Saturday, January 30, 2010


I'm doing better than I anticipated I would be. Thank you for all the e-mails warning me about what foods I'd want and what foods to avoid. I am so grateful for knowing that the popsicles might be too acidic! Because of that e-mail, I only got one from the dining hall and you were right - it was - and since I knew it might be, I had a cup of warm water on hand (another suggestion) to flush with. So far it seems that Jell-O and broth are sitting well. I'm going to try ice cream tonight (they said to wait a day so the milky-film wouldn't make me try clearing my throat). The cook in the dining hall has been fantastic about getting me stuff I can eat and sending it back with my dorm mates even though my meal plan only allows one meal a day. You never know where you'll find angels.

I started watching a new series (new for me) - Gilmore Girls. It's funny but I'm having that "I don't get half the cultural references" experience again. I like the show. I'm starting with season 1 (a girl in our dorm has it and lent it to me). What other shows are lighthearted and not too difficult to follow? Our library has most shows on DVD.

I'm really thinking of saving up whatever money I get from the tip jar for a laptop because I'm getting spoiled by using everyone elses. I think it would let me blog more, too. What do you think? THANK YOU!


  1. Try "The Office" It's funny and light hearted and really easy to watch.

  2. I've been following your blog for a bit & The Gilmore Girls is a great show. I watched every season. I really think you will enjoy it. Me, personally I love the show Friends. It was always funny. Also if your library has The Cosby Show I grew up watching that with my family & I think you'd enjoy that one as well.

  3. I love Gilmore Girls! Another one of my favorites is The Simpsons. Silly but sweet. If you have a choice go for earlier seasons. It's been on for 20 years, but I think seasons 3 thru 8 are the best.

  4. I second the Friends and The Simpsons recommendation!

  5. Glad you're doing well!

    Gilmore Girls rock! I don't always get the cultural references, either, but it's good!

    I've had 2 laptops and am going back to a desktop. The laptops just didn't hold up as well. It was nice that they were portable, but I spent way too much time on them because I could take it anywhere! There are definitely pros and cons.

  6. Definitely go with Friends, though the references on the show will probably go over your head, but you'll still enjoy it. I started watching that show when I was 9 or 10, and the references went over my head, so it shouldn't be too bad for you.

    I would also suggest Star Trek, any of the different series, but particularly Next Generation and Voyager. You really don't need to know anything about science, and the storylines are really enjoyable.

    Star Trek takes a very humanist approach, and it uses pretty simple storylines to illustrate some complex problems.

    I don't know what you've ever been exposed to, in terms of sci-fi, but Star Trek is quintessential and a great place to start.

  7. I love Gilmore Girls too! Try Glee if you can get your hands on it. : )

    -K (new lurker!)

  8. I'd like to suggest Veronica Mars as well. It wasn't on for very long (3 seasons) but it was a VERY good show that got cancelled too soon. It's not a comedy but about a teen who works as a private investigator with her dad.

  9. Try Doctor Who or Sarah Jane Adventures. The Tenth Doctor (played by David Tennant) is a good introduction. Sarah Jane is a strong independent woman.

  10. I second The Simpsons and Star Trek. The former's very weird and funny, and the latter surprisingly insightful.

  11. I think that saving your tips for a lap top is a great idea. It may take some time but there are some great models out there that are not too "pricy". There are even refurbrished models that may be even less expensive. Just walk into computer stores and ask them point blank what they sell a rebuilt for.


  12. As far as filling in the 1990s - Friends is a good show partially because it is a big reference point for pop culture of the era. It's pretty funny, the later seasons are kind of groan-funny instead of laugh-out-loud. Seinfield is also a big cultural touchstone for the 90s, though I never liked it much.

    If you don't mind suspense or action (I am super-sensitive to both, so I caution others accordingly) Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons 1-4 are pretty good. 5-7 are kind of depressing, but the writing is very clever and humorous throughout. There are lots of supernatural elements, however, which might be jumping into the deep end.

    As far as shows of today, I really love Big Bang Theory, even though I get mad that there aren't more girl nerds.

  13. I just asked my boyfriend and he recommended Saved by the Bell and That 70's Show - That 70's Show is something I watch a lot when I'm sick, it's funny and kind of harmless and not-taxing.

