Saturday, January 15, 2005

DVDs that are "good for the trainer"

We have an elliptical trainer in a little unheated studio across the driveway from the house. My son has a great little setup there with a tv and a dvd player, so it's quite tolerable to go down there every day. In the hot summer, we run a huge fan. In the winter, I put socks over the cold handles and wear layers of shirts and throw them on the floor one by one as the workout proceeds.

Netflix feeds the daily need for dvds. Hour-long tv shows are best - without commercials, they are about 42 minutes long (showing how much of your hour you spend waiting for people to finish buying things, shouting about things, selling things, or - if you watch Univision - worrying about fungus between their toes). It also reminds me that a 2x4 board is really only 1-1/2 inches by 3-1/2.

Since I hadn't watched much tv for years, I missed the pop favorites and now enjoy watching them in chronological no-episodes-missed order. Loud shows with uncomplicated dialogue are best:

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Angel
  • West Wing (OK, not loud enough, and they talk fast, but I love it)
  • ER (best value for the money, eight hour-long episodes on one DVD)
  • MI-5 (a little too stressful, but well-paced for panting)
  • Six Feet Under (maybe my very favorite)

I liked the first couple disks of that Ozzy Osbourne show, but that was enough; I love the mandolin intro on "Arrested Development" and the cracks, but the characters are just too annoying.

No good for the trainer: quiet thoughtful movies, just forget it. The worst two: "Lost in Translation" and a Russian movie about medieval icon painters which was so slow it made me think my watch had stopped.

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