I have a face for radio and a voice for silent films. Just kidding.
But I’ve had a lot of video/radio experiences recently. And I got new iPod headphones yesterday. So exciting!
Hello! I’m sorry my posting has been so sporadic lately, but the book is still taking priority. I have a new deadline and even more reason to finish, so things will probably still be light here for a few more weeks. BUT, in keeping with the title, I thought I’d post links to some videos. I posted one of them here but I realized I didn’t post the other three so here they are:
That’s the subject line on an email chain a group of friends of mine and I have going. I don’t remember who started it, but it feels applicable to all of us, and it feels applicable for me this week especially. I am still alive, even though my posting here has been fewer and farther between lately. My writing is still alive, even though most of it has been diverted elsewhere (though I do have 16 drafts on here in various stages of completion that someday I hope to finish). And, most importantly, my father is still alive this week, even though he had a health scare on Monday and has been in the hospital. I don’t want to go into it, except to say that he is doing well–really well–he should be going home today, and we are all very thankful that he is, indeed, still alive.
This week has just been one of those weeks, however.
It has rained so much on-and-off recently that I’d be curious to see the precipitation numbers for the country this year so far. I haven’t minded the rain; it’s easier to stay inside writing when it’s not appealing to go outside, but I, too, enjoy relaxing in the sun. I’m nearly nose-deep in the manuscript and am trying my darnedest to meet my [self-imposed] deadline on Monday, but all I want to do is anything else. All I wanted to do the past three days is be home with my dad.
Yesterday morning I woke* to the sounds of my neighbor (below, I think, though it sounded like it could have been from anywhere) pounding an entire gallery’s worth of nails into
my skull the wall. I realize I’m not a morning person, but I think we can all agree that 7 AM is too early for home repairs and redecorating, especially if you share walls with strangers.**
I’ve been testing out a new commute: the Green Line light rail replaced my express bus, so it’s taking me longer to get into work, and I haven’t yet figured out the best bus-to-train situation. Sometimes the 7:40 bus gets me to the train as it’s pulling up, sometimes I miss it by that much, and sometimes I end up waiting for 15 minutes, which means I could have taken the next bus and still gotten to work at the same time (but slept for an extra 10 minutes), which is what happened on Monday.
Yesterday morning, I managed to catch the 7:40 bus (which used to come at 7:44 but now comes closer to 7:41), and I was all set to get to work early, make a cup of tea, and get going on the day when about a mile into the trip, a motorcycle turned left in front of the bus and clipped the front right part of the fender. The bus driver pulled over, hopped off to see if the cyclist–who was not knocked over and who did not stop–was okay. I ended up filling out a witness card and wishing I had taken the later bus, especially since the later bus pulled up to the stop where I transfer to the light rail at the same time as my bus.
But, the anthology in which an essay of mine was published came in the mail last week and it is thrilling to see my name in print.
In a fit of belated spring cleaning, I organized my closet, and it looks so much nicer.
My coworker gave me pesto she made with basil from her garden, and it made a delicious addition to my pasta this week, which is good because I haven’t bought groceries in a while.
And I’ve spoken to my parents every day this week, which doesn’t always happen, but it’s nice when it does. Today I get to do some role-playing at work, which should be fun, and I’ve got more improv shows on the horizon.
I’m still alive. And if you’re reading this, so are you. And sometimes, that’s all that matters.
*Technically, I had been “up” for about a half-hour, but I don’t really wake up until 10 AM. Perhaps he was retaliating for my late-night movie-watching of late.
**Walls With Strangers is the sequel to Strangers With Candy, which was the prequel to Perfect Strangers. Which is strange, because they have nothing to do with one another.
This week I’ve got something a little different for you. My friend Andy aka Mandrew asked me to participate in a blog hop about writing process (#MyWritingProcess). Since Andy looks like Jimbo Jones swallowed Hulk Hogan, saying no wasn’t a consideration. Really, though, Andy and I have been friends for five years and he’s one of the writers I respect the most, so being asked by a writer whose work you admire to talk about your writing process is kind of a big deal. It was also nice to have a prompt to use, since sometimes I have a hard time thinking of where to go in my posts.
