I Want My Gay TV (Part V): Satellite TV–Read the Fine Print and RuPaul–Draggin’ in Another Season of Reality Television

When I moved to my house, I decided that I wasn’t going to lug along my bulky Zenith TV, which I’d had for about 13 years.  It worked well enough, but I had been browsing the electronics aisles for more than a year ladmiring the flat screens.  Anyway, there was a small set with a built-in DVD player in my bedroom that I could take along and use for a while.

But when I had most of the furniture in place,  a desperate corner in the living room just longed for a big-screen TV, so I made excuses to myself about why I didn’t have to wait and could shell out the money for another expense to add to all those others that came from moving into a new place.  The Sears near my old neighborhood had an even-better-than-online price on a Sony that I had been reading up on.  And result is obvious.  They didn’t have one in stock, but would have by the following Saturday, so  I’d have to wait a few more days with the internet and a small radio made to be used in the shower, which had been given to me as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and that I had stumbled upon hidden in some drawer during the move.  My God! More than a week without TV!  Had Hurricane Ike returned?  And what about the small TV?  No luck there either because I hadn’t yet ordered any type of cable service.

There were a number of choices, but finally I decided on satellite with DirecTV, which I ordered through AT&T.  I was trying to bundle up with my cell, internet, and regular phone services.  Also the house already had the DirecTV dish in place with all the wiring.  The price was right for the Choice Xtra:  $29.99 per month, and with all those HD channels.  I like as many ESPNs as I can get and I wanted Logo (the gay channel), and the Choice Xtra gave me those.

I scheduled the DirecTV installers for Saturday, so that I would be off from work; it was one of those “they’ll be there between 1 and 5” deals.  The problem was the new TV wouldn’t arrive at the Sears store until some time that same afternoon, so I wouldn’t be able to pick it up until after the installers had been there.  Of course, like many of those situations where you have a time slot to wait for service people, these didn’t come until between 4 and 5.  It didn’t take them long to get everything hooked up and the little non-digital TV was tossing out the various channels.

Not long after they had left, Sears called and told me that my Sony had arrived, so I hopped into my car and went to pick it up.  When I got to the store, it seemed like everyone was picking up something, so I had a wait for my TV to come out.  I was a bit surprised by the size of the box, but it fit into back of the hatchback.  Even though the screen size is larger than my old TV, it must weigh about half as much, so while I had to maneuver a bit because of the size, it wasn’t long until I had it out of the box, in place in the corner which had been waiting for it, and finally hooked up to the satellite dish cables.

When I first started flipping the channels, I thought the picture looked a little fuzzy, but I decided that it probably was because I had been watching the smaller TV earlier.  I was so enthralled with the new TV and involved with figuring out the channel line-up that I really didn’t pay that much attention.  I thought the image should be better with an HD TV but because I hadn’t had one before and because satellite reception was also new to me, I figured everything was the way it was supposed to be.

Then about a week later, I was visiting someone who also has a Sony HD, and I thought “Wow, this picture is so much better than mine.”  They said to me, “Are you watching the HD channels?”  “I think I am,” I replied doubtfully.

When I got back home, I started looking at the manual the installers had left me and found “need HD equipment for HD channels”.  I thought that’s what I had.  I looked at the box but couldn’t see any indication.  Then I went back online to the DirecTV site that had the offer for the various service choices and, of course, at the bottom in special notation it says this:

††To access DIRECTV® HD programming, HD Access fee ($10/mo.), a DIRECTV® Slimline dish, DIRECTV® HD receiver and HD television equipment are required. Number of HD channels varies by package selection.

No mention of that option had been made when I talked to the salesperson when I ordered the service.  I’m really surprised because she had tried to get me to buy other services.  I definitely want the HD but I haven’t ordered it yet.  I’ll need time to be at home, and, I’m sure, to wait another four hours for the service people, and there will be charges for the installation for that Slimline dish, I bet, and for the HD receiver box.  If the picture is a little fuzzy until there’s time in January to do that, no big deal.

There’s another charge to watch out for on the DirecTV special offers.  When I got my first bill, I checked for all the specific charges.  One item was for Equipment Protection Plan.  I even got another letter from DirecTV telling me that I had signed up for the Protection Plan @ $5.99 a month.  I knew that I hadn’t signed anything, since I had ordered over the phone and no mention had been made about any such Protection Plan.  There was a number to call if I didn’t want this plan, and they told me if the dish or the receiver had a problem if I didn’t have this plan, it would cost $49.  It seems to me this protection plan is no different than those the stores like Sears and Best Buy try to sell you when you buy some type of electronics; it’s just another way to get extra money out of a customer.

