Sunday, August 11, 2013


I know that a problem I'd often have, when trying to finish my dissertation (which I finished! woohoo! making me technically all-but-defense) was that the river views of my Manhattan penthouse duplex posed such a distraction. As were the continuous deliveries of caviar and Louboutins.

In all seriousness, I will say that the wildlife outside my window in NJ does pose a distraction. Not so much the wildlife itself (although I find the colorful birds endlessly fascinating) as having the kind of dog where, at so much of the hint of a distant squirrel, this needs to be announced as if it's the most shocking thing that ever happened. Imagine, a squirrel, in a wooded area of the Northeastern U.S.! But frolicking rabbits, large families of deer, a neighbor's outdoor cat, these are all visible from Bisou's perch, a spot on top of a chair, next to a big window. Each mammal elicits a different bark. The deer might be the worst.

As repetitive as "The Squirrel and Rabbit Show" might seem to me, as far as Bisou is concerned, this is some serious drama - "Mad Men" or "The Wire" or some other show I've never seen but might consider watching now that the thing is turned in. I'll think she's fast asleep, and then she's somehow detected a far-flung rodent, and off we go for another round.


kei said...

Many congratulations on ABDefended! It's always nice to see people finish--it's sort of like I'm cheering a favorite sports team or player on, while also receiving inspiration: "A finished dissertation can be done!" I haven't seen the last season of Mad Men, but have seen The Wire series and recommend it over Mad Men. But maybe there is sushi to be rolled, or other poodle-inspired Japanese dishes to be made.

Mitsu has one terrible bark that borders scream or holler, and what makes it awful is that we have no way to anticipate it and no idea why she does it. It's not at anything apparent to humans, so my guess is boredom and wanting attention. But it sounds like there really is quite the variety of species where you are, even for some humans, so maybe it really is a Wire-like drama for Bisou.

Phoebe said...

Thanks Kei! It doesn't feel real. And I can - as is, from what I've heard, inevitable - think of so many things I'd still want to change in the document if I had all the time in the world. But the way it goes is, you don't, so you turn in the best you can.

And yes, TV and Japanese poodle-observed cooking, absolutely.

Maybe Mitsu suspects home invasion? That's another of Bisou's things- if a neighbor is getting a delivery, or someone 10 miles away is having guests over, or who even knows, she barks in a way that suggests she thinks she's defending the fort. It's all the more dramatic if someone is in fact knocking at our door.

Petey said...

"As repetitive as "The Squirrel and Rabbit Show" might seem to me, as far as Bisou is concerned, this is some serious drama - "Mad Men" or "The Wire" or some other show I've never seen but might consider watching now that the thing is turned in."

I think you are selling The Squirrel and Rabbit Show short, especially now that it's been released in HD. It employs a sophisticated scheme of theme and variation to create a subtle, but quite compelling narrative.


And if you are looking for stuff to watch, have you considered French films? Given our wondrous age, you can access a huge amount of stuff for cheap rentals just with a few points and clicks. Plus, as you may or may not be aware, you don't have to read the subtitles like normal folks do.

For free, if you've got Prime, I highly recommend Les Valseuses, perhaps the ur-Depardieu flick. Unfortunately SD only, but Amazon's SD is pretty good quality. (I bought the recently released Blu-Ray, but I suspect you're not going there.)

Also for free, if you've got an HBO Go auth, I highly recommend Todd Haynes' 6 hour Mildred Pierce mini-series. Truly great stuff, and noticeably more female-centered than Les Valseuses.

If you're going Amazon a-la-carte, since I'm now thinking of Kate Winslet, I'll recommend Jane Campion's amazing Holy Smoke, and Polanski's Carnage. (The latter flick is quite funny, and has the virtue of being as close to a Seinfeld feature film 'drama' as one could imagine.)

Mad Men is a worthwhile viewing experience, especially given that you can watch all of it except the last season for the price a month of Netflix. It's not nearly a perfect show, but it's got a sensitive show-runner who makes the most out of what you can do with a basic cable soap.

Phoebe said...


Recommendations appreciated. At this point I just have Hulu+ , by which I mean, just that. I may be changing that soon though.

Petey said...

"Recommendations appreciated. At this point I just have Hulu+ , by which I mean, just that. I may be changing that soon though."

re Hulu+

1) I don't subscribe because I'm allergic to non-skippable ads. And I don't mean in the sense that some folks are "allergic" to gluten in order to cut down on their carbs. This is real. Actual anencephalic shock. I've had my immune system weakened by DVR's. Not to mention that I'm not a real big fan of broadcast series.

2) Make sure you say Hulu+ as you'd say Canal+. That way you get the frisson of the nice HuluPlu rime.

3) Oddly enough, besides the network series, HuluPlu actually has exclusive streaming rights to a massive number of canonical '60's and '70's French flicks. Want to stream half the classic '60's Godards? HuluPlu. Want to stream the delightful Louis Malle Murmur of the Heart or Black Moon? HuluPlu. And there are lots more. If you're subscribing, and not subject to anencephalic shock from non-skippable ads, it's all free to you.


Now to the real issues. As a cable cutter, how are you watching? It would make me cry a little if you were exclusively watching on your phone, or with some jury-rigged system where you hooked up your phone your flat-panel with chewing gum and rubber bands.

In short, assuming you're not planning on getting a cable teevee sub, you will make yourself happy by getting a dedicated ten-foot-interface box. Best practices are to skip the AppleTV and ChromeCast and get a Roku instead. Cheap 'n' highly capable.

Now, you want to figure our your content delivery.

As far as the all-you-can-eat stuff goes, Netflix is a bargain-basement delight, but PQ is kinda lousy, which bothers me quite a bit. Prime doesn't really make sense just for video, but if you do semi-regular commerce with Amazon, then it does make sense combined with the physical delivery advantages, plus it's quite good on the PQ front. HBO Go really is the crown jewel of the bunch, but you can't get it without a cable teevee sub. However, HBO seems to be semi-explicitly fine with folks using their relatives' auth, given that they know their content is amazing enough to hook future buyers, so if you've got any older relatives with a sub, it's the way to go.

Beyond all-you-can-eat, Amazon a-la-carte VOD is the video store of dreams...

Erika D. said...

It has been too long since I've visited your blog, but I'm delighted to hear about the completed dissertation! Félicitations!

Phoebe said...

Thanks Erika!