Giving Up Television

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I’m back, and it’s no April Fool’s joke. Which you probably realized, since it’s April 2nd.

I love blogging and rarely need a break, but when the thought of writing a blog post was a burden, I knew I needed a breather. While I did briefly considered quitting altogether, I realized that’s not what I wanted. I did want to continue, but I didn’t want to give you all filler until I was ready to write a “real” post again.

So, let’s move on to a “real” post, shall we?

I’m giving up television for the month of April.

I’ve written before about how addictive I find TV and how I wanted to cut down on how much I’ve watched. For the most part, I have. Still, I struggle with turning on the TV as an easy out when I could be something more constructive, or even more enjoyable.

So, I’ve decided April would be it. I’m not sure I’ll give it up forever. I hope that after this month I’ll have it out of my system and better habits in place, so it’s no longer a temptation. But perhaps I’ll be able to add it back in, more moderately. For right now, I’m just planning on giving it up for this month and we’ll see what happens when it’s over.

I am giving myself the exception of sporting events. I mean, I wouldn’t want to give up tonight’s national championship or this weekend’s Masters tournament. And I’ll still watch the occasional movie. Thankfully, I’m cheap so renting a movie isn’t much of a draw.

I don’t know what that means for my April. I do know I’ll do more reading (though I probably would have done so anyway, thanks to the 24-hour Readathon later this month). Maybe I’ll be more active, too, taken advantage of the lovely spring weather.

I’m looking forward to it. Sometimes it just takes cutting something out of your life to realize you didn’t really want it there, anyway.

Getting Off the TV IV

I love to read. That’s no secret. So why is it that I watch so much TV?

Television isn’t evil. But it’s also certainly not essential and rarely constructive. Reading a book isn’t always especially constructive either, but there is still greater value in reading junk than in watching junk. Not that I usually read junk…but most of what I watch would be qualified as “junk.”

Why do I struggle with watching too much TV?

1. It’s easy. You know that. You probably watch more than you want to, too. Watching television requires almost nothing of me.

2. It sucks you in. If there is one show that want to watch, it’s easy to turn the entire evening into a TV-watching binge.

3. I am, if only in part, a product of my culture. I have grown up with technology and stimulation. To sit silently in a room with a book that does not interact with me isn’t as easy as it may have been for someone who had books as their only form of entertainment.

4. I like the noise. Being single, my apartment is usually silent unless I choose to make it otherwise. I don’t always have to have noise, but I do prefer it to silence. I have taken to listening to audiobooks while I do my chores around my house, but some activities (like reading and sending emails) don’t allow me enough brain power to also listen to an audio book, so sometimes I turn on the TV. Enter point #2.

So what am I going to do about it?

I wrote this post last week and just left the question hang there for a couple of days. I really didn’t know how to answer it. But Friday afternoon I decided not to turn on the TV all weekend. And I didn’t (well, except to listen to audiobooks on my DVD player). I had a great weekend, too. Instead of watching TV and whiling away the hours, I listened to one whole audio book, crocheted a lot, and took care of a few chores around the apartment. The time didn’t drag, but it also didn’t fly by. It was quite pleasant.

I want that to be the norm in my apartment, not the other. I’m not giving up TV completely, but I’d like to cut my viewing to just a few hours a week.

Next project: working on silence.

No More Frittering

Another week, another challenge. I need more challenging…this has been very good for me.

“That you be totally committed to ministry, whatever your specific role, that you not fritter your time away on soaps or ladies magazines or aimless hobbies, any more than men should fritter theirs away on excessive sports or aimless diddling in the garage. That you redeem the time for Christ and his Kingdom.”

John Piper’s language in this one kills me. It really makes me want to use the word “fritter” in daily language more often.

But beyond the language, he definitely has a point. While neither soaps or ladies’ magazines have any draw for me (though I have been sucked into a reality show or two…guess those are  just soap operas for another generation), I do struggle with wasting time on insignificant things. Just last night I was talking to a friend about how to encourage her kids not to waste their summer days on television, video games, and the computer, when I had to admit that this was a struggle for me.

Personally, I find the less I watch TV, the less I want to watch it. That is, in part, why I’m choosing not to have internet at my new place. I’ll have cable though (included in my rent…I would have prefer just to have bunny ears!), but that’s not as much as a draw for me as I can’t choose to watch things on my own schedule like I’ve grown accustomed to online.

But I think that’s part of growing in wisdom…knowing when to remove things from your life to avoid temptation. For me, Internet is not a “need”…I work in front of a computer 40 hours a week and have a phone with Internet access.

