balancing the media equation

February 9, 2011

This post about the author’s VCR loving ways (and the difficulty of balancing the netflix value equation in her family) reminded me that other families out there are media cheapskates. Of course, I am aware that being a media cheapskate is not always an issue of choice (we couldn’t afford cable if we wanted to, and the latest DVDs are something on which we couldn’t often “choose” to spend money). I remember as a kid having one small black and white TV in the house (in the 80s, mind you) that got less than ten channels, and it wasn’t because my parents were conscious “media cheapskates” or trying to start a minimalist media revolution.

The kids and I have been watching more movies and playing more glowing-screen-games in the last six months, partly because my partner and her three children have a very different relationship to media than us and I certainly see positive things about her approach (glowing screens are not the proverbial cookie in the cookie jar in her house) and partly because my oldest son has an obvious interest in computers, video games, and movies with magic and/or starships (although both kids (and my partner’s!) also loved Singing in the Rain and enjoy a good Shirley Temple movie now and again (old movies are great, partly because they almost always require frank discussions (use the Socratic method at first, for best results, people!) of sexism, racism, patriotism, and their relationships to popular culture… although some of them (including quite a few Shirley Temple movies!) are so far gone down that road that we’re better off saving them for another, oh, decade or so).

Netflix doesn’t make a lot of sense for us (although my partner has it) because you can’t stream movies via Netflix if you have Linux (which we do on the “new” (to us) computer) or your computer is a PowerPC based Mac, which our beloved original computer is. Our library has a tremendous amount of movies (and we really only watch one or two a week), so mostly we are satisfied putting them on hold there (thank you, Multnomah County Library, for acknowledging that homeschoolers deserve an educator’s card! waiting weeks for a movie to come in is more palatable when you can put 40 items on hold at once). I also use this site to save videos on youtube or other streaming videos to our computer for later watching (we are collecting as many pre-Elmo episodes of Sesame Street as we can this way).

Getting an old TV and a VCR (presumably for free somewhere) is something I’ve considered doing (we could play old video games once in a blue moon on them… but then again we already use emulators to play NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, old arcade and a host of other games on the computer for absolutely no cost and without taking up any additional physical space in our house), since it really is easy to find a lot of great video tapes for free or almost free, including things that are out of print… and some Sesame Street/Muppet fans still use video tapes to trade old/otherwise unavailable things with each other. Mostly, however, I always nix the idea because I don’t like to have a TV sitting on desk somewhere staring at us while we don’t use it, in a spot we could be painting pictures or whatever).

What about you? How do you access media? How much space does it take up (physically, emotionally, whatever;) in your house and life? And do you have old episodes of Sesame Street to share with me?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!? 😉

5 Responses to “balancing the media equation”

  1. mikaela said

    hunter and i love youtube. there are several vlogs of families we like to watch and tutorials and really cool science videos and of course shark week archives!

    • katiekaput (nightcookies!) said

      that is a cute video… yes, youtube can be really exciting. we watched a video of a scuba diving cat the other day.;)

  2. Cheri Riznyk said

    doesn’t the library have sesame street? we just had the electric company from there…(outtasight!!)

    • katiekaput (nightcookies!) said

      they only have a few older episodes! i want every episode of the first twenty seasons! 😉 yes, i realize i will never have time to watch them alll….;) haven’t explored the electric company as i don’t remember it from being a kid. how is it? <3, katie

      • Cheri Riznyk said

        well,Clio liked it.I never watched it either as a kid…it’s VERY 70’s-I loved,’easy reader’-funny 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: