Tuesday, February 5, 2008

strange attractors

Things continue to roll in the Whimsy universe, as they are wont to do. I've spent a few nights on my own in the past week, with Chip taking care of family business with his siblings and whatnot. His mom lives nearly 2 hours away from our place. Last night was one of those times of swinging singlehood – only without any WILD partying or eating popcorn for dinner. Instead it was me helplessly pacing the fabric aisles at Joann’s, stressing an indescribable amount because I couldn’t find just the right shade of fabrics for the Bean’s bumper pad and crib skirt-thing (Why the HECK do they call it a “dust ruffle”? I don’t even WANT a ruffle of any kind – I’m going for one of those flat panel thingies.). See, I haven’t gone off the deep end and done any sort of themey thing in Bean’s room, but I do have these beautiful Sam Toft prints that I love. And they’re done in these great chartreuse greens with lots of cream and yellow and amber and I could just eat them up. We’re hanging them in Bean’s room. So that was the starting point: those colors. From which I then jumped to doing her bedding in some really nice celery greens with a contrasting gray-slate-blue and a tiny bit of red, because her dresser is red and this sentence is way too long and drawn-out anyway blah blah blah… yes, my child’s room and the run-on nature of her bedding. So. I never found what I was looking for at Joann’s and I spent an HOUR there – I swear, I not only saw people leave for their breaks, I saw them come back. I picked up and put down the same bolts of fabric 42 times and then I finally decided to just STOP THE MADNESS ALREADY and escaped, feet swelling painfully over the straps of my mary janes.

When I finally got home, I was tired and hungry and a teeny bit grumpy. I grabbed some food from the fridge and went upstairs to numb my brain with some television.

And THIS is where we reach the point of this post. I watched TLC all night. Like, from 7pm until nearly midnight (I was brain dead tired, but couldn’t go to sleep… miserable). I watched Jon and Kate Plus Eight, and then some show about that family with 16 kids who seem very sweet but also strange… like the mom’s hairstyle (specifically, the whole bangs area that encompasses an entire front SECTION of her head – complete WITH WINGS) waits until she’s asleep so it can escape from the house and forage for squirrels and hedgehogs to eat IT IS THAT BIG AND INSANE. I was very concerned to note that this hairstyle seems to be perpetuating itself in the other 5 daughters. The baby is young enough to not yet HAVE any hair, but it’s only a matter of time before that monstrosity begets itself another follower.

Anyway, this is what I watched for nearly five hours. It got me thinking about other stressful or emotionally challenging times in my life, and the weird junk I've watched on television. I'm convinced there's a link.

A couple of years ago, when a very dear aunt was ill and then passed away - I spent the entire weekend watching High School Musical on the Disney channel. I’m so serious, and I can’t even BELIEVE I’m telling you this. I don’t think even Chip knows. (Hi honey – please say you still love me.) I don’t know why I did it. Or why I committed the act more than once over the weekend. Do I even have to qualify this and tell you that it was seriously AWFUL? That I was never once entertained by it? That to even call it “acting” is sort of offensive? That I was, at the time, a married 32-year-old woman without children, and probably the only person in my particular demographic that wasn’t being PAID to watch it?

There have been other times, too, when I was drawn to something specific and inexplicable. When my cat Stella was hit and killed by a car, I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation for WEEKS. When I was going through a bout of depression, I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the FX network every night. (This one only mildly qualifies as a strange attractor because I LOVE BTVS. I own every DVD. I can sing along to the musical. If you have a beef with Buffy, you have a beef with me. Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy, is a genius and I have an issue if you say otherwise.) The key is – I hadn’t watched Buffy before things got bad and weird, and suddenly I couldn’t get enough of it.

So last night I watched five hours of The Learning Channel, complete with multiple episodes of Jon and Kate Plus Eight (holy COW that's a lot of little kids and Kate seems mildly... off-putting); Little People Big World (I'm sure the dad is a lovely person and a great father but he strikes me as the type of guy who is all dreamdreamdream and forces his wife Amy to do a heck of a lot of workworkwork to make up for his laziness); and the crazy family with 16 children. I was perfectly content. And I don't know why.

What's the strangest TV you've found yourself watching? COME ON - BE HONEST. Join me in my I WATCHED HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL AND THEN I WATCHED IT AGAIN AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS STUPID T SHIRT. Have you noticed that you watch odd programs when your life is less manageable, or is it just me?


Artemisia said...

Hmmm, I'd never thought of a connection between life-is-difficult-right-now and Bad TV or Copious Amounts of TV.


I did watch hours and hours of Charmed when I went through my first real and frightening bout of depression.

Then, when that second identifiable bout kicked my ass I watched FoodTV NON-STOP.

I also watched a lot of Alias, too. But I love Alias so I am going to count that as something that helped me out of those bouts. K?

Also - I watched Kate Plus 8 or whatever it is called for the very first time last night! WHEN I WASN'T MAKING COOKIES. Sorry. I got lazy. And sucked into that madness. She seemed like she knew that she's obviously going to be judged by all of us and is trying to preemptively beat us to it, or something. Weird.

And the family with 16 robot kids with a robot mom? I could not turn away. It was like reading about (what I think are) certain, particular strange faith communities/religions. Can't turn away because it is so ugly it is beautiful.

Great observation and discussion of THAT HAIR, by the way. I was distracted by her strangely high-pitched voice. I kept thinking that she had to keep her own thoughts and desires and PISSY RANTS in check so fiercely and so tightly to be such a "good wife and mother" that she couldn't even relax enough to talk like a human being. That alone would break the dam.


Sorry for the obnoxiously long comment. *sheepish grin*

Whimsy said...

Artemisia! I'm so glad you watched that madness (even if it was INSTEAD of baking and eating my cookies). THE HAIR! THE HAIR THAT ATE NEW YORK!

And I think we're on to something. Bad Times = Bad TV. There is no other explanation for my encounter with High School Musical.

stacie d said...

first of all, i saw THE HAIR too. scary.

second, the dad on little people big world was arrested for a dui, so he's not a lovely guy at all. but really, why is a midget driving drunk? come on...that's 2 strikes, buddy.

third, i'm obsessed with shows about JAIL or POLICE. (watching one now in fact) i love lockup, lockdown, beach patrol, ocean force, inside american jail, cops, etc etc. i think it's my release for being such a law-abiding citizen at all times...i almost daydream about being in jail. is that sick? it is. i know.

tearese said...

I've never even heard of Jon and Kate plus eight, or the show with 16 kids..what is that?
Sadly, I've seen High school Musical because Joseph actually borrowed it from somebody and brought it home. Yes, he likes kid movies and chick flicks more than I do. Shh, don't tell. I actually liked some of the music, strangely enough.
I guess I have watched stupid shows when I'm feeling down or bored. Like Marathons of America's Next Top Model. And when I'm done, I'm so annoyed at myself for watching so much worthless tv.
Right after I had Elora and I could hardly move from the c-section, we borrowed the whole boxed set of the first season of Lost,and I watched it non-stop. But thats good tv.

The Wife said...


I watched the movie TRANSFORMERS nonstop when I found I was pregnant. Does that count?

I also watched Pride and Prejudice (1995, A&E) nonstop during my last bout of unemployment. It wasn't something I brought up in my job interviews.

I watched Fiddler on the Roof nonstop while working on my masters thesis...well, I would fast forward through the pogrom, but basically it was the only thing I watched. Agnes still howls when she hears the opening violin bit.

Tessie said...

Man, I LOVE those TLC shows. ALL OF THEM.

You are very nice to say Kate is "off-putting". I prefer "OCD control freak she-beast".

Pickles & Dimes said...

I don't know why, but we watched Rock of Love with Bret Michaels on VH1, and every time it was over, we said, "God, we need a shower."

And yet we are watching Season 2. Help us.

Whimsy said...


Stacie: Watch the jail shows, just please don't ever take it farther than that. Because I don't want to be getting some wedding announcement in the mail about how you've met and married your one true love named Brick and he's doing a 10-year-stretch for armed robbery.

Tearese: REALLY? JOSEPH? That's pretty funny - did he want to watch HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL TWO? Let him know there's a third one coming out sometime next year. Let's not talk about WHY I know that.

The Wife: These are all perfectly acceptable versions of this behavior. I love the fact that Agnes howls to Fiddler. CLASSIC.

Tessie: I had meant to put a little homage in this entry to you, because I knew you LOVED these shows. I thought of you as I watched Jon and Kate. I really... just don't know what to do with Kate. She seems freakishly high maintenance to me. Is that correct?

LASTLY - if any of you are even still reading this. I need to offer a caveat that this is the FIRST TIME in as long as I can remember that I've watched this much TV in a single stretch. Chip says I was bored (SO NOT TRUE). I think I was just brain dead. And 5 hours of reality TV really gave me the brain boost I needed to join MENSA.

angelalois said...

Just wanted to chime in that one night Shane was out and I was feeling particularly emotional and Forrest Gump was on and I bawled for hours. What is it with tv and emotions affecting each other and vice versa? I had to call my parents the next day and tell them how much I loved them.