My Little Addiction

The ice storm cometh…or not. The roads are brined and people are (or were earlier) rushing to the grocery or convenience store to get those well known favorites of milk, bread and eggs, but the skies are just that flat gray. No wind that I can see, and the local weatherperson assures us that there will be warmer temps and rain later this afternoon. And tomorrow. No comfort in football playoffs either. The Superbowl is next week, and I’m pretty sure I missed the championship for US Ice Dancing, so what to do?
I have a list of chores waiting, but it’s a Sunday and I know they can wait until tomorrow. I’m in the middle of a really good read by Dana Stabenow. I like to savor her Kate Shugak stories, so that’s an option for later today with some great tea and a scone. Anticipation is a wonderful thing. So something more visual perhaps? Somewhere in my cabinet there must be a movie I can lose myself in. I can hear the people who know me laughing their heads off. My “cabinet” is more like three bookcases, the entire bottom shelf of the entertainment center, and a stack of box sets on the floor. I am a DVD junkie. If there were meetings (Hello, my name is Maryann and I am a video-holic) I’d have to go.
Blame growing up in an era that spawned “Dialing For Dollars” afternoon movies, free (or very cheap) Saturday movies (think those old serials…Perils of Pauline, Our Little Rascals) and no ratings. Classic movies, Sherlock Holmes on Saturday mornings, Sandra Dee and James Darren in Gidget, all available for the price of half my weekly allowance. Popcorn was a quarter, soft drinks a dime, refills were free. The movies of the thirties and forties were parceled out between TV commercials for local businesses; the current hits had no commercials at all unless you consider the “Let’s go out to the lobby” call to buy more goodies a commercial. And Disney had a new movie EVERY Christmas season. It was sad to know that once a movie was no longer shown on television it could disappear into a dark vault somewhere. God bless VHS!
Our first VCR was a monster, the second less so and more user friendly. We taped programs we couldn’t watch at their regular times, my favorite soap operas, and joined the local video rental store. As the technology became more affordable, more and more movies ended up on tape. And I had them. Still do, at least the ones that didn’t twist themselves into oblivion, break after repeated viewings, or get donated to the library. VHS evidently was not forever.
DVDs came along just as our VCR was hiccupping into old age. It was a slow start, but we still had that membership (now with Blockbuster) and rented more than we bought. Then the old movies came out on those shiny discs and I was hooked. It Happened One Night, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, all became part of my burgeoning addiction. New movies too. Guilty pleasures like Sleepless in Seattle, Brigadoon, and epics like Star Wars. Favorite movies I could rewatch without renting. Cool. I had it under control, or so I thought. Enter the age of BBC and TV Box sets. Everything from Are you Being Served to Zen, from NCIS to Rocky & Bullwinkle sits nicely placed in my bookcases, waiting for me to pick. And I do, some more than others depending on my mood.
So, the question is…what to watch? And the winner is… BBC’s North & South! ArmitageRichard Armitage is suitably flawed in this mini-series, the setting is the north of England (where the sun never seems to shine in stories like this one), and it never disappoints me. After that? Who knows? Now excuse me, please. I have to go find my remote.


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