Where else am I tempted to fritter time away? This is something I’ll definitely have to continue to reevaluate. I definitely spend time on the blog, but I’ve reduced that significantly over the last 6 months or so. Sure, my blog isn’t as popular as it once was (though it certainly was never “popular!”), I’m totally okay with that.  I feel like the balance I have with blogging now is what it should be.

So what should I be using my time for instead?

Ministry.

I’ve tried to realign my priorities to this end. It’s still a work in progress, but I do believe I’ve been improving. Since quitting AWANA in January to pursue more training in biblical counseling (they were at the same time, so I had to choose), I’ve been looking for another ministry opportunity. That opportunity fell into my lap last week: our church started a food pantry. You’re looking at the Saturday morning regular (you know, if you were looking at me!).

Between that and Sunday school, I feel like I have an appropriate amount of regular formal ministry. But informal ministry is important to, and something that is hard for me. I don’t like my schedule messed with, but this is an area I’m growing in. I’m single, so my schedule is rather flexible, even when I’m not. So I’m trying to be more proactive in seeking opportunities to serve others. Thanks to some growing relationships in my small group at church, those opportunities are definitely coming.

I think this is something that I will need to continue to work on for the rest of my life, and regularly reevaluate.

Photo by tsand

FQF: Freedom and Growth

1.  What is your favorite Bill of Rights right?

Freedom of religion.  Though I’m quite fond of the whole of the first amendment…thankful that I can believe what I believe, practice what I practice, and share it with others.

2.  If you could host a Reality TV show, which one would it be?

The Amazing Race would be cool because it’d be fun to go all the places they go without the stress of the race.  Plus, with all that traveling would come a lot of time to read! (Now the real reason I like to travel comes out…)

3. How would you describe your taste in the opposite sex?

Besides the obvious (that I’m looking for godly, single man), I’d definitely say I’m attracted to the nerdier type and guys that can make me laugh.  I want to be able to have intelligent discussions AND have fun.  I’m not picky physically, though I do tend to be intimidated by taller men.

4. What is your policy on book lending?

I love to do it.  While I’d like to say that I’ve gotten back every book I’ve lent, that’s not the case.  But I’ve been blessed with books, and if they’re good, I want to share!  If it’s not good, then I won’t even keep them.

5. In what way are you better than you were six months ago?

I’m stronger, I know.  I can swim longer than I have in years and faster than I ever have.  (The other day I was the fastest one in the pool, though that’s not saying much…there were only 5 others there, all older than me.)  I hope I’m godlier as well, but I feel like I have further to go than ever.

FQF: Lifelines

1.  If you were on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, whose names would you submit as your three lifelines, and what subjects would each person be your go-to person for?

Let’s see…I’d definitely put my dad on the list for all things mathematical/scientific.  I’d also choose my college roommate, Dana, as she’s familiar with a ton of movies (and a ton of other things…she’s well-read as well) that I’m not.  I’d also want to pick someone who’s good with pop culture, but I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head that would be a good fit.

2.  What food grosses you out just by its texture?

Grits.  Definitely don’t get them.

3.  How long would it take you, via the quickest means available, to get to the place of your birth from where you are right now?

If someone chartered me a flight and had it waiting for me at the airport right now, I think I could be there in 3 hours.  I think it’d take just over 2 hours to fly direct to Wichita (not that I’ll ever know that!).  Driving it takes 20 hours.

4.  From what store is it impossible for you to emerge empty-handed?

Target, for sure.  There is always something that I “need.”

5. What do you usually use to mark your place in a book?

A piece of paper from a notepad.  It doubles as a place for me to record quotes.

Quotes: Evil and Good

“In our quest for the extraordinary, we often overlook the importance of the ordinary, and I’m proposing that a radical lifestyle actually begins with an extraordinary commitment to ordinary practices that have marked Christians who have affected the world throughout history.” – Radical by David Platt, p. 193

“Why can’t others think and see the world the way I see it?” – Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, p. 23

“Lyman firmly believed that the best fisherman was he who caught the most fish, regardless of the bait used.” – The Most Famous Man in America: the Biography of Henry Ward Beecher by Debby Applegate, p. 57

“And most pastors in Germany had always preached Christ crucified without seeing–who does?–that he was being crucified all around them every day.” – They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1933-1945 by Milton Mayer, p. 87

