Rick's Notes
December 2005



It was a day like any other, only it was different. The trees - most notably the Oaks - went from dark green leaves to brown leaves falling to barren, pretty much in the course of 24 hours. Just like that, like the EU had decreed it so.

So I tried the Digibox again, after several weeks of watching German TV - and discovering Christina Stürmer, but not seeing anything of Jeanette Biedermann. Actually, this is not quite the time of year for watching German TV. I mean, I know "kitsch" is a German word, but do they have to demonstrate it by a serious liking of Wham's Last Christmas? <giggle!> Actually, that wasn't the problem. The problem was partly Sido (he of the weird metal facial apparatus) and his... erm... 'rendition'... of Jingle Bells in German. To my mind, it doesn't work. At all. But the biggest problem? Not only has MTV2 vanished from analogue (apparently taking Mirjam and Nora with it), but because most of the channels I watched were music channels - I have serious serious stress issues, and it all comes down to a fake rendered frog.
That's right. People in the '80s had a blue Emu to loathe and detest.
People in the '90s had Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers to ridicule and laugh at.
We... get... a... ****ing... rendered... frog... that... manages... to... ruin... songs... that... were... bad... to... begin... with. If you're wondering why all the dots, I'm saying it through clenched teeth with my hands squeezed into fists. I mean, it is "the annoying thing" and it proudly advertises itself as such... but when it seems like every other song is that monstrosity's appalling reworkings of old music. Well, hey, you've found my weak spot. If ever you need to extract information from me, you can burn me. You can drop water on my head. You can plunge me into weeks of sensory deprivation and I won't tell you the time of day. But bring that thing anywhere near and I'll spill my guts.

Back to what I was saying... The trees lost their leaves. Overnight. It was so weird. Anyway, I tried moving the dish back to 28.2°E and there it was. The unbelievable. Given the willow trees and the joined cable and the fact that part of it appears to be standard UHF cabling, you can imagine I was somewhat surprised to see the signal strength and quality both hit 80%. That's for the default transponder. BBC 1 South hits 90% strength, 70% quality (normally) while The Horror Channel runs it at 50% strength and 40% quality.
For the first time in a long time all of my channels are available (Classic FM TV had been 'out' for a while previous).

Not quite in time for my birthday, but pretty cool nonetheless.



After watching the lovely Shrek, it was time to scan through the channels and see what is available. It is almost a tradition, like listening to the Queen (telling us that life really does suck - gee, thanks). Another good point about doing it on Christmas Day is that most of the teleshopping channels are showing generic material. In fact, quite a number were showing the exact same thing, suggesting that of the hundred odd channels, there's probably only five companies behind them.

I could run a channel. Seriously. Between, say, 8pm and 2am (English time) I could show old Sci-Fi stuff - sort of to Sci-Fi what Bonanza is to... erm... Bonanza! There's a pig barn that could easily be converted to house the equipment, behind it is an unobstructed view of 28.2°E, I'm an enthusiastic geek... Come on, it can't be that expensive to run a little satellite channel, look at those telesales and BabeCast channels! Thing is, who on Earth do I put this idea to? If you know, or if you happen to be interested - get in touch.

Whether or not there's anything 'new' depends upon when you last looked. All of the ITV channels are now completely Free To Air - through only ITV1 Central W (circa Birmingham) is available by number. If you would prefer to watch a different channel (Meridian, TyneTees, HTV, Border, etc) then you'd need to add it to your Other Channels.
There's also the Baby Channel. It appears to be an interesting cross between serious baby-related information and sales. Not exactly an infomercial, this is much more in-depth. But you try pressing the red button, you'll get 'featured baby stuff' to purchase...


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