Tag Archives: television

Fine Tuning the TV Habit

When I wrote the blog post “Deleting without Watching – The Madness and the Guilt” a little over a year ago, little did I know that I was on the cusp of a serious change when it came to my TV habits.

In that blog post, I shared the guilt I felt in deleting programs my PVR had recorded but that I did not even watch. Scandalous… I know!

But in doing so, I was (sort of) following traditional rules of de-cluttering: if it’s been sitting there for a certain length of time and I haven’t watched it, will I ever get back to it? When I was really honest with myself, the answer was pretty clear.

When the new shows rolled out in the fall months of 2016, I gave several programs a chance, but I was getting a little more ruthless in my programming choices. I set a boundary: if after 2-3 episodes I wasn’t really loving the show, why was I still watching? Sadly, only a few survived and remain on my list today. Funny enough, “Designated Survivor” is one of them. (Is art imitating my TV life?)

I hate to admit that using that same rationale, even some shows I enjoyed in recent years have dropped off my must-see list. What happened to the kid who used to push up the national average for TV watching?

You could say that without really thinking about it, I wasn’t watching TV out of habit anymore, I was watching TV with more of a purpose.

Once the bar was raised, the available space on my PVR started increasing… and increasing. And in doing so, not only had I freed up space on my PVR, but time was freeing up in my life as well for things that mattered more. It was a seismic shift. Continue reading

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Where Have All The Exercise Shows Gone?

20MW AlbumNot that long ago exercise shows were a staple of daytime TV. At any time of the day (sometimes evenings too), there always seemed to be an exercise show of some kind on one of the channels… and this was long before having 200 to 300 channels to choose from.

I admit that I was a disciple of those shows. It seemed that my VCR or my DVD recorder was always set to record some exercise show that matched my fitness goals at the time. To me, it was important to maintain a healthy shape, because I did not want a repeat performance of my “husky years”.

Among my favourites were “The Body Electric” (PBS), “Caribbean Workout” (The Sports Network), “Rendez-Vous Reebok” (Réseau des sports) and of course the classic that ran in syndication for many years, “The 20 Minute Workout”. I also enjoyed “Kiana’a Flex Appeal” and “Bodyshaping”, ESPN programs that aired on Canada’s TSN, which coached me in how to use gym equipment safely.

More recently, my local community TV channel has been airing a series I love called “Yoga for Runners”, an outstanding program that inspired my stretching routines before, during and after my training for my first half-marathon. I still do those stretches today.

Throughout my years of TV exercise shows, I have learned about muscle groups, exercise physiology, and proper nutrition while in training. I also learned to listen to my body and how to perform exercises correctly. The educational component of TV exercise shows cannot be denied.

TV exercise shows were always great tool, in my opinion, for juggling a busy professional life too. It was just me, the instructor(s), a few basic pieces of exercise equipment (free weights, mat, bands, step), in my living room, on my schedule.

Once I started learning the routines and actually feeling the positive effects through confidence, better quality sleep, better muscle tone and a higher metabolic rate, I would become very loyal, very quickly to the program that got me there. Also, the more fun the show and the instructors were, the longer I stuck with the program. Continue reading

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My Take-Aways from Awards Season

Oscar and me1Ever since I knew I wanted to become a writer, whenever I watched The Golden Globes, the Academy Awards, The Emmy Awards (Prime Time and Daytime) or the Tony Awards, I always found myself walking away feeling inspired that one day that could be me.

When I hear writers’ acceptance speeches of humble beginnings, late starts in life or how a unique little story or unique way of telling a story became the object of much attention, I really do feel validated that there is purpose and potential for a budding writer like myself.

I do not delude myself into thinking that my turn WILL come at the awards podium, I think the odds of that are equivalent to winning the lottery. But I would like to think that my imagination, my creativity, my ideas and my story telling style combined with consistency and persistence, are the foundation for writing stories that will resonate. Where it goes from there, nobody knows. Hope for the best, expect the worst, and hopefully land somewhere in the middle.

This year in particular, the word “diversity” has been a recurring theme, appearing in speeches, editorials and reviews which struck a particularly deep chord with me.

As writers, I think we all have an innate fear, “What if no one is interested. What if no one reads it.” If the appetite for diversity is as strong as it seems to be, I take that as my cue and as my challenge to dig deeply for the stories that can matter and that can resonate.

The appetite for diversity is a sign to me that people want to see themselves in a story, someone to relate to, someone who has felt Continue reading

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How Bewitched Was Your Day?

Bewitched DVD As far back as I can remember, Bewitched has always been one of my favourite classic TV shows. Elizabeth Montgomery starred as the beautiful Samantha Stephens, a good witch trying to live like a normal suburban housewife, despite the intrusions of a colourful cast of relatives on her mortal marriage.

Over the years, I found my imagination and creativity spurred by the fun visual effects and magical sound effects depicting their fictionalized version of witchcraft. As the show replayed in reruns, decade after decade, the characters became a permanent fixture in my subconscious and still pop up in my life when I least expect it.

A few days ago, I was having one of those days where nothing seemed to go right. Technology wasn’t working as planned, inanimate objects weren’t cooperating, I bumped into a wall. The day was such a write off that I thought to myself, “Man, am I ever having an Aunt Clara kind of day”, which seemed rather appropriate given the circumstances.

When I gave it a little more thought, I figured out that you could equate a day to almost every Bewitched character, given their very unique qualities.

