The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Friday, August 11, 2006

Please Continue Holding Breath

Look, I'm just trying to save you from hitting "refresh" on your browser every five minutes waiting for me to update this thing...

For the past two weeks, roughly, I've been waiting for to send me my spiffy new cable modem/TV decoder box/multimedia network thingy. It looks like a sweet deal: for 30 euros a month you get ADSL, cable, and a phone package that includes free calls to the US (!). Plus you can use it to beam multimedia files from your 'puter to your TV, so we've been anxiously awaiting hitting up iTunes so V can catch up with Lost and I can finally find out what happened on the Battlestar Galactica season finale.

The catch is that you have to disconnect your France Telecom line first so they can set all this up. Hence we've been without a home phone (we do have a mobile) and even the most rudimentary dialup internet access since August 1.

Oh, and TV? Here's what you get on French TV without cable or satellite:

France 1: The flagship channel. During the World Cup, France 1 had all the best games. They have the most-watched news programs, though I confess I can't tell the difference between theirs and the other France X networks. But at prime time? Episodes of CSI New York, dubbed into French.

France 2: is to France 1 as ESPN2 is to ESPN. Showed every second of the Tour de France. Like France 1, standard fare is three-year-old US police procedurals. CSI is called "Les Experts", but NYPD Blue is just NYPD Blue and The Shield is just The Shield.

France 3: Oddly, seems to be just game shows, talk shows, and variety shows. Though one time I did see an all-star tribute to Serge Gainsbourg that was freakin' rad.

Canal+: The HBO of France, with high-quality series, current movies, and their own film studio. Also, you have to pay for it separately. But they do show it unscrambled over the air from 5PM to about 8:30, a slot they reserve for their most boring programming. You remember that show Capitol Steps? The one with the puppets that looked like Newt Gingrich and whatnot? Well, the French did it first, and still are, on Canal+ at 8.

Arte: A joint Franco-German endeavor (those always go well) that is a bit like PBS, only without Moenchengladbach City Limits. Lots of nature documentaries, vaguely disturbing theatre/dance performances, and the like. But it's the channel I watch the most, because late at night they show old American cowboy movies with subtitles rather than dubbed. The other week I caught "Two Rode West" and "Terror in a Texas Town", the latter of which features the only Western gunfight scene ever to feature a harpoon.

M6: Aimed at the youth market, M6 is something of a combination of the WB and MTV: Dopey sitcoms, teen dramas, and reality shows. In other words, watching it will make you, like, more stupider? But they do show porn late at night on Sundays. Or so I've heard, anyway.

So, yes, I'll be glad to get cable hooked up so I can at least watch CNN and the BBC. But then I'll get down to the business of posting all the photos I've taken recently--we took a trip up to Burgundy last weekend for V's birthday, plus I've still got the Grenoble photos and Bastille Day and a bunch of other stuff. I'll try to make them interesting and related to trenchant observations on the French experience, rather than "Hey, wanna see my vacation photos? This is a church..."

Once I have a minute.


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