You can find Andy at MANDREW’s Blissenblog, where he writes about everything from the fine art of spitting to letting his wife drop him off in the middle of nowhere (aka Northeast Minneapolis) before finding his way back to his house in South Minneapolis and everything in between. Although he scoffs at thesauruses (thesauri?), Andy has the largest vocabulary of anyone I know, and he uses his word knowledge to craft heady, humorous, and at times heart-wrenching prose. He’s worth a look and not just because I said so. http://blissenblog.com/
The premise for this blog-hop/chain letter for writers is simple: answer four questions and tag three other writer-bloggers. But, the reality is in doing it, I thought more about what I’m writing and how it fits into the larger literary world, which is sometimes difficult to articulate.
“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” -Speak, Memory
That’s the title of Vladimir Nabokov’s memoir, which I read two years ago for a class I took called Literary Memoir. The title is fitting, I think, for memoirists, but it also works for writers regardless of genre. Writers tend to work from what they know (I certainly do) and the best writing comes from a place of truth, even if it’s labeled as fiction. We want to believe what you’re telling us could happen, even if the world in which it happens lives only in imagination.
I’ve been thinking about this as I write a memoir of sorts, but also as this past weekend was Memorial Day, a time to honor those who live only in memory, particularly those who sacrificed their future for ours. I can’t imagine the selflessness and courage their actions require; we are fortunate that we don’t have to think about their sacifices for much of the year. It would be so wonderful to conjure them up with nothing more than that simple two word command: Speak, memory. Tell me the stories you have stored. At least, that’s what I imagine Nabokov meant in punctuating it that way: to address memory––his memory––and incite it to talk to him. The saddest thing I think about with respect to death is the loss of all the dead person’s memories and thoughts, shared and not shared. Thank God for other people’s memories; may we all live in within them.
I thought about Speak, Memory yesterday when I heard about Maya Angelou’s death. I feel lucky to have lived to hear her speak live, even if it was on TV and I wasn’t even in the same time zone. I appreciate her generosity and interest in humanity, as well as the vast collection of her writing. My favorite quotes: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” and “Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud,” and “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”
I think that’s one of the things that was so great about Maya Angelou; I could believe that if I ever met her, we would become friends. And not just in that fawning, fan-idol way, or on some planet that only exists in my imagination, but in a way where she’d have a glass of iced tea with me and sit in a rocking chair on one of our porches.
We may have lost all of the memories and thoughts Maya Angelou did not share, but how fortunate for everyone that her words and memories live on in print. That is one of the reasons that I write.
I want to write so many things. I’m sorry I’ve been quiet here; I’ve been writing and communing with other writers, and I’m trying frantically to get my second book done. BUT exciting things are coming. I’ll be bloghopping next week with a writer friend of mine, Andrew Blissenbach (of Mandrew’s Blissenblog; you should check it out!) and the anthology in which an essay of mine is included will be coming out in early July. If you would like a copy, please let me know (message me, email, or post in the comments). The list price is $19.99 but I can get it for you for $12 (and I’ll even sign it!). I hope that someday soon I’ll be posting about querying agents (and maybe, if I’m lucky, about getting an agent).
And if you live in the Cities, come check me out at Brave New Workshop Student Union for some improv the next three Friday nights. I have a feeling that, if we aren’t already, if you and I meet someday, we’ll definitely become friends.
Today is May Day, the first day of May, a day when we used to place goody bags on the houses near my elementary school when I was growing up. It’s a day full of maypoles and celebrating spring. There are parades and various festivities.
Mayday, the radio call, comes from the mistakenly translated “Help me,” or “M’aidez” in French. History Myths credits Guglielmo Marconi, inventor and pioneer in the field of radio, for coining the phrase, but its origin is a little fuzzy. Regardless, “mayday”* is widely recognized as a distress signal.
I feel like the latter is more appropriate for posting about, since I’ve been absent here for almost a month. I apologize for the radio silence. It’s been a busy three weeks, and I feel like I could use an assistant.
Since I last posted, I participated in the Cracked Walnut Literary Festival, which wraps up next week. For the event “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I read a choose-your-own-adventure nonfiction piece, with audience participation. It went pretty well, but it took a little while for the crowd to warm up to it, and (just as it happened the last time I read a CYOA piece) one lady had the “stop-this-ride-I-want-to-get-off” look on her face the whole time.
