.

Needless to say, this puts me in a MUCH better mood while at work, and I feel closure and accomplishment when I leave for the day.

So, do I attribute all this new found energy and desire to get organized to the fact that I'm no longer watching the idiot box? You bet I do!!! Otherwise, I'd still be laying on the family room floor staring at the cool blinky flashy screen for 4-6 hours every night. In fact, that's what Michele is doing right now. She has MAJOR issues! LOL

Stay tuned because in a few days I'm going to post the before and after pictures of my home office so you can see the results of my organizing efforts. You're gonna love it! :-)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

New! Facts and Figures about the TV Habit

The TV-Turnoff Network recently posted this interesting PDF file on their website. It contains a couple pages of eye-opening statistics and facts about TV watching. I noticed some repeats of the stats I posted back on the 13th of this month, but this file has quite a bit more info than that article did.

The document also includes a full list of sources, so you know this isn't just a bunch of hooey some TV-hater threw together.

Click here to check it out (you'll need Adobe Acrobat to read it).

Dave is Getting Things Done!

Wow, time really zips by doesn't it?? My last post was four days ago!

I'm still successfully avoiding the TV and it's starting to feel more natural. Each day gets a little easier because I no longer feel drawn to it like a magnet. Just two nights ago, I got a bug up my butt and decided I was going to empty my Outlook Inbox at work. This strange idea was prompted by my reading of concepts taught in David Allen's book, Getting Things Done. The concepts are amazingly simple and it's probably one of the best time management and organizational systems I've ever found.

So while Michele was busy in the kitchen, I was sitting in the family room VPN'd into work attacking my Inbox. After about 3 hours, I managed to whittle my messages from just over 1,000 all the way down to 0 (yes, ZERO)! The incredible thing is that I only saved about 20 into a reference folder, and about a dozen others became tasks for me to take care of later. I had no idea how wonderful it would feel to see an inbox with ZERO messages in it after almost 4 years of working at the company. But, let me tell ya', it was great!

(Did I mention the TV was TURNED OFF the entire time? Man it was awesome! We listened to CD's on the stereo and talked while we both worked productively. What a concept!)

Oddly enough, Friday at work I felt about 10 times more productive. As new emails came in, I dealt with them immediately or turned them into tasks to be dealt with later. I left work with my Inbox once again at zero. David Allen calls this "Zero Base" in his book. Of course, zero base also includes all the other inboxes (is that a word?) in our life such as desks, coffee tables, kitchen tables and wherever else we have papers strewn about that need to be dealt with. I'll be working on THAT part of my life very soon. I've really only scratched the surface of Getting Things Done because I haven't even read the whole book yet.

Have you noticed yet that I like to jump around from book to book to book? I never seem to finish anything. I skim and skip, taking all the nuggets of wisdom I want, and then I move on to something else.

See, I told ya' I have ADD! :-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Still TV-free and loving it!

My sister gave me a little crapola today because I haven't posted any updates in 2 days. Geez, a guy has to sleep ya' know!

Anyway, I suppose I'm on day 13 now and, I'm still TV free! In fact, it's getting noticeably easier, but I'm still not doing enough important stuff from my task list. When I'm bored, I find myself getting on the computer, or just laying in bed and staring at the ceiling. I guess "stir crazy" would be a good descriptive phrase for what I've been experiencing. I even stopped reading my stock market books and started reading about adult A.D.D. I'm pretty much convinced I have it.

The last couple days have been pretty busy anyway. After Father's Day, I actually took a personal day from work because of some stuff I needed to take care of. I would tell you about it, but it was, well...personal. :-) Last night, we drove up to the lake again and finally found a small empty lot we've decided to make an offer on. After work tonight, we figured up our initial expenses, our new monthly expenses compared to our current monthly expenses. It was pretty much a no-brainer, so we called the realtor to make an offer. Unfortunately she wasn't home so we're waiting on a call back. If all goes well, we'll be moving our manufactured home to a nice lot about 200 feet from Devil's Lake in Michigan by the end of next month. Several "shacks" in the area are getting $700-$1000 per week in rental fees, so we should do quite well with a brand new (well, 2002) 4-bedroom manufactured home sitting up there.

