Friday, February 26, 2016

Medicinal Television

I'm getting better -- managed to sleep last night without any cold medicine! -- but still not 100 percent. Most of the sniffles and stuffiness are gone. I just have a slight "throat" cough (as opposed to chest cough). I'm still rather weak, but I hope that will be improving as my appetite seems to have returned. I never had any stomach-related symptoms. I just wasn't interested in food at all, and so I concentrated on fluids with nutrients. I suspect that plus the fever have something to do with the weakness. I got hungry last night just before I went to bed, and then I ate a real breakfast this morning. So maybe my strength will start coming back.

I'm still really iffy on being able to sing tomorrow. I get a bit lightheaded from sitting up for too long at a stretch, so I couldn't stand all the way through an hour-long concert, and I don't have a lot of breath or breath control. If I take a deep enough breath to sing, I cough. I'll have to see if I have any contact information for this group to let them know. Given the way the director was treating me, he may take it as a relief that I'm not there. I think if I'd felt a little more welcomed or valued, I'd push myself to make it, but this isn't worth killing myself over.

I've always said that when I'm sick, what I want to do is watch fluffy romantic comedies. Oddly, though, I'm finding myself watching documentaries. I don't really have the focus for reading right now -- I read a page, then find myself wondering what that was all about -- so I've been watching TV, and I suppose history documentaries don't require you to follow a plot. I know the general gist of events for most of the things I've been watching, so these shows are just filling in details or providing new visuals.

Here's a rundown of my sick week viewing:
On the Travel Channel, I've recently become hooked on a series called Mysteries at the Castle. They discuss and dramatize anecdotes related to various castles, manors, mansions, and other buildings that might roughly fit the description of "castle." Sometimes, it's a bit of a stretch, as the story might take place somewhere else entirely and involve someone who once lived in this place. The stories are fascinating, but for a show on the Travel Channel, there's disappointingly little actual travel content. I'd like a little more info on the place as it is today and what you can see there. If there's something in the show that makes you want to visit the place, the show doesn't help you know even whether it's a place you can visit.

Yesterday, they were marathoning what appears to be a sister series, Mysteries at the Hotel, which does the same thing, but about events relating to hotels. Again, it seems a little lacking in actual travel content. For the hotels still in operation, they might make a passing mention of what the hotel is like now, but if the show intrigues you, there's not much to show you what you'd see if you stayed there. I love interesting hotels that aren't obvious cookie-cutter chains, so this intrigued me while frustrating me. If I'd felt better, I might have made a list and then googled.

I'd recorded a series from BBC World News about the Art of Gothic, getting into the rise of industrialization and how that contributed to the Gothic Revival movement in art during the Victorian era. I think that has a lot to do with the Steampunk movement, so I figured that counted as work-related research.

There was a show I found on demand from Military History (which I don't seem to have as an actual channel, just an on demand setting) about the architecture of Ivan the Terrible -- they were examining the surviving buildings constructed during his reign and looking at how they were made, as well as talking about the context of their construction. And there was a show on Smithsonian about Hitler's will and what his assets/estate really were -- his last will claimed that he had very little, but he had to have had millions in book royalties alone, since he'd passed a law that every newlywed couple was given a copy of his book, so the state was buying millions of copies a year and he was getting the royalties, and that's not counting all the other copies that were sold when having a copy was just about mandatory.

There was something about a search for sunken pirate ships near an island off the coast of Madagascar. And there was another show I found on demand, I think on the Travel Channel, called something like Expedition Extreme, in which a guy tracks down the possible truths behind various legends, looking for archaeological evidence. In the ones I watched, on Robin Hood and King Arthur, it mostly amounts to him talking to local experts and getting excited about ground-penetrating radar showing that something exists underground, but ends up with no actual conclusions. Still, there's pretty scenery.

Today, I'm pondering either a Galavant marathon or Doctor Zhivago on TCM on demand. I've seen that movie multiple times, including on the big screen, have read the book, and have also seen the PBS/BBC miniseries (that's closer to the book), so if I fall asleep, I won't miss anything. I miss reading, but even just a little while ago, I re-read the same page three times because when I turned the page, I was baffled by what was going on and had to turn back to refresh my memory. So, maybe "good for me" TV is the best thing for my brain right now.

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