  14. I have to agree with Sapote. Buffy is probably one of the best written shows ever. And a nod to girl power. Okay, so David Boreanaz has NOTHING to do with my love for it.

    I love the Simpsons. It has three levels of humor: one for kids, one for adults and one for prescient adults who pay attention. It's probably the best take on American culture ever produced.

    Big Bang is my current favorite. As a female geek in a nearly all male field, I agree that they need more female power. But I think the show does a great job showing that there are many kinds of intelligence. You can be books smart and socially backward.

    I think saving up for a laptop is a great idea. Since I put them together and take them apart daily, I think the best idea is to buy on the cheaper level and plan to replace it every three or four years. Most people buy machines they will never use the power of. I just got a Dell netbook for taking on business trips, because I don't need to take over the world with it, I just need to check email and surf. I'm sick of lugging my work laptop around airports.

    Also, I think a laptop is great for your school work. It's a good and necessary expenditure.

    Let me know if you want advice.

  15. I Love Gilmore Girls. I suggest Joan of Arcadia or Everwood. Joan is lovely, christian themes without being preachy. And that is coming from a non christian.

  16. I love Gilmore Girls! It's a great show - always makes me laugh. I have the full series on DVD, and the set actually comes with a booklet that explains all the cultural references. Some kind soul has put it online, so you can look up anything you're not sure of here:

    As for computers, depending on what you plan to use it for, a netbook could be a good option. They're relatively cheap and small, but they'll meet your needs if all you need to do is get on the Internet and do some schoolwork.

    Hope you heal up quickly!

  17. I think a laptop would be a great idea. I originally had a desktop when I started college, but eventually switched to a laptop because a) it took up less room on my desk and b) I could take it anywhere. I could work on a paper at Starbucks or longue my dorm lobby watching a movie. And I've found that typing notes while class is a lot faster. That's just me.

    As far as shows go, I totally second Buffy and That 70's Show. You can try Home Improvement, too. That was one of my favorites when I was younger. My current favorite is NCIS. I don't know if you're into procedural dramas or anything, but the writing is great and the actors are amazing. Lots of wit and humor, and they feel like a family. Some of the crimes they investigate are a little grusome, so be careful.

    Hope your recovery continues to go smoothly! *hugs*

  18. Maybe Dawsons Creek? Also, Family Guy, Friends, That 70s Show, Bugs Bunny Cartoons, (seriously), Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 7th Heaven, Glee, Batman (1960s series).

    Maybe the best thing would be to go to the library and read the blurbs on the backs of seasons? Sometimes you can even open up boxes and read episode synopses. From there, you might be able to tell whether or not you would be interested in watching.

  19. Oooh, I definitely second "Joan of Arcadia"! The dialogue is amazing, as is God's various forms. (Ladybug Girl is my personal favorite.)

    When I want to watch something that requires minimal brain cell function, I go with classic Disney -- "Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", "Lion King" and so forth.

  20. Just found your blog thanks to a link from my sister. I spent 12 years in ATI and then got out. I think you are doing AWESOME! I'm 33 and have spent five years learning social/culture norms. It gets easier, and I have a life that I never would have dreamed possible. Keep going, I'm glad you feel ok today, and I'm praying for you!


  21. Oh, and I watched all ten seasons of "Friends" within weeks of leaving to catch up on years of pop culture. "Gilmore Girls" is another excellent choice - as is "Veronica Mars".


  22. I recommend The Cosby Show, The Nanny, Home Improvement, The Golden Girls, and Empty Nest. They are all lite fun sitcoms.
    For a laptop I'd go with a refurbished one. They cost a lot less and will last as long as a new one. Be sure the place you buy it from gives a free warranty.

  23. I have to agree with the "Friends" suggestions. It's just pure fun. I, too, have watched all seasons right in a row.

    I think the laptop idea is wonderful. I hope I can help contribute more soon.

    I think it's just great that you're "catching up" on things you missed. As far as books go, if I can make a suggestion, is the Harry Potter series. It's wonderfully plotted and wonderful escapism.

    Take care - you're doing great!