I auditioned, and tonight had callbacks, for a storytelling performance group. I also found out I’ll be performing improv on Friday nights this round.**
I finished two more chapters of my second book and made progress on a few more chapters.
I paid my taxes. A haiku of mine was published in the StarTribune. I made a quiche.
I went to the doctor. I went home for Easter. We flew kites and hunted for eggs. My brother-in-law and two youngest cousins took first place, but I really think we all won.
It has rained and rained and rained. I haven’t been sleeping.
I’m currently trying to write out a description of the job I’ve only had for three months, and I’m a little bit worried that I’ll miss the mark and somehow make myself irrelevant.
A piece of mine got rejected in the most loving way and another piece, that’s forthcoming,*** was given the nicest praise I’ve gotten. Ever.
Another improv video went up on YouTube. A car crashed in front of my building. The Wild won and the rain kept on and there was a blood moon lunar eclipse.
And, last night I told a story in front of a sold out crowd at Amsterdam bar for a radio series called The Moth. You basically put your name in a hat and they choose ten people one at a time to tell a true story (no notes) in five minutes or less. I was the first storyteller, and it was my first time storytelling, at least in that venue, and I was really, really nervous. I told about a time when I was lifeguarding and rescued someone for whom we then called an ambulance. My first mayday, if you will. It was a magical experience, and I would write it here but it’s better told. Just ask me about it next time you see me.
I’m sorry I haven’t posted here, that I’ll probably be posting less frequently this summer because I’m trying my darnedest to get that second book done, but know that I’m saving up ideas and jokes and things to write about for when I have the time and energy to do it. Probably every other week from now until September. Mayday. Help me. If you have an idea or something you’d like to see written about (or you’d like to guest post) please let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time, au revoir!
*It’s always said three times in a row in an actual emergency to differentiate it from mere conversations about mayday. Or May Day.
**You can see me on 5/23, 5/30, 6/13, 7/11, and 7/18 at Brave New Workshop Student Union at 8 PM for $5. It’s pretty amazing and I love love love seeing familiar faces in the crowd. I know improv isn’t for everyone, but think of it as a charitable donation and a way to make a friend feel important.
***The anthology featuring my essay, “Cold Feet,” Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, is coming out soon. You can pre-order a copy; if you want to order through me I get a discount. And there will be related readings coming up over the summer!
As a follow up to last week’s post, here are some of my favorite comments from the website. I especially love “you are histories [sic] greatest monster,” “DON’T TOUCH THE BLUEBERRY MUFFINS,” and “You are a factory of sadness.” Here they are:
144 days ago
Generic and lame it’s like I’m on the Pillsbury Funfetti website. Betty if you wanted new customers you could have put the rainbow chips in a plastic tub on top of the icing instead of nasty sprinkles like everyone else. Heads up we can all buy our own sprinkles but we can’t make Rainbow Chips. You didn’t change the cake to sprinkles so why the icing? I can definitely make my own buttercream with sprinkles. Hopefully someone at Betty Crocker recognizes the error of the decision to change to this generic replacement!
142 days ago
WE THE PEOPLE demand Rainbow Chip, not some sub-par substitute that’s just like every other frosting out there. I’m not buying any of this garbage.
133 days ago
This is just horrible! Bring back RAINBOW CHIP! Rainbow Chip Frosting has always been my favorite for cupcakes, cakes, and making our own homemade version of dunkaroos! I am pregnant and all I have been thinking about is some delicious cupcakes with Rainbow Chip Frosting after my husband traveled to 4 different stores with no luck I looked online to find that it had been discontinued! Shame on you Betty Crocker! Bad move!
127 days ago
I can’t give any less than one star? Too bad–this deserves less. I have been icing cakes for myself and others for years with RAINBOW CHIP icing. What’s so special about this sub-par replacement? If I wanted sprinkles on my cake I would make a buttercream and–wait for it–ADD SPRINKLES. You do realise Pillsbury already sells this, yes? RAINBOW CHIP FROSTING is what set Betty Crocker apart from the competition. Now the playing field is even and I’m holding a grudge. Until Rainbow Chip is returned (in its classic form) to shelves, I will no longer be purchasing any Betty Crocker brand items. Bring it back and you’ll have a loyal customer for life. It would seem others feel the same as evidenced by the reviews posted, at least 2 Facebook pages, and an online petition.
106 days ago
How dare you Betty Crocker. You are histories greatest monster for getting rid of Rainbow Chip. I will not be purchasing this cheap and frankly insulting replacement for the heavenly Rainbow Chip. In fact I have some Betty Crocker cake mix that I was going to use with Rainbow Chip, but I think I will return it now for some Pillsbury mix.
By wherestherainbowchipB**** *
90 days ago
I am beyond disappointed by the discontinuation of the greatest frosting ever. If I wanted funfetti I would…who am I kidding I wouldn’t because funfetti is frickin lame. I ALWAYS use rainbow chip frosting, I even go out of my way to a store I don’t normally shop at to buy it because it was so hard to find before. I hope everyone who loved rainbow chip as much as I did boycotts Betty Crocker until you bring it back. This is worse than the death of hostess cupcakes.
In the meantime DON’T TOUCH THE BLUEBERRY MUFFINS. They better be waiting when I go back to buying your products.
60 days ago
The rainbow chips were chewy and delicious. The sprinkles are hard, flavorless and full of disappointment.
50 days ago
I joined just to comment also. You have ruined my day. You have ruined my childhood and also any future birthdays ahead. You are a factory of sadness. No one wants this.
41 days ago
For the love of all things holy and pure in this world, BRING BACK THE RAINBOW CHIP FROSTING!! I beg of thee, Betty.
Rainbow Sprinkle is an insult to the legend of the rainbow chip….
As a victim of first world problems, I cry out with OUTRAGE and DESPAIR! I will not be silenced!!
46 days ago
I would rather die a thousand deaths than see these ridiculous rainbow sprinkles on any of my baked goods. If I wanted sprinkles, I could have easily attained them by buying a competitor’s sprinkle frosting or by simply purchasing sprinkles and putting them in with my frosting. BRING BACK RAINBOW CHIP!! Please! It was the best frosting on the market and a beloved member of all of my celebrations. I don’t know what made Betty Crocker discontinue it, but I am embarrassed for her. Look at all of the dissatisfied customers. Give the people what they want!
46 days ago
Um, what is going on here? You do realize by discontinuing Rainbow Chip you may have set the Universe into a tailspin! Without my favorite frosting what’s the point of anything? I may as well just buy Pillsbury. The dough boy is cuter than this tasting good. Seriously, by taking away Rainbow Chip you’ve ruined any future cake I will make or eat. You have destroyed all birthdays!
PLEASE BRING RAINBOW CHIP BACK!!!!!!!!!
You get one star only because I can’t give you zero stars. The form won’t let me.
49 days ago
I will never love again… Rainbow chip, i promise to keep the seat down, just come back to me!!
*I edited the name of this poster because I try to keep my posts family-friendly and I don’t condone the use of that word. I think you get the idea.
“Hope your birthday is a slice of wonderful…with frosting on top! (preferably Rainbow Chip, but we’ll take whatever delicious frosting finds us, no?)” a dear friend wrote in the birthday card she sent me. We lived together a couple of years ago, and on my birthday that year I had a “cupcakes and karaoke party,” which included confetti cupcakes with Rainbow Chip frosting. Before the party I had expounded on the virtues of Rainbow Chip (vs. every other store-bought frosting, particularly Funfetti/confetti/sprinkles). There really is nothing like this frosting, which sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. My mom used to make us these cakes and cupcakes for special occasions (and on request), and when I moved to New York, I started baking and bringing in treats for my coworkers. I varied what I made, but confetti cupcakes with Rainbow Chip frosting were included in the rotation.
Grocery stores in New York are small and often carry only one or two varieties of any given item; I could typically find frosting in chocolate, vanilla, maybe cream cheese/butter cream, but I managed to track down a C-Town not too far from me (but certainly out of the way) that carried Rainbow Chip, and whenever I was in the neighborhood I picked up a couple of tubs of the multi-colored candy-infused icing just to have on hand.
When I moved back to the Midwest (land of baked goods galore), I figured RC would be easier to find. After all, not only are grocery stores larger (and there are more of them), but I was moving to the hometown headquarters of General Mills, the company that owns Betty Crocker, maker of Rainbow Chip frosting. SURELY I would be able to find this beloved frosting whenever/wherever.*
Therefore, I was very frustrated last year when I started having a harder time finding it. At first, I could only find it in certain chains. Then only one store. Finally, I couldn’t find it at all. I attributed it to hitting the stores before they’d restocked, but it got so that I stopped being able to locate its place on the shelves, as stores no longer had a spot dedicated to my favorite** frosting.
I checked the Betty Crocker website to locate a store where I could purchase RC frosting and when that didn’t work, I looked for reasons why I couldn’t find the frosting and found conflicting results: there was a statement from Betty Crocker that the frosting hadn’t been discontinued but that stores’ stocks varied from location to location (which felt like a redirection of blame). I then saw that people were selling the frosting (for $50 a tub and up) on eBay, which made me regret not buying more in bulk when I first noticed the shortage. It also made me really regret having to throw a tub (or two?) away in the time I’ve lived in my current apartment because they keep the heat at 85 degrees, so even though the frosting hadn’t expired date-wise, it had gone bad.
When I checked back recently on the Betty Crocker website, I found no explanation (but a confirmation that the frosting had, in fact, been discontinued) and a ridiculous redirect to Rainbow Sprinkle frosting. Which, as everyone knows, is not Rainbow Chip frosting, and, as plenty of people pointed out in the comments section of the new frosting, has already existed in the inventory of icing offered by Betty Crocker’s competitors. In short, if you wanted Rainbow Sprinkle frosting (aka Funfetti/Confetti), there were companies that already offered it.
The public’s response to this has been to write over 150 (!) comments on the Betty Crocker Rainbow Sprinkle frosting page (which searches for Rainbow Chip frosting redirect to, no doubt because of said comments). Commenters initially posted on the Rainbow Chip page, but it, like the product, has since been removed. These comments are hilarious–pure poetry in some cases–but they are also sincerely sad.
I’m sincerely sad about this.
I’m sad for myself because I love this frosting. I’m sad for the other people who love this frosting. And I’m sad for future children who won’t know the delights of this festive, colorful treat. In a blah world, Rainbow Chip frosting was a ray of sunshine that hit droplets of water to create a prism. And you could eat it! What I read in these genuine, angry, sad comments was that this frosting represents many treasured memories, and its discontinuation, for some people, has signaled the death of childhood and a fraying of the connection to childhood.
Seriously, though. The only way I can make sense of this is that something in the Rainbow Chip frosting ingredients was discovered to be fatally toxic and Betty Crocker doesn’t want people to know this because then they would start filing lawsuits. Otherwise, I can’t understand how you could read the outrage (and it is outrage) in these comments and not consider re-releasing Rainbow Chip frosting.
I plan to post next week a few of my favorite comments, but if you want to read them in their entirety, check out this website. With names like “luvrainbowchip,” “rainbowchipMOM,”RnBowChp,” “loverainbowchip,” “rainbowchipFan,” and “ILiveForRainbowCHIP,” you can see there’s no shortage of RC frosting fans.
If you want to sign a petition to bring back Rainbow Chip frosting, check out here, here, and here (all on Change.org) or go to the Hey Betty Crocker Bring Back Rainbow Chip Frosting Facebook page or the Why Facebook page for the same basic sentiment. If you want to watch a heartfelt plea on YouTube (not me, but still), check it out. If you want to write letters to Betty Crocker, here is the address:
|General Mills, Inc.
P.O. Box 9452
Minneapolis, MN 55440
If you need something to get you through in the interim, check out this recipe on the blog Not Without Salt. I haven’t tried it, but if BC doesn’t bring back RC, I might just have to.
Please, Betty. Bring RC back! -Sarah
*You know, like the Shakira song. I mean, the frosting didn’t exactly have me head-over-heels, but my relationship with it has lasted far longer than any romantic relationship, and it has even helped me cope with a few break-ups.
**Store-bought. My mom makes really good Sea Foam Frosting and Cream Cheese Frosting*** from scratch, and there have been other homemade versions I have liked. Really, all you need is butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a little milk and you can whip up a frosting.
***They’re in caps because they’re titles of recipes.
UPDATE: This is why you don’t use Wikipedia as a source. The previous version of this post included some possibly offensive nicknames. I was in a hurry to get a post up and didn’t take the time to check some of the nicknames out before I posted, so I’m sorry if anyone was offended by them. As a Wisconsinite, I am not familiar with some of the nicknames of other states, but I should have researched them before just posting and for that I am sorry. I’ve removed the questionable ones, even a couple that might not have been offensive but I didn’t want to even come close to hurting anyone’s feelings. –Sarah
The Wisconsin Badger basketball team is doing well and just moved on to the Elite Eight, which is thrilling. Every year Badger fans hope and believe that this year they’ll make it to the Championship game, but this year I feel like they have a shot. The Badger mascot is derived from the state nickname, which I used to think was because we had a bunch of badgers in the state, but it’s because the original homesteaders and settlers lived in holes in the ground, like badgers. Speaking of nicknames, last week I posted about the nicknames of states, or demonyms. Well, here’s some more fun demonyms to check out.
People from Arkansas are called Arkansans, which confirms that they should pronounce it “ar-KANZ-as,” like “KANZ-as,” instead of “AR-kin-SAW.” An alternate name for them is Arkansawyers, so if you’re an attorney in Arkansas, you’re an Arkansawyer lawyer.
Connecticut might have the most nicknames for its residents: Connecticotian, Connecticutensian, Connecticutian, Connetian, and the official one, Connecticuter. Missing? Connecticuties. Or Connecticuddlers.
Rhode Islanders could alternately be called Rhodeans (but not Rhodelers–like Yodelers, to my dismay), and Pennsylvanians could also be called Pennamites, but not Pennsylvans or Pennsylvaniacs.
According to Wikipedia, Georgians can alternately be called Goober-grabbers. Although this is a reference to peanuts, I feel like there should also be an obvious reference to peaches–like Peach Pickers or Pit Spitters or something.
Also according to Wikipedia, Illinois residents, in addition to unofficially being referred to as Illinoians, could also be called Illinoisians, Illinoisans (officially), or my favorite “Suckers.” Haha, Illinois, I’m just being Ill-annoying.
Most of them make sense: Minnesotan, Oregonian, Washingtonian, Texan, (West) Virginian, South Dakotan, Vermonter, New Yorker, Wisconsinite. But it sort of surprised me that New Mexico residents are called New Mexicans. I mean, it makes sense but at the same time it reminds me of “new rich,” as in, we don’t come from a Mexican family, but we suddenly fell into being Mexican. We’re newly Mexican. Also, Utah natives are called “Utahns.”
Michigan residents have the most demonyms, with Michiganians (official), and unofficially: Michiganers, Michiganese, Michigines, Wolverines, Michiganites, and my favorite, Michiganders.
For more demonyms, check out this link. (I know Wikipedia is not a credible source, but…)
UPDATE on my upcoming publication: the anthology I’ll be in, Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, will be released on June 1! I’ll be doing some readings in relation to this and I’ll be sure to let you know when I know more. Until then, check out my video, and come to my improv show next week!
A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King. ~Emily Dickinson
“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” ~Robin Williams
Well, it’s officially spring, or so the calendar will tell you. Time marches on, as they say, and March is on time. And thank goodness for that. It felt like we were going to be in subzero purgatory for eternity, but then, just last week, we jumped a good 40-60 degrees and now we have seen the 40s! It’s amazing what constitutes exciting after the winter we’ve had.
I’m sorry I didn’t post last week and that this week’s post is late (and pun-heavy). I feel like I’ve been running around like a madwoman and I haven’t even gotten to my spring cleaning. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
I had a birthday! I know I mentioned that in the last post I wrote, but I had a great low-key series of celebrations, including a concert with my friend and fellow blogger, That Girl Who Reads Books. It was a great gift and made me realize that “If it’s too loud then you’re too old” isn’t always true. Sometimes “if it’s too loud, you’re just in a really small venue with too many amps such that the mic blows and you should probably bring earplugs next time, just to be safe.” I made some videos (all improv) with Philip Simondet as a birthday present to myself, the first of which is up at his YouTube channel, Minimum Fare. I’ll post more here as they come up, but you should check out the other videos because a) they’re all good and b) they all feature Twin Cities improv-ers you can see in shows and events around the area, usually on the cheap. And who doesn’t love cheap,* especially in the spring?
My mom took over the blog this week. Enjoy! -Sarah
I admit – technology scares me.
Netflix. It is a technological wonder. I had heard of it and knew of people who had subscribed to its services, but I never experienced it until my husband found himself in need of diversion following some surgery (see below). That’s when my daughter and son-in-law kicked into high gear to provide entertainment for his recovery. They brought with them their iPad and a world of magic. Okay, maybe not magic, but just like sawing a lady in half,** I am not sure how Netflix works. We were transported to the 1980’s and the Cheers episodes that made us laugh so hard.
Fast forward to this Christmas. Our wonderful children gave us a subscription to Netflix so we could enjoy Masterpiece Classic Theater and All Creatures Big and Small and all of the episodes of the Wonder Years. The gift included an additional piece of technology which allows us to view these nostalgic events on our television. My first response to Roku was “Not more technology!” (said silently). Now I am in awe…. and more than a little timid.
My head was spinning the last time we upgraded to an HD TV and the attendant upgrade of everything else involved in television watching. We had to program remotes and find new outlets and make new connections. David pointed to our coffee table today and was impressed that we could master the three remotes that our Netflix requires. Bring it on, just not so much of it. We need to learn the wonders of the New World a little at a time.
I find myself watching TV with a purpose now. No more turning on the TV and ignoring it or using it as background noise while I busy myself with some other task. Now television watching is just that. Sitting in one place and “watching” television. And with no commercial breaks, how will I know when to snack or go to the bathroom?
David found a suspenseful movie for us to watch together for our first viewing experience. After the first idyllic 2 minutes, the death and mayhem began. I left the room to avoid getting too upset, but curiosity got the better of me. I looked up the plot line of the movie and learned that, as I had suspected, the good guy was able to overcome evil in the end. The fact that it was accomplished by stabbing the villain in the head confirmed my decision to “watch” the movie by reading about it online.
Now that we are taking full advantage of our gift, I am concerned that we may go into a Classic TV seclusion. I am reminded of when we moved our television into the basement family room because we found that we kept it on all of the time when it was in the living room. We wanted to spend less time watching TV. And a few months later for Christmas, my husband got us a television for our bedroom. Not that we didn’t enjoy it. I remember the family piled on the king size bed to watch Hook together. The beauty of it is I slept through much of it, but I was on a bed!
And a wonderful feature of Netflix is that once you watch a movie or TV show, they help to suggest other events that you might enjoy based on your history. However, my husband and I have vastly differing tastes. We are certainly challenging the Netflix genie or whoever is back at the headquarters promoting other programs we might enjoy. (Okay, I realize this is not a person but technology that provides the suggested viewing options.)
My biggest fear is not that I will become a couch potato or that I will brush aside my responsibilities in favor of just one more episode. I am afraid that as I perform at a functioning level, more and more technology will stream my way. I know how to press source on one remote, use the Roku remote for the Netflix options, and increase the volume with the TV remote. But if one more device is added to the mix, my head might explode!
The truth is that now I don’t believe I will want to give up this wonder called Netflix. Wait….what?* I like technology? If I have 23 minutes, I can get at least one good laugh out loud watching an episode of Arrested Development.** And that is worth all the remotes, connections, and time involved. Netflix here I come!
* I had to put in the overused “Wait….what?” statement for two reasons. To impress readers with how up to date I am with the current lingo and to also show how distracted by technology everyone is becoming. Wait…I was texting, checking my email messages, watching Netflix, playing a computer game….what? I wasn’t listening to anything you were saying because of my technology…..
**Sarah here: My mom informed me that after she wrote this post, she saw an episode of Arrested Development in which they show how to saw a woman in half. How timely!