Welcome back, it’s good to see you again!
You may recall that just the other week, we discussed how excited we all are, in the advent of streaming services like Netflix™ and Stan™, because we can now deposit ourselves on the couch and watch series 1 through to 27 of our favourite show in one hit, with almost no need to even move off the couch for a week unless the chips run out.
After our little chat, many of you wrote in with questions. I’m sorry that I can’t answer them all personally, due to a lack of postage stamps, but I will answer the most common question here on this blog. That question was, could I suggest any activities suitable for undertaking while bingeing on television?
Now, at first I was puzzled by this request, but then the penny dropped. See, as I’m a Generation X-er, the kind of activities I’ll do while watching TV are those that require very little concentration. For example – eating, drinking and chatting to other people. But to the younger generation, this is a huge waste of potential multi-tasking time! Surely (thinks the younger TV viewer) I, or any other viewer, could be increasing the productivity of our time spent watching TV, by doing something else at the same time – such as undertaking a personal training session, buying and selling shares on the stock exchange, or notching up some part-time hours as an air-traffic controller.
Bearing this in mind, I’ve come up with some activities that you could easily do while watching TV. The usefulness of these activities is dubious but at least you’ll be multi-tasking.
Run on a Treadmill – activity best suited to viewing House of Cards
This activity is good for those with an interest in health and fitness, or equally, for those interested in anger management techniques.
Not an episode goes by without a scene of Claire Underwood furiously jogging on the treadmill, often while her caring husband Frank angrily pumps away on the rowing machine in the next room. As a pair of conniving sociopaths, I guess this is a harmless way for them to vent their pent up anger and frustration when there is a temporary set back in their plans to walk all over everyone else in their quest for power. The bonus for you is that the physical activity will nicely balance out all that time spent watching TV – at least you weren’t sitting on your arse for the whole series. It’s a great way to watch a whole series in one sitting, without sitting.
One hitch with this activity is that it is probably not practical for those living in small studio apartments, or those without a lot of spare space in their house; but if you can afford to have an extra room built on to accommodate the treadmill then away you go!
Other thematic activities that can easily be done while watching House of Cards could be: cyber-bullying your friends or colleagues, or drumming up support for a cause that you don’t believe in, in order to undermine a rival.
Make your own methamphetamine – activity best suited to viewing Breaking Bad
This activity is useful for those with an interest in chemistry or thinking of starting up a small business.
It may surprise some readers to hear that I have no experience whatsoever with making methamphetamine, but it’s true. The closest I’ve ever come was when I made some smelling salts, using a recipe from an Aromatherapy book. They were meant to be therapeutic, and counter the symptoms of hay fever. I’m not quite sure how successful they were in that endeavour, but I’m fairly sure that they didn’t make the hay fever symptoms any worse.
So I’m afraid I’m not qualified to provide a recipe or suggested procedure for making your own methamphetamine at home, but I’m sure that you could do a quick search on the amazing interwebs and educate yourself on the correct process fairly quickly, if you wish to take up this activity.
The benefit is that you could set up your TV or computer screen in your Meth lab, however, based on my memory of high-school chemistry, be mindful that concentration on the task at hand will be required at certain points in the process. I seem to recall that precision is important in chemistry, so you may need to switch your concentration from your favourite show for a moment when measuring out the various chemical components, as well as when timing steps of the process, and when checking temperatures. Chemistry is all a little bit pedantic that way, and that’s probably why I did not pursue it as a career.
Mix up cocktails for yourself and your friends – activity best suited to watching Mad Men
If there was an episode of Mad Men that did not feature at least one scene where someone, in a bar, by the side of a pool, in their lounge room, or, most often, in their office, poured a bourbon on the rocks, or mixed a cocktail for themselves and their friend/lover/wife/husband or new client, I must have missed it.
Again, this activity is ideally suited to doing while watching TV, since in most homes it’s not hard to find a way to bring the television and the cocktail-making paraphernalia into the same general location. If for some reason you are having trouble with this, a trip to IKEA will probably solve the problem, as you are sure to find some kind of mobile bar/entire miniature kitchen that you can wheel into your lounge room when needed; or alternatively, an entire miniature lounge room including TV, that you can wheel into the kitchen.
Gather together a variety of different types of liquor, a few mixers (eg. soda water), some stylish drinking glasses, and a small ice bucket, preferably filled with ice. Try experimenting with some of the cocktails from the era – look up the recipes for an Old-Fashioned, or a Manhattan, for example. I found these two cocktails here but I’m sure there are heaps of places you could look.
The beauty of this activity for many of us is that, unlike making methamphetamine, precision is not very important. So if, while laughing your head off at Roger’s wisecracks, you slosh an extra few shots of bourbon into the drink you’re about to pass your friend, and forget to add the soda water, I doubt that anyone will complain.
Other thematic activities that could be done while watching Mad Men could be: smoking. This can be done even if you’re watching TV from your bed.
Inputting coordinates into your device – activity best suited to viewing Dr Who
This activity is good for increasing mathematical skills and understanding of astronomy, as well as developing the capacity of your imagination.
For this activity to be any fun, you should input galactic coordinates if possible, for the exact location of where in the universe you would like to go. You can input these into any device you have at hand – an iPad, iPhone, android or even a good scientific calculator, but best results will be had if you input them into a GPS device or into an online map. One thing is for certain, that is, no matter what device you use, the result will be similar; that is, you won’t suddenly be whisked to that point in the universe, but you can have a lot of fun pretending that you are in the Tardis and now on your way to Gallifrey – or Mars, if that’s your preference, and watching TV on your way there.
With this activity, precision is only important if you are the sort of person who really cares about whether or not you would really reach your imaginary destination. Remember, when we are talking about the distances covered in space travel, one small miscalculation at the start could result in you accidentally travelling light years out of your way and ending up in some totally wrong part of the universe. But if you’re the kind of person who likes surprises, then by all means, type in the coordinates absent-mindedly while you are engrossed in a particularly scary episode of Dr Who, and away you go!
You can input your galactic coordinates into your calculator if that’s the only device handy
Eat so much food that you almost explode – activity best suited to viewing Scooby Doo or The Simpsons
This activity is good for people with an interest in food and nutrition.
If it’s hard to find an episode of House of Cards where Claire does not go running on a treadmill, it’s damned near impossible to find an episode of Scooby Doo where Shaggy and Scooby don’t eat their own body weight, and then some more, in hamburgers, hot dogs or maybe, if they are in Mexico, tacos, until they are almost comatosed. They’ve been steadfastly eating their way through mountains of fast food since the 1970s, but these days, when asked who is most likely to eat until they explode, 9 out of ten viewers nominate Homer Simpson, which just goes to show our short memories. Or perhaps that’s because Homer doesn’t run off the extra calories later on as Shaggy and Scooby always did.
Either way, this activity takes some pre-preparation. Of course, as always, if you have a TV in your kitchen, all the preparation could be done while watching TV as well. Simply make up enough hamburgers/hot dogs/sandwiches/(fill in the blank) to fill the back of a large moving van, and then somehow get them all into the room where you will be watching TV. That part is important, because once you’ve eaten about half way through that truckload of hamburgers, you won’t be capable of walking to get the rest. Then, once you and your food is all ready to go, simply sit down and start watching TV. Easy!
Other thematic activities you could do while watching Scooby Doo include: creeping around the room on tippy-toe, hiding behind the couch. Keep in mind however that if you were really in Scooby Doo, that is where the bad guy would also be hiding. Doh!
Just a small entree to start with.
Cocktail: Richard Aufreiter via a Creative Commons Licence
Calculator: Josueth Acevedo via a Creative Commons licence
Scooby Doo: Pintrest