Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Breaking Bad Party

The world is getting smaller, no doubt about it.  Technology allows us to be more connected than ever.  This isn't news to anyone, of course, but expats are more aware than most of these changes.  Years ago, and not that many years ago, moving to Ireland would have meant expensive and infrequent contact with family and friends in the States and an almost total abandonment of our favorite American entertainment.

It is certainly a plus to be able to contact our American connections with free emails, facebook messages, blog posts(!), and Skype calls.  This also means, for better or for worse, that we have access to all the American sports and entertainment we can handle.  We are probably less well assimilated to the culture here for it, but at least we get out of paying TV tax by simply not owning a television set.

Our TV fixes are satisfied by Netflix, our inexpensive American entertainment artery.  With the magic of...some additional software... we are able to trick convince Netflix and Hulu that we are accessing their services from the States and not have our content blocked.  This gives us access to the full Netflix library instead of the much more limited Irish Netflix library.

We did find an upside to logging in as the European residents we are this year.  Breaking Bad, one of the biggest shows in the Western World right now, aired its final season this fall.  In America, one could only (legally) watch it with a cable subscription.  The Netflix release had to wait for the US DVD release.  Other countries, however, can't get the American cable channels, so Netflix worked out a deal to play the Breaking Bad episodes for international customers the day after they aired on American cable TV.  "Turn off that...additional software... and let's see some BB action!"

Sugar cookies with blue sprinkles near a computer screen with Breaking Bad cover image.
Meth Cookies?  Crank-Covered-Crackers?
For the season premiere, Sara made up a batch of sugar cookies with blue sugar topping.  It was nerdy, internet-y, and amazingly cute.  The blue food coloring was difficult to find and expensive, but it added a fun touch to our Monday night entertainment.  In daily life, the lack of cheap, generic, stuff at big box stores takes some adjustment.  For many products (like food coloring, light bulbs, contact solution...), it is not as easy here to "just grab the cheapest one of the 17 choices on the shelf!" as it was in Iowa.  We are able to find all of our essentials, but we have to get used to a more limited selection and higher prices.

At least we can enjoy the sweet cookies... and all the American TV we can stomach.  Our Irish friends have convinced us to get into one of the big drama shows here called Love/Hate on RTE, so we can dip our toes into truly Irish-produced television entertainment.  We're already sold on sports television here, so we will have something new to watch until Hurling and Gaelic Football seasons start up again next year.

A black plate of sugar cookies with blue sprinkles to celebrate Breaking Bad
Nope, just blue sugar.  Glad we found that food coloring!

1 comment:

  1. Non-US Netflix is inferior; some of my Finnish coworkers even use your 'additional software' to get US Netflix. We've also found -- it transmits broadcast TV from Pennsylvania for free (and cable for a fee) in live time. Not always convenient, but sometimes we can catch a show or two on the weekends. It also has some free DVR hours.


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