I always enjoy and look forward to this gathering, but it's been disappointing to be "stood up" so often lately. Are you getting ready to bail on the chat forever and you just haven't been able to tell us?
For those of you who missed the rollicking confusion last week: There was, indeed, a chat. Unfortunately, due to a mixup when the chat was built, the homepage erroneously said that the chat was cancelled. I didn't realize what had happened until the chat had already commenced, and someone wrote in to tell me that it was still listed as cancelled. There was a smaller, hearty band of chatters who were present and had managed to game the system.
So that's the explanation for last week. But I do realize that I've had to miss several chats recently, and for that I apologize. It's easier for many of the other chat hosts to be reliable than it is for me. Columnists and critics are rarely called away by breaking news, and they have a pretty clear idea of what their work schedules are going to look like on any given day. But the Style staff is smaller than it once was, and there are fewer of us available for breaking news. If I'm put on an assignment at the last minute, I can't say, "Sorry, I need to go chat!" because that leaves other people in the lurch.
So I'm really sorry. I do the best I can. Let us make the most of the time we have together.
Can you and others recommend good gift guides or other ways to find out about cool new products? I just learned about Sugru (http://sugru.com) from a listicle on Buzzfeed and am thrilled to be able to give my husband a gift he hasn't already heard of. And if it seems to early to talk about holiday gift giving, please remember that Thanksgivukkah is looming. Thank you!
In the past, we've done gift brainstorming sessions closer to the holidays. Should we revive that tradition? I would say the first week of December, but as you point out, Hannukah cometh early this year.
I will be housebound for about 6 weeks following a knee surgery that will keep me on crutches (I live in a walk up, once I get in, I'll mostly be staying in). Need recommendations on movies, TV and books. I tend to like sci-fi and fantasy, though with books I like non-fiction histories. Also, I'll through this out there, other non-media (books TV movies) recommendations that our lovely chat family can think of to fill recuperative time. Sorry for begging, but I usually am a social getting outside person and the prospect of being a shut in scares the bejeezus out of me.
Looks like someone will finally have time to read the entire "Song of Fire and Ice" series!
If you like sci-fi and history, I think it is time for you to get invested in two modern Sherlock Holmes series -- American "Elementary" and British "Sherlock." Once you have become acclimated to British "Sherlock," move onto the British "Broadchurch," which is a police-procedural, but a really good one.
As these are all fairly dark, I recommend interspersing them with viewings of a capella comedy "Pitch Perfect." I know it's for 16-year-olds. Just trust me on this.
Also, I think you should take up knitting, as six weeks should be plenty of time to learn the basics and produce a few scarves.
Also, if you have ever dreamed of writing a novel, this is a perfect time to start. I assign you 500 words a day. (1,000 words if you are accustomed to writing).
Master the perfect cookie recipe, if you can be on your feet to bake at all.
Complete all of your Christmas shopping early, online.
Watch one movie that everyone is always telling you you should have seen, but somehow you never have. Same with one book. Finally read "Crime and Punishment" or "Moby Dick," just a chapter a day.
Pick one old friend every week with whom you've lost contact, and send them a long, chatty email. Or pick one current friend, and send them an email telling them how much you appreciate them.
Get some handweights for upper body exercises, like bicep curls. Emerge from six weeks of shut-in status surprisingly ripped.
Try a new hair color. If it looks terrible, you have several weeks of privacy to sort it out. If you're female, do some of those "at home facial" things that magazines are always recommending but nobody has time to do.
Man, you are going to be so busy. I don't know how you'll ever have time to come back to work.
Would it work better for you if we switched back to Wednesday? Because if it's a question of having the chat at a different time or not having it, I'd vote for a different time.
I don't know that reverting back to Wednesday would help -- as I said, it's not a problem pegged to a particular day, it's a problem relating to unexpected deadlines.
I wonder if binge-watching comes across as highbrow in part because doing it requires a certain level of discretionary income. I know your chat is not a place for serious social commentary, but if you can't afford Netflix or DVD boxed sets, you'll watch whatever's on TV instead of bingeing on whatever's got buzz.
That's true. But that being said, a Netflix subscription is probably considered more "high brow" than a movie package on cable, and is a fraction of the cost.
I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis of binge watching. Additionally, it allows me to be more engrossed in the narrative. My first experience with binge watching was Twin Peaks on VHS. Because I hate cliffhangers so much, shows that have them turn me off in real-time. I am, I guess, the opposite of the target audience: rather than needing to see what happens next, I simply don't care. If the narrative leaves me hanging, I'm actually less likely to want to pick it up. I don't like loose ends.
Why is that? Are you driven to distraction as you think about what's going to happen next? Or are you just mad at the showrunners, for employing a gimmick to get you to return the next week?
Serious cuteness at the Richmond Zoo. Cheetah Cam. Except at the moment. They must be playing (or napping) in the sunshine.
We will take your word for it and come back later when they're back to frolicking.
What about the ultimate time suckage when watching most shows as they air (versus binging) -- commercials? Those of us without DVRs (which is still a lot of the non-binging public) lose approximately 18 minutes of an hour-long show to commercials. That being said, even when I binge, I tend to go back and read the recaps (TWOP or AVClub or others) from when the show originally aired (or as they are published) and so lose that time no matter what (Cue my mom "Why do you read what you just watched?" Answer "Because my friends don't like the good stuff and I always miss something!").
I've said before -- and I know this is controversial -- I think commercials make shows better. Most network television shows are designed with mini-cliffhangers, or in such a way to require a commercial break for dramatic purposes. Watching without the commercials (which I do, because what, am I crazy?) takes away some of the natural arc of a show. I went to the premiere of National Geographic's "Killing Kennedy" a few weeks ago, and it aired on a big screen, with no commercials. I kept thinking that really, this movie was intended to have -- and definitely needed -- an occasional Verizon or Kraft commercial to help break up the action.
Either do Broadchurch first or save it until you know you'll be moving around more. There are parts of it that are really gut-wrenching and depressing that I would not suggest being house-bound with your thoughts for too long.
Wow. Just... wow. This leaves the reporter stammering out a response. This isn't suitable for TV, much less suitable for work.
Maybe it's suitable for Canadian TV?
How can you be a shut-in with all these Post chats to participate in?
I don't know. Is the poster somehow suggesting that chatting with us every week is not identical to having a full and rich social life outside of the house? Hogwash.
That's the funniest thing I've heard all week. High-brow to watch all of a TV series at once? Maybe if you decided to sit down and read Anna Karenina in one sitting, but Orange is the New Black? Give me a break.
Okay, but your point raises a question about the hierarchy of highbrow. I would say that Orange is the New Black is a more highbrow show (in terms of food for thought, rich characters, nuanced questions raised, etc) than, say, Two and a Half Men.
And in general, we hold true that reading a book is better for you than watching a TV show.
But: Are all books better than all TV shows? Maybe Anna Karenina wins out over Orange is the New Black...but does John Grisham's latest book win out over Orange is the New Black?
Can someone please create, on the spot, a list or diagram of some sort that includes all forms of cultural consumption in order of most highbrow to least?
I haven't succumbed to the lure of binge-watching, but I do binge-read. I love it when I come across a new (to me) series already several books in, because I can just immerse myself in a new world. Downside, if an author has certain ticks, they're altogether too apparent!
It's true. If an author has a favorite phrase that they over-rely on, you probably won't notice it if you're just reading a few chapters of something every night. But if you whiz through three books in a week, that phrase is going to start glaring at you every time you see it on the page.
This is why you need a checklist every Thursday afternoon to tell you to, for instance, unclick the "CANCELED" thing on the web page. Think what you're doing to this poor person.
I know, I knoooow.
I agree that it's more efficient - skip all the commercials and the boring parts, and if you are watching something years later than everyone else (I was slow to see The Wire), you don't waste time discussing on social media, like the Breaking Bad finale mania.
I was late to Breaking Bad, and am about halfway through season 2 now. I don't know how you people did it who were actually watching week-to-week.
I have a question to something where I am wondering if this is a generational difference or an anomaly I discovered. It all began when a young person explained she cut her lip last night when she dropped her computer onto her face while sleeping. This led me to inquire why she had the computer in bed with her. A group of young people stared at me in disbelief that I do not sleep in bed with my computer. It seems that young people are on their phones or computers until they fall asleep at night. Is this common? Am I one of the old timers who turns my computer off and never keeps it in my bed?
Keeping it in bed with you is unnecessary. Everyone knows it should be placed right next to the bed -- still within easy reach, but preventing the possibility of wounding oneself in the middle of the night.
I had of course already Inked in this chat as part of my weekly recuperative process. I mean, How could I not. And I am totally getting ripped doing bicep curls. Because why not? Also, lets write a novel. Or maybe a novella. Topics? I'm coming up with Pandas, but I'm not sure they can sustain dramatic tension.
You could write a children's book. In which case pandas would be perfectly appropriate. Or maybe just a family whose last name is Panda. And they're all, I don't know, assassins? Or Canadians?
See, you asked the wrong question. If you'd asked, for instance, how she managed to be holding her computer over her face while sleeping...
Thank you. I was going to get into that, too. It seems perfectly reasonable to have your laptop in bed. But I don't know how one would hold it over one's face and still fall asleep.
Of course not. But there are a lot fewer highbrow TV shows out there than there are books, I venture to say. Reading "Anna Karenina" vs. watching all the AK movies & mini-series, from Greta Garbo forward, now that would be an interesting question.
I don't suppose the knee-surgery recuperator wants to volunteer to take this on, do they? Read Anna Karenina and then watch every subsequent adaptation and tell us which makes you feel the most edified?
Something for your reading (dis)pleasure. Local high school band really disrespected. As a former band geek and human being I am so astounded that the administration would get away with this. These students worked hard and deserved better.
I have no idea what kind of football program Annandale High has. At my high school, if the parents, friends and supporters of the band and choir left, the stadium would be half empty.
I think it's that I find it gimmicky. Much like how I hate horror movies that rely on music stings. Your show should be good enough to make me want to come back even without a cliffhanger. Not to mention the fact that I don't find watching something that doesn't end to be an enjoyable experience. That issue is lessened when I can binge watch and just immediately move to the next thing. Otherwise, I leave the show feeling annoyed, rather than pleased with my viewing experience. If that makes any sense.
It does make perfect sense. But now I feel like you should be assigned to watch several cliffhangery things in a row. It could be a growth experience. Or a lesson in...something.
Seriously, why turn down $3B unless you hate Facebook.
I was talking about this the other day with someone. I get wanting to turn down Facebook on principle. But man, think of all the principled things you could accomplish with $3 billion. It's like if I ever had a kid who, at 20, was trying to decide between finishing his college education or signing a million dollar contract with the NBA -- take the money, honey. College will always be there if you want to come back to it, but your jump shot probably won't be. Take the money, and in five years, use some of your riches to go get the degree.
Easy when you're in your 30s, dear. I've been a playwright since my 20s, and I can tell you now in my 50s it ain't that easy anymore. Back then when I was rolling it was like taking dictation from God. Now it's like taking dictation...from a dictaphone (one of those old ones, with the belts, and a frayed one at that.) What you have to look forward to, I guess.
I'm sure it works in the reverse for some people, too. Maybe some people, as they age, learn that not every word has to be a precious, belabored gift, and it's okay to just get some paragraphs down on the page and come back to fix them later.
I came late to the Sons of Anarchy and binged watched Seasons 1 through 4 earlier this year. Now binge watching Season 5 on Netflix. The benefits are clearly the lack of commercials and instant gratification. Also my husband and I don't have to argue about what to watch. The downside is that a few hours leaves me feeling a little addled and violence prone. Also, because I spend my TV time watching this, I'm out of the loop on any more recent TV-related pop culture and may possibly be prone to binge viewing something else down the line. Just to catch up. Season 6 is running now and I look forward to binge watching that On Demand when I'm done Season 5 (UNLESS I end up having to wait for Netflix because the commercials are too damn distracting). Unfortunately, I can't keep my eyeballs of the current season's recaps - mainly because I'm afraid they'll kill off my favorite character in which case I'll stop watching no - which has me completely confused. So the takeaway from my post - binge watching the Sons of Anarchy has turned me into a compulsive, violence prone couch potato held hostage by a group of imaginary bikers. I have no intention of stopping.
----> "The downside is that a few hours leaves me feeling a little addled and violence prone."
I keep seeing things on the NPR web site and Facebook etc. about national days. Yesterday was National Indian Pudding Day, and NPR published a recipe that serves 12, in time to clip and try out for Thanksgiving. Today, it seems, is National Guacamole Day. Which makes me wonder whether there is a competing National Avocado Day. You know, the dish vs. the ingredient. Also, who decides that it's National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day?
What is Indian pudding? I know I could look it up right now, but I'm going to take a guess. Does it have something to do with cornmeal and molasses? That's my guess. Am I close to right?
Very true! One mystery author always had his character say something like, "But let that bide" and since I was reading all of the books right away, I finally wanted to yell, "NO I WILL NOT LET THAT BIDE!"
This is such a silly distinction. We don't accuse people of engaging in lowbrow entertainment and wasting their time if they binge on opera-going, but operas were the "Orange Is the New Black" and "Lost" for hundreds of years, especially once you start getting into the epic multi-part cycles. Fun Fact: Verdi insisted that the final rehearsals of "Rigoletto," which was premiering in Venice, be performed in absolute secrecy because he knew the aria "La donna e mobile" was so catchy that local gondoliers would be singing it ahead of the opening night if they heard it in advance, and he did NOT WANT SPOILERS FOR THE BEST PART OF HIS OPERA, DAMMIT. (Fellow chatters: If that title doesn't ring a bell, go to YouTube - you will recognize it immediately, and yes, it is insanely catchy, and gondoliers STILL sing it.)
This is a marvelous anecdote.
Don't plan on being house bound for 6 weeks. It will drive you crazy. It drove me crazy and I was in an elevator building and I am a natural introvert. Can you get on the list for the Metro Access? Maybe the stairs won't seem quite as intimidating if you can get door to door service once you get out of your building. Can you rent/borrow a wheel chair at a Smithsonian museum? Doing one nice, long docent tour a week would be a great way to break up your time between weekends when friends and family are more likely to be able to come visit.
Posting as possible advice.
Another great chapter-a-day book is Helen Hooven Santmyer's "...And Ladies of the Club," spanning a women's book club from post Civil War to the Great Depression (when the last of the founders dies) in a SW Ohio town.
Ooh! I'm going to recommend this to my book club.
The "I will make my boyfriend 300 sandwiches so he will marry me" lady mentioned in an earlier chat has, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, garnered herself a book deal. (http://jezebel.com/burn-your-mfa-the-300-sandwiches-lady-has-a-book-deal-1463717328)
Yeah. I saw that. I didn't even know how to address it. No one seems to discuss much how in a whole blog dedicated to making sandwiches, this woman's real talent is making herself a star.
I just read the article and both sides are wrong. For the band to request extra time and have the team accept a 15-year penalty was wrong. For the football coach to kick them off the field before the 20 minute timer was down to 0 was wrong. None of the adults acted like adults.
But that football team wasn't even close to receiving the 15-yard-penalty. There were still four minutes left on the clock, plus the additional three minutes designated for warmup.
We gave up on "The Sopranos" because we don't get HBO and so, pre-DVD, we rented the videotapes from Blockbuster or Erol's or whoever it was back then. Having three days to watch six episodes before you had to return the tape was too much. Once a week we could stand Tony & his dark world, but not six episodes at once. So we quit. Occasionally we think about Netflixing him.
It sounds so wistful and nostalgic, when you put it like that.
Cornmeal, molasses, eggs and milk. Spices if you want. Stewed and then baked. Delicious.
I bet raisins would be a good add.
I hear that the Fifty Shades books have tics like that. "He smirked. 'Are you smirking at me?' I asked." Over and over again.
I think Christian Gray is always chuckling to himself, too.
Oh goodness, yes. This is what happened when I tried to binge-read Lovecraft and was sitting there thinking, "Oh, come on, not every single monster has to be 'so terrible and indescribable in its proportions that I could not explain it using the principles of known geometry, and indistinguishable in its vaporous features, which were eldritch and changed every second, and there was a smell that I couldn't identify, and the whole thing was so horrific that I fainted immediately.'"
I binge watched the Wire, and though I didnt' get violent, I was distrustful of people who came near me on the street. And I noticed a real uptick in my use of the f word and the mother -f word. Binge watching those kinds of shows can skew your perception of reality.
do you have a link so i can at least read it? thanks...
Search for my name on the Post site. Everything I've written recently will come up, including chats.
People like to be useful and helpful. Tell all of your friends that you will be housebound, and that you look forward to visitors. When I had surgery and was home from work for a week, I had a friend visit every day, and they always asked what they could bring. One day I was craving pineapple and watermelon; I mentioned that - and voila!, co-workers showed up with fresh cut fruit. Not only will you have company, but you'll also have a little delivery service. :) Another friend not only brought flowers, but also a book that she'd just finished and thought I would enjoy.
You sound like you have wonderful coworkers. Although, anyone can be wonderful when it's only a week.
I live in a Walk up. IN New York City. Our Subway is famously not as ADA friendly as the Metro. I looked into the access-a-ride but as is the case for a government run beuracracy, the approval time will take longer than my recovery thus defeating the purpose. Besides it doesn't matter, we've already decided I'm gonna get a sick upper body and write a novel about Pandas. Maybe body-building pandas with sick upper body strength....who do Kung fu! wait, that;s been done.
I really think this is an excellent plan.
my husband still talks about how some channel (tvland?) - had a soap marathon, and how they played ALL of the soap shows - soup to nuts as it were. It was like 24 hours or something. Or more. Apparently he was in college home for something or other. That was the only way to binge watch that long ago (over 20 years now...). He says it was mesmerizing, and he couldn't stop watching, even though it wasn't necessarily his fave show at any time.
Wasn't there a TV channel called Soap or something, that was always all soap opera, all the time?
I've binge watched some shows, and seen others on TV over real time. When I watching Dexter in a binge session, I end up tuning out more and fiddling with stuff online. I don't get that urge when I'm watching over a longer time period. But I do remember more details in a binge session, which helps with overall enjoyment, especially in a rich writing show. So maybe that's why Arrested, Lost, Breaking Bad, and the Wire all end up being typical binge shows.
Good point. Every week with Homeland, I feel like the "Last week on Homeland" mini-recap ends up taking up as much time as the show itself.
Are the multiple seasons of "All Creatures Great and Small" available on video? Those are generally quite uplifting, without being saccharine.
This doesn't involve TV, but I remember one of those 100 best books of the past 100 years lists had Watchmen as number 97 or something. So by that logic the best comic book ever is equal to the 97th best book of the 20th century, which seems about right.
Interesting. On the related topic of 100 best books list, here's a fascinating one that was composed in 1898. Some of the book are ones that are still on our lists today; some are books you never will have heard of. What I find particularly interesting is how many book are written by women -- about 30, by my count, which is far higher of a number than I would have anticipated that a list in 1898 would have. In fact, I seriously doubt that a list composed today would be as gender equal.
Go to https://www.coursera.org and take an online class.
Ooh, Ooh, or if you can afford it (or your library has it), please do a Rosetta Stone course in another language and then report back and tell us how it worked.
...is that, according to the article, "Coach Scott resorted to his own measures by shaking the podium of junior Assistant Drum Major Douglas Nguyen." Leaving aside for a moment all human compassion, can you imagine the insurance implications for the school district if the drum major had been knocked off the podium and injured? That alone is reason enough to discipline the coach severely.
Yeah, that was the point in the article at which it was clear the adults were off their collective rockers.
They're not a web thing but there's no app chat so...I discovered a way to get unlimited lives on Candy Crush. Should I feel guilty? For not paying 99 cents or for wasting even more time playing it?
I think Hessem would be a good code name in a spy book. Or maybe it could be the next book you write!
Father Cupcake, aka Doug, used to be a professor at Miami University in Ohio, where his email handle was HesseD@MUOhio. Naturally, he started getting emails addressed to "Mr. Hessed Muohio." Which, in retrospect, definitely sounds like it could be a name.
All these ambitious things that chatters are planning for you overlook one crucial fact: You will be in a world of pain like you can't imagine yet, and also doing physical therapy. Between those two factors, you may just want to sleep a lot.
Do not rain on our parade. Housebound has become the shining hope of this entire chat. Housebound cannot be stopped.
Totally learning a new language! Is there time to take suggestions? Otherwise I'll just go with Spanish. And then write my body-building panda novel in Spanish! My god, this plan is foolproof. FOOLPROOF!
See, earlier poster?
I would go with Spanish. It's a pretty easy language to learn -- or at least I thought it was, based on my baby-Spanish classes a couple of years ago. Plus, it's dead useful in the United States and spoken broadly in several countries around the world. I mean, if you wanted to choose something solely based on usefulness, you might choose Mandarin, but let's face it, you're not going to learn Mandarin in six weeks after a knee surgery.
Ooh, ooh, and once you get better, you can schedule a trip to Mexico.
I was on vacation last week and would have missed the chat even if it hadn't been marked cancelled, if it makes you feel any better. I did read the transcript, though, and I feel the need to weigh in on the guy whose new girlfriend lied to her friends about the way they met. Really, the only way out of this for her is to 'fess up completely to her friends, and laugh at herself as she does so. She needs to see the humor in her actions and tell the story as a big joke on herself ("Being certain it would never work out with Online Guy, I felt free to play fast and loose with the truth! And then worked out!! Karma, eh? Haha!"). And then, if everything REALLY works out, you have a funny HIMYM story.
I like this advice, thanks.
Is going to be a character in my panda novel
I remember when ST:TNG had a season end with a cliffhanger and it was a really big deal. It may have been the first time that was ever done. Now I tend to assume most shows with will have cliffhangers.
What was the TNG cliffhanger? I don't remember. Oh, and we're almost out of time, so I may never get to know.
The Vicar of Wakefield! I read this once, many years ago, and while I do not remember whether there was repetitive phrasing, I believe the female characters fainted at least once per chapter.
Then again, with whatever corsets she probably had to wear, we really can't blame her.
This is a thing? Seriously? A team gets penalized if the half-time show runs a few minutes over? Not that the whole thing isn't nuts, but this?
Surprised me too.
Portuguese! It's spoken in places on 5 different continents.
Portugal, Brazil, Sao Tome and Principe (I'm guessing, because of the Sao), and...where else?
For a character in a continuation of the Tony Hillerman novels.
I really think we're onto something here, guys.
I was in the same position a few years ago after hip replacement. A friend sent me a bunch of thrillers and detective novels, which turned out to be just the ticket, in my semi-invalid and doped-up state. She also sent me a DVD of Misery -- you know, where Kathy Bates has James Caan trapped in her spare room and does bad things to him. Highly appropriate.
And, with that, I have to run to a meeting. I will do my best to see you next week. The week after that is Thanksgiving, so we will not see each other, so be sure to come next week.