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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘binge-watching

Pushing Snowbanks

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Just have a couple things to share before I rush off to catch the next episode of our latest binge-watch. Cyndie and I randomly chose “Suspicion” on Apple TV+ a few days ago with no advance information about the show. We are nearing the end and find ourselves struggling to explain what seems like plot holes to us. We keep wanting to see another episode to find out if the things we are questioning end up making sense once all is revealed. Maybe not the best reason to get hooked on a story, but it works for us during winter months when Cyndie can’t do much else.

We are being warned by weather forecasters that seriously cold temperatures are headed our way this weekend and could linger for almost two weeks. Under Cyndie’s wise counsel, I put blankets on the horses yesterday while their coats were good and dry. Snow was predicted overnight and that contributed to my decision to put blankets on yesterday even though it was a nice sunny day.

I took some time in the afternoon to shovel the shoulder of a section of the driveway to push back the snowbank. It feels really rewarding to reclaim the full width of the pavement (on one side, at least) and to open the way for easy plowing of the next big snowfall.

We had a dusting of just under an inch of snow on Wednesday. I’m actually hoping there will be enough new snow out there this morning to justify plowing. I’m looking forward to seeing how much of an improvement clearing snow will be where I’ve pushed back the snowbank.

Since the shoveling is a little tedious, I had plenty of time to ponder how I could collaborate with my welder to create an offset plow blade that would hang off the back of the ATV to push the snowbank back a few feet. If it were even possible to do, the Grizzly would likely not have enough traction to knock back the snow on uphill portions of the drive. It is hard enough to push away snow with my front plow going up the hills.

An offset back blade could work on the downhill runs I bet, though.

Yesterday’s picture was of how the sun looked first thing in the morning through the low clouds. By evening, the setting sun was painting a much more vibrant set of colors.



No Break

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Even on a day when no snow fell from the sky, snow fell and I needed to shovel. I can’t catch a break.

The roof of the shop garage is not a concern for ice dams so I don’t pull snow off with a roof rake. However, it is a metal roof and the snow eventually slides off on its own. After the rain and warm temperatures of the past few days, the thick blanket of snow began moving enough that a large amount broke off and covered the cement apron in front of the garage door.

Since we are under a storm warning for a possible 5-9 inches of new snow today, I felt it prudent to shovel the mound in front of the garage before it got buried with even more snow. I need to be able to get the ATV out to plow.

I enjoyed a wonderful surprise yesterday morning after I got in from feeding horses and doing some of that shoveling. Cyndie tried out a recipe for Welsh cakes after seeing them made on one of the episodes of “Welcome to Wrexham.”

They were fabulous! The recipe called for currants, but she made additional batches with dried cranberries and some with golden raisins. It took me extra effort to stop eating them before I overdid it. What a treat!

I’m a lucky guy that Cyndie is so adventurous when it comes to food prep.

Maybe today I will eat leftover Welsh cakes while watching our next episode-binge of the documentary series, between the hours I’m outside shoveling away the new snow accumulation. For a guy who hasn’t been able to catch a break lately, that would be a welcome break from working outside while the winter storm is delivering its punches.



Written by johnwhays

January 19, 2023 at 7:00 am

Latest Binge

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With unfettered access to streaming television episodes this weekend, we ended up binging, “Patriot,” a five-year-old Amazon Prime Video that is a dark, comedic, assassin drama. I’m kind of a sucker for the merging of quirky dark humor in reality-based situations of high-drama, national “off-the-book” intelligence agent action. The series repeatedly involves situations where a relatively simple goal becomes complicated in multiple, and often messy, ways.

Riddled with a fair number of plot holes and illogical setups that all deserve to be ignored for the good of the rest of what’s so absorbing about the series, I would guess this 2-season story is ripe for critique by those who choose. I’m not interested in doing that.

One aspect that I appreciated about the writing was the merging of local authorities trying to process scenes resulting from international espionage type of incidents. A more conventional spy story will either ignore or have “the agency” wipe a scene so the main operative can carry on a mission unburdened by the consequences of previous actions.

In addition to that, there are multiple side dramas by coworkers at the firm where the main character had mischievously landed a “cover” position allowing him to travel to off-limits countries.

In “Patriot,” the persistent pursuit by local officials trying to solve their mysteries as well as the interruptions by people with personal agendas becomes a primary interwoven thread of the ever more convoluted challenges faced by the protagonist. It’s a bit like a Bourne-style CIA assassin story with ten times more real-life having a constant complicating impact.

Binging the story provided an entertaining escape from reality for a couple of rainy days at the lake.

Between showers on a walk with Delilah, she walked deeper in the water than is her usual preference because of the enticing sight of ducks lounging around on the floating mat. I had no plan of getting wet so stood by nervously waiting to see how bad she wanted to go after them. I figured I could quickly kick off shoes and wade further in if she decided to swim, but that wasn’t my preference.

She has shown no interest in swimming all the other times we invited her into the water.

Delilah decided the ducks weren’t enough reason to change that pattern and returned to shore to finish our walk.

Worked for me. There were a couple episodes left to be binged before bedtime.



Written by johnwhays

August 29, 2022 at 6:00 am

Tested Patience

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If you were engrossed in a book that was an ultimate “page-turner” of a story, you might stay up a little too late reading extra chapters. A good story captures the imagination and gets in our heads. The characters hang around our thoughts all day. The fictional world merges with everything else going on in our minds.

