Friday, March 25, 2016

Binge Watching

Has the term “binge watching” made it into the dictionary yet? It started when we recorded and watched multiple TV shows in one sitting, then it grew in popularity when companies made entire seasons available for non-stop viewing. Like other addictions, binge watching creeps up on you. At first, you’re looking for a little entertainment or a way to relax after a hectic week. Four hours later, you’re dazed and hooked on a show, forsaking restroom breaks and phone calls.

At our house, we’re tracking several different shows. When Netflix gives us ten seconds to answer that judgmental question, “Are you still watching?” We say, “is that a joke? Yes, of course!” If you’re wondering why binge watching became a thing, here’s one excuse:

Despite having hundreds of cable stations, our family had difficulty finding anything to watch on TV, at least nothing we all enjoyed. Now, we can’t wait to see whether Emma or Cora reach the other side, or read what happens next in our subtitled Korean suspense show—and thanks to Netflix—we don’t have to. Patience and waiting—are these things of the past? Is there anything you still don’t mind waiting for?    

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Holy Smokes, Batman

Holes must have magnetic force fields. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I spot one I want to run over and peer into it. They show up everywhere—in space, underwater, and lately, they’ve been opening up in the middle of roads and towns. There’s a quarry in our community and whenever I drive by I’m convinced the company could make a fortune charging folks to look into their massive hole. Wander up to a hole and you never know what you’ll find in it. No one expected to see this:

Whether deep or wide, made-made or natural, regardless of how incredible a hole is, we secretly believe that something more incredible waits inside, something that made the hole. We almost expect to lean over the edge and glimpse a mythical creature or ominous monster from the deep. Holes transport us back to our childhoods to a time when anything was possible. Even today, incredible experiences are still possible. What’s the most incredible thing you’ve seen or heard?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Piece by Piece

Once the unusually warm weather showed up, I started checking for signs of spring—and that’s when I spotted what looked like an extreme haircut. Standing alongside the road was a towering evergreen pruned and scooped out so much that it resembled the letter “c.” Poor tree.

The sacrifice was necessary. The pruning prevented the tree’s branches from damaging power lines and plunging the neighborhood into darkness if a major storm blew through town. The township chose uninterrupted electricity over aesthetics, and residents probably supported the trade-off. After all, who wants to be without lights? While certain trade-offs cost more than others, this courageous girl didn’t let the costs stop her:  

I wonder how many of us are brave enough to jump in and make a huge difference in someone else’s life? Many times, change must first start in the most difficult places—in ourselves. What are you thinking about pruning, piece by piece, from your life to create a better you?             

Friday, March 4, 2016

Adventure of a Lifetime

When’s the last time you visited a library? If you’re a student, maybe it was yesterday, but for too many of us, the library is a forgotten resource. Nowadays the Internet rules. Anything you want to know, along with things you don’t want to know, await you on the web.

I smiled this week after one of our kids, complaining that websites for a school term paper were useless, asked for actual books. Finally, somebody wants to visit a library. Sometimes the library is the place to go, and other times…well, take a look:

It’s unlikely you’ll experience that type of situation, unless you live on a college campus or in an alternate universe. But if you plan to do any type of serious research, expect a library visit in your future.

In college, I remember visiting the library’s “stacks.” These were multiple, unoccupied floors of shelved books accessed by an elevator, and thankfully, a student I.D because the stacks were—in a word—scary. If I recall correctly, the lights were on timers attached to the end of the bookshelves. That placement only added to the fun of hunting down an ancient resource, especially after you forgot to reset the timer and found yourself in near darkness. But after braving the stacks, locating a particular work of literature from among the nearly two million other books felt like finding a treasure. Library memories (sigh). J    

Which habit or tradition do you still do, even though most people may find it “old school” or old out-dated?