As far as the boob-tube goes, I've been doing a great job of avoiding it, but I'm no longer spending much time in the same room with my wife. We ordered pizza tonight and I decided to sit in the family room with her while we ate. She, of course, watched TV while I glanced around the room or stared outside. Ok, I admit, the TV caught my eye about a half dozen times, but for no more than a second each time. I tried talking to Michele, but she was more concerned with the blinky flashy lights emanating from the idiot box. She even "Shhhh'd" me once and turned up the TV!

The more I'm able to observe her watching the tube, the more I'm convinced it is truly a sickness and a VERY powerful addiction. She's actually sitting there for hours upon hours passively watching someone else's life wiz by. It doesn't matter if it's a fantasy life on some sitcom, or the depressing real life of someone on a newscast. I guess it's all fantasy when you aren't living your own life. That was me just 13 days ago!!

That's all I have for fingers hurt. :-(

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Day 11 - Fathers Day, and still TV-Free!

Well, it's been 11 days since I started this little adventure and I'm still 99.95% TV-Free. Of course I pulled that percentage out of thin air, but I'm just figuring .05% will account for the movies (didn't really want to count them anyway) and all the times I unconsciously glanced at the TV or watched an entire show like "7th Heaven".

Confession time... Last night I went downstairs around 10pm with one of the books I'm reading and sat down on the love seat. Michele was already fast asleep on the couch after another long afternoon up in Michigan looking at properties. As you probably guessed, the TV was on and the remote was sitting within arms reach of Michele. For some reason, I figured I could sit there in the same room and read my book without being distracted by the tube. Boy was I wrong! Next thing I know, Billy Gillman (remember him?) was on some show singing one of his new songs. Well let me tell ya', this kid has an AMAZING voice and I couldn't help but be drawn to it. I sat there for at least 5 or 6 minutes watching the TV as Billy performed his song. As soon as he finished, I jumped up and turned it off.

I think I'm actually doing pretty good on this TV fast, considering how addicted I am to the thing! A few moments of weakness are to be expected, right? C'mon, I need some assurance!

The absolute hardest part for me is still trying to figure out what to do with myself when I'm not watching the idiot box. Despite the fact that I have 4 gazzilion things on my "to do" list, I still find myself pacing around, upstairs, downstairs, back and forth and really doing a whole lot of nothing. Oh sure, I'm thinking about my list, but I just can't get into a good project yet. I suppose it's a little too early and I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Once the really strong withdrawal symptoms pass, I'm sure the situation will improve on it's own.

Oh wait, I did do one good thing yesterday... I washed and vacuumed my car, renewed my license plates (remember my birthday was last week) and took it over to an empty lot on a really busy road nearby to advertise the fact that it's for sale. I even put my bike in the back seat so I'd be forced to get some exercise by riding home. Michele has been bugging me for at least a couple weeks to get it out so people can see it. Once it sells, we're going to buy an older, inexpensive used car that my daughter and I can share.

Well, that's enough typing for today... For all you fathers out there - HAPPY FATHERS DAY! I'm going out to breakfast with my family.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Non-Scientific TV Addiction Test

This originally came from the Kill Your Television website, but I'm re-posting it here for everyone's benefit:

Test Your TV Addiction -- A Non-Scientific Quiz

Please try to answer honestly!

1.) I eat meals while watching TV.
a. Just about every meal
b. Sometimes
c. Occasionally (ed: er .. what's the difference between 'sometimes' and 'never'?)
d. Never

2.) When forced to miss a favorite TV show in order to spend time with friends or family, I would usually:
a. Find a way out of the social engagement
b. Suggest that the entire group watch the show together
c. Reluctantly agree to miss the show
d. Not be at all bothered by missing the show

3.) Without looking at a TV guide, I am sure of the channel and starting time for (not counting news programs)
a. 10 or more shows
b. 5-9 shows
c. 2-4 shows
d. 0-1 show

4.) I get irritated with others for being too loud or otherwise disturbing me while I'm watching TV
a. Frequently
b. Sometimes
c. Occasionally
d. Never/rarely

5.) In order to make me give up TV entirely for a year, somebody would have to pay me
a. A million dollars or more
b. Five thousand dollars
c. Five hundred dollars
d. Nothing - I'd do it for free

Scoring: For every "a" give yourself 4 points, 3 points for a "b", 2 for a "c", 1 for a "d"

16-20 - You're going to die a TV-related death.
11-15 - Not quite as bad, but turn off "The Bachelor" already.
9-10 - Still not great -- I bet you're unwilling to give up "Will and Grace," huh?
6-8 - You're getting there, but you still have to deal with your unshakable crush on Peter Jennings.
5 - Nice work. Now don't be one of those people who brags about it in every conversation.

My score: If I were to answer these based on my life before this personal TV-turnoff campaign of mine, I would have to say I'm definitely going to die a TV related death! As far as giving up TV (question #5), last month it would have cost you a million dollars, but today I guess I'm doing it for free. And I gotta tell you, it's worth every penny!

If this don't make ya' quit TV, nothing will!

Here's an old article I found about an experiment done back in 1974:

TV Addiction: "In 1974, the Denver Post persuaded 25 families with young children to participate in an experiment: Go one month without watching any television. The 15 families that managed to stick with that boob tube blackout reported that, after the initial adjustment, their homes were more peaceful and relaxed . . . the children helped out more (with the dishes, in the garden, etc.) . . . they played together better and played outside more often . . . they became more involved with crafts, puzzles, family games, reading, and model building . . . the parents spent more time on their own projects, such as sewing, woodworking, and reading . . . meals were more leisurely and enjoyable . . . everyone got more sleep . . . they all interacted better, and generally felt much closer as families. It was as if someone had given them all a gift of extra hours in the day."

Read the full article here...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

My Incredibly Boring Night...

Nothing much happened tonight, so I'll try not to bore you to death.

My wife and kids were gone again when I got home from work and I struggled to keep busy. I rode my bike to the video store (about 4 miles) to take some rented movies back. Then I came home and watched "The Aviator" (the only one I didn't return) because my wife said it was really good!

That's two DVD movies I've watched now since kicking off this whole anti-TV thing. Still, it's way better than the 6 or 7 hours of mindless channel surfing I was doing before. So, I watched The Aviator, turned off the TV and read a book before falling asleep on the couch. Michele and the kids woke me up when they got home and then I went to bed.

Gee, wasn't that exciting??

Of course, I had to make a blog pit stop on my way to bed so I could record this incredibly riveting phase of my TV fast -- aren't you fortunate to have been a part of it? ;-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Staying Busy is My Only Hope!

Whew! I thought tonight was going to be a battle when I got home from work. The wife and kids are gone and I have the house to myself. That's the absolute WORST time for a TV addict because boredom takes over and you get powerful urges to watch TV.

Thankfully, as I walked up the driveway, I noticed two packages on the porch. One is the new cordless phone with digital answering machine I ordered from and the other one is the new vertical blinds Michele got me for my birthday. Hey wait a minute! She gets me a gift and I have to install it? Something is wrong with that picture!

Anyway, I'm not complaining because it gives me LOTS to do tonight while the wife and kids are away.

TV Addiction Article (PDF)

Hey, I found the entire TV addiction article from Scientific American as referenced in my last post (breaking the TV addiction link). It's a PDF file so you'll need the free Acrobat Reader program to view it. Click here to download Acrobat for free if you don't already have it.

I haven't read the entire 8 pages yet, but what I started reading on page 1 looks pretty interesting. I'm printing it off now and will read it before I go to sleep tonight.

Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Strong Signs of Addiction Starting to Show!

After mowing the grass and eating some dinner, I was left all alone in the house because my wife had to take the kids to a concert. I checked my email and surfed the net for a few minutes, Then I went downstairs and found myself wandering around, looking out the windows, wandering some more, wandering, looking, wandering... Ultimately I laid down on the family room floor to crack my back. Ah! That hurt so good!

As I lay there on the floor, I started to think about all the reasons why this whole "kick the TV thing" is a dumb idea. In my head, I was criticizing my blog, telling myself nobody cares, trying to convince myself that watching TV isn't really so bad, realizing I'll never stick to it anyway, and so on. I mean, c'mon, what's the point? What's so terrible about watching a little TV??

Whoa Nelly! Is that a classic addiction thought pattern or what? I've never been through any 12-step programs for anything, but I have done enough reading to know I have a real problem! I damn near had myself talked out of all this foolishness and was ready to turn on the tube and settle in for some nice channel surfing.