  24. I have a netbook and laptop. The netbook is cheap and great for simply being online. Just know they don't come with a Cd drive!
    Going back a lot of years (and showing my age)I'd recommend the Waltons, Little House on the Prairie and Seventh Heaven (not as dated) for family dramas with some historical references.
    For comedies...All in the Family and the Cosby Show.

  25. I have a couple of suggestions. They were popular comedies in the 80's (I'm 31 now so I remember watching them as a young girl) but Family Ties & The Facts of Life. I second the recommendation of The Cosby Show. I'd also like to add Full House as well. Big Bang Theory is hiliarious!

    For non comedies - Veronica Mars is excellent. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Who,
    Ghost Whisperer & a guilty pleasure of mine is Degrassi: The Next Generation (a Canadian teen drama).

  26. Delurking - Enjoy your blog a great deal, fascinating and inspiring. I second The Office, very funny one of my favorites. I'm surprised noone mentioned Roseanne! That will forever be my favorite sitcom of all time - Another great 90's show was My So Called Life - Only one season, but it was amazing.

  27. Glad your feeling better. My hubby go me a laptop when I went on bedrest while prenant with our twins. I still love it and they are almost 2 now. If you are into medical, I recommend ER, Grey's Anatomy, and scrubs. All 3 are very different from drama to sitcom. ER is probably the closest to reality. Enjoy and keep blogging. Love your blog.

  28. To go with the above suggested medical drama's there's a Grey's Anatomy spin-off called Private Practice which is good too (I much prefer that over Grey's).

    Scrubs is a great comedy. One of my favorites.

    Another suggestion is the Anne of Green Gables series. It's Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel & Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story.

    The first two parts are based on a series of books by Lucy Maude Montgomery the first being titled "Anne of Green Gables" followed by Anne of Avonlea. You should be able to find them at your library.

  29. I hope your throat feels better soon! I have to second Roseanne and add Grace Under Fire. I have fond memories of the Waltons and Little House on the Prairie as well. And later, after you've checked out all of the suggestions offered so far on this thread....I recommend Daria and Bevis and Butthead. You can take on South Park...but it is not for the faint of heart.

    May you heal in both body and spirit.

  30. I second "Anne of Green Gables". It was one of my favorites growing up and still is.

  31. I second so many of the shows mentioned here (esp. Star Trek and Glee among others) but am surprised no one has mentioned the cultural references.

    Try starting with the shows that were produced earlier and then going forward in time. It will help all the cultural references. Some of these shows you might not like, but they are mentioned often in pop culture so it's nice to have at least some idea of what people are talking about.

    Try (in order, a few episodes of each):
    Andy Griffith
    Murder, She Wrote
    The Cosby Show
    America's Funniest Home Videos
    Star Trek: The Next Generation
    Full House
    Home Improvement
    Fresh Prince of Bel Air
    Law & Order
    The Simpsons

    That will take you pretty much up to the last decade. Then you can try:
    Avatar: The Last Airbender (TOP SHOW)
    Disney: (Lion King, Little Mermaid, Beauty)
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer
    Nova (a science show that is modern and well done)
    South Park (referenced often, and often clever, but ALWAYS shocking and offensive. I recommend starting by googling "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson" for a starter with this)

  32. Hi Ruth.
    I've been reading your blog for a while. I grew up in fundy-ATI-world; went off to college and became a non-fundy, but still very conservative Christian (my first 3 years--I'm at a Christian school, although it is a different tradition than I was raised in)...and then ended up deconverting altogether last semester. Even when I was not really a fundamentalist anymore, I didn't really make much of an effort to educate myself about pop culture. haha. So, I have a lot of catching up to do. I still haven't seen Gilmore Girls or Friends or practically any tv shows--but this past weekend I saw several episodes of "Sex in the City" with my friends here. It was pretty good...although I have to say, I did feel a bit guilty about watching it. haha.

    Maybe I'll watch Gilmore Girls and then try to get through some of the shows your other commenters have referenced.

  33. I have another show suggestion, but this one is a cartoon. It's called Avatar: the Last Airbender, and it was one Nickelodeon for three seasons. Wonderful, incredible show, with great animation and a storyline that is