Thursday, December 18, 2008

To TV or Not To TV.

In my life I have really run the gamut of tv watching habits. In high school I watched General Hospital pretty religiously. In college I went for months without getting anywhere near one (including one three month period where we didn't even HAVE a tv). When I was in grad school and completely depressed because I hated it, I think I may have watched Law & Order 24 hours a day for about a week (and Law & Order, while being a very interesting and well done show is also totally depressing, so it wasn't the smartest thing to have watched!). Right now I have the Today Show on in the morning, whether I'm watching it or not, and then not much else after that. At night, depending on my exhaustion level, I might watch some shows,(as in i'm just too tired to do what I need to be doing and my brain is too tired even to read) but definitely not every day!

The funny thing is though, I spend most of my TV watching time (such as it is) totally annoyed and disgusted. I know!! Why am I still watching then? I'm asking myself the same thing! I guess it's just habit. And it's nice to have the background noise. As much as I love my Booboo, adult conversation is pretty scarce when you're home all day with a 7 month old! So listening to people talk kind of helps in some weird way...

But why am I so annoyed and disgusted? I could probably do an entire other post just about this subject, but I'll try to be brief here. Because it's so stupid!! The things they talk about, the way they smoosh everything into these ridiculously rushed 30 second segments (heaven forbid they talk about ANYTHING in depth). I'm mostly talking about the news and shows like the Today show here. And they are glorified commercials really. All they do is sell stuff. (and do stories on how to save money by spending it! Ha!) Reality shows are the devil (except for Jon & Kate +8, although I don't have cable, so I can't watch that on TV anyway!) it's all competition and glorifying cutthroat, backstabbing behavior. And the amount of sex on the rest is so depressing I can't even get into it. And don't get me started on commercials! (Jon will tell you that I get actually upset and angry at commercials all the time. I know, I'm such a dork!) How we are not all raging hypochondriacs from all the drug commercials I don't know.

Ok, don't worry, I'm cutting myself off from my little rant. So why am I talking about this? Well, a couple of months ago I read a great book called Funny in Farsi, and then an even greater book (pretty rare for a sequel) called Laughter Without an Accent. I would highly recommend these books to EVERYONE. I mean this is an unqualified recommend. Young, old, conservative, liberal, everybody! (Shout out to Jess for turning me on to these books!) The author is an Iranian American and the way she writes is just delightful, smart, uplifting, etc. I know, this seems unrelated, but I'm getting to the point. In the second book one of the little stories is how she decided that her family (she and her French husband and two children) should stop watching TV altogether and become a TV-free home. It's so well written: no preaching, no guilt-tripping, no judging, she just talks about how delightfully and unexpectedly wonderful life was without it and the one thing that was hard (folding laundry was so deadly boring without TV that she finally pulled out the radio and started listening to the news). I haven't been able to stop thinking about since.

I am grateful to TV for having pulled me through a tough nursing period with a newborn. And there are some good shows and it's especially fun to watch the little segments with craft ideas, recipes etc. But thanks to the modern miracle of high speed internet you can watch the little segments of shows like the Today show on the internet (and only the parts you want to see with one tiny little commercial which you can totally ignore), and I can get the news on the internet so I won't be totally cut off. And we will keep the TV set for watching movies, and you can get shows on DVD if you are willing to wait till the end of the season (no problem), and there are no commercials! Not that I will be doing that much, except of course for Jon&Kate +8!! It won't be easy at all. I'm going to have to develop a little more resourcefulness, and I'll probably have a cleaner house and get more sleep and knit more and listen to music more and maybe even start practicing my guitar again (i shouldn't get carried away. i'm not giving up Booboo along with the TV!)

I'm also not totally sure about this. For instance, there's a show on January 4th which is going to have all these amazing dance performances by world-class artists (the preview showed Riverdance and all kinds of cool stuff from all the world). I'm pretty jazzed to watch this as I LOVE stuff like this. I love to see stuff from all over the world, and dancing (no this does not include Dancing With the Stars). And I do love some of the stuff on PBS also, like Masterpiece theater, etc. So this will still be hard. But I think it will be good for me, and thanks to the conversion to digital TV, maybe it will be kind of easy. Because we don't have cable and we have a very nice analog TV and so if we don't buy the little conversion box I can keep my TV for movies and I won't have to exercise will power! It simply won't work after February somethingth! Awesome! That's still a couple of months away so until then I will try to wean myself off mornings without the Today Show keeping me company.


There are a lot of people in the world who are smart enough to have already done this, or at least REALLY cut back on TV, in fact there are organizations and websites dedicated to this (there are organizations and websites for EVERYTHING, have you noticed?). I'm not even suggesting that you guys do this! A little bit of escape time and connection to the world is not a bad thing at all, especially for stay at home moms!! I guess I just wanted to share what I've been thinking about a lot lately, and wouldn't it be funny if a lot of people did this on the digital conversion day? Just stopped watching TV? Maybe I should start some kind of Internet Movement, like Buy Nothing Day (the day after Thanksgiving) or Plastic-Free Christmas or any of the other myriad Social Internet Mini-Revolution/Protest Thingies. I'd need a clever name and a logo that people can put on their blogs and websites. Hmm...that sounds like a lot of work! I would probably have to turn off the TV to do it! ;)

Monday, December 15, 2008

'Tis the Season.

So Christmas is in 10 days. 10 days! And, like many of you I'm sure, it has really snuck up on me.
I've been having a hard time really getting into the spirit of things. The tree is mostly trimmed and we are working on our Christmas cards but there is still shopping to do and winter weather has finally hit us and it all makes me want to bunker down and stay inside and say "Bah Humbug". But I'm probably just in a mood tonight. Because I really do love Christmas. Booboo LOVES the tree lights and so do I, and I look forward to lots of great time with family. That's really the best part. And the snow is pretty, even though it's so darn cold.

Last week we had two very Christmassy experiences. Jon and I were able to go the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert. It was absolutely amazing. I wish I could describe how beautiful it was. I cried many times. It was also cool because there were these lovely dancers and I just loved their costumes. They made me wish that I was either 1) a little girl again so I could play dress up in swirly skirts, 2) that long swirly skirts were in style again, or 3) that I was one of those slightly eccentric women who just wear swirly skirts all the time anyway! The second Christmassy experience was trying to get my 7 month old to take nice pictures for the Christmas cards. My cousin Janae did a pretty amazing job with a little boy who was very unhappy, very unwilling to smile, and teething, to boot. All this resulted in a large amount of funny pictures, and, luckily, a few that are good enough to give away. But for the sake of humour, I thought I'd share some of the funnier ones here: note the excessive slobber, unamused expression, and funny faces he's pulling. All evidence of teething!

What? You've never heard of the Great Christmas Carrot? Ok, really we were just desperately trying to get him to smile... And now for some of the good ones:

For those of you who are cool enough to get the reference: doesn't he look like Toby from The Labyrinth in these? I didn't do that on purpose, I swear!

I've been trying desperately to come up with a caption for this last one...He's doing something very specific with his hands here, but I can't figure out what! If you have any ideas post them in a comment!