Thankfully, I came to my senses for 2 seconds, flipped on the stereo, and headed back upstairs to tell my blog what an idiot I am.

Before submitting this post, I decided to do a little research on "TV Addiction". Google spit back a little over 2 million hits on that phrase! Not everything in the top 20 or so hits was worth looking at, but I did find the following two items I recommend you read. The first article in particular gave me a good chuckle because it mentions the show, "7th Heaven". If you recall from the other day, that's what I watched in my moment of weakness. :-)

Check out Breaking the TV Addiction. It's a quick read. Then move on to the next link.

Now this one is great! Some guy named Vikar has a website with a bunch of stuff he calls his "rants". He has about three full pages of his "rants" on TV addiction and some progress reports on his own attempts at giving up the boob tube. Most of it felt as though he was telling my story. I gotta email this guy!

Think of the Children

I just discovered the Parents Television Council website yesterday and actually found it to be pretty interesting. I especially like the "look up a TV show rating" at the top where you can select a show and get feedback from a parental perspective. It always a good idea to know what your kids are really watching.

Better yet, work with them to stop watching TV and start doing things to stimulate their mind and/or make their body stronger.

A Moment of Weakness

I got home from work last night and my wife & kids had rented a few movies. My son has been bugging me to watch Boogyman with him, so in a moment of weakness (for the child you understand) I agreed to watch the movie.

That's all I did though - I swear! Besides, I do think it's OK to "use" the TV to watch movies once in a while as long as it doesn't become a new habit.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Oh Joy - Michael Jackson is FREE!

Good grief! My foot was barely in the door after work when Michele was shouting at me that Michael was found not guilty on all counts. Thank God she was here glued to the TV all afternoon to get the riveting events as they unfolded.


I, on the other hand, was much more excited to rip open the box from that contained my new USB 512MB Titanium flash drive and "Winning On Wall Street" by Martin Zweig. Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!

Tongue Depressor Required!

You'll need a tongue depressor before you read these TV statistics because they're guaranteed to make you swallow your tongue! A nice pair of vice grips will work too.

I especially like this quote:

According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.

Gee, I should be very proud that I'm so far above average. I was watching 6-7 hours per day which means by the time I'm 65, I would have watched almost 18 years worth of TV brain droppings.

I want my mommy!

Watching TV Makes You Fat

Yes, I know that title is shocking and hard to believe, but it's true. Parking your rear end on the couch and not moving for several hours at a time just might add a few pounds to your "bottom line".

I found this article the last time I decided to stop watching TV which was also when I went on a big kick to get into better shape. I was following the Body for Life plan (reference at the end of the article) and went from 198 pounds down to 170 in about 6 months. I felt great!

Unfortunately, words just can't describe how wonderful it was to get back to watching TV and see ALL that weight come back in a matter of two months! ARGH!!!!

Do yourself a favor, read "Watching TV Makes You Fat." Some of the statistics are pretty scary, but I can personally attest to the fact that watching TV is NOT part of an effective diet & fitness plan!

By the way, I've read more than my fair share of diet and fitness books and I have to say that Body for Life (BFL) is probably the best I've ever encountered. It's easy to read, easy to follow, and is full of plain ol' down to earth common sense. I highly recommend it as part of your "Stop Watching and Start Moving" campaign! For an even more comprehensive program that is very similar to Body for Life (and possibly more effective), check out my review of "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM)." BFFM comes in eBook format so you can download it instantly versus waiting for a book to arrive via snail mail. :-)

This is going to take some work...

I can see that my wife is going to be a tough nut to crack when it comes to this TV stuff. Last night I went downstairs to ask if she wanted to play a card game for old times sake.

See, we used to play 500 Rummy (or something like that) all the time when we were dating. Apparently, after you get married there is some unspoken rule that you have to just sit in front of the tube and watch each others butts get fatter.

Needless to say, the answer I got to the playing cards question was a reluctant "NAH", but she did want to talk about our modular home and buying property on a lake. I was happy to talk about that, so I asked if she would please turn off the TV first. That request didn't seem to register with her brain, so we talked for about 10 or 15 minutes while I tried my best to ignore the flashy lights and crap spewing from the television.

Our talk ended, I said goodnight, and she resumed her TV viewing... Lord, give me strength!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

My Wife is a Bad Influence

Let the record show... Michele got back from her sisters and was in the house about 15 minutes before the TV got switched on. I'm starting to think she's a pretty bad influence to have around! I can't even hang out with her downstairs because I'll be tempted to watch TV.

I can see now, one of the things I need to do is come up with a list of non-TV activities her and I can do together. If anyone has any ideas, leave a comment. Oh, and keep it clean -- I already have those activities figured out! ;-)

Is Television OK as a Teaching Tool?

I almost forgot to mention... Last night after my final post, I remembered a DVD I received in the mail from an investing company. It is basically a seminar about technical analysis and their system for stock and options trading. I wanted to watch it and the only way was to use the television and DVD player.

I wasn't really tired anyway, so I went downstairs and politely asked Michele if I could use the TV. Keep in mind it was well after 11:30pm and she was still watching the darn thing! She said it was fine, so I quickly popped my DVD in being careful not to absorb any of the brain rot she was watching.

Needless to say, the DVD was extremely boring and I was dozing off about 15 minutes into it. I turned off the DVD player and the TV and decided to just go to bed.

So is the TV is OK as a teaching tool when you need to watch a DVD or VHS tape? The library has lots of great educational stuff on video and I'm always picking up something to watch. What about just watching a movie for purely entertainment purposes?

Personally, I think it's definitely OK as a teaching tool, and probably OK for watching pre-recorded movies for entertainment as long as you don't abuse it. I mean, I could rent and watch 2 or 3 movies per night, and that would be just as bad as mindlessly channel surfing for the same amount of time. As with most things, I suppose moderation is the key.

Another TV (almost) FREE Day

Here's a quick update on what happened since my last post... We held the open house at our modular home and, as I suspected, had a whopping ZERO people attend. This is getting very discouraging. In fact, we decided to stop holding regular open houses and just do showings by appointment only.

By the way, if you're looking for some nice cheap living in Sylvania Ohio, make me an offer on this beautiful modular home! ;-)

Anyway, after the open house, I went out to visit my parents. I knew this was going to be a challenge because they ALWAYS have the TV on. Sure enough, I got there and the brain drizzle was actively spilling out of the little black box on their entertainment center. They have two TV's, both of which are centrally positioned in either the family or living room. So basically, there is no escaping it other than to switch it off.

We sat in the family room for our visit, and for most of the time, the TV was on. As we visited, I caught myself glancing at the tube at least a dozen times. Whatever show was on didn't really register with me because I caught myself each time and quickly looked away. The point is, my attention was literally drawn to it like a magnet! I also noticed that both of my parents would regularly check the TV while we were talking. They weren't really watching anything, it was just as if they had to make sure there wasn't anything interesting on. Eventually, my brother showed up and my dad decided to turn the TV off.

Long story short, I made it out alive and didn't lock eyes with the boob tube for more than a total of 10 minutes while I was there. I'd call that an almost TV-free day, wouldn't you? C'mon, give a guy a break!

Since I got home from there, I've just been making some updates to my website and my blog. My wife is still out at her sisters house, but I'm sure the TV will be on within minutes of her getting home. I'll just stay up here in my office where it's safe!

No Respect for the Birthday Boy

When I went downstairs this morning to see if everyone was ready to go eat, Michele was sitting there watching some gardening show on TV. I sat down to tell her about my new blog, but she seemed too engrossed in her show for my petty ramblings. All the while I was talking to her, the most I would get is an occasional glance and an "uh huh". I asked if she could please pay attention to me for 2 minutes since it is my birthday afterall.

She stopped watching for a second to point out my gifts which were sitting on the love seat, and she indicated that she wanted me to open them. I asked if she would turn off the TV long enough to at least watch me open them. She acted as though I just killed her favorite pet. Reluctantly, she turned off the TV and slammed the remote down on the end table. My daughter, being the comedian she is, said, "Be careful mom, whatever will you do if that gets broken?" Thanks Patricia! :-)

So anyway, the gift opening ceremony went off without a hitch and then we all headed out to breakfast.