Anyway, for the most part, I like my new TV.  The channel line-up isn’t much different that what I had with TVMax (read my post about TVMax) at my old apartment.  TVMax also had several ESPN channels and Logo.

Even though Logo has a lot of re-runs and shows I don’t watch, I like having the option of watching gay-themed TV shows and movies when I want rather than waiting for “a glimpse of gay” on other channels.  One of the hits of last season on Logo was a reality show called “RuPaul’s Drag Race”–sort of a transvestite  “American Idol” a la “Project Runway”.  The host of the show is RuPaul, singer/drag queen, most known for his/her hit song “Supermodel (You Better Work)”.  It’s similar to “Project Runway” because not only do the contestants perform, and ultimately, there is a winner, but they share living space, so we see also how they interact when they off the stage and out of drag.

I’ve never been one to really get into watching drag performances (lip-synching) in clubs, but the contestants on this show have been well-selected both for their talent and their personalities, so it’s not difficult to be lured into watching the show week after week, pulling for one favorite or another.  The first episode of season two will air February 1st at 8 PM (Central).  Check out some teasers here.  I couldn’t stop laughing at this promo for the show which takes a jab at Sarah Palin’s book cover.  There are drag queens and there are airheads, and RuPaul is certainly not the latter.

Monday Morning Musings: Still Moving and– Adam Lambert . . . Still Moving

Yesterday I had no energy for musings; hence, no “Sunday Morning Musings”.  The move to my new house is ongoing, although I definitely am living there.  Last week at this time, I couldn’t say where I lived;  I was just too tired from lifting and toting and pushing.  Then too, I was sleeping on the sofa in the new place.  It all felt like camping or the numb feeling after Hurricane Ike.

Now I feel like I’m living again even though much of the house is in total disarray (todo un desmadre).  I still have several loads of possessions to collect at my old apartment, which I have to be out of by a week from today. 

Satellite was hooked up on Saturday; this means that now all of the communication devices are working.  So with a shiny, new TV, I was set for Sunday football, but most of the day, I spent on the necessary weekend chores, plus settling in some more, making one more trip to the apartment, and even painting a bit.

So by 8:30 PM, exhausted as I was, the Bears vs. the Eagles held even less interest for me than the Bears vs. the Eagles normally would.  I switched over to the American Music Awards, then went into the kitchen to do some more sorting and putting away, only to hear Janet Jackson singing Michael Jackson, sounding like Michael Jackson:  maybe they really were/are they same person.

After the ho-hum of more unpacking was interrupted by a phone call, I decided to give up the ghost for the night at just before 10 o’clock. I checked out  the NFL game, then started flipping through the channels.  At the moment I got to the local ABC station, up popped the AMA once again, announcing Adam Lambert.

Truly, I don’t know much about Adam Lambert, only that he was the runner-up on American Idol, that he’s got this 80s glam look goin’ on, and that he hasn’t been shy about his being gay.  Actually, I admire him for having that “I’m gay, take-it-or-leave-it” attitude so early in his career.  I admire that same attitude in a lot of young people these days, that they just can be who they are without stodgy conservatism trying to make them hide themselves.

That’s why while watching Lambert’s performance, I was amazed to see him dancing and prancing on stage in front of a national audience, the likes of which I don’t remember having seen since the days of David Bowie.  Oh, we’ve seen similar dancing and hip-thrusting, but with female stars like Madonna and Janet Jackson.  Then when he pulled one of the male dancer’s head to his crotch and soon after kissed a keyboard player, I said to myself, “You go, Adam.”

To be honest, I didn’t care for the song at all, and I’m not really sure whether he’s got a voice or not, but when it comes to chutzpah (and I definitely mean the good chutzpah), Adam Lambert has it going on.  Lambert will find someone to write some decent music and he’ll get some voice training, but his gutsy performance last night on the American Music Awards is going to go along way for him . . . and for other gay people.

You see, Adam Lambert is not afraid to be himself . . . like a lot of gay people are.  Unless gay people act like themselves in public, straight people are forever going to keep their blinders on and deny that we exist.  They can’t deny that mixed-race couples exist when they see them or they see their children.  But they still can deny gay people exist when they see two guys together or two women together even when they know they are together.  They can deny it because gay people help them deny it by not holding hands or hugging or giving a smooch in public, the same physical acknowledgement that straight couples give to each other.   How do we ever expect straight deniers from seeing that we really are just like them, unless we show them that we are?

Yeah, there have been those screaming their negative comments about Lambert’s performance today in response to articles about the AMA, but these are the same people that would have been screaming if it had been Madonna or Lady Gaga.  Let them scream; artists that want to make it big take it to the edge, and this is just what Adam Lambert was doing.  However, in doing so, he’s saying, “Hey, I’m gay and this is who I am.”

You go, Adam.