Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Weekend Quickies: Busking for DSL, Casino Royale, and getting jacked in to Jasper Johns

3B at the National Gallery

We're switching from Earthlink to Verizon for DSL, which will cut our monthly bill in half--a good thing since our income was cut in half when we decided that Mama would stay home with 3B--but it means that we're without internet access right now, which means that posts might be a bit sparse this week. It's just the second day, so the DTs--DSL tremens--aren't bad yet, but if you find us sitting on your front stoop, pecking away on our laptop, now you'll know why. Please just don't throw any pocket change into that cup--it's our coffee, we're not panhandlers, just parents trying to stay awake.

Although, hell, maybe I should take up busking as a side job. At any rate, with our income halved, we're all about cutting things in half these days. As I wrote about earlier, we were also planning to cut off our Dish TV subscription, but Mama decided to leave us with some channels, which cut our bill by about 75 percent while preventing us from becoming totally mainstream-impaired.

Speaking of being zeitgeist-challenged, despite Mom's exhortations to always subscribe to my local daily paper, we also dropped our WaPo subscription (which was Sunday only--sorry Mom), but kept the NYTimes Sunday subscription. We keep up-to-date mostly through online news sources, so getting the print copy of either paper is a bit of a luxury item. There's something to be said for laying on the couch leafing through the Sunday paper, a cup of hot coffee on the floor beside me, with Barky warming my feet. We picked the NYTimes as the keeper because we like the writing much more than what's in the WaPo. Besides that, a subscription is needed for access to the NYT archives.

Other than that, we're just minding our P's and Q's--pennies and quarters. It's not that we're going broke, but now that we're in a new year, and living off of half of our previous salary, we're taking a hard look at our finances. We're focusing on what we want to do now, as well as where we want to be in 3, 5, 10 years. It's been a bit of an eye-opener, although there haven't been any big surprises. If anything, it's been nice to know exactly where we stand financially--it makes spending decisions clearer and easier.

Of course, some decisions to spend money are easy to begin with, like when Grammy--Mama's mom, who's been visiting for two weeks--offers to babysit while Mama and I go on a date. We reprised our trip to the Cinema N' Drafthouse, but this time we followed the good example of Dad and Mum to Be and double-checked the showtime and actually made it to the movie we intended to see: Casino Royale.

(Because this is a second run movie, I figure that most of you have seen it or heard about it already. If you haven't, and you want it to be a surprise when you do see it, don't read the following paragraph.)

As a long-time Bond fan (equal parts Fleming, Connery, Aston-Martin, dry, neat, up, olives), I was happily impressed, although I was expecting that, having read so much about it. What I wasn't expecting was the senseless objectification, degradation, violence, and needless destruction. I'm speaking of course of the Aston-Martin crash. It's such a beautiful beast; it's a shame that they couldn't come up with any other purpose for it save acting as window dressing before they tumbled it down a hillside. At least they saved the 1964.

On Sunday, all of us--Grammy, 3B, Mama, and I--went to the Jasper Johns exhibit at the National Gallery of Art (the East, or I.M. Pei, wing). Since we were avec le stroller, we got to ride for the first time in the hexagonal elevators. Cool. The exhibit was fun for all of us. 3B wanted to grab some of the objects--balls, forks, strings--off of the pieces to chew on. But, even though the guards all chatted 3B up, they wouldn't let him do it. Seeing as how Johns himself bit one of his own paintings, I'm not sure that he would mind so much 3B's interest in interacting with his art. I was all for it--it seems much safer than biting our iMac.

Although I'm tempted to say that without our many media distractions, we might continue this trend and become more cultured parents, we did read up on Johns' work in the paper and check all manner of details about the exhibit online--before the DSL went out for the switchover. Besides, how can I be a truly cultured Dad if I can't find out about the latest treasure trove of vintage, mod, or retro gear from Greg at DaddyTypes? But, being disconnected from the net for a bit will help us avoid the negative effects of being jacked in 24/7 in a manner similar to how our attention to budgeting is helping us--by focusing us on what's vital in each activity that we undertake, which makes our decisions to spend time on them, and to ignore others, clearer and easier.

But, until we're all clear, easy, and jacked in again--help a dad in need out and let me know how Ivan Basso's recovery is going.

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  1. Anonymous2:10 AM

    Basso just one a stage I think. Anyway awesome Glacier pics getting ready to go up on fliker soon.


  2. Ah...we've been through the "cutting back". Except...we got rid of internet at home completely. We've now been without it for over a year.

    ...soon, we'll be getting that back!

    But...we also cut back on Dish Network. Saved a ton there.
    We also cut back on the home phone features. I'm one who just wants the phone to ring, and I'll answer it or not. My hubby wanted just about every feature they offer: call waiting, caller ID, caller ID for call waiting, call notes, etc.
    So...we cut back there.
    Long distance calls: only from the cell phones (b/c it's FREE!), and we started to investigate which of our family/friends are on Cingular as well so we could chat with no limits!

    This next one is going to sound...I don't know... we switched to the long lasting energy efficient light bulbs. Initial investment certainly has paid off! We have quite a few lights we have learned...and I'm afraid of the dark, so I'm constantly lighting up the place like it's a landing strip.
    But, all in all, we've seen the electric bill go down.


  3. Thumbs up on the Jasper Johns. One problem with my dream of living on a farm is the lack of agricultural acreage near to major art museums.

  4. Anonymous12:49 AM

    Ah, I miss reading the sunday papers. I should do it, but then I'll end up feeling guilty for reading the paper and not doing something "productive." Like watching CSI: Miami on TiVo.

  5. "Casino Royale" does, indeed, rock! Denver Mom and I went to go see it during one of our infrequent date nights and we both loved it. It's great to have a good Bond film... especially after the horror that was "Die Another Day."

    No internet?!? GAK! I don't think I could survive it. Good luck! You're a braver man than I!

  6. Anonymous5:50 PM

    I agree with denver dad -- the movie is solid. best. bond. ever.

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