Things I Said While Watching TV Tonight

Watching Matthew McConnaughey in a Lincoln ad:
Mr. Sandwich: Let’s see what Matthew McConnaughey is going to tell us about Lincolns today.
Me: There is something really unnerving about his teeth.

Watching Speechless:
Me: I identify with Jimmy and Dylan. Because I feel like it’s my job to stay calm and also I’m fighty. There’s a lot of conflict between these two parts of me.

Watching something that appears to be an action movie due to urgent driving:
Me: What is this? Is it Live Free and Die Harder in a Really Stupid Way?
Mr. Sandwich: It’s Batman v. Superman.
Me: Same thing.

Still watching Batman v. Superman:
Holly Hunter: The world has been so busy thinking about what Superman can do that we haven’t stopped to ask what he should do.
Me: Oh, I get it. Superman is Jurassic Park.

Still watching Batman v. Superman, even though we meant to go to bed 30 minutes ago:
Perry White: Headline: End of Love Affair with Man in Sky?
Me: Perry, that’s a terrible headline.

But, really, the amazing thing is that we got to watch TV. Do you know how rare it is for Baguette to sleep?

What Doesn’t Kill You

Ginger of Ramble, Ramble has more writing prompts this week. I couldn’t choose, and they seem to go together, so here you are:

Prompt 1: What are your sick day must haves? Do you want certain foods, shows, clothes, drinks? What makes you feel better when you feel crummy?

Couch, pillows, TV, fleece blankets, PJs, Wicket. Basically, all the soft things.

I don't know about you, but I feel better just looking at her.
I don’t know about you, but I feel better just looking at her.

Prompt 2: What’s the sickest you’ve ever been?

Nearly every story about the sickest I’ve ever been includes vomit. Lots of vomit. So I think we should skip those stories, and I think you will agree.

The obvious exceptions are the time I had pneumonia (at an out-of-town conference! that required plane travel!) and the time I had swine flu. Ah, swine flu. Good times.

One Friday in late February 2009,* I had a D&C for my second miscarriage, which (like miscarriages 1, 3, and 4) did not happen without some help. On Sunday, I was supposed to get together with a couple of friends to watch the Oscars. Because of my surgery, they kindly came to my house and brought all the food.

We snarked the Red Carpet so viciously that at one point Mr. Sandwich had to come inside to see what we were shrieking about (one of the hosts had done something so unfortunate to her face that she was trying not to appear on camera, but since she was the host, she kind of had to). The ceremony began. The snarking continued.

After a couple of hours, I started to feel under the weather. I thought, “What I really want to do is go lie down, but if I do that, my friends will feel that they have to leave. And I’m totally fine with them staying, I just need to lie down.”

But since I didn’t want them to go, I stayed put in the recliner.

After another hour, I thought, “What is this? I’m so sore and achy. Wait. Is this the flu? It’s been a while, but I think this is what the flu feels like.”

By the time the show was over and everybody went home, I felt as if the inside of my skin was being sanded. This is not a good feeling.

The next day I had a follow-up appointment with my OB-GYN; from his office, we went to our primary care doctor. As the morning progressed, Mr. Sandwich started to feel achy.

The primary care physician prescribed antivirals for both of us, and we headed off to the drug store.

Which could only fill one prescription of antivirals.

Back home, we swathed the couch in microfleece throws (because the perfectly fine upholstery was too rough for feverish skin) and settled in.

Oh, and while this was going on? I was borderline hemorraghing from the D&C. (You do not want to know.)

Both the flu and the bleeding went on for most of the week. We spent much of it on the couch, looking sadly at each other and saying, “I’m really sorry I can’t take care of you, but I feel so sick.” And the other one would say, “Please don’t worry about it, because I feel that sick, too.”

We also learned that, even with the blinds closed, the afternoon sun cast so much glare on our TV screen that we couldn’t really see it. And since TV was the only form of distraction we could manage (books are so heavy), we kind of needed to see it.

Mr. Sandwich draped the windows in more microfleece throws. Fortunately, we have a lot of them.

And those antivirals? We felt no different at all for taking them. They didn’t seem to help in the slightest. The fever, aches, chills, and clamminess persisted in spite of the drugs. (We still got the second prescription, and we each took all of them that we were supposed to. In case you were wondering.)

But on the other hand, we didn’t die. So there’s that. Because people do die of swine flu.

And after we were well, we replaced the window coverings with wooden blinds.

So I guess you could say that we were so sick, we redecorated.

See those blinds behind Wicket? Those blinds.
See those blinds behind Wicket? Those blinds.

*Sources say that the first reported U.S. cases were in late March. But given the severity of our symptoms and the speed of their onset, we are pretty sure that we ran into it at the hospital, before doctors knew about the outbreak.

TV Shows That Were Gone Too Soon

This week’s Monday Listicle is “10 shows that got canceled too soon.”

I don’t know. I’m picky about my TV. This is not to say I haven’t watched my share of crap (“Zorro and Son” comes to mind). But I find that most of the time, shows drag on far longer than they should. I like it when a showrunner has a story to tell, and tells it. Which is why I stopped watching shows by J.J. Abrams.

However, there are some shows that didn’t get a chance to show what they could do–or were just beginning to build an audience, and got canceled anyhow.

1) Homicide: Life on the Street You look at that page, and you think, “There were 7 seasons. What’s the problem?” Well, they weren’t all full seasons, for starters. And I think that their first cast was the strongest. But even when some of the newer characters annoyed me (how they developed some of the original ones did, too), this show was one of the smartest things on TV. Which is probably what killed them, because they were canceled as punishment for not beating “Nash Bridges” in the ratings.

2) Firefly. Mr. Sandwich introduced me to this show when we were dating, and I still think it’s wonderful. I never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so this was my real introduction to Joss Whedon.

3) Dollhouse. Speaking of Joss Whedon . . . Actually, I found this show very problematic. It focused on the wrong character (Sierra and Victor were much more interesting than Echo). It depicted a very disturbing approach to sexuality. But it was just starting to turn into a really interesting show with a dynamic plot arc and it got canceled. They were able to show us where they were going, but it had to be very rushed.

4) Deadwood. At least the first three found ways to give us a little more–Homicide with a TV movie, Firefly with a big-screen movie, and Dollhouse with a handful of epilogue episodes. But Deadwood wasn’t done with its story when HBO canceled it. We were promised two follow-up movies, and seven years later, WHERE ARE MY TWO MOVIES???

5) Boomtown. This examined the same events from different points of view and featured complex and compelling characters. So, naturally, NBC decided that the second season should do none of that, and then aired the final episodes in unpromoted clusters so that you couldn’t find them. Stupid NBC.

6) Southland. Again with the NBC. The first season was so good, and then they dropped it. Fortunately TNT picked it up, and the excellence continued, but it won’t be coming back next year.

7) Freaks and Geeks. You know, I’m getting mad at NBC all over again.

8) Pushing Daisies. I have never seen anything like this show. It was like tasting colors. It was like hearing the scent of a thousand fruits and spices.

9) Arrested Development. I haven’t caught the Netflix season yet, but this show had more life in it. And it also had Jason Bateman in it.

10) Terriers. Mr. Sandwich was more into this show than I was, but it had some interesting characters and was different. I think the name confused people, and I’d say their loss, but Donal Logue was terrific and I think it’s my loss, too.

Bonus Round: Mr. Sandwich has some entries.

Brimstone. “I’m a bit of a soft touch for cop shows and scifi/fantasy.” It was moving from an episodic format to longer-range stories, and he guesses that the whole thing just wasn’t speaking to enough people–but it spoke to him.

Farscape. “If Star Trek is a ‘wagon train to the stars’, then Farscape is a really fast getaway car in space, but the bank robbers all rob different banks and no one can agree where the safe house is. It was canceled precipitously, and although there was a pair of follow-up TV movies, they felt rushed and inelegant.”

TV and Us

Mr. Sandwich and I have different TV histories.

I grew up in a house where we watched a lot of TV. I remember watching The Lone Ranger not because I was a fan–I actually found it kind of boring–but because it came on between Adventures of Superman and Batman.

My first political memories are of TV: my mother spent hours watching the Watergate hearings.

My first political action was because of TV: I saw something about whaling, and wrote letters to the Soviet premier and the Japanese prime minister. I think I was five. (And I was clearly no Samantha Smith; I received neither a reply nor an invitation to visit either country, and whaling continues. Also, RIP, Samantha Smith.)

I don’t remember when my parents bought our first VCR, but I do remember that first we would rent one. That’s right–people used to rent VCRs like they were videos. You know, back when you went to the store to rent videos. Or maybe you don’t know. Wow, I am old.

Mr. Sandwich grew up without TV.

But that didn’t stop us from connecting over TV when we started dating. One of the things that we bonded over was not just TV. Not just that we watched the same shows. But that we watched them the same way.

Today we love the DVR because one of us can say, “Pause!” and we can talk about what we just saw. (Don’t worry, we won’t do this if you come over.)

We treat TV like it was a movie or a novel. We dissect it, we analyze it, we discuss whether or not particular actions reflect a specific character. We may be couch potatoes at times, but in our house, there’s very little that’s passive, much less lazy, about watching television.

TV and Me

Joanna Goddard (of A Cup of Jo) and her husband gave up TV for a week. It sounds like they had a great week.

I’m a big fan of TV in moderation. Personally, I can go all day and barely have it on, and not just because I’m at work–I often don’t watch much TV when I’m home sick, for example.

And when it is on these days, we’re most likely watching “Sesame Street” episodes on the DVR, or some other form of children’s television provided by Sprout TV (but not “Caillou“! Not “Caillou”!).

So what that means is that for me, getting to watch Actual Grownup Shows is something of a treat–because mostly they just stack up in the DVR. And now the only time Mr. Sandwich and I are likely to watch them is when we’re both home without Baguette. Because at night, we’re all up or we’re all in bed. There’s no “after she gets to bed, we’ll watch a couple of episodes of ‘Louie‘.”

(And that’s too bad. I love “Louie.” I love it so much that I’m reasonably at peace with Louis CK’s decision to take a year off so that he can keep the quality high. Because–nooooooo!—but okay, because I’ll make that trade for a show that good.)

But this, in case you were wondering, is why we have something like 27 episodes of “Castle” just sitting there in the DVR. Waiting. And waiting.

Electronics: Yes. Machinery: No.


Seriously, that’s what Baguette kept saying yesterday as I was using the stand mixer: “No, Mommy!” I tried to explain that I was making shortbread, which she loves, but I continued to get “No, Mommy!” in response. Apparently the only things allowed to make noise are the TV and the laptop.

Meanwhile, she can’t get enough of my iPod, any phone, or the remote control. And somehow she’s managed to reprogram both our answering machine and our thermostat.

Whatever. We’re going to replace that thermostat anyhow. In the meantime? No shortbread for you, Baguette.

I’d Kick Myself if I Weren’t So Tired

Yesterday I was tired because of all of the swimming and biking during the day on Monday, followed immediately by the evening at my in-laws. J was setting up their wireless internet so that they can use the laptop with the webcam to talk to their granddaughter, who just turned two. Never mind that my father-in-law refuses to contemplate web commerce in any form (he has J make all of his online purchases, because apparently it’s not so bad if J’s identity is stolen)–the webcam has been identified as the very highest of priorities.

Today, though, it’s my own fault. I know not to stay up until 11:30 when I have to get up at 6 a.m.–that’s why we have TiVo (well, one of the reasons). And I didn’t even enjoy this latest version of “The Andromeda Strain.”