“When I went back into Darfur with my first reporters, the African journalists, I was asked why I was taking the risk, and I told them, not trying to be too dramatic, that I was not safe because my people were not safe–and how can you be safe if your people are not safe? And so who are your people?  Perhaps everyone is your people.  I was wondering about that.” – The Translator by Daoud Hari, p. 173

“To do its worst, evil needs to look its best.  Evil has to spend a lot on makeup.” – Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., p. 98

“And the bitterest single disappointment of Nazism–both to Simon, the insensitive bill-collector, and to Hofmeister, the sensitive policeman–was the fact that Hitler had promised that no officer would get more than 1,000 Reichsmarks per month and did not keep his promise.” – They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1933-1945 by Milton Mayer, p. 102

“There’s a big difference between not being a bad person and being a good one.” – Life After Yes by Aidan Donnelley Rowley, p. 252

“It also bugs me when I hear about ‘Angelina’s adopted son’ or ‘Rosie’s adopted children’ — as if that word will always separate them instead of binding them together.” – A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth, p. 14

“Fair enough: evil fascinates people who walk down the Tornabuoni and also those who channel surf across daytime TV.  The fastest way to kill the dramas on daytime TV would be to rewrite the scripts so that shows would begin to dwell on moral stabilities–on marital fidelity, loyal friendship, and generous cooperation in the workplace.  Nobody would watch.” – Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., p. 91

“I know now that there are rare people who will help you carry your burdens through this life.” – The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama, p. 139

“[debating]…whether it was God’s will to install a woodstove to warm the meetinghouse in winter.  Surely, some argued (out of piety or stinginess it was hard to say), such an indulgence would send them down a slippery slope to decadence.” – The Most Famous Man in America: the Biography of Henry Ward Beecher by Debby Applegate, p. 24

TV is Rotting My Brain

Okay, so the title is overly dramatic, not to mention cliché.

But I can’t help but think that the amount of TV I’ve watched in the last couple of months isn’t healthy.  I don’t feel I watch excessively (maybe an average of 10-12 hours a week…you all know how much I read, but that still sounds like a lot), but I still feel too tied to that little gray box, or really, the little gray computer screen.

I hate being tied to a TV show.  Yet shows like 24, Glee, and So You Think You Can Dance “make” me come back week after week.  And then there are all the crime shows that suck me in.

During finale season, I repeatedly cringed as conversation after conversation, online and off, dealt with this show or that show.  And then just the other day we had some friends over, and the group of us sat around discussing TV for about an hour.  We could have intelligently discussed any number of topics, but we went for the lowest common denominator (and I definitely was a part of the problem on this one).

I guess that’s what I don’t like about TV…it IS the lowest common denominator, rarely challenging.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, sure.  There’s nothing wrong with mindlessly relaxing occassionally, but a book can have the same affect while improving your vocabulary and reading abilities without you even realizing it.

Like most things, TV’s best in moderation with a healthy dose of discernment and critical thinking.  Moderation has never been something that I’ve been good at.  If I start watching TV any given evening, I’m not likely to stop before going to bed (late).  So I’ve been trying not to start.  Aside from the previously-mentioned SYTYCD (hey, at least dancing is “the arts”), I don’t want to watch any TV during the week.

By cutting out a lot of my TV watching, I’ll be able to keep up my reading habit and be social (obv not at the same time).  And if I know what’s good for me, I’ll throw in some exercise, too.

Photo by schmilblick

Quotes, the House Edition

Since I’ve watched a lot of House recently (as of today I’ll have seen them all, except for the first season, since Blockbuster doesn’t carry it), I thought I’d do a special all-House quote post.  I’ve said it before, but remember that I find these quotes intriguing, though I don’t necessarily agree with them.

‘People have the right to be happy.” – Foreman in “The Greater Good”

“It’s just a job now.  The fairy tale ended a long time ago.” – a priest, “Unfaithful”

“Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people.  Otherwise there wouldn’t be any religious people.” – House, “The Right Stuff”

“If the wonder’s gone when the truth is known, there never was any wonder.” – House, “You Don’t Want to Know”

How Well Do You Know Ronnica?: The Answers

First of all, the scoreboard:

Jen 90%
(she’s very proud to have won…she’s a bit on the competitive side)
Elizabeth 80%
(I’m impressed…but I guess you have the benefit of knowing me in RL and my blog)
Dori 70%
(some of these were particularly easy for her…but others weren’t)
Amanda 70%
(not bad…better than I did on yours!)
Dana 60%
(I’m actually surprised on this one…but I guess the little stuff tripped you up!)
Liz 60%
(Good job!)
G. Zoe 50%
(You weren’t as bad as you thought!)
Sleepy Jane 50%
(not bad for mostly guesses!)
Iva 30%
(no, I want unfriend you!)
Francesca 30%
(because you picked the wrong person to copy off of!)

And now, the answers:

1. What nickname did my family give me?
a.  Ronni
b. Bubby – or Bub, for short.  I have no idea how this got started, but I’ve been told I’ve had it since I was born.
c. Short Stack
d. Ronni Jon

2. How many boyfriends have I had?
a. 0
b. 1
c. 2
d. 3 – a very long time ago

3. Which reality show do I not watch?
a. American Idol – I watched part of one season, but after watching SYTYCD, it’s a whole lot more boring.  This is a hard one, because I don’t know that anyone but Dana knows that I’ve watched Survivor at all!
b. So You Think You Can Dance
c. Survivor
d. The Amazing Race

4. What country would I live in if I couldn’t live here?
a. Turkey – love this place
b. Australia
c. Mexico
d. Italy

5. What’s my favorite sport to watch?
a. Major league baseball
b. College basketball
c. College football – Boomer Sooner!
d. Professional golf

6. What is my favorite non-Pixar Disney movie?
a. Beauty and the Beast
b. Little Mermaid
c. Sleeping Beauty
d. The Emperor’s New Groove – I enjoy most of the princess movies, but this one beats all for sheer entertainment value.  Hilarious.

7. What is my favorite sport to play?
a. Volleyball
b. Tennis – though I rarely do it.  It’s hard to find someone who is as bad as I am yet still knows the rules.
c. Basketball
d. Softball

8. If I had to eat the same type of food everday for a month, which would I choose?
a. Mexican – yum, yum, yum.  I miss good Mexican (Tex Mex, really).
b. Italian
c. Chinese
d. Milk and cereal

9. Which is NOT a pet peeve of mine?
a. Others using the same knife as me to spread butter – I’m not a germaphobe.  Yes, the other three things really bug me, just ask anyone who’s lived with me!
b. Doors being fully opened/closed
c. Light in the room while I’m sleeping
d. Things being symmetrical and/or at right angles

10. If I had to, which movie would I be most likely to quote word for word?
a. Legally Blonde
b. one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies
c. one of the Ocean’s movies – Ocean’s 12 specifically, though I have a good grasp of the other two as well.
d. Enchanted

And a bonus question:

If I didn’t have to worry about making a living, I would want to be:
a. A dancer
b. A writer – Not that surprising, I know.  I’d also like to teach, though.
c. A teacher
d. A musician

How Well Do You Know Ronnica?

You know those quizzes on Facebook about how well you know someone?  I avoid all such things over there, but I thought it’d be fun over here.  Are you game?  Answer the following multiple choice questions in the comments, and I’ll reveal tomorrow the true answers!

As always, remember to pick the BEST answer, some of these are tricky! Some answers might be able to be found on my blog. Even if you’re taking shots in the dark, I’d love to see what impression you have of me.

1. What nickname did my family give me?
a.  Ronni
b. Bubby
c. Short Stack
d. Ronni Jon

2. How many boyfriends have I had?
a. 0
b. 1
c. 2
d. 3

3. Which reality show do I not watch?
a. American Idol
b. So You Think You Can Dance
c. Surivivor
d. The Amazing Race

4. What country would I live in if I couldn’t live here?
a. Turkey
b. Australia
c. Mexico
d. Italy

5. What’s my favorite sport to watch?
a. Major league baseball
b. College basketball
c. College football
d. Professional golf

6. What is my favorite non-Pixar Disney movie?
a. Beauty and the Beast
b. Little Mermaid
c. Sleeping Beauty
d. The Emperor’s New Groove

7. What is my favorite sport to play?
a. Volleyball
b. Tennis
c. Basketball
d. Softball

8. If I had to eat the same type of food everday for a month, which would I choose?
a. Mexican
b. Italian
c. Chinese
d. Milk and cereal

9. Which is NOT a pet peeve of mine?
a. Others using the same knife as me to spread butter
b. Doors being fully opened/closed
c. Light in the room while I’m sleeping
d. Things being symmetrical and/or at right angles

10. If I had to, which movie would I be most likely to quote word for word?
a. Legally Blonde
b. one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies
c. one of the Ocean’s movies
d. Enchanted

And a bonus question:

If I didn’t have to worry about making a living, I would want to be:
a. A dancer
b. A writer
c. A teacher
d. A musician