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A little thing called Life.   —   Television

You'd be surprised how much the topic of television comes up in conversation. I guess I'd never noticed it much before because my general knowledge of television programs was sufficient enough for me to take part in most of those conversations, but ever since we canceled our cable almost a year ago, well, I have no idea what the hell goes on in that little dumb box anymore. My response to TV inquiries, "Did you see what happened on Grey's Anatomy last night?", "Oh my god, can you believe that girl won on America's Next Top Model?" is, "I don't have cable so, I don't know." The reaction is generally two-fold. First it's, "But you have general broadcast, channels 2-13", or, "What do you use rabbit ears?", and to both questions I say, "no, we don't have anything. turn the TV on and you get a blue screen". The second reaction is always, "How do you live like that?!" The second reaction strikes me as both funny and unfortunate. Funny because hey, I've been there, I can relate. There was a time in my life when I couldn't imagine the idea of not watching television. Unfortunate because, well, there's a hell of a lot more to do with your spare time then watch the tube. One guy here at work even said, "How do you unwind at night?" and I said, "Many times, I read" to which he responded, "oh. that." Like, he'd completely forgotten about those silly things called books.

But saying I don't watch any television programs would be very untrue indeed. I have a rather large DVD collection full of movies and favorite TV shows, and I'm also a member of Netflix. The majority of my TV watching has been all Joss Whedon and David Attenborough's fault. Joss brings me the horror, David brings me the knowledge, and really, there are no greater forms of entertainment to me than horror and knowledge. Which brings me to what I really wanted to talk about today. Last night Adam and I finally finished "The Life of Birds" documentary. At first I thought, how much information can there really be about birds? I mean, they shit, they eat, they fly. But after only the first episode of the program I realized how amazing our little feathered friends truly are. For me to go into the vast amount of information I now know about birds would take me days to write and post. There were after all, over 8 hours of documentary that we just watched. But the highlight of the program for me was an episode called, "Signals and Songs". In this episode you discover the different signals and songs birds across the world produce. The most remarkable of which was the Lyrebird, whose ability to mimic sounds of the environment was so great that it captured and reproduced man-made sounds like, a shutter on a camera, and the sound of a chainsaw. See for yourself.

A few years ago I was spending my lunch hour browsing through the stores in Grand Central Station and while I was in the Discovery Channel store I saw displayed in their DVD showcase a documentary called, "Blue Planet". I had a brief recollection of a documentary running on the Discovery Channel called Blue Planet, but I had never known when it was running and always forgot to try to tune in so I'd missed the entire series. Since I've always believed that the ocean is the greatest mystery on our world, I was very excited for the opportunity to get my hands on this documentary and to, you know, learn stuff. And learn stuff I did. Adam and I watched the entire series in a week time. So enthralled were we that there were weekend days where after an episode would end we'd look at each other and ask, "another?". There were countless times throughout watching the series that we'd look at each other, mouths gaping, and ask, "Did you know that? This is remarkable. Do other people know this? Why isn't this stuff on the news? It's way more important than Brittney Spears." And so began our obsession with David Attenborough and the documentaries that he produces. Next was "Life of Mammals". Fucking. Amazing. Did you know that a bat can fly backward and upside down? And that beaver dams are SO EFFECTIVE that a beaver can create an entire lake? And that instinct is so powerful that when a Kangaroo's kid is born the first thing is does is climb up its mother's belly and into her pouch, where it then stays until it's fully developed? Nature, people. Nature is the product of the amazing things that instinct, genetics, evolution, and social structures build and are a part of. Human beings are an evolved representation of those qualities but the essence of us is still just the product of life, and life is, in the most simple of terms, a machine.

Next up is Life in a Freezer, The Private Life of Plants, Life in the Undergrowth, and eventually when it comes to DVD, David Attenborough's newest series called, Planet Earth. And a PBS documentary on Evolution. And many, many more. Do yourself a favor and learn more about the inhabitants of our world. It may help in putting some things in perspective. To quote a great man, "You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else, and we are all part of the same compost pile."

Posted 6.29.2006 11:18:45 AM

Replies
Bastid wrote:
You watching Firefly? or Angel and Buffy?

I just finished all the new Battlestar Galactica DVDs - and just started Firefly. Went apeshit on the BSG cliffhanger, so I've filled the void with Firefly. Totally different Sci-fi - but Whedon has a great sense of humor. Been enjoying it.

Haven't brought myself to Buffy though. Had sex with a girl as she watched it though. That's as close as I came (or as she came)
Posted 6/29/2006 4:12:05 PM
Doll wrote:
Firefly was a blast. Much too short of a series but if you follow it up with the movie Serenity that kind of rounds the story out a little bit. I thought it was terrific. Buffy I can't recommend without saying, it's pretty cheesey and it's getting really dated. I'll still pop in episodes or hook myself into a season here or there but on the whole Joss did much better work with the series Angel. It's all tongue-in-cheek fantasy stuff so you have to take it as such but just the same, Angel was a great series. I was really reluctant at first to even dive into the show because I really wasn't a fan of the Angel character but Joss really did right by it. If you want to go old school and do the Buffy series first, that's fine. It's still really fun and it'll give you a very good sense of the Whedon verse and the Buffy world. But you could also start with Angel and be no worse for wear. But, it's also nice, since they do a couple of significant cross over episodes, to be able to watch them one after the other, especially the Buffy series finale because it ties into the next season of Angel, but like I said, you'll get the gist.
Posted 6/29/2006 4:27:26 PM
Dad wrote:
Speaking of birds and genetics, how amazing is the famous
" Bird Toe " There are only a few in existance and I am sure close to extinction!
Posted 6/30/2006 7:59:36 AM
Botch wrote:
I *told* Doll that we could still have sex while she watched Buffy. I knew I was right.
Posted 6/30/2006 10:38:19 AM
Doll wrote:
Does having sex while I fantasize about David Boreanaz count? :P
Posted 6/30/2006 10:49:37 AM
Replies are closed for this post.


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