And I have watched this 100 times in three days.
And I have watched this 100 times in three days.
It’s always tough to put your finger on what makes a creepy person creepy. And when you try to explain it to others, you often sound judgmental and vague — especially if you already have a reputation as a judgy (albeit not vague) person.
Last year, I went to a dinner with someone I’d been told by several was “creepy” although never had been given any further detail. Sure there had been some crazy Facebook posts and questionable beliefs, but I really didn’t know much about him.
He started the night by telling me how beautiful I was (good start) and spent most of the night not talking (even better). There weren’t any awkward stares or “creepy” looks. After two hours together, I didn’t see it and wondered if others were just being unfriendly to an outsider.
He ended the night by hugging me tightly and whispering in my ear in a southern accent so heavy it bordered on parody: “I mean it, you are beautiful and smart too. So intelligent. But mostly, I just want you to know how beautiful you are.”
Slight pause… and then:
“And I judge pigs at the county fair so I know what I’m talking about.”
Jeff assures me that he was not calling me a pig but rather providing me with his credentials to ensure I knew that his compliments came from a place of expertise. I guess I’m grateful to be married to someone who’s able to interpret the world that way but it’s still his fault some of these people are in my life at all.
On a past post where I gushed about the Gilmore Guys, Serena commented and requested a best-of podcast recommendation list.
I’m obsessed with podcasts — now that I spend 1-2 hours a day in the car, it’s primo podcast catch up time and I love coming away learning something new v. listening to “Man in the Mirror” again. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)
If you enjoy podcasts, I highly recommend you switch over to using Downcast as an app instead of the Podcast app. The Podcast app is terrible — it crashes, it has a bad UX and if you listen to a number of podcasts, it’s a mess to navigate. Downcast is great and has a desktop app as well. I’ve heard great things about Pocket Casts (which Lifehacker now recommends instead), but since I’m all squared away with Downcast, I haven’t made the switch.
Anyway, my favorite podcasts fall into a few categories:
This category is reserved for the podcasts where I look forward to new episodes and usually listen to them within the week of release. Anticipation is high and build up of old episodes is low.
Subscribe but Check the Guest/Topic
I don’t listen to every episode but if I enjoy the guest or topic, these are some favorites.
Early but Promising
Each of these have only released six episodes so I don’t want to commit to a full review but I am enjoying them.
The Standards – Subscribe & Save
I enjoy all of the below but usually subscribe and then save for a road trip. They’re also the most appealing to a wide range of audiences which means that Jeff, the kids & I can all find something we enjoy.
My love of TV started early when I was sneaking episodes of “Salute Your Shorts” and “Hey Dude” after school and has truly never stopped. Every fall, I look forward to receiving the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview issue and make a new grid of what shows I’m going to watch.
This fall will be different, however, since Jeff and I cut cable a few months ago. It took a fair amount of research and I wouldn’t say we have the perfect solution at all, but I feel like we’ve hit the perfect balance of:
So… how did we do it? I’ve outlined our process and approach below and will stress that this is the approach taken by someone who loves TV more than any other form of entertainment and may seem extreme for more casual viewers.
I created this spreadsheet of everything we (I) watch, what network it’s on, where I could find it on streaming, if there were any caveats (like for example, it’s on Hulu but with a 3 week delay or a 2 day delay or a full year delay). THEN, I looked at the gaps, determined if it was a show I still wanted to watch and if yes, what it would cost to pay for it on iTunes, etc.
A general note that the biggest issue is with CBS shows. They’re not available real time on any streaming platform. I ultimately decided they weren’t really that critical. CBS is launching it’s own subscription service for real time access on their site but it seems ridiculous to pay another $6/month just for CBS all things considered. And since it’s not available on Apple TV, there’s no easy way from a tech standpoint to watch it. If you have Roku or Chromecast instead of Apple TV though, it’s available as an app.
After doing the above, we crunched the numbers and saw that even if I spent $20 a month on iTunes (which would be subscribing to 6-12 full seasons of a show), we’d save $60 a month with the change.
Because I’m a glutton for punishment, if you’d like to see my spreadsheet, you can view it here. Just remember any show you’d like to judge me for watching is probably something Jeff picked.
Subscriptions & Equipment
We already had an Apple TV and our DVD player is a smart DVD player that connects to Amazon streaming. In addition to that, we subscribe to Netflix and Hulu. Given my addiction to Bravo, that still means I have to subscribe to my Housewives (just NYC, Beverly Hills and Orange County) on iTunes.
Lastly, we got a digital antenna for live events. We barely use it but it means that for things like major events, we’re still able to watch and given that it was under $40 the ROI is pretty high.
Set Up & Tracking
However, given that we have shows on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime and don’t have a single or convenient queue for what to watch, I was still seeking some sort of resource to turn to to answer the question “what can I watch right now?” I researched apps and services for that and picked Episode Calendar. It’s far from perfect, but Jeff and I needed a shared account (a number of the top-rated solutions were apps tied to an iTunes account) and it covered all the basic needs. Now, we can go to the “Unwatched” section and it shows all the new episodes of current show OR we can add older shows and check them off as we watch episodes.
If the worst conditions under which to make new friends were ranked, I’m confident that being childless in your 30s and being a transplant to Michigan would battle for the top slot.
I moved to Michigan two years ago for a boy and a job and was struck immediately by the fact that it felt like everyone in Michigan was from Michigan. Thank goodness this was actually proven true with data which, incidentally, is often my hope but rarely the case. The problem with this is that no one here needs to make new friends — if you are still living near your elementary school friends, high school friends & college friends, you don’t need to make new grown up friends. That said, I really have tried!
Here’s an exciting list of things I’ve done to try to make friends:
What’s worse, I’d really like to cut some existing friends loose since I’m trying to reduce the crazy and drama in my life, but if I don’t have a healthy farm system, I feel like that’s not the wisest move. [If you’re reading this, it’s definitely not you].
In the meantime, I’ll be grateful for the wonderful friends I do have (albeit spread across the country) and try to be better about staying in touch with them.
I consume an insane amount of media — here are some of my favorite recent picks:
I have two toy poodles: Sam and Pepper. No, I didn’t rescue them. I know that’s admirable and gets you a bumper sticker that says “who rescued who?” but I like purebreds and lack of dander and no emotional baggage from past owners. I post frequent photos of them on social media because I think they’re cute and they make me laugh. I spend a healthy amount of money keeping them healthy, walked, well fed and buying them toys that are mildly ironic… only to have them prefer to play with pens or batteries or other items that could kill them.
The thing is, people like to assume that because I love my dogs, I love all dogs. This is not the case; I probably don’t love your dogs. I don’t like big dogs or dogs that slobber or ugly dogs. I definitely don’t like dogs I haven’t met and you describing your dog’s antics is less amusing than you think it is. In fact, human impressions of dog faces make me uncomfortable in an “I pity you but don’t want to bond with you so I’m trying to hide my emotions” kind of way.
Today I was trapped in a 25 minute conversation with my dog walker learning about the differences between her two dogs and listening to her compare her dogs (who I haven’t met/will never meet) to my dogs (who I pay her to take care of) and couldn’t for the life of me extricate myself early. I found myself, about 10 minutes in, wondering why this doesn’t happen to Jeff. How does he get out of these conversations? How does he avoid learning about Toby the Goldendoodle’s asthma medication ($300+ for three months and insurance doesn’t cover it)? Until I crack the code, my plan is to park down the street and hide in my car until I see she’s gone. That’s the grown up and mature thing to do, right?
Next month will mark three official years of living in Michigan which is both scary to me and a reminder to take a pulse on promises that I made to myself and my friends. When I was in NYC, I blogged regularly and loved that even though I was terrible about calling friends and family, there was a touch point for me with the people I cared about most (as well as acquaintances, internet strangers and a number of spam bots).
Work travel when I moved to DC made it tough to keep up the blog and once I moved to Michigan, I had trouble knowing what I’d say or share — it’s been more challenging than I thought it would be to make friends, I’ve taken on a husband and a whole new family, I’m not sure where the boundaries are with some of these aspects of my life (never an issue before), I’ve started asking larger questions about my intention and purpose professionally and personally (is there such a thing as a one-third life crisis?) and, frankly, my life seems more boring. “Sat on the couch and watched The Voice” doesn’t really feel like much to write about.
When I worked at Ogilvy, my incredible and inspiring boss, Virginia, once mentioned that there was a mural at her elementary school that read: “Bloom where you’re planted.” While I can’t remember what it applied to at the time, it pops up in my head a lot. Frankly, I’m planted somewhere new and I owe it to myself and those around me to try and blossom a bit. Or at least not be a disgruntled and angry person. Or at least try and turn my complaints about the general ineptitude around me into somewhat humorous thoughts.
My hope is that this blog will be a bit of what Unterekless.com used to be — a random collection of thoughts and things I’ve found of interest around the interwebs. I have a vision for some sort of structure to posting but will wait and see if it happens before committing to it right now since my 30s have clearly brought a more relaxed approach to life… which compared to my previously tightly wound self doesn’t mean a whole lot.
Hopefully the dogs don’t get sad that this means fewer conversations with them.