Category Archives: tv

Toddler TV

Song Lyric of the Day:

We’re looking for our friends / We’re looking for you / Hey, there’s Sid / Did you hear the one about the kid who wanted to know everything about everything?

Sid the Science Kid / “I’m Looking for My Friends

Coraline’s always been very into books and playing, more so than she was into watching TV. A few months ago, though, she started to watch a bit more TV. While Rich and I are happy that she’s still nowhere near being a couch potato, we appreciate that with the exception of one TV show, her favorite shows are all on PBS and educational with positive messages. And even that one Nick Jr. show, Olivia, is somewhat educational in that it encourages using your imagination and being creative; it also has really positive messages about family and friendship.

Granted, Coraline is still only 20 months old, so when I say she watches TV, that amounts to 5, maybe 10 minutes of sitting and watching before running off again to go play or to choose a book she wants us to read to her. She may or may not come back to watch some more; mostly I think she just likes knowing her show is on and that she can sit down to watch more if she wants. I say this from experience — once she wanders off, I’ll change the TV to something I want to watch. No sooner does she hear the change in voices/sounds than she comes running back to ask “Elmo?” (or whoever was just on). I switch it back to her show, she smiles, then takes off to go play again.

"You do know I'm trying to watch TV, right?"

The first TV show we noticed Coraline enjoyed watching was Curious George when she was several months old. It airs early in the morning, so we would turn it on while we were getting ready for work. As she’s gotten older, she’s now more interested in brushing her teeth, following us around while we get ready, and playing in the closet (petting my high heels while lovingly whispering “shoes” under her breath). But she still loves watching that monkey get into mischief.

Added perk: The show has a lot of Latin characters and one of the better theme songs.

Coraline of course loves the classic Sesame Street. She’s a fan of Abby, the fairy in training, as well as Big Bird and Bert and Ernie (Ernie more than Bert). But it’s that little red guy, Elmo, who she adores. Actually, adores may not be strong enough a word. Worships. She worships Elmo. As do most toddlers.

Added perk: Watching Sesame Street with her is a trip down memory lane.

Watch Elmo’s Song on PBS. See more from pbs.

As a word nerd, I can’t express how much I love that Coraline loves WordWorld, a show all about — you guessed it — “building” and spelling words. This is one show where the first notes of the theme song bring her flying across the room to watch and dance to the music. She’s also gotten pretty good at saying “WordWorld.”

Added perk: It’s always impressive to see how creative the show is in building the words — the letters form the shape of whatever object they’re spelling.

I admit: At first glance, this was not one of my favorites. The characters are a bit wild looking, part of a very vivid, very atypical kids’ show aesthetic (the ones I was used to, anyway). But as I’ve watched some episodes of Sid the Science Kid with Coraline, I’ve been impressed with its approach to teaching science. Although I could’ve done without the episode about how/why we poop. Well, at least until Coraline’s ready to be potty trained.

Added perk: The show plays equally well in teaching boys and girls all about the how and why of science.

The fact that Coraline likes Dinosaur Train warms my heart. I minored in anthropology and have long fantasized about going on an archaeological dig for dinosaur bones. In reality I’ve had to settle for watching Jurassic Park 317 times. That said, Dinosaur Train does a great job of teaching about the different kinds of dinosaurs. It also has live-action segments featuring Dr. Scott the Paleontologist sharing facts about dinosaurs and teaching kids how to say the often-complex (particularly to kids) scientific names. The show also has a “blended” family in that a baby T-Rex has been adopted by a family of Pteranodons after his egg mistakenly ended up in their nest.

Added perk: I get my dinosaur fix while Coraline learns about something a bit more unique than most kids’ shows present.

I can’t believe I’d never heard of Super Why! until a friend with a daughter slightly younger than Coraline mentioned it. The show is all about books — reading them and finding answers in them to solve riddles and help the stories’ characters. A kids’ show about books! It’s perfect for Coraline. The show’s protagonists have are imbued with reading, spelling, dictionary, word, and alphabet powers, which help them work together and solve each episode’s mysteries.

Added perk: Even Rich enjoys watching this because it’s about books. (Yes, we are a family of geeks. Book-loving geeks.)

I never thought anyone could take Elmo’s place in Coraline’s heart, but lo and behold, that’s exactly what Olivia has done. An adventurous little girl, Olivia is all about using her imagination and creativity in any and every situation. She calls her younger brother Ian her “little bother” and dotes on her cat and dog. Coraline is so into this show now, that when we start it for her she throws her arms in the air and hollers “OLIIA!!!” (She somehow makes the V disappear.) It airs at 7:30 each night, so it’s a great way to get Coraline to sit still and wind down in preparation for her 8 o’clock bedtime.

Added perk: Catchy music and a family-friendly show we can all appreciate. It’s also the first show at which Coraline has laughed at something she found funny.

"Ah ... there's Elmo!" (I took this picture before Olivia usurped Elmo.)

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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 3

Day 3: Your favorite show.

I’m going to have to say The Simpsons. It’s been on the air more than half my life at this point, and I watch reruns every night to lull me to sleep (think of it as comfort TV) thanks to the 15 seasons I have on DVD (1-14 and 20). When the day comes that its last new episode airs, I’ll probably need to go into therapy. Again.

Besides, how could I not love The Simpsons after their (locally) legendary Knoxville World’s Fair episode?

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Just Because: The Simpsons & Game of Thrones

Because absolutely nothing today is going how I need it to go and I fully expect to get home to a house full of dog accidents (A.M. storm = scared dogs who won’t go out), I thought I’d just post a quick something that makes me happy. And today, right now, that’s the recent Simpsons opening that had the show taking on Game of Thrones. When two of my favorite shows collide like this, it will undoubtedly make me smile, even if just for that one minute.

And now I can resume freaking out.

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Coraline/Bedrest Update and a Belly Shot for Sharon in Virginia

Song Lyric of the Day:

It just takes some time / Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride / Everything, everything will be just fine / Everything, everything will be alright (alright)

Jimmy Eat World / “The Middle

I’m now on my tenth day of missing work. As of Friday’s followup appointment to my hospital stay, I’ve been cleared for light activities. As in, not doing much more than I was doing when I was on bedrest with bathroom privileges. I managed to do some laundry over the weekend which took me about 10 times longer than it normally does since I couldn’t just load the basket to capacity. Instead I made multiple trips with small piles of clothes from the hamper to the laundry room and made multiple trips with those small loads back to the bedroom when they were done. See how efficient I am? I got four loads done that way. Of course, half the clothes I washed are still neatly laid out in our bedroom, waiting to be folded or hung up and put away. Maybe I’ll take care of that later today. Baby steps and all with the light activity, you know.

I had another followup appointment yesterday (to the one on Friday — odd, right?) and today have ANOTHER appointment, this time back out at UT. Seems my OB found Coraline’s biophysical profile measurements a bit off and wants UT to recheck as they have much better ultrasound equipment. I of course started to panic, but Baby Doc reassured me that he just wants things rechecked; if there were cause for real concern, he would tell me, which I appreciate. My doctor friend also talked me off the ledge when I gave her an update last night. So I’m off to UT later today to get more detailed ultrasounds and another biophysical profile. I’ve had so many ultrasounds this pregnancy that we’ve lost count of how many photo printouts we have at this point. I think it’s somewhere around 40, 50. Maybe more. I just know it’s enough to warrant buying a small photo album just for Coraline’s ultrasound pics. Here’s one from yesterday. You know you’ve gotten alot of ultrasounds when they throw some 3-D ones in for free.

First time we’ve ever seen her with her hand in/pressed against her mouth.

And just for my friend, Sharon, in Virginia, here’s my latest belly shot. This is me at 34 weeks:

Thanks to Rich for taking my weekly belly shots.

And that’s what’s going on with me and the baby for now. Cross your fingers for me that today’s appointment finds Coraline healthy and happy. Well, we already know she’s happy on account of yesterday’s non-stress test. I’m pretty sure she was trying to karate-chop her way out. Baby girl is READY to be on the outside.

TiVo viewing for the last three days: four eps of Futurama, two and a half eps of Warehouse 13, half a Hex, 1 ep of Hung, 1 ep of The IT Crowd

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A Good Friday the 13th

Song Lyric of the Day:

When I was young and moving fast / Nothing slowed me down, oh, slowed me down / Now, I let the others pass

The Black Keys / “Tighten Up

Blogging Note: You’ll see a deluge of posts I wrote over the last few days. I held off on posting them while I tweaked the blog layout a bit. What can I say? I’m a bit OCD that way.

Today was my followup appointment to my hospital stay. The good: I can resume light activities. As in sitting on my tochus and sorting papers — in my home office versus on the couch. The bad: I am apparently still having mild contractions, although the doctor thinks they’re Braxton Hicks contractions. (And, no, I’m still not feeling them.) The ugly: I’m still not cleared to go back to work. I have another appointment early next week, so we’ll see what they clear me for after that.

What does this mean for my weekend plans? Basically that I can at least indulge my need to organize something, most likely my home office. Rich will be at the A-frame most of the weekend, so at least I can make myself a bit more useful around the new house than I’ve been in days. And even though the doctor said I can start taking on some light activities, I’m determined to not overdo it, which I know I can easily do if I let myself get carried away at being productive again. Because squee — I get to DO SOMETHING. Something that’s not just sitting on the couch, surfing the Web or watching everything on our DVR. Now to choose that something very carefully.

TiVo viewing for the last two days: half a White Collar, three and a half eps of Hex, and half an ep of Law & Order: SVU.


Filed under bedrest, medical, personal, pregnancy, tv

Another Week Down

Song Lyric of the Day:

Birds flying high you know how I feel / Sun in the sky you know how I feel / Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel

Nina Simone / “Feeling Good

Today marks a full week from the day I went into preterm labor. Coraline is now at 33 weeks, 3 days, that much closer to our first goal: 34 weeks. After that, we’re hoping to make it to 36 weeks, then 38, and so on. My end of the bargain is to continue with the bedrest regimen and take a procardia capsule every four hours. I have my cell phone alarm set to go off at each four-hour interval so I don’t miss one, which is critical for my overnight doses (at 2AM and 6AM). I expect that once Coraline does arrive, she’ll wake up at 1AM, 3AM, and 5AM just to be different. It’d be nice, though, if she decided to stick with the overnight schedule her mom has right now. Wishful thinking, right?

I’m still climbing the walls when it comes to the whole bedrest thing, but I’m doing better. I’ve been reading a lot, reading countless blogs, sorting through paperwork/mail, paying bills, etc. You know — staying busy. The couch is now my command central. The dogs and cats are loving that I’m home with them everyday, all day. Anytime I get up to go to the bathroom or the kitchen, I have my three-dog escort party to lead the way. I wonder if they’re getting so used to me being on the couch or in bed all the time that now when I move they have to see where I’m going. Some pet observations: Caleb and Troubadour nap together in the same dog bed for most of the day, which I find very amusing. And our boy tabby, Buster (aka Reverend Sunbeam), has turned into a living sundial, almost never leaving the sunroom. He’s quite happy in there.

Two more days until my followup appointment with my doctor. Two more days …

TiVo viewing for the last two days: 1 ep of The Closer, 3 eps of Hung, 4 eps of White Collar, and Ultimate Air Jaws (and two couch naps)

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I’ll Take Climbing the Walls for $1000, Alex

Song Lyric of the Day:

We’re in the jailhouse now / We’re in the jailhouse now

Soggy Bottom Boys / “In the Jailhouse Now

Oh my God, bedrest is BORING. Not to mention it’s a special kind of hell for me. I almost never take sick days, preferring to work from home when ill so as not to waste a single precious PTO day. Even when I’m on the verge of death and actually using a PTO day for illness, I’ll usually still manage to at least do a load of laundry, tidy up a room — something. I don’t like doing nothing. I don’t do well doing nothing. So being ordered to do nothing is a whole new ballgame for me. Why is it so hellish? Because I’m in my new house, where things still need to be unpacked, organized, and put away. And I can’t do any of that right now. It’s very frustrating, but it has to be done. Or not done, in this case. I’m well aware things could be a lot worse, like Coraline could’ve arrived too early and be in the NICU as I write this (and thank God she’s not), but I can still whine about how bored I am.

At least now I can make some serious headway on my DVR queue.

UPDATE: Today’s TiVo viewing: 3 eps of Freaks and Geeks, 1 ep of The Closer, 1 48 Hours Mystery, and two White Collars. And I squeezed in a two-hour nap on the couch, too.

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Vampires, Werewolves, Witches & Demons: TV Marathon Time

Song Lyric of the Day:

And all those shadows there are filled up with doubt / I don’t know who you think you are / But before the night is through / I wanna do bad things with you / I wanna do real bad things with you

Jace Everett / “Bad Things

Hex (witches, demons, fallen angels)
As you know, I’m quite the fan of the supernatural and horror genres. Which is how I came across the late BBC series Hex a while back via Netflix. After watching the first season on DVD (I think it’s split as three seasons in the UK vs. two here), I’d become quite invested in the adventures of student Cassie (Christina Cole); her dead roommate and resident ghost, Thelma (Jemima Rooper); fallen angel Azazeal (the very sexy Michael Fassbender); and all the other denizens of Medenham Hall: demon hunters, half-humans, demons, and, well, university students. While the show is not the BBC’s best supernatural offering, I enjoyed it nonetheless. Heads up, though: It gets off to a really, really slow start; the husband actually bailed after about four episodes because he couldn’t handle the pace. As for me? I was very frustrated to wrap up season one only to discover that season two is not yet available on DVD stateside. Which is why I was happy to see that the Chiller network has started airing season one of the series (I’m crossing my fingers I will finally get to see the last season. I need the closure).

Interested in checking it out? Chiller will be airing a Hex season one marathon tomorrow, Saturday, October 24, starting at 11AM EST.

*An added bonus for me: The title sequence uses a remix of Garbage‘s “Number One Crush” as its theme song.

Being Human (vampires, werewolves, ghosts)
While I enjoyed Hex a lot, I absolutely love the new BBC series, Being Human. Which, if you read my blog even occasionally, you already know. Despite also featuring vampires, it’s worlds apart from True Blood, which I also love. While the show’s main characters are a vampire (the top-of-my-Christmas-wish-list Aidan Turner as Mitchell), a werewolf (the amazing Russell Tovey as George), and a ghost (the lovely Lenora Crichlow as Annie), the heart of the show really lies in their unwaveringly loyal friendship and close relationship as roommates. And then, of course, there are their unique conditions and the impending vampire apocalypse to deal with.

Season two is currently filming, so it’ll be a while before we see it here stateside. In the meantime, you can catch up with season one as BBC America will be airing a Being Human marathon this Sunday, October 25, starting at 11:30AM EST. And judging by the hour-and-fifteen-minute blocks allotted each episode, the marathon will include the behind-the-scenes footage that originally aired during the season’s premiere run earlier this summer (the featurettes are about three-quarters of the way into each episode, tacked onto the end of a commercial break).

True Blood (vampires, werewolves, telepaths, maenads)
I’ve been hooked on True Blood since I first saw the promo for its series premiere. While the very first episode featured enough Southern stereotypes and exaggerated accents to make both the spouse and I a bit wary, we stuck with it and, boy, do we enjoy the hell out of watching this show. Being on HBO allows it the freedom to indulge in all those horror-genre staples that mainstream TV can’t: sex, nudity, profanity, violence, gore, and lots and lots (and LOTS) of blood. Not for the faint of heart, the show is based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books, although season two veered away from the books (or so devoted readers of the series have told me). Set in Bon Temps, Lousiana, the series revolves around waitress Sookie Stackhouse’s (Anna Paquin) romance with vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), along with all the drama that comes with it. That drama includes a wayward best friend, Tara (Rutina Wesley); Sookie’s boss, bar owner Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell); a vampire-blood-dealing cook (LOVE Nelsan Ellis‘ Lafayette); Sookie’s aimless horndog brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten); and too many other fascinating, unique characters to do justice to in this post. There is also the thinly veiled parallel to the gay rights movement, with the vampires “coming out of the coffin” and living openly among humans (it’s legal for them to marry humans in Vermont).

If you haven’t yet given the show a try,
HBO Signature will be airing a True Blood season one marathon next Friday, October 29, starting at 10PM EST.

What supernatural/horror-themed shows thrill, scare, and amuse you?

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Gone Pink … and Other Stuff

Song Lyric of the Day:

How many times can I break till I shatter? / Over the line can’t define what I’m after / I always turn the car around / Give me a break let me make my own pattern

O.A.R. / “Shattered

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I’ve gone pink. As pink as I can go with this particular template, anyway. As of the end of this month, my mom will be an eight-year breast cancer survivor, a fact for which I thank God every night in my prayers. And anyone who knows me knows that it’s because of her that I have participated in the American Cancer Society‘s Relay for Life eight years (as of this June); for next year, my ninth participating, I am serving as the Event Chair for the Downtown Knoxville Relay for Life. (Anyone interested in serving on the committee, starting a team, or just volunteering, e-mail me.) I’ll try to share my cancer story later this month; even though I’m one of the lucky ones, Mom’s illness is still something that’s really hard for me to put into words, written or spoken. When I talk about it I still cry almost as hard as I did the day I heard her diagnosis. So I’ll do my best to work up my nerve to share it.

Phew. Now that that’s out of the way …

Show Him You Care: Give Him Bronchitis
A few months ago, I told a friend how I hadn’t had bronchitis once since moving home four years ago. Apparently God overheard and said “Oh, yeah? Take THIS! Bwahahahahahahaha!” and I thought I was going to die I was so miserable. This past Saturday, as Troubadour and I enjoyed watching TiVoed episodes of Leverage, I felt a familiar congestion taking root in my chest. I did my best to ignore it and will it with all my might to go away, but I woke up Sunday with that tell-tale cough. I slept all day Monday and made it to the doctor Tuesday morning, where I was diagnosed with bronchitis. Second time this year. Guess who went to the doctor today and got the same diagnosis? I tell you, one sick spouse at a time is bad enough, but when both of you are sick and miserable, you begin to see the appeal of euthanasia.

Step Away From the Remote …
After telling myself I would not pick up any new TV shows this year, I’ve gotten hooked on a few more this new TV season. (Bad Pattie! Bad!) It goes without saying that Glee is my happy show (oh, how I wish I could sing). Modern Family has, after only two episodes, become one of the highlights of my TV-watching week. Go watch this week’s episode, “The Bicycle Thief,” right now to see why. I’m also enjoying Cougar Town, although I’m pretty sure that was a stunt squishy stomach in the pilot. I mean, have you seen Courteney Cox? No unsightly squishy parts there. Two new sitcoms that are genuinely funny? I thought that was a dying breed. At the very least on the edge of extinction. Community is entertaining enough, although it needs to find its footing soon or I’m bailing. And even though we’ve got the first two episodes of FlashForward waiting in our TiVo queue waiting to be watched, I’m pretty sure I’ll end up liking it. It’s by JJ Abrams and the premise has potential. As for shows that are new this year but have already completed their runs, I’m also a fan of HBO’s Hung on HBO and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. Oh, and that little vampire-ghost-werewolf show I wrote about recently, Being Human. I only watched it three times through (ahem). Dear Santa

I don’t have time to get into the returning TV shows I’m enjoying this season too. Shit, that’s its own whole post waiting to be written.

Reviews Due
I haven’t forgotten about writing mini-reviews of all the movies I saw on vacation. I just haven’t had time to write about them the way I’d like. (Being sick also took the wind out of my sails. I’m pretty sure my Facebook friends think I’m dead.) Also, I’m fond of links and visual aids, so that takes some time, too. In the meantime, though, I will say that you should see Whip It this weekend — it’s a terrific movie. Funny, dramatic, and it WILL make you want to see a roller derby. I know I want to go to one now. And I’m surprised Jennifer’s Body didn’t do better at the box office; it’s really funny, scary, and gory — everything you want from a horror comedy. It’s a hoot, actually. I think the R rating really hurt it. When your star’s biggest fans are horny 15-year-old boys (and my husband), an R rating leaves most of the movie’s audience out in the cold. Although having seen it, I’m glad it was an R movie; too many PG-13 horror movies wuss out.

And that’s my two cents for tonight.

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My Latest TV Obsession: Being Human

Song Lyric of the Day:

In every headline we are reminded / That this is not home for us / Where is it? / Where is home? / I walk a modern tight rope / Of humility and belligerence

Bloc Party / “Where Is Home?

It’s been a while since I blogged about anything really TV-specific. Basically because I’ve been, you know, busy. That said, I still find time to indulge in TV whenever possible. I’m not dead, after all. And of late, I have to say my current favorite show — other than True Blood — is that other vampire series, Being Human. The six-episode first season just wrapped up its BBC America run*, but I’m burning it to DVD for a friend, which means I’m using this opportunity to rewatch the season. It’s that good.

Image courtesy of the BBC website.

Actually, to describe Being Human as merely a vampire series is completely underselling it. The premise sounds like the setup to a good joke: A vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost share a house in Bristol, England. The meat of the show, so to speak, is that they are all trying to hold onto their humanity in the face of dealing with their supernatural conditions (Being Human — get it?). Mitchell (the distractingly beautiful Aidan Turner), the vampire, does his best not to give in to his primal urges by feeding on humans, a decision over which his fellow vampires give him grief. George (Russell Tovey) has only been a werewolf for two years and still can’t quite get a handle on his changing body. He relies heavily on his roommates, Mitchell in particular, to help him isolate himself during his time of the month, lest he inadvertently hurt someone. Ghost Annie (Lenora Crichlow) went from newly engaged to newly dead. She and her fiance, Owen, shared the house in which her spirit is now trapped. While she supports Mitchell and George, they in turn support Annie in trying to figure out what is keeping her tied to the house and from crossing over.

I think the beauty of the show lies in the friendship between Mitchell, George, and Annie. They fight just like any roommates would, but their unique conditions give them a bond and an understanding like no other. The series has also played with some of the usual vamp/were/ghost conventions, making them its own. Mitchell can go outside in the daytime and be exposed to sunlight. Vampires do not instantaneously die when staked in the heart. Ghosts can be seen by “others” — beings with their own supernatural conditions. They can also touch and move objects like they did when alive. And werewolves apparently have fantastic sex the eve of their metamorphosis (lucky George).

As expected, Being Human has its own wonderfully quirky British sense of humor. While overall the themes are pretty dark and heavy (hiding their true selves, betrayal, power plays, misplaced loyalties, fear, etc.), the show is not without wit. George in particular provides most of the comic relief, with Mitchell getting some really great zingers, and Annie enjoying a slightly more physical humor, with funny lines of her own.

I love everything about this show: the cast, the characters, the acting, the direction, the setting, the look. But in addition to that is an absolutely phenomenal soundtrack, with songs perfectly chosen for each episode, both in tone, sound, composition, and lyrics. In this show’s case, music only makes certain scenes better and more affecting.

Fortunately, season one did so well that season two is now underway, complete with better special effects. And I, for one, can’t wait.

Oh, and did I mention that Aidan Turner is drop-dead beautiful? Rowr.

*Check out BBC America On Demand.

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