Urban choreography dancer and Doctor of Chiropractic in training based in MinnesotaRead More
Dancers can benefit from adding a little bit of light jogging into their training regime. In addition to boosting cardiac output, running helps to strengthen the stabilizing muscles of the legs and ankles. But to get into the hobby of running safely, you'll need to spend a little bit of cash. But putting that money into a Nike Lunar Glide 8 will last you a good number of years. (No, Nike doesn't pay me to say this.)
At the time I'm writing this product review, my running shoes are about 2 years old with about 400 miles on them. They've been through puddles, smothered by volcanic ash, up the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia, and through redwood forests in the Pacific Northwest. They've been crammed into tiny travel backpacks, crushed underneath piles of junk, and covered in glitter (long story.) They've experienced just about everything an outdoor athletic shoe is supposed to, and a bunch more stuff that they're not supposed to. And I still wear them.
I've only been caught out in a summer storm twice. Each time, the soles of the shoes were soaked thoroughly until disgusting squish sounds accompanied every step. The insole comes out easily for quick drying, and the material retains it's soft, spongy, shock absorbing qualities after drying. Additionally, the shoe maintains it's shape. Shoes with leather or any kind of canvas material will absolutely deform in the rain.
I don't wear them in the dance studio. The shoes are designed to withstand very specific pressures that your foot experiences when you run - but NOT necessarily the pressures when you dance. Running shoes don't hold up too well with quick lateral movements, which you will find in many urban dance styles. Putting these kinds of pressure on the shoes may cause the stitching to come loose.
This unpaid advertisement is all to say that investing in a good pair of running shoes will serve you well in the long run. Every athletics store has a densely packed wall of running shoes, and I can't speak to the quality of 99% of them. But, I can say that my purchase in particular has been absolutely worth the value.
We've all been to "Bingewatch Hotel," where you check in to an eight hour marathon of Stranger Things interrupted only by trips to the fridge or pee breaks. For the busy dancer / student / employee that we are every other day of the week, this relaxation makes for a highly desirable way to spend a lazy, gloomy Saturday weekend.
A small part of me cries out as I mentally run through my ever-lengthening to-do list. But my "let-no-minute-go-to-waste" mindset still manages to find a huge upside a binge session: social TV! This multitasking-time management approach to TV watching makes your time on the futon doubly effective. Check it out.
Times have changed from the person who didn't even own a TV in college to the me right now. The fact is, I do watch TV (shoutout to my dad, for buying me a flat screen TV so large that I had to move my couch to the back of the room just to be able to get the entirety of the screen in my range of vision). But my pattern of TV consumption today is radically different from that of the Nicktoons-addicted elementary school Austin, or the cable-deprived college Austin.
These days, I make time to get into a few shows. BUT I am extremely selective about the shows I keep up with. In my opinion, there isn't a single show on television that is worth anyone's undivided attention if it's not a shared experience that encourages worthwhile and meaningful conversations with others. For me, a TV show is only worth your time if the programming can serve as a jumping off point for some degree of human interaction. Shows with this kind of broad impact eventually become enduring cultural mainstays and relevant topics of discussion for years to come, much like any fine piece of visual art or literature.
Think of it this way: If you hop on Facebook, and you accidentally learn about the thing that happens to that one guy in that one show - FROM 16 DIFFERENT PEOPLE - you might be in the midst of a TV cultural phenomenon that is worth your attention.
Take my biggest TV vice, Game of Thrones. I'm the first to admit that I have an obsession with HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's series of testosterone-fueled, deeply political series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire. Each and every Sunday during GoT season, like a religious service for practicing Catholics, you can reliably count on me making my way to a friend's place to enjoy the bloodshed, political intrigue, and inevitable discussion that occurs after the show, as we don our tinfoil hats to hypothesize about wacky theories concerning the motivations of various characters.
In this case, GoT served it's purpose as a free social event (well, free for me, the moocher who doesn't pay for HBO) that brings people together for the express purpose of entertainment in the same way that a football game or bar outing may do so. A small fraction of the value of the show lies within the 50 minutes of TV time. The overwhelming value comes from the hour before, where we sit around drinking beers catching up on each other's lives as the previous week's episode serves as background noise; the hour after, when we rewatch the episode, while making jokes and talking through the onscreen action; and the intervening week before the next episode, when we interact with each other digitally with new theories that pop into our heads.
Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, How I Met Your Mother: All early- and mid-2010's examples of highly-acclaimed TV series' that will impact a generation of viewers. I believe that these are worthy of your attention just as much as any good piece of classic literature. Sure, you may not have seen M*A*S*H* or Cheers, but the groundbreaking nature of these TV phenomena will far outlive the production run of the series.
(Unrelated note: My desire to always maximize utility has led me to develop a chronically recurring case of "Netflix Paralysis Syndrome." When faced with hundreds of options, a victim of Netflix Paralysis Syndrome will be overcome with indecision so powerful, that the user will compulsively walk up and down the digital aisles to the point of memorization. In the end, the multitude of choice will overwhelm the victim, since they would hate to waste their time on a less-than-perfect use of their evening. They inevitably default to watching something they have already seen, usually Arrested Development or Orange is the New Black - before promptly fall asleep during the opening credits.)
Overall, the idea is that the TV should be a tool that helps you maximize the hours in your day rather than stealing them. Enjoying TV with friends can act to effectively increase your daily use of social time, as whatever your program of choice can function doubly as both entertainment and social time.
Here's the first step: Whenever you get in a conversation with friends about the tenuous strength of your favorite character in Game of Thrones, propose watching the next episode together. Better yet, turn it into a viewing party, involve the interested people in your dance community. Build these connections!
And just like that, you've turned a time sink into a social opportunity, while still getting your hit of Mr. Robot.
Did you also find a way to break (mostly) free of the influence of the TV? Alternatively, do you think anything on TV right now has long lasting value that will be discussed by the next generation of hipsters? Comment at me, and I'll try and sneak in a little bit of that show into my schedule.
In a previous post, I talked about how college had pulled me away from the programming that was broadcast on TV, an ever-present source of entertainment prior to that time. I want you to know that I'm not trying to downplay the value that a TV can provide. It's too easy to let the TV use you, instead of the other way around. This series of articles is aimed giving you a sense for how you can use your TV.
I find that parking in front of the TV for hours on end is often the least productive use of your limited hours in a day. As I discovered during the span of years when I had no TV at all, my productivity skyrocketed. But without some sort of background chatter, I hated the silence that I was engulfed in. This is just one useful and productive feature that your TV can serve.
TV can function as a generator of background noise.
Like many people, silence freaks me out.
Luckily for me, living in a large city has the benefit of being constantly surrounded by a ceaseless, nondescript, industrial hum. Cars and trucks of every imaginable size, high-powered industrial fans, and mobs of people create a cacophony of noise, pierced only occasionally by a shrill ambulance siren or an unpredictable sports-related shout of excitement. Even at work, the buzzing of the various pieces of equipment around me provide some respite from a death-like stillness that would otherwise drive me insane.
Whenever someone tries to sell me on the benefits of a sensory deprivation tank for relaxation, I quickly and awkwardly change the subject.
Even temporary phases of quiet get to me. The whole reason I enjoy camping is the novelty of the experience, the company I get to spend time with, and the joys of mimicking my primitive ancestors struggling to light a bonfire with which I can cook things. But the second the sun rolls over and the rowdy neighbor-kids pile into their tent for the evening, the usual sounds of the city that helps me get to sleep is absent. Instead, it is replaced by a creepy silence interspersed only by the cries of a lonely cricket trying to hook up.
I and many others find solace in noise. A part of it is the natural human desire to be surrounded by activity. As social beings, even the most introverted among us subconsciously craves the attention of others. Our ancient ancestors found safety in numbers, and our reptilian brains do also.
One study in particular arrived at the conclusion that craving background noise is a learned behavior, acquired through years of constant exposure to TV / radio / music. Regardless of the rationale behind our fixation on ambient noise, the fact remains:
The TV can become that noise that we want.
I enjoy cooking, cleaning, or getting ready in the morning with some random background noise / conversation. I set my alarm clock to the radio, despite my disdain for radio music and my distrust of mainstream news reporting. There's something soothing about having people you kind-of know talking at you, regardless of whether you are paying attention or not. Whereas I prefer to let my radio run or turn on YouTube Let's Play channels to act as an ambient noise maker, others fire up an episode of Friends or Seinfeld.
If you find that this kind of background noise helps you get through your day; embrace it.
Some people enjoy doing menial tasks while being entertained by the attention-grabbing voices and live studio audience laughter of late night talk shows. Others fall asleep to the ASMR-like quality of Bob Ross' soothing voice, as he calmly talks you through the act of painting landscapes. And for a handful of people out there, the dynamic ups and downs of sports games serve to keep you alert and focused on whatever else you are working on.
If this describes your level of attachment with the TV, then you have gone a way towards optimizing your use of TV.
I know I personally find it difficult to write while watching / listening to voices, whether they are talking or singing. As I am typing this right now late at night, the usual excitement of the city life and street performers that I hear from my window has been replaced by big city-style ambient white noise, a humming sound that I find both comforting and soothing. Paying attention to the voices on TV steals away a fraction of your mental attention, so you should try and find the tasks that require little mental attention if you would like to watch TV while multitasking.
Pulling away from the TV can cause you to free up more time than you even knew you lost. There's a specific time and place for when the TV can add a positive benefit into your daily routine. Have you found any other ways by which the TV hasn't sucked away all your time? Share with me in discussion box at the bottom of the page.
More about using the TV: