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Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

How Much TV Do You Watch?

TVSome of the comments on my last post made me think about how much TV we watch in my family.

We watch plenty. Not a ton – and the kids only watch on non-schooldays – and what we watch is deliberate. By deliberate, I mean that we never just turn on the TV to see what’s on. When Tim and I turn it on, it’s always to watch something in particular. And except for times when I’ve found a great new show (like now, when I’m overdosing on How I Met Your Mother), it’s not very often. We don’t actually watch anything on “real” TV now – it’s all either streaming, online, or DVDs. So, I watch maybe three hours of TV a week, plus some weeks we have a family movie night on the weekend.

The kids watch a little more – they are allowed “screen time” on the weekends, and that can be either xBox, computer, iPad or TV (i.e. Netflix on one of those devices). Adam is hooked on Monk and Malcolm in the Middle, Allie loves the various Disney Channel shows, and Jenny loves Diego right now. They watch pretty deliberately too. Maybe 6 hours a week, if you include any family movies. Not too bad, I think. (A wonderful side effect of only watching streaming TV or DVDs: no commercials! Ever! I never have to hear “I want ____” because they’ve seen it on TV.)

Just don’t ask me how much time I spend farting around on the internet …

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I Love Netflix

netflixTim and I resisted Netflix for a while. We borrowed DVDs (free) from the library for a long time. That worked well until the library instituted a $1/day late fee (we’re not great at, ahem, managing our library materials) and the DVDs were often so scratched that they were unwatchable. So, when I went back to work a couple of years ago, we decided to get Netflix.

I’m so glad we did – I love it! Tim and I don’t watch a ton of TV, but one thing I like to do is find a series I like and watch it all the way through in a series of marathons. The first one I watched was Friday Night Lights. I watched all four existing seasons in three weeks.

Tim has a knack for picking series that we like. After Friday Night Lights (which Tim didn’t watch), we moved on to Dead Like Me, then Pawn Stars, which was our “Sunday night laundry folding” show.

A few weeks ago, we started How I Met Your Mother. I’d never watched it before Tim suggested that we watch the first few episodes, and it has become one of my favorites. It reminds me a lot of Friends. I believe there are 150 episodes on Netflix, and lately I’ve been watching them at a rate of 5 per night while I do other things after the kids go to bed. Seriously, tonight I couldn’t wait for the kids to go to bed so I could turn the TV on.

Do you like Netflix? How do you watch? What’s your favorite TV series that you’ve caught up on via Netflix?

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Seeing Myself on TV

Tim and I signed up for Netflix last week. (I know – welcome to the 21st century, right?!) One of the cool features of Netflix is the ability to instantly watch tons of movies and TV shows on your TV or computer.

I’ve taken advantage of the service, and one of the shows I’ve been watching is Hoarders. These people’s lives are literally being ruined by their stuff – “collectibles” and (for some of them) loads of trash. One common trait of the hoarders is that most of them say “I’m not a hoarder. I don’t hoard. I … collect things.” or some similar description of themselves. I wonder whether anyone can watch this show and not think “Am I … could I turn into … ” etc.

I’m no exception! As I watch the show and hear people rationalize every item they put into their “keep” piles, I hear myself going through items in our house and saying “Oh, I’m keeping that because Book Baby will fit into it in a few years.” “I’m keeping that because we use it when we make (whatever.” “I want to keep that because (fill in the blank) gave it to me.”

Now, don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t consider myself a hoarder in the least. (Yeah, yeah, I know that’s what they all say.) But I am a pack rat, and I do like a good deal at the store or garage sale. (Fortunately, the only thing I really buy much of at garage sales is kid clothes – and I do have to clothe my children! I’m pretty sure it’s even a law.)

But … just to be on the safe side … I’ve found myself sorting through things somewhat this week, tossing stuff we don’t use, asking myself the Hoarders questions like “How will my life be affected if I no longer have this item?” and “Have I ever used this? Am I going to use it?” So far, I’ve weeded out some books – yes, it’s true, kids’ clothes, toys, and kitchen items. I’m hoping to weed out some things from the big kids’ room this weekend, though I may not get to it until next week. Sometimes it’s easier to do without them around anyway! I do weed out the toys throughout the year, but I think this time we may need to go beyond our usual criteria and ask  “Do they ever play with it? Can it be saved for Book Baby? Will she ever have any interested in playing with it? Is it easy and cheap to replace?”

Anybody else need to weed out their stuff? Or if not, how do you keep on top of it? With five people in the house (and the three kids all at completely different stages/sizes of toys, clothes, books, etc.) we just end up with so much stuff in the house.

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Last week, I invited you to ask me questions to help jump-start my blog with some good topics. (Anyone else who has a question is welcome to ask it in the comments here or in the previous post.)

Question #9, from the Gal over at One Gal’s Musings:

What TV shows do you watch now?

Tim and I are actually not big TV watchers. We used to be – I can remember eating dinner in the living room while watching Friends reruns many times before we had kids. However, once we had Book Boy, Tim and I made a conscious decision that we weren’t going to watch “grown up” shows when he was up. If we really wanted to watch a show, we’d tape it (yes, we’re dinosaurs who don’t have a DVR) and watch it after the kid is in bed. It has worked really well for us. Our TV viewing was further reduced during the writers’ strike of a few years ago – we quit watching much because there was nothing much good to watch, and we just never got back in the habit.

However, the shows we do watch, we’re pretty loyal to. So, what are those shows?

Glee – our #1 show right now. Can’t wait until it starts up again on Tuesday!

Chuck – A fun mix of comedy and spy caper, we even let Book Boy watch this one when he’s on vacation.

Heroes – We’ve watched this since the beginning, but I find it harder and harder to follow, and it appears that it’s unlikely to be renewed for a fifth season.

Survivor – We’ve mostly watched this since the second season, though we missed a couple of later seasons. The current installment features past players, and so far has been pretty good.

The Office and 30 Rock – We watch these if we remember.

That’s about it, really. Sometimes we watch Fox’s animated Sunday evening shows as we fold laundry (Sunday is laundry day here) but I could take ’em or leave ’em.

So, what do you watch, readers? Are you watching more or less TV than in years past? Why?

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In the “old days” – as recently as four months ago, I think – Little Sister really didn’t watch TV. She’d sit still for about 15 minutes of a kid movie, or Sesame Street, or something like that, but 15 minutes seemed to be about her limit. That was mostly fine with me, although every once in a while it would have been nice for her to sit down with Book Boy and watch a movie with him, or occupy herself while I’m on the phone, or something along those lines. I don’t think she’s even watched all of the Cinderella movie she got for Christmas a year and a half ago.

But now?

“Mom, can I have a cartoon?”

“Mom, can I please have just one more cartoon?”

“It’s not time to turn it off, I only had two cartoons! And I didn’t watch Sesame Street yet!”

And on and on. All day long. (And no, this didn’t just start when I started staying home with her every day.)

What on earth happened to change her into a TV junkie? Seriously, between her and Book Boy, they’d have had the TV on all day during spring break this week!

(Book Boy, of course, would have some sort of “screen time” – TV, computer, XBox, Nintendo DS – all day long, if we’d let him. We don’t.)

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I grew up just a couple of miles from a small but busy airport – the sixth busiest airport without regular passenger service in the country. There are also many lakes in that town, including several that are pretty close to the airport.

For some reason, I’ve always had dreams about seeing a plane from that airport go down, usually in smoke. Sometimes I’d see it from the deck at my parents’ house, but often in these dreams I’d see it go down over a lake.

So imagine my surprise when the Discovery Channel show Destroyed in Seconds featured a film of a plane crash – a plane that had taken off from that very airport, crash-landing in one of the nearby lakes! Watching that clip was seriously one of the strangest moments of deja vu in my entire life. It was just creepy.

I’d love to hear about any “predictions” like this that others have had. Or what was the strongest sense of deja vu that you’ve ever had?

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My kids love the Three Stooges.

Tim and the kids watched a couple of Three Stooges clips on YouTube last night, and Book Boy was begging for more today. So Tim dug out an old Three Stooges videotape that we have (for some unknown reason) and they watched it this afternoon.

And my goodness, how they laughed! Book Boy was laughing so hard that I wasn’t sure he coud breathe, and he could barely sit up. Little Sister was standing up, dancing around and laughing hysterically. At one point, BB managed to stop long enough to squeeze out, “Mom, these guys are idiots!” before he collapsed again.

The kids liked this so much that I reserved a couple more videos at the library.

And you know what? Even though I really can’t stand the Three Stooges, I can’t wait to watch the next video with the kids.

Do your kids like the Three Stooges? (Or do you?) What’s something your kids love that you just don’t like, or can’t understand why it’s so funny?

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I’ve always been fascinated by “old school” Sesame Street – say, 1969-1978. Of course, I watched it as a child and continued to watch it until my younger brother was a pre-schooler. The shows are wonderful, and every once in a while I look at old clips on YouTube – I could waste hours doing that.  I remember owning a Sesame Street double LP when I was four or so … oh, how I would love to find that on eBay or somewhere (I’ve never been able to determine exactly which one it was, though).

I also happen to like non-fiction books, and biographies. So for someone like me, Street Gang was the perfect book – it’s like a biography of the show (with a heavy focus on the 1965-1980 years). It took me a while to read it – it’s not a book I wanted to skim – but I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it for anyone who’s interested in how Sesame Street came to be. I believe it was truly serendipity.

And just for fun, here’s my favorite Sesame Street clip of all time. (Amusingly, I found out last year that it’s also my older cousin’s favorite. I never knew that he liked it.)

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Do you Hulu?

Have you heard of Hulu? It’s a free web site where you can watch current episodes of your favorite TV shows, classic episodes of old TV shows, and the like. I’ve found that it’s fun to have something on in the background when I’m working on something that’s not in the living room. Tonight I caught up on three episodes of 30 Rock while cleaning up my scrapbook/sewing area! (It probably would have taken less time if I’d just been focusing on the cleaning, but still.)

Anybody else discovered this fun site? Or where do YOU catch up on videos?

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See this “Don’t Vote” video:

Then register to vote (find out how at http://maps.google.com/vote ), and pass this information along to your friends.
Fellow bloggers, will you help to get out the word?  Tag five of your friends and ask them to share this information about the “don’t vote” meme.

I’m tagging:
The Gal
Jen at The Road Less Traveled
Malcolm at Pop Culture Dish
BearTwinsMom
More Than an Electrician over at Naked On the Roof

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