Low and behold, upon arriving home -- we were locked out of the house!!! My wife has done this to us in the past because for some reason the house key is never on her key ring where it's supposed to be. Had I driven to breakfast, we would have been fine. Thankfully, I took a lock-picking course on the computer a few weeks ago (no kidding) and was able to get us in using a small screwdriver and a tiny little Allen wrench. See, and you thought the computer was just as bad as the TV. HA!

I just can't get any respect today...

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my 37th birthday and I got to sleep in until 9:15am. Nice! As I suspected, I went downstairs to greet Michele and she was sitting on the couch watching TV news. Are we starting to see a pattern here??

I sat on the family room floor to do a few morning stretches while I talked to Michele. We loosely planned out the day which looks like this:

  1. Going to breakfast at IHOP as a family (for my b-day of course)
  2. Michele and I are going on a nice long bike ride.
  3. Probably come home and do a few things around the house, straighten up, etc.
  4. We're having an open house at our modular home from 3-5pm. Pray that we'll get a buyer! I also take my laptop during our open house events and work on the business bookkeeping (Michele runs a catering service; hard to believe she has so much time to watch TV).
  5. Going to visit my parents.
So, for the most part, I have a TV free day planned out. Except for my parents house... They always have the brain-rotter on, so I'll have to be especially careful. It's a nice day, so hopefully we can sit outside or on the porch to visit.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Television vs. Computer

Wait a minute...I'm not going to bed just yet. After my last post, I remembered this little article that talks about the computer versus the television. There are many differing opinions, but everyone seems to agree that the computer is definitely different (better?) because it is interactive.

Personally, I feel much better after an hour or two on the computer than I do after watching TV for the same amount of time. I can learn, talk to others, improve my typing skills, check up on my investments, and a hundred other things. What can I do while watching TV? Not much... Sure, there are educational shows on, but I can learn the same stuff on the Internet, and at least then I'm forced to find and read which does a much better job of engaging my brain.

She's back and she's fired up!

I just ran downstairs to grab a little bedtime snack. Michele was awake again and, of course, the TV is back on. I sat at the kitchen table to eat my snack and had to force myself not to look at the TV. I read a magazine we picked up today at one of the lakes in Michigan but it wasn't very exciting. Just the noise alone from the TV seemed to really annoy me and make me feel anxious.

Michele started going off about the teen kidnapping case in Aruba and telling me all the latest updates about how the media screwed up the story and gave false information. I tried to act interested, but I just can't get as fired up about it as she does. Don't get me wrong, I think it is tragic that this beautiful teen girl was kidnapped and possibly murdered. I totally feel terrible for her family and friends who have to live with the pain. But tell me something... What good will it do me to sit and watch the events unfold on the nightly news??? Does it change my life in any way? Does it bring the person back? Does it make the family's pain go away? NO! It does absolutely no good, and probably does a ton of harm, to sit and watch mindlessly as the media pounds hour after hour of negativity into my brain.

I let Michele finish ranting and she finally settled back into the couch for what will, no doubt, be at least a couple more hours of viewing time for her.

Instead of giving in to the lure of the TV, I tried to think of something else I could do. Sadly, I couldn't think of anything, so I just came back up here to post another blog entry.

Is spending so much time on the computer really that much better than watching TV?? Personally, I think it is because at least I'm thinking, learning, interacting, trying to help others, and hopefully improving my own life just a little in the process.



I just ran downstairs to see what Michele is up to. She's fast asleep on the couch with the TV on and a death grip on the remote. My gosh - she's hugging the thing like it's her favorite teddy bear or something! Eager to seize the opportunity, I walked over to the evil box and turned it off. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (that's a sinister laugh if you didn't already figure it out)

I'm sure she'll wake up in a few minutes when she realizes her pacifier isn't making noise anymore. Until then, maybe I can enjoy a good book.

A TV Free Day!

Today has been great... It started off by sleeping in until 10am which is always a nice thing to do. :-)

After I got up, ate breakfast, checked email and sent a few responses, I got a shower so my wife and I could head up into Michigan to look for property on a lake. Why? Because we still have a modular home in a park that we used to live in. Since moving to our new home about 6 months ago, we haven't had any luck trying to sell the modular. We decided to look into other options, and one good one is to move it to a nice piece of property where it can be turned into a rental / weekend getaway.