How was your day today? Was it…

A Samantha kind of day
A keen problem solver and peace keeper who can rely on common sense, resourcefulness and intuition to get out of a bind… but an occasional eye of newt or bat’s wing is not out of the question.

A Darren day
An unfailing spirit who would do anything for the love of his life, even if it means getting put through the ringer, having limits tested daily, and being turned into every species of animal known to roam the planet.

An Endora kind of day
The queen of the hive, the lioness, a powerful defender whose power should never be put to test. Could be perceived as meddlesome even though everything she does is TO HER, with the best of intentions and to protect the ones she loves. Continue reading

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Top 10 Weird Things the Cat Made Me Do

Ivy_the_catWhen someone adopts a cat, I would imagine that the typical responsibilities that go along with it are pretty evident: dishing out food, washing bowls, playing cat games, keeping the litter box scooped, dealing with an occasional fur ball puddle, and ultimately, offering love, comfort and security.

But I must have missed the fine print on the contract as there are some strange things I found myself doing that were not entirely evident from the start. But when Miss Ivy looks up at me with those big green eyes and lets out a soft meow, it puts a big smile on my face and makes it all worth it.

Here they are, the top 10 weird things that the cat made me do:

10 – Baby proof the house
Since the arrival of Ivy, I don’t recognize myself since I have turned into a bit of a robot, always on auto pilot, perpetually looking to eradicate any potential choking hazard like twist ties, buttons, dimes and elastic bands. Also, I have placed pieces of masking tape on ground level cabinets to prevent Ivy from opening them, especially if they contain anything potentially dangerous. The reality is that despite a curious spirit, she seems to lack a mischievous streak to get into any trouble, and frankly aside from tissue paper and yarn, she doesn’t seem terribly interested in human stuff.

9 – Checking her stools
After the feline parasite incident of last September, whenever I scoop her litter, I do keep an eye open to ensure nothing is moving or looking back at me from the litter box. Along with that, goes an occasional check of her bottom to ensure all is clean there too. There should have been a “claws” in the contract about that part!

8 – Counting cat calories
Much like human food, not all food is equal when it comes to calories. In the first months after her arrival, she was starting to put on a little weight. The vet suggested I limit the amount of wet food I offer her. That was easy enough but a day or two later, she was following me around the house like my shadow and constantly meowing. I had also noticed that she was going through her food rather quickly, including the dry food I was leaving out. This started the process of reading the fine print on cat foot labels. Little did I know that her favourites were actually very low in calories (50-60 calories per serving), while some other commercially available foods can be 100 calories or more per serving. From that point on, I have kept track of which favourites were higher in calories vs lower, and adjusting the portion size accordingly. In the end, by my calculations, she is pretty self-regulating and stays around 180 calories per day, a little less if she’s been sleeping a lot, and a little more if we have played a lot.

7 – Postponing basic human needs when she’s asleep on me
She is just so calm and peaceful when she is taking a nap, it would be such a shame to disturb her. Plus let us not forget the wrath I occasionally incur if I wake her up before she is ready to wake up… Meh, let her sleep. Continue reading

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Does Size Really Matter?

TVWe hear men boasting about the size of theirs all the time and how bigger is better. We also hear from some women who say it is not really the size that matters, but it’s more about the quality of the experience that counts.

Of course I am referring to… televisions.

About 3 years ago, I called one of those junk disposal services to come over and haul away my 27 inch tube-style TV. The beast, as I called it, was still a perfectly good TV but was not keeping up with technology that was going digital and HD. Watching HD programs on an old standard TV was like watching shows from another planet as it never fully filled out the screen and would sometimes go wonky on me. Sometimes the image was zoomed in, sometimes it was zoomed out. It made me dizzy. It was time to step it up… technologically speaking.

Let’s not forget as well the beast of a stand it took to support a TV of that weight. The two guys from the junk disposal service were grunting pretty hard as they were dragging it out.
The shiny new TV I bought to replace it was a 40 inch flat screen LED smart TV, weighing considerably less. The new TV was actually more awkward to carry than it was heavy, but still, bringing it and its stand home was a one-man job which I handled easily enough. I felt like Superman carrying a 40 inch TV over the threshold, all on my own.

Given the size and layout of my living room, 40 inches was plenty big to view from any seat in the room, from any angle, even with the eyesight of an almost quinquagenarian.

At that time, of course, there were larger televisions out there, but 40 inches was probably on the cusp between medium and large size at that time. In any case, I have never regretted that choice.

Even though that was just 3 years ago, if you walk into any television dealer, the 40 inch TVs are looking puny when compared to other TVs seemingly up to twice their size now.

The next question is why? Continue reading

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CSI Spinoffs That the Network Turned Down

CSI Lost SocksOver the years, I have been a fan of the entire CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) franchise including the original set in Las Vegas, the New York spinoff, the Miami spinoff as well as the most recent installment, CSI Cyber.

I imagine that to settle on those four successful franchises, the producers and writers must have mulled over hundreds of other ideas, some of which that just didn’t quite make the cut, even though they would have been compelling stories of investigations that many people could relate to.
Here are a few examples:

CSI: Lost Socks

CSI: Toilet Seats Left Up

CSI: Unfindable Ends of Saran Wrap

CSI: Unfindable Ends of Scotch Tape, Duct Tape and/or Masking Tape

CSI: Missing Baby Soothers

CSI: Missing Toys

CSI: Wine That Must Have Evaporated Continue reading

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