Friday, August 24, 2012

Serial Watcher

I remember the days when I was addicted to books. I remember nights spent going to bed with a book and lying awake reading until my alarm started going off to get ready for school. I remember early university days spent skipping classes to read the latest novels. I remember loving reading, and dying to read practically anything and everything that I could. I look back on those days fondly, because they are no more. These days, my life has been taken over by series.

For the most part, it is not even new series that have taken over. It is rewatching series. I have been going through phases of rewatching shows from the beginning to the latest episodes to ensure that I am caught up before a new season starts. This also comes from a bit of reluctance to try new things. I am reluctant to get into a new series because I don't want to get caught up like I have been with so many others. I am reluctant to pick up a book in case I end up reading it for weeks on end trying to push through it even though my heart says no.

So, instead, I rewatch. And what have I been rewatching I hear you ask? So far I have rewatched three full series and am busy with a fourth. The first is Greys Anatomy. I got pulled into it again by my work colleagues at the point when every single person in my office was watching episodes during their lunch breaks and I started remembering how much I enjoyed the show. I even pulled Grant in for a grand total of 4 days or so, but he refused to be hooked despite the drama, and possibly because of it. And the show is full of drama. Meredith is dating McDreamy, but he is married, but his wife cheated on him with McSteamy, so she has been unknowing cheating with him, and then she knowingly cheats with him, but then she doesn't, but then he falls in love with someone else, so she realises she does love him. And if only I was exaggerating here! But, what can I say, I am a sucker for drama. I have reached the last episode of the latest season and am on the edge of my seat waiting for the series to come back next month.

Then, there is Criminal Minds. Another show that I am completely addicted to, and in this case it is less because of the drama of the main characters, mostly because that is sidelined by all other sorts of drama in the cases that they solve. For those who do not know about Criminal Minds, and I am willing to bet that there are quite a few of you since the series is not particularly popular in SA, the series revolves around the Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU) of the FBI and their hunts for serial killers, kidnappers, murderers and all other kinds of creeps that pop up from time to time. The lives of the main characters do inform the plot a lot of the time, but the main draw (for me at least) is the analysis of the criminals, the profiling as the team likes to call it. This is a great suspense type of series and if murder mysteries are your thing, I think you will love it.

The third series that I have been going through, particularly now that the series is over entirely, is House, MD. Once again, I am less drawn to this medical series because of the drama, though in this case there is plenty of it, but because of the humour and the actual medicine involved. Once again, I like the mystery, of which there is little in Greys (though a lot of suspense, as per the last episode of last season). With Greys, you tend to know what the problem is from the start and it is just a case of whether the patients live or die while the doctors quibble amongst themselves and deal with their own personal issues. With House it tends to be more a case of what the hell is wrong with this patient and what aspect of his personal life will provide him with the clue to crack the case wide open. The humour is less in your face and more cynical, and I love that. I also adore Hugh Laurie.

And then there is the series that I am currently rewatching, How I Met Your Mother (fondly refered to as HIMYM). I consider it to be a modern day Friends, and I was a big Friends fan back in the day. HIMYM is the story of a group of five friends all growing up and looking for love in New York. They are all in their mid-20s at the start of the first season, all just finished or finishing college, all starting to realise that they are grown ups and learning how to act that way. It makes for a show that is easy to relate to. The main premise to the story is one of the main characters, Ted, telling his two children (seen often throughout the series) how he met their mother, though I am 6 seasons in and she has yet to make an appearance (though they have hinted at her in terms of yellow umbrellas and ankle-glimpses and such). It ends up being less about how he met her and more about how his life progressed to the point that he was ready to meet her.

And what will I watch once HIMYM is up to date? Well, there are a number of shows in the running including, but not limited to, Supernatural, The OC (a favourite of mine from high school), Chuck and possibly Desperate Housewives (don't judge me!). So, while I will still try to keep reading in my spare time, you can see that I have a lot of catching up to do and I intend to do it quickly. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I have never considered myself to be a smoker. That is not to say that I have never smoked in my life, but that I have never found myself to be addicted to the habit of smoking.

There was a time when I used smoking as a social tool, mostly in my first year of University. It was a good conversation starter, having a chat over a smoke. It was a good reason to hang out with the girls in res and get to know them as we sat outside the front door, sucking on our cancer sticks and reliving our weekends. Hell, I even met Grant because of smoking. Our first conversation went something along the lines of:

"Can I bum a smoke?"

And six and a half years on, we are still going strong without the help of cigarettes. Of course, it took awhile for us to get there. Even after I "quit" smoking (ie. quit bumming smokes off girls in res), Grant carried on for a good two years and I was surrounded by second hand smoke. Which makes it even easier for me to say that I was never a smoker, because it was easy for me to "quit". I still had the occasional cigarette, and there are still times when I am tempted to ask a friend for a drag even to this day, but I am able to keep back the temptation without too much effort.

You see, while I have never been a smoker, I have a funny feeling that I could easily become one if I let myself. All it would take it giving in at a point when I am too stressed, when I am practically over the edge. All it would take is one little cigarette, one little drag, to push me. And I am trying very hard to avoid that. So instead of becoming a smoker, instead of taking a drag of a cigarette when I feel that need, I have taken to another stress-reliever. And that is hubbly.

And yes, it does sound like a bit of a contradiction, doesn't it? I don't consider myself a smoker, but I am happy to smoke hubbly. Do I think that it is any better for me? Probably not. Do I think that it is less addictive? Absolutely. You see, while smokers often smoke a number of cigarettes in a day (a pack or more for the serious ones), I smoke perhaps three hubblies in a week. And that would be a very stressful week for me to smoke that much. I can go weeks or months without smoking a hubbly, and feel in no way addicted to it. In fact, I do not think that it is the smoking itself that draws me in. It is the preparation that goes into it.

Smoking a hubbly is not a five minute affair. It is not just a case of lighting up, powering through and throwing away a stump at the end. It is a methodical procedure, from filling the vase to choosing the flavour, from poking holes in the foil to lighting the coal. Even once it is ready and the smoking has begun, it is not the smoking that draws me. It is, once again, the social nature of smoking a hubbly. It is a far more social activity than smoking ever was for me. Instead of rushing through the latest news in the span of a cigarette, you sit around, you chat, you soak in the atmosphere, you take turns, you share. Once it is over, you methodically take it apart, from letting the coal burn out to clearing out the tobacco, rinsing the vase and setting it aside for the next time.

And so, I will say it again. I do not consider myself to be a smoker. A hubbly smoker, perhaps, but I see that to be a different brand of person altogether, and a brand of person that I am happy to associate myself with.