So Michele and I spent several hours leisurely driving around Devils Lake, Round Lake and several other small lakes in the same area. What we discovered was that property on or near a lake is VERY expensive! One empty lot we found turned out to actually be 3 lots which totaled 1 acre. The lots were $350K each, so that puts the property at just over 1 million dollars. Maybe we should look for a nice puddle to live next to... :-(

Oh yea, we also grabbed a bite to eat and then later stopped for a little ice-cream treat. I had a wonderful peanut butter cup flurry. YUMMY!

Since we got home around 6:30pm, I've spent some time reading my new book, doing a little more research on the Internet, and of course, updating my blog.

So far, this has been a 100% TV-FREE day and I haven't missed it one bit. I think the secret is to stay busy doing other things.

Well, my kids want to go see a movie with their friends and they need a ride. See you later!

Friday, June 10, 2005

It was going so well, and then BAM -- the whole plan fell apart!

This will probably be my only post today since it's already after 11pm.

I got home from work today and was happy to see some new investing books had arrived from Amazon. I've been wanting to get more active with my investing so I decided to start studying various systems for stock trading. I'm currently reading "The Sucessful Investor" which looks like a great book so far. I'll let you know how it turns out...

So anyway a friend asked if I wanted to meet him at the bike trail for a ride after work today and I happily accepted the offer. Once home, I grabbed something light to eat, changed my clothes, made sure my bike tires were aired up, and headed for the trail. We rode a little over 18 miles which actually felt great! He has a brand new road bike, and mine is a hybrid (part road, part trail) so it took a lot of work to keep up with him! It was also over 80 degrees outside so I was drenched when I got home.

I came in the house and sat on the floor in the family room to recuperate and talk to Michele and the kids. They, of course, were sitting there watching TV. Well I wasn't there more than 10 minutes when "7th Heaven" came on the tube. I have always LOVED that show because it is positive, uplifting and wholesome, so guess what? Yup, you guessed it... I sat there and watched the whole thing!

Geez, I was doing so well for an entire day, and then in a moment of weakness I broke down. After 7th Heaven, I then sat there for about 15 more minutes and watched Hannity and Colmes for an update on the recent kidnapping case. Finally, I snapped to my senses and went upstairs to take a shower. After that, I spent some time reading one of my new books, called my parents to talk about plans for this weekend, and then settled down at the computer to check my email and update my blog.

I suppose I won't beat myself up too bad. An hour and 15 minutes of TV is WAY better than 7 hours and then falling asleep on the floor. I'm sleeping in my bed tonight!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Whew, I made it through Day 1

So I wouldn't go stir crazy, I decided to just spend most of my evening researching other anti-TV sites online and reading articles in support of my mission. Out of habit, I found myself (several times) going downstairs into the family room to ask my wife what she was doing. Invariably, her answer was, "Watching [fill in the name of any show here]." The urge to just plop my butt on the floor and watch TV with her was truly overwhelming. I actually felt anxious and nervous like I just didn't know what to do with myself.


I even went down there once and laid on the floor looking out into the back yard for a while so I could talk to my wife and avoid looking at the TV. Of course, I could still hear it and that felt very uncomfortable to me.

Anyway, forcing myself back to the research, I found this interesting page about another guy named Dave who apparently gave up TV back in 1998. His "contact me" link is broken, so I haven't been able to email him to see if he is still TV-free. Dave has a few funny cartoons on his page, but I really liked this one since it reminds me so much of Michele and I.

(click the picture for a larger view)

Is that too funny or what! I'm sure it accurately depicts how about 98% of Americans watch TV every night. If you think about it, there really isn't anything worth watching, but we do it anyway.


I'm going to attempt to figure it out and share my new found knowledge with the world via this blog. For now, I'm going to bed...

Let' s get this party started!

Well, this is my first official day of trying to eliminate TV from my life. I guess my short term goal is just to watch MUCH less TV so the withdrawal isn't so intense. We'll see how it goes... As I mentioned before, this has been attempted before and I was doing so well. I think I went without the idiot box for almost 1 month. But the sexy allure of the boob tube finally got the best of me and I went right back at it.