At least the stories that are compressed into two-and-a-half-hour movies compact all the mix-up of brain interaction into one brief distraction. Somewhere between the movie and a good book lies series dramas with roughly 8 to 12 episodes per season. When well crafted, these become powerful forces for binge-watching.

Beware of what you are subjecting yourself to when you choose to check out the first episode of season 1. The best of these series build up amazing energy toward the cliff-hanging end of each individual episode such that the urge to watch the next installment is overwhelming.

It becomes a real test of patience. Do you sacrifice another hour of other things that should be getting attention to satisfy that longing to find out what happens next? You would be forced to if it was only broadcast over the airwaves one day per week. That’s not how it works anymore.

We have the entire season of episodes readily available to stream online, one after the other, or a boxed set of all the seasons can be purchased on DVDs if you are still into 2018 technology.

That’s what we ended up doing when we found ourselves addicted to “Longmire.” We streamed the first few episodes when we were up at the lake. We wanted to continue when we returned home but we don’t have enough bandwidth to stream video so we rented DVDs through the mail.

At the completion of the first season, there was a wait to get season 2 so we solved that by purchasing all six seasons to be delivered the next day.

Take that, patience.

Now we’ve stumbled upon the British crime drama, “Broadchurch” from 2013-2017. Saw the first episodes up at the lake. (When will I learn.) When the story ruthlessly tugged at both Cyndie and me on our first day back home, we found the DVDs could be rented from our online account. The thing was, though, we already had two other movies in the queue that were already being (slowly) mailed to us.

We would have to wait. That takes patience.

Checking our bandwidth usage, it looked like we could commit to streaming one episode to tide us over. Oh, but that cliff-hanger. You can’t just stream one.

Last night I ended up deleting the two discs from our queue that would have completed the season because the urge to binge was stronger than the will power to be patient.

It appears we might have our speed throttled by our ISP before the month ends on our account in 16 days.

At least there is good news for us and our powerlessness over directors who create addictive episodic series. Our electricity coop is currently in the process of installing fiber-optic high-speed connectivity along our rural roads.

Waiting for them to get service to our house has been testing our patience since last September.



Written by johnwhays

March 4, 2022 at 7:00 am

Sports Binge

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I went on a day-long TV spectator sports binge yesterday, in large part because, well… I could. At home, the only television signal we have is our antenna for free broadcasts from the Twin Cities. At Cyndie’s parents’ house, there were satellite channels for more sports than I could count.

This allowed me to catch the Golden Gophers college football game and the men’s US Open tennis final that wouldn’t have been available to me at home. Luckily, Fred was wise enough to record the Gopher game, as they were playing at Fresno State on the west coast and the game didn’t start until late Saturday night.

That meant we didn’t watch it until yesterday morning. I had peeked at the result already, so I knew the game was worth seeing. What a fantastic finish with the highlight-reel catch in the deepest possible corner of the endzone on 4th and 13 to tie the game with less than a minute left, and then the surprising interception in the second overtime to claim the win.

We followed that excitement with the NFL Vikings strong win over the Falcons in the opening game of the season. I’ll take it.

Next, there was a quick check of the MLB Twins to find they were trailing Cleveland. That game was usurped by the championship tennis match on ESPN.

Rafael Nadal outlasted a strong challenge from Daniil Medvedev in an epic four-hour-fifty-one-minute 5-set match. Those guys battled for almost five hours, one on one, no substitutions. No wonder Rafa collapsed after the final point.

I was ready to collapse. By the end of the day, I had watched so many athletes exhaust themselves, it wore me out.

Bingeing (I had to check that spelling) is not as easy as one might assume.

It will be good for me to get back home later today after work and return to my (almost) usual routine. This week will be another one spent without Cyndie at home. She is flying to Florida this morning to spend time with Dunia, who will be visiting from Guatemala.

I’ll go back to reading about sports outcomes in the paper, a day after they happen, for my fix of athletic adventures.

It’s kind of a “slow binge” on spectator sports, don’tcha know.



Written by johnwhays

September 9, 2019 at 6:00 am

Vacation Disorientation

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It’s a bit dizzying to compound my vacation escape from routine by also burying myself in a memoir while simultaneously binge-watching a spy thriller 6-episode series. What day is it today? Where am I again? Who am I?

I’m certainly not at Wintervale anymore.

dscn5650eWe are up in the woods of northwest Wisconsin. Yesterday morning, as I was comfortably lingering in bed after waking up, I spotted a deer moving through the trees outside our window. Then there was another, moving slowly across my view, pawing and sniffing at the ground as they went.

As I watched, the first one suddenly laid down for a rest. A while later, more deer moved into view, and one by one, they curled up in the snow by the first deer. Eventually there were five of them, and they ended up spending most of the day there, despite a small bit of activity in and out of the front door of the cabin as the hours passed.

I like that our little nook is a spot they find to be comfortable for spending their day.

Meanwhile, I’m reading Robbie Robertson’s “Testimony” and finding my mind ensconced in the 1960s music scene that he describes. Between chapters, Cyndie’s parents have us watching the short series, “The Night Manager,” which involves lavish views of exotic places where thrilling intrigue is at play.

Of course, I submerge myself in the identity of each leading character, so by the end of the day, I have lost myself to being a mixed up compilation of people who are definitely not me.

It feels a little bit like being on vacation.













Written by johnwhays

December 30, 2016 at 7:00 am