First, let me provide this disclaimer: no one has been harmed in the background material of this post. Second, I also want to let everyone know that my dear, upright husband has assured me that no laws are being broken. I choose to agree. If you disagree, please don’t tell me (or at least wait a little bit and let me get bored with the novelty of what I’m about to tell you). Ignorance is bliss, and my rule-following self would much prefer to believe that everything is ship-shape. Third, I also want to disclose that their is more colorful language in this post than in any of my other posts. It is not gratuitous, I promise?
As I have heard multiple times from some of the other expat folks in the area, one of the hardest things is that almost all of the television options (and certainly all of the entertaining choices) are in a language that we don’t fully understand yet, and it’s a tiring exercise to watch and try to understand, rather than being something that people chill out with. This has become a somewhat major issue for one of our counterparts, in fact! Stress + usual chill out methods not working = unhappiness! Internet television (a la Hulu or Netflix or even straight from a network) is blocked outside the United States due to licensing restrictions, so if I were to go straight to Hulu right now, I would get the following message:
>>>>> Enter the subject of this post! Before we flew the coop, Mike, who does enjoy television (and media in general) many times over more than I do, arranged to have a back-plan. Enter “Hide My Ass.”
I suspect he may have selected this particular service based on their name, but it is essentially a VPN (I just learned that that means “Virtual Private Network”) that runs its customers through a server located in the country of their choice, thus making your computer, or, um, ass, look like it’s in that country. In our case, that is the U.S. We’ve watched television through servers in Arizona, Manhattan, Georgia, and several other places so far. Awesome, right? It runs around $6.50/month, but for all of the amusement that it has given Mike, I’d call it totally worth it. Last night, the guys all went to watch a band on the town square (I wasn’t convinced that hanging out in temperatures below 40F sounded all that fun; ok, so it was *only* 39F. Still didn’t sound like it was extra awesomeness to me. Mike ears were so cold when he came home that it just about froze me out of bed. So, I’m glad I didn’t go), and I got to get started on this whole “Mad Men” phenomenon! Yay “Hide My Ass!” (I was looking all over iTunes U yesterday, and discovered a course out of Emory called something like “The Psychology of Mad Men Characters” and I thought that sounded cool even though I’d never really gotten into the show. Then I decided that the course would probably be that much more interesting if I actually knew who the characters were. So… no, there is really no chance that I will be bored. Do you see how much stuff I’ve already created for myself to do? Watch Mad Men (5 plus seasons), then take a class on it, when really, all I was looking for were some German courses on there… Which I also found. And that’s only for what I plan to do with myself when I’m home, which is really only so much because there is much to see and do! I know that there were those among you who worried that I’d be bored, so this whole little side bar should be of some comfort.)
Anywho… This is a little tidbit on living somewhere else while still enjoying the comforts of home. I suspect that we will be far less enamoured with the whole “HMA” thing in a few months anyway, when we are more connected to the culture and language (and when the “Parenthood” season is over), but it seemed like an interesting concept that I thought I’d share. 🙂