Since today is an Ozone Action Day here in Toledo, I'm not supposed to mow the lawn or anything else that could further damage our atmosphere. That's going to make it a little more difficult to avoid the TV because I'll have to find other things to occupy my time. Writing in my blog is a good choice! :-)

A little background might be helpful to put everything in perspective... We've been in our new home now for a little more than 6 months. As you enter the front door and walk down a short hallway, you enter the kitchen. Immediately to your right is a sunken family room with the TV at the far end facing the kitchen. There is a half wall separating the kitchen from the family room and, of course, our table is right next to the half wall. So, while sitting at the table to eat, it's impossible to avoid hearing the TV and almost impossible to avoid looking at it. We also have a finished basement where the two kids hang out and they have a TV, video games, and a computer down there. They don't watch TV as much as we do, but they're almost always on the computer and/or playing a game.

Now, my wife has always been a hard-core TV addict, and has no desire at all to quit, which is one of the reasons I tried to quit before. She is completely hooked on news and a whole variety of other shows ranging from soaps operas, to talk shows (such as Oprah), to late night dramas like Law and Order. I myself enjoy educational shows like whatever might be on the Discovery channel, home improvement shows, Myth Busters, and stuff like that. Her and I together have a few favorite shows we hate to miss such as American Idol, ALIAS, and House. Thank God the first two have ended for the season!

Since we moved to the new house, I've slipped right back into my old habits right along with her. I come home from work, eat dinner in front of the tube, maybe go out and do a little yard work, check my email, and then plop myself down in front of the TV again for the remainder of the evening. I don't even really care what's on... I'll lay on the floor or couch and channel surf until I fall asleep. Sometimes I'll even wake up in the middle of the night and channel surf some more. My wife and I sleep in the family room almost every night - which of course results in sore backs and/or headaches in the morning. Once in a while, when I feel really guilty, I'll get up around 3am and drag myself upstairs to spend the last few hours in my comfy bed before I'd have to go to work again.

To say the least, my life has been a sad situation for too long. In all honesty, I'd have to say I spend an average of 6 or 7 hours per night watching TV. And my wife watches more than that because she gets home earlier than I do and watchers her soaps, Oprah, and by the time I get home (5:30ish) she's already watching news on the Fox news channel. Do you have any idea how much 7 hours per day really is? If you do the math, it comes out to a full 106 24-hour days per year! That's pretty much 1/3 of my life being spent mindlessly watching other people live their lives -- and they aren't even living real lives. It's all made up crap, or commercials designed to separate me from my money! Oh my...this is much worse than I thought!

Can you say BIG TIME TV ADDICTS! I just asked Michele yesterday if she thought she could give up the TV for 1 week, and she said NO WAY because she thought she would go crazy! I just have too many dreams, goals, and things I want to do in life, but apparently those desires aren't strong enough to pull me away from the mind-drizzle playing on TV every night. I've also discovered that watching too much TV can (and does) create strong feelings of depression, apathy, and a total lack of physical energy and enthusiasm. I'm not just making this up either. Not only have I read a TON of information in support of this, but I experience it myself.

This has been a pretty long post, but I wanted to lay down a little foundation as a starting point to this journey. I hope it is a successful one, and I sincerely hope I can take a few people with me as I learn to watch less and live more!

What's with the Anti-TV blog?

I know, I know... This blog is probably a pitiful idea, but it's really more for my benefit than anyone else's. I have attempted to stop watching so much TV once before, which worked for a few weeks, but I went right back to it when a new season of American Idol and ALIAS came on.

Television is definitely the BIGGEST time waster I've ever battled, and it is a powerful foe. In future posts, I'll be talking about all the reasons why watching TV is a bad idea, and I'll be sharing my own personal experiences and pointers as I attempt to stop watching (again). For tonight though, the idea for this blog hit me, and it sounded like a good one, so I at least wanted to get started. Procrastination, by the way, is one of the worst by-products of too much TV viewing and I've been plagued by it far too long. So, when I do have an idea, it's usually very difficult for me to get off my butt and do something about it.

As I said, the blog is really for my benefit because it will allow me to document my progress, identify my weaknesses, and record my successes. If it helps a few other TV-addicts along the way, then we'll all be better people for it.

I also have a growing collection of anti-TV websites, resources, articles and more which I'll be sharing as appropriate. Or, I'll be linking to them on the sidebar. Check back often -- I'm going to try to blog at least once a day, maybe more depending how things go.