TV from the Swamp – the ‘I am trying to distract myself from current events’ edition

I am a TV addict – it relaxes me along with crocheting. Here are some of the top shows enjoyed at The Swamp:

  1. The Good Wife – if you have not checked this show out with Juliana Margulies you are really missing something great. The acting and the storylines are fabulous. It is now in its 4th season and the show continues its excellence. Even if you hate lawyers you should watch it for Archie Panjabi who plays Kalinda. Ahh, Kalinda!!
  2. Burn Notice – this show got me through the summer; I watched all 5 seasons that have been released. The show is about a ‘burned’ spy, Michael Westen, who is basically out in the cold. He can’t travel, he has no access to his money or credit and no job history.  He has a dysfunctional family including his mother, played by Sharon Gless. He takes on jobs for people with problems where he uses his skills to fix things. It took a bit for me to get into this show but by season 3 I was hooked. The best part of Burn Notice is Fiona and her ‘can we shoot them’ line.
  3. Parenthood – I watched the first episode of this show when it started and didn’t like it for some reason. Now, I think it is one of the best ensemble shows on TV. It can be a bit sappy at times but the rest of the content makes up for it. The character development is fabulous. They present current issues in an authentic manner and with compassion. The development of one of the children: Max has been quite astounding. Max has Asperger’s and they do not sugar coat it or have him be suddenly ok one day. Well done.
  4. Scandal – this show was a mid-season replacement last spring. It is another Shonda Rhimes show and it is good. It does feature that rapid-fire dialogue that she is known for. This show is about a lawyer who fixes things for her clients. She also had an affair with the POTUS and they continue to be drawn to each other.
  5. Homeland – this show is amazing! Clare Danes and Mandy Patinkin are fabulous. The content is very timely and it poses many dilemmas. How do you balance national security without killing people in other countries? It explores issues of mental illness, subterfuge, Islam and politics. It won a lot of Emmys for a reason.
  6. Dexter – has been one of my favourite shows for a very long time. Last season it started to lose its way with the ‘tableau’ season that was a big yawn. The ending of that season was anything but boring with Deb finally learning about Dexter. This season is showing promise for sure!
  7. Breaking Bad – hands down this is one of the best shows on TV. The acting and story development are outstanding. The show does a really good job of exploring how people can become corrupt and do things they would not normally do.
  8. In Plain Sight – this show is about 2 US Marshalls who work in the Witness Protection Program in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It has some of the best sarcastic dialogue on TV. While not terribly deep or meaningful, this show is good entertainment.
  9. Nurse Jackie – we love this show! Edie Falco is at her best as a drug-addicted nurse. The supporting cast is equally fabulous.

10. Blue Bloods – this is the show I love to mock. Deb would almost always rather watch a police procedural than anything else. We burned our way through two seasons of Blue Bloods this summer. Almost all of the episodes can be summed up as follows:

–       a crime is committed somewhere in New York City.

–       Danny Reagan, who seems to be the only detective in the city, catches the case regardless of the type of case: rape, murder, robbery, fraud etc.

–       Danny loses his shit as he bumps up against frustrations in solving the case.

–       Erin Reagan, who is apparently the only prosecutor in New York and Danny’s sister, is assigned the case.

–       A fight ensues between Danny and Erin as Danny doesn’t always do things by the book and Erin is very by the book.

–       There will be some type of ethical conflict involving Frank Reagan, the Police Commissioner and father to Danny and Erin.

–       Frank will hold on dearly to his ethics and morals and do the right thing.

–       In this season, Danny’s wife Linda has gone back to work as a nurse in the ER of a hospital. She will now be the only nurse and will treat all of Danny’s victims.

–       The episode will end with a family dinner after church on Sunday where one of the children will ask a question. Last week for example, one of the kids asked what would be done about a man who attacked a woman and Jamie (another son who is also a cop) basically stated that Danny would arrest the man, Erin would prosecute them and Linda would help make them all better (gag!).

–       There will also be some sort of pithy piece of advice thrown out by Danny’s grandfather who also used to be the Police Commissioner. This show does not do subtle in anyway!


Do you watch any of these shows?

Why is anyone surprised & some other thoughts

So Stephen Harper has appointed 3 failed Conservative candidates to the Senate. Even though Harper harped on for years about the unelected Senate being a repository for washed-up Liberal hacks, he is not above using it for the same purpose. The fact that he made these appointments in spite of his ‘belief’ that the Senate should be elected should not really surprise anyone. I hate to say it but this is only a sign of things to come. Harper is really a despot in disguise as Prime Minister. Now with a majority government his real nature will come out and I don’t think it will be pretty. It is too bad that over 40% of Canadians did not bother to vote. We definitely need electoral reform in this country.

Has anyone noticed that a lot of the police procedurals like Law and Order: SVU, Criminal Minds and others in the genre are getting really bad? Some of the story lines of late have been absolutely pathetic. Take one recent SVU episode about ‘reproductive abusers’ in which John Stamos played a guy who tricked women into getting pregnant and having his children. I thought Mariska Hargitay was going to choke every time she had to get out the words ‘reproductive abuser.’ There also seem to be crimes presented that are so bizarre that I doubt how any of them could be possible. It seems like these shows have pretty much run their course.

Molly went to the vet today to have her nails trimmed and her anal glands done. She had been scooting off and on for a week, so I decided it was time to take her in. I can’t believe how much fluid she had in the glands! It was a lot. She was very good for the vet! Oh and she has lost a whopping 10 grams! Woo hoo Molly girl! Molly continues to do very well. We seem to have her collapsing trachea under control. As soon as she starts to cough we get right on it with the hydrocodone cough syrup and it does not seem to progress into a non-stop hack anymore. Molly is very popular at the vet’s office!

Now it is time for the annual PSA about not leaving dogs in cars when you go inside somewhere. Even today, which was only about 22 degrees it was far too hot to leave Molly in the car while I went to Subway.  Because Molly is so small and uber-portable, I brought her in with me. No one said anything. Even with the windows down, cars can become extremely hot in just minutes. Dogs can die very quickly in hot vehicles. In the heat, do your dog a favour and leave her home where it is cooler. In the lower mainland only about 4 months[1] are too hot to leave your dog in the car. Dogs can go for rides in cars in the summer you just can’t do any errands and leave them there.

[1] June, July, August and September. Although June and September can have some days where it is cool enough. Anything over 19 or 20 degrees celcius is too hot to leave the dog in the car.

Other Shows I am Watching

I have been watching a whole bunch of other shows on Apple TV. I still have the first generation Apple TV – you know the one with a hard drive. Some of the shows I get on Apple TV are available on the regular networks but we end up with a problem when we try to record too many shows at a time. Here is the Apple TV list:

  1. Breakout Kings – I think this show is on A & E but I am not sure. The premise of the show is silly. Basically a desk-jockey US Marshall and another US Marshall, who is in a half-way house, get to put together a group of inmates who will help them catch escaped fugitives. If they catch the fugitive then they get a month off of their sentences. While they are working on the team they are transferred to a minimum-security prison. The one catch is that if any one of them tries to escape while out on a case then they all go back to their maximum-security prison digs. So once you suspend disbelief the show itself is pretty good. My favourite episode so far is when they used an old Prison Break character, T-Bag, as an escapee. It was a great episode!
  2. Dragon’s Den – I have never watched this show on CBC. I decided to watch it after seeing an episode of the Shark Tank. I enjoyed seeing all of the dumb ideas people can come up with. The one thing that really got on my nerves though was how they all treated Arlene Dickson the only female ‘Dragon.’ Kevin O’Leary is by far the worst of the misogynists. However, every single one of the other Dragons has also said horribly misogynistic things to Arlene. Even the people pitching their
  3. The Good Wife – I was watching this on TV but then Deb decided to watch it so I downloaded the first and most of the second season on the Apple TV. I love this show. The character development in this show is phenomenal. If you haven’t checked this show out I highly recommend it!
  4. The Killing – this is a new show from AMC. The premise is that there is a murder and it will take the whole season to solve the murder. It is early in the season but so far the character development is awesome and it will only get better as the show unfolds.

Watching TV – Some shows I have been enjoying

I have to say that I have found television very frustrating this year. There seem to be many repeats and it is very difficult to predict when the shows you like will be on. Even during ‘sweeps’ months,[1] it didn’t seem to me like the any of the shows went all out to attract viewers. All that being said, some of the shows that have been on have been fabulous! Here is my list of favourites and why:

  1. Survivor – I think this is the best season of Survivor ever. I groaned too when they brought back Russell and Boston Rob to play again. However, it quickly became apparent that while Rob had learned from his several times playing the game, Russell had not. Busting out his old and tired strategy, Russell’s tribe actually threw a competition so they could get rid of him. Meanwhile, over at the other beach, Rob had solidified control early on. This season Jeff Probst is blogging after each episode giving people his view on things are going down. Probst loves Phillip and Rob. Phillips is great, in his view, as he really makes the game interesting and he ‘gives a good interview.’ He praises Rob’s use of strategy and how the tribe follows along. What really amazed me after the merge, Rob still had complete control over his tribe including making sure they were always buddied up with another tribe member and even saying when they were allowed to eat!
  2. American Idol – I was not very enthusiastic about Idol this year. I had come to like Simon Cowell’s pithy and sarcastic remarks. However, this year has been fabulous. The judges are starting to mesh. I really like Steven Tyler, he doesn’t bring a whole lot of substance to the table but he can sing and he knows what he likes. Randy Jackson is still giving his typical ‘pitchy’ remarks but he has broadened his repertoire a bit. Jennifer Lopez I thought would have brought more critique that is real then she has. It seems like they are all taking their cues from Randy Jackson. The contestants though have been fabulous. Any one of them could be a winner and have a great career.
  3. The Chicago Code – is the new show starring Jennifer Beals as the Superintendent of the Chicago police department. The show is strong and I love how it is portraying the city for what it is known for – corruption. It has been necessary to suspend a lot of disbelief at times though. She seems to do active police work when really her job would be highly administrative. Still the stories are compelling and interesting and the cast is strong.
  4. Dancing with the Stars – I love this show! It is cheesy and silly but for some reason I really enjoy it. I have watched enough seasons now to know what the dances should look like. I have my favourite pros and I usually root for one of the has-been stars. This season has been quite good as there are not any clear front-runners yet but I am hoping that Kirstie Alley goes all the way.
  5. Body of Proof – this new show starring Dana Delaney felt quite stiff through the first couple of episodes. They seem to be allowing the main character (played by Delaney) some room to move and not be a flat, two-dimensional, driven medical examiner. If the writers continue to develop all of the characters, it should be a good show.
  6. Celebrity Apprentice – I know I probably shouldn’t even admit that I like this show on my blog but I can’t help myself. I seem to like shows that give has-beens another chance to jump-start their careers. It has been fascinating watching Gary Busey self-destruct and Meatloaf almost blow up. As an aside, I love how the contestants call him ‘Meat.’

What about you? What shows are you watching and why?

[1] November, February and May.

Why the Lesbians?

I love Grey’s Anatomy but I have a complaint. I am wondering why they always seem to pick on the lesbians. Since Callie came out as bi, the writers have constantly messed around with her partners. First there was the other doctor (I can’t remember her name) but they sent her away just as she started to become human. Then when Callie hooked up with Arizona, things are going well and the baby thing comes up to drive a wedge between them. Then Arizona goes to Africa and doesn’t really want Callie to come. Then Arizona comes back. Callie is pregnant and they are going to get married. So now, there is a tragic accident. Thankfully she didn’t die.


But seriously why are they messing with the lesbians so much? Have they run out of heterosexual story lines? I for one would really appreciate it if they would just let Arizona and Callie be happy for a while. I’m just asking for a couple of episodes. I know I am not going to get my wish as now, no doubt, the baby will be touch and go.


It seems like we have not come very far with regard to lesbians on tv. In the past, if there was a lesbian either they ended up with the man or their lives did not work out. It would seem that those story lines are still happening. Is it too much to hope that we can have positive lesbian stories on tv?

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘things I forgot yesterday’ edition

  • Plastic containers – it seems like I am always buying reusable plastic containers. It doesn’t seem to matter how many I buy or what kind we never seem to have any. The other thing that happens is that we seem to end up with a drawer full of lids and no containers. No one says they have the containers at work, so I am at a complete loss. I wonder if there is a hollow behind the drawer where the containers go. Who knows!
  • Colitis day – well today has been a full-blown colitis day. I had the fatigue in that I slept until 12:45 pm. I have had a lot of pain today, much more than I have for a while. I have had some pretty sore joints too. My right wrist, thumb and index finger for some reason. Plus I have had a lot of rashes this week. Some days I am not sure which is worse – the colon symptoms or everything else I have developed as a result of ulcerative colitis. These things range from the mild (rashes) to the more debilitating generalized anxiety disorder and depression.
  • QRANK – we at the Swamp have been dedicated to playing QRANK for quite some time. It would be great to have more people to play against. QRANK is a daily social trivia game. You answer 15 out of 20 questions and you hope that you don’t humiliate yourself. I really enjoy it. If you keep up with the news you stand a good chance of doing quite well. You can play in facebook or via a free iPad or iPhone app.
  • Do not call list – what the hell is up with the do not call list. Are telemarketers just ignoring it? We get more solicitation calls now that we are on the list than we did before the list existed. Plus, with two provincial leadership contests running, I am sure the calls are only going to increase.
  • TV Shows – we are trying to find some new shows to watch that Deb might like. She is a big fan of Law & Order: SVU, Law and Order: UK, and Criminal Minds. She also really liked Dexter and Nurse Jackie. What do you all like to watch? I would love to hear what all of you like to watch and why. Have at it in the comments!


There are many things floating around in my head right now.  I have far too much stress in my life right now to formulate interesting and cogent content. So instead, I give you a list of things floating around in my head…here goes!

  • I cannot believe they have canceled Medium. I loved this show! Although one has to suspend disbelief almost all of the episodes were excellent. I especially loved the character development in this show. Every character, even down to the youngest child was given attention. The show also portrayed family life realistically. Then there were the plot lines in the episodes. Almost all of the episodes were different and unique.
  • Music – I honestly don’t know what I would do without music in my life. My playlist has a lot of Indigo Girls, REM, and some Lady Gaga. I have also become re-acquainted with some great Beatles songs. Music calms my soul. I can pour all of my stress, anxiety and emotion into singing. It helps to clear my mind. Quite often, when I am at home, I don’t listen to music. I am now trying to make a concerted effort to feed my soul.
  • I love the time I spend in the morning with Piper. She loves to have her belly rubbed. She stretches her legs out and lies on her back and makes happy little grunty noises. I feel bad for people who don’t have dogs they miss out on so much unconditional love.
  • I have been doing a lot of self-assessment over the last couple of weeks. I have been trying to figure out what it is about my personality that seems to attract and/or encourage behavior in others. I am being purposely vague here on the blog. If I know you and you want to know more let me know.
  • Today, I read one of the most profound blog posts I have ever seen. There is a story there and it is not mine to tell. Hang on Airdrie. If you need anything, let me know.

TV Shows I Love

New Shows

1.     The Event – I am loving this show. I really like Laura Innes and she is fabulous in this show. I am not really buying into the alien conspiracy theory stuff although it is interesting.

2.     Law and Order: Los Angeles – I didn’t really like the first episode but it has certainly become a great show. I love Skeet Ulrich and he is great in LOLA. I am also struck by the difference between New York and Los Angeles. LA seems just a little crazier.

3.     No Ordinary Family – while the premise of this show is questionable I am quite enjoying it for the most part.


Returning Shows

1.     Dancing with the Stars – I was a late adopter of this show but I don’t miss an episode now!

2.     Dexter – What is there to say? I love, love, love this show!

3.     Law and Order SVU

4.     The Good Wife – I loved Juliana Margulies ER. This show is very subtle but oh so worth it.

5.     Undercover Boss – I am not sure what it is about this show but I love the concept. It is great to see average people being rewarded by corporate America.

6.     Survivor!!!

7.     Grey’s Anatomy – if they don’t sort Cristina out soon I may stop watching this show. They have also broken up the lesbian couple (again), which is extremely annoying. Although they do break up other couples too.

8.     Private Practice – we debate why we like this show. I still don’t know but I watch it I do.

9.     Criminal Minds – I have watched this from the beginning. I love Dr. Spencer Reid!

10. Desperate Housewives – I have loved this show from the beginning too. I do say think it is getting a little weird at times.

11. Brothers & Sisters – I wish Rob Lowe was still on though!

What about you? What are you watching? What do you think of my choices? Have at it in the comments!

Dog Dynamics

One of my guilty pleasures is ‘The Apprentice.’ This week the teams were tasked with running a doggy day care. One of the judges was Cesar Milan. I have never seen Cesar Milan nor watched any of his shows. I have heard rumblings in the rescue world that some of his techniques are questionable and may not be effective.

With all this in mind I was reserving judgement to see what his contribution would be on the show. Sadly, he did not disappoint. He told some of the apprentice wannabes that you should never touch a dog once it starts to eat its food. Huh? Last time I checked you should be able to touch a dog at any time (well, with the exception of startling them when they are asleep). Around here, all of our dogs are taught almost immediately that we control the food. If we want to fish it out of their mouths they will let us. Allowing a dog this kind of control is contrary to the humans being the leaders.

In our house, all of the dogs know who is in control. They know that the humans are the source of all things. We have very few rules in our house. The main one is that dog on dog aggression will not be tolerated and that those who are capable will do their business outside. Because we exercise control over the dogs we don’t need to enforce much else. Plus, the dogs are way happier because they know what to expect.

As I said above, I have no idea what else Cesar Milan has to say. I would be afraid to see what else he has to say. Being able to take food away from a dog while it is eating is fundamental to human control. Dogs need rules and boundaries. If there is a power vacuum in a pack someone will step into fill it. If you have more than one dog, you’ve got a pack and you need to ensure that you are providing leadership to your dogs. Everyone will be happier and healthier for it.

Update for the Swamp – the Pond Edition

Today our drainage work started. It has been a long time coming. When we bought the house we knew that there was water in the crawl space under the house. What we didn’t know was that the place was a swamp. We bought the house after about 3 months of sun. It had been very dry so what we saw was a lovely carpet of green grass and everything was nice. The crawl space was mostly dry but you could see that there was mud. The housing inspector told us that we would have to address the drainage issues. Our neighbour, two houses over, has a similar property to ours with large built up homes on either side and had similar drainage issues. He has effectively drained his yard. He is an engineer so he really had a good plan. Apparently as soon as they dug the pond for the front and dug a path for the water to flow the pond filled up completely. There is another pond in the backyard which will drain further to the back. So now we will have a property with 2 water features!

In other news, Wally Oppal has been appointed to head an inquiry into the Missing Women crimes. There have been many naysayers about his appointment but I could not be happier. I think Wally Oppal has distinguished himself as both a judge and a cabinet minister. I never get the sense that he is trying to feed people propaganda when he is interviewed. Perhaps if the provincial government had consulted Aboriginal and Womens’ groups there could have been a different choice or consensus on Oppal. I do think he will do an excellent job at getting to the core issues that led to so many women went missing on the Downtown East Side. Hopefully, this will lead to real and substantial change.

The dogs are good. I have been reveling in how cute they are. Sawyer with his big ears, Zoe getting the fuzzies, Piper’s big eyes and gorgeous face, and Madison’s beauty. Maddie is becoming more and more beautiful the older she gets. I love the feeling I get when we are all snuggled together in bed. Everyone is so quiet, peaceful and contented.

So far the new TV season has been a bust. Tonight we are watching ‘No Ordinary Family,’ wish us luck! Woo hoo! 10 minutes in and it doesn’t suck!!