Monday, August 21, 2006

Nice boat

  • I spent the day working on my novel -- the novel I've been working on for years. I just keep working on it and working on it. It's like building a really nice boat in the desert. My ego insists that the book is actually worth something, so I keep on building that ship.

  • The child bride spent the day waiting to hear the results of the two job interviews she had last week. Both had promised to call her back "early" this week, but it's hard to say what the hell that means.
    By the end of the day she was in a pretty low mood. The process of applying for jobs and waiting to hear back on them can be emotionally trying. I think just the slightest possibility that I could somehow escape ever having to go through that again is part of what keeps me banging my head against the wall with my book.

  • For those of you playing along at home, I'll explain what everyone's talking about with this TV licensing stuff. Here in the UK, you have to purchase a license to watch television. A license costs £131.50 ($248.66 or €193.26) a year. That money goes toward funding the British Broadcasting Corp.
    I tend to think it's worth the money, but a lot of Britons really don't like paying a TV license. They point out that the BBC also receives money from the government and then they bring up EastEnders, a mindless soap opera that is one of the most popular programmes in the UK (and it is the No. 1 watched programme Wales). My taxes and £131.50 a year are too much to pay for a load of people screaming at each other in Cockney accents, goes the argument.
    Fair enough. And I don't think ChuckleVision helps things any. But, the BBC runs at least eight television channels, upward of 57 radio stations, countless websites, and produces one of the most reliable news products in the world. That news product can and does get it wrong from time to time, but it's still far better than anything I worked with in my journalism career.
    Beyond that is the fact that so much of the BBC product is shipped out all over the world, most identifiably by the World Service. This exportation of news, information and entertainment translates to influence. Much of the world's understanding of the rest of the world is shaped by Britain. It's like a larger, more trustworthy, less evil version of TV Martí.
    Thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of media and world influence for 36p a day.
    It's a deal.
    It's also the law.
    People in vans drive around using crazy spy techniques ("Some aspects of the equipment have been developed in such secrecy that engineers working on specific detection methods work in isolation -- so not even they know how the other detection methods work," according to the TV licensing website) to catch people watching TV without a license. Those caught face fines of £1,000 ($1,891.78 or €1,472.26).

    Anonymous said...

    At college, one of my friends was taken to court for not having a license. At the same time I was having to request a copy of the cheque I'd paid mine with from my bank as the lovely friendly polite inspectors refused to believe that I'd paid, and told me that I had to get rid of my tv until I could prove that I had paid them. I hate the inspectors.

    However, in the UK I would happily pay my license fee, as the BBC is totally worth it. In Ireland, RTE is not worth it. At all. They also get money from the government. And show ads. Grrrrr.

    Anonymous said...

    Also, early next week means by Thursday hopefully if we don't get sidetracked. Tell Rachel to hang on in there. My fingers are crossed for her.

    Jenny said...

    The boy and I can't get an arsing TV signal at our house, but I pay the fee anyway because I am physically addicted to Radio 4 and must listen to it all day, even when I am asleep.

    Curly said...

    Most of my Cardiff based friends have secret knocks for their houses so we know it's not the TV license guy.

    At one point we had to shout "We haven't got a TV" before we opened the door to anyone.

    Lindsay Hansen said...

    I can't believe how much it is. When I was in Scotland, it was 90 pounds for the year. That's inflation for you!
    It's the craziest system, those vans. It's like the LA subway being on the honor system. Except that everyone in Britain wants a tv, and no one rides the subway here.