Tag Archives: Chopped

Kill Your Television?

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Do people still talk about killing televisions?

Back in the late 90s and early 00s, when I ran around in activist circles, every 4th of July, there would be talk of killing, smashing, destroying televisions. It was an appropriate day for getting rid of televisions because it was U.S. Independence Day, and activists were promoting independence from the TV.

I don’t hang out with many activists these days, so I dont know if getting rid of televisons (by smashing, destroying, or any other means) is still promoted on July 4th. I did a few quick Google searches; “July Fourth smash your television day,” “kill your television day” and “smash your television” didn’t bring up much. The best thing I found was a blog post by The Happy Philospher (http://thehappyphilosopher.com/kill-your-television/) with a lot of information about why getting rid of one’s television might be a good idea. I also found links to the Kill Your Television Theatre (https://www.facebook.com/killyourtelevisiontheatre/) and references to the songs “Kill Your Television” by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin ( https://www.discogs.com/Neds-Atomic-Dustbin-Kill-Your-Television/release/782296) and “Smash Your TV” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuMofeS7b7Q), “Track 8 (of 54) from the forthcoming [as of December 2014] album Et Mourir de Plaisir.”

A life without television seems like a good life to me, but who am I to tell other people what to do?

I haven ‘t owned a telvision since I moved to a new state in 1998. I’ve livined in houses with other people who’ve owned them, I’ve been in cheap motels with them, and I’ve house sat in homes with them. I’d be lying if I said I never watch TV, but I don’t do it every day or even every week.

The commercials are the worst. Often I’m confused, and many seconds go by before I figure out what the advertiser is trying to sell me. Sure, I know I’m supposed to think I’m being sold happiness or sex (or sex leading to happiness), but I often wonder, What’s the real product? I know it’s strategic when the product isn’t shown until the last moment.

Most network programs are terrible. I’ve sat through bad acting and stupid plots (I’m looking at you, NCIS: New Orleans) while visiting friends and relatives. I’ve honestly seen better acting at a small-town fundamentalist Christian church Easter program than I’ve seee on primtime TV.

But yes, I will admit, there are times when I like to have a television on. It’s good company when I’m cooking, mending, crafting, or cleaning. When my brain is simply too tired to read, a decent television program is a nice distraction.

I mostly watch television when I’m house sitting. My favorite shoes are Chopped, Cupcake Wars, and Beat Bobby Flay. (I once spent a three-week house sitting gig flipping between Food Network and Cooking Channel.) I like the Travel Channel food shows too: Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Man v. Food, and Man Finds Food. For a time I was really into History Channel’s Pawn Stars and got really excited whenever I stumbled upon an all-day marathons of the program. However, after vistiting Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, NV and seeing the $2 price tag on a postcard, the thrill was gone. (Read about my visit to the Gold & Siler Pawn Shop here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/11/23/tourist-day-in-las-vegas/.)

In any case, who am I to say people should kill their televisons? I think people should make their own informed decisions.

I do know people who watch the tube for several hours a day would have more time for other activities if they smashed the television or just clicked the off button. If you can’t imagine what you’d do if you watched less TV, here’s a list of 50 activities you’ll have time for if you’re not distracted by your television.

Read a book

Read aloud to kids or adults

Teach someone to read

Garden–food or flowers, it don’t matter

Ride a bike

Feed hungry people

Run through the sprinkler on a hot summer day

Visit new places

Write a sonnet

Write a letter

Write the great American novel

Play ball

Make music

Wash the windows

Wash the car

Wash the dishes

Meet your neighbors

Soak in a hot bath with candles around the tub

Walk the dog

Walk without the dog

Learn a new language

Call a friend

Meditate

Mediate

Watch the sun set

Dance in the moonlight

Talk to an elder

Talk to a child

Raft down a river

Build a treehouse

Build a bookshelf

Build community

Make love–to yourself or your partner(s)

Play board games

Create art

Take deep breaths

Think deep thoughts

Throw a costume party

Swim

Wage peace

Bake bread (or muffins or cookies or cake)

Paint a portrait

Paint the walls

Cuddle

Make jewelry

Look at the stars

Run a marathon

Fix what’s broken

Mend what’s torn

Dream

I took this photos of the (popular?) sticker.

What would you add to your life if you subtracted your televison? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.

 

Trifle

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tri·fle
ˈtrīfəl/
noun
British

a cold dessert of sponge cake and fruit covered with layers of custard, jelly, and cream.

The Lady of the House came home from the thrift store with a large glass bowl attached to a glass pedestal. She was very excited about it and said it was a trifle bowl. It looks something like this

I did not take this photo. This is not The Lady’s actual trifle bowl.

I had heard of trifle before. I’d probably first encountered it in books set in the 1940s and/or 1950s. More recently, I’d seen trifle on Food Network’s competition show Chopped. (I really like Chopped. I can watch one episode after another for hours.) On a special celebrity episode of Chopped, I saw a woman (either Carnie Wilson or Gillian Vigman, I can’t remember which) make a trifle in honor of her mother who made them a lot when she (the celebrity) was a kid.

I’d never eaten trifle though.

The Lady of the House had eaten trifle made by her husband’s aunt. The aunt makes them whenever her household hosts a family gathering. The Lady started talking of a dessert made with layers of chocolate cake and chocolate pudding and Cool Whip and Heath bar. I was in!

The Lady had recently bought Girl Scout Cookies from Girl Scouts selling in front of a grocery store. Instead of Heath bar, I suggested, what about crushed up Thin Mints? Everybody in the house was excited by that idea.

The trifle bowl stayed empty for several weeks while life kept The Lady busy.

One Sunday morning, The Lady gave The Boy the choice of baking a chocolate cake or helping with yard work. He chose baking the chocolate cake, and the preparation of the trifle was begun. (I got to help with yard work.)

After preparing the chocolate cake from a mix and getting the batter into the oven, The Boy also whipped up a big bowl of chocolate pudding. When we got in from the yard, the cake was cooling, and the pudding was chilling in the fridge. After a few hours, the layering was ready to begin.

First, cake was crumbled into the bottom of the trifle bowl. Next, chocolate pudding was layered on top of the cake. Then Cool Whip was spread on top of the pudding.

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Finally, crushed Thin Mints Girl Scout cookies were sprinkled on top of the Cool Whip.

 

IMG_2375  Another layer of cake was added, then another layer of pudding.

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IMG_2380 The photo above shows the trifle with a few more layers, getting some more Cool Whip.

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Here’s the trifle, covered in cling wrap, chillin’ in the refrigerator. The trifle becomes tastier as it gets colder and as the  the flavors meld together. It’s better to let the trifle sit in the refrigerator at least overnight, but that requires extreme willpower.

IMG_2383     Here’s the final product.

The trifle was absolutely delicious. Because the cake basically absorbs the pudding, the dessert is very moist. (If your cake ever comes out of the oven too dry, you can save the dessert by using the cake in a trifle.) The Thin Mints gave the trifle very subtle minty undertones, not at all overwhelming. The cookies too became very moist and didn’t offer any crunch. That was good for my tooth problems, but folks who really want a crunch would do better with Heath bars or some other candy that won’t soften. I personally would have liked a little more Cool Whip (I am a huge whipped cream fan), so if I were going to make a trifle, I’d use two tubs of Cool Whip or a couple (three?) cans of real whipped cream.

The trifle was one of the best desserts ever!

Also photos except the one of the empty trifle bowl were taken by me.