Tag Archives: Netflix

Friday seven – Things I’ve learned


  1. I love cooking on a gas stove.
    We have one here in the condo and it’s the first time I’ve ever used for any length of time. Fast heat, fast off, and easy to clean, the only negative is the retractable vent hood that rises from just to the rear of the cooktop that is really loud. We will definitely be putting a gas cooktop in our kitchen when we renovate.
  2. The name “Istanbul” is actually a variant of  “Constantinople”.
    I mean, we all knew that the original name of that city was Constantinople, but i didn’t know that one came from the other. I met a Turkish jewellry vendor in the Granville Island Public Market and we chatted for a while. He told me that people shortened “Constantinople”, dropping the first syllable, and the word morphed to Stamboul, or Istanbul. (When I checked this out on wikipedia, it turns out to be something of a simplification, but I had never made the connection before.)

    Bracelet by Murat Senemoglu, Turkish silnersmith at Granville Island Public Market.
  3. I can live without owning a car, in the right place.
    I took out a car2go for a spin the other day with Alex, when we went to Granville Island. I love the fact that you just drop it off when you’re at your destination and pick up another one when you want to continue your trip. The smartphone app makes it so easy to reserve a car (optional), unlock it, and manage your account. Driving (and parking the Smart fourtwo was a little unnerving at first, but actually quite enjoyable.)
  4. I’ve missed Netflix.
    With the renovation of our main living area and some reconfiguration of our electronics, we haven’t had easy access to Netflix on our living room television since the summer. The setup here in the condo is a Samsung Smart TV and so we have access to a pile of streaming services from one device. (I don’t really like watching video on my computer or ipad. I can’t explain it. could be my age. Could be that I prefer the big screen and better sound.)  I finally watched the NFB film on Healey Willan that our choir director recommended (very interesting), and have been catching up on some series (Master of None (Aziz Ansari), Marvel’s Jessica Jones). Last night I watched a riveting doc on Iris Apfel, who reminded me immensely of my Grandma Winer (Vera Elstein) and makes me want to pump up the colour in my wardrobe (and the size of my accessories.)
    Here’s a trailer:
  5. The best part of genealogy is meeting new relatives.
    I’ve said before that a blog is like “cousin-bait” to genealogists. If someone googles and ancestor’s name and your blog comes up, bingo! I’ve recently had an email exchange with the wife of a cousin on my father’s father’s side. We’ve exchanged some information and I hope to meet them in the near future as our geographic circles intersect on a couple of fronts. (We both have relatives in each other’s home towns.) Briefly, my grandfather (David Berkman) had a sister Sadie who married a Samuel Rubenstein and lived in Hawkesbury Ontario, a predominantly francophone town between Ottawa and Montreal. I’d very much love to see pictures of David, Sadie, and their parents (Myer and Adela), and get any further info that might help me with my research.
    Here’s their marriage registration:

    Marriage of Sadie Berkman and Samuel Rubenstein, Lachine QU, 1909, Beth Israel.
    Marriage of Sadie Berkman and Samuel Rubenstein, Lachine QU, 1909, Beth Israel.
  6. I want to read more internationally.
    I posted about this a couple of weeks ago, but am pleased to learn that one of the Goodreads groups that I belong to is starting a new sub-group called “Around the World” where we will be reading from various areas for the first six months of 2016, and then concentrating on Asia in the second half of the year. I’m starting to get my list together. In January we will be focussing on North and West Africa, and I’m hoping to read some Egyptian and Nigerian writers that have been on my radar for a while. In particular, I want to read The Automobile Club of Egypt by Alaa Al Aswany and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. And maybe Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El-Saadawi and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. If anyone would like to join me in this venture, consider joining The Roundtable on Goodreads!
  7. I can’t live happily without sunshine. Temperature doesn’t matter.
    Since I’ve been out here in Vancouver, we’ve had a few periods of sun. It’s nice to be able to live in a midweight (waterproof) coat.  I picked one up with Vancouver in mind at the Royal Winter Fair from the London Trading Post booth. (They’re located in Bobcaygeon ON and have a lot of great British gear.) But honestly: the gorgeous views, sea wall, and mild weather, cannot make up for the lack of regular sunlight. It makes me feel sluggish and like I want to cocoon at home. And my knees? I’ve had to up my Naproxen since I’ve been out here to compensate for the dampness.

That’s all folks!

Intentional television

Family watching television, c. 1958
Family watching television, c. 1958 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have some friends who disdain television, who believe that there is nothing on worth watching. I have some friends who are addicts, who fall asleep in their chairs, who channel surf to find anything worth their eyeballs. I have never been in either of those camps, although did give up television for a while when my children were younger and we were all spending too much time in front of it. For the past decade, I’ve been an intentional viewer, recording programming that I am interested in seeing, watching pretty much only that, and then flipping the box off, or leaving the room for the comforts of a book (or, lets be honest, a few minutes on some iPad games.) This system works for me, as I can organize my life as I wish, and slip in some TV viewing when I’m at loose ends, ironing, wanting to cuddle with someone close to me, or at the end of the day before sleep overtakes.

This system, if you will, is due to a revolution in broadcasting, or maybe a series of little revolutions. I think it started with the VCR, which in its own clumsy way allowed us to time shift our viewing. With DVRs and VOD technologies, the restrictive cord of the clock has been severed and we are free to watch what we want, when we want, without fumbling with tapes, remembering to set up the VCR each week, and all that. I no longer have to spend a second thinking whether I’d rather go out for an evening or stay home to watch something. (Yes, I did that. Years ago. Anyone remember Survivor viewing parties in the early days?) Plus, I can skip through the ads.

If you forget to set up your DVR, read a review or hear of a program from a friend, you can probably find it on-demand either through your cable package or online. There is really no reason you need to be in front of your TV at the moment a broadcast starts, unless you’re live-tweeting it or something.

It’s easy to criticize our baser viewing habits as mindless/mind-numbing/drivel, or whatever. But to each his own. Lots of the conversations I have on a daily basis are just that. I consume things that could be considered nutrition-free from time to time, and that’s okay. I read two papers every day, and certainly not all of that is high literature (not to mention the occasional beach read.) We bitch and moan about the cost of cable, but if you were to cost it out on a price per hour viewed basis, it’s probably a pretty reasonable.

So lets live and let live. I’ve learned that we each have our own vices and that regardless of how much I’d like to change someone else’s habits, I’d be better off putting away the rest of the bag of Twizzlers and going for a walk.

A pack of Twizzlers
A pack of Twizzlers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what’s worth watching this summer? A few of my faves (with new eps airing this month):

  • Orange is the New Black from Netflix (on demand)
    …because it’s well-written and Netflix is getting a great rep (think, House of Cards) (New Yorker review)
  • Endeavour (new season) (on Masterpiece Mystery, PBS)
    …because it’s all about Insp. Morse’s past
  • Amazing Race Canada (CTV)
    …because it’s the Amazing Race set in Canada (’nuff said)
  • Newsroom (new season) (HBO Canada)
    …because the characters all have twitter accounts
  • Switched at Birth (ABC Spark)
    …because despite the sappy storyline, the depiction of deaf teens and deaf culture rings true (to me)
  • The Big Decision (CBC)
    …because I love to see Jim and Arlene help small businesses
  • The Listener (CTV)
    …because it has a cute psychic ambulance driver and his cute Turkish friend and is set in Toronto

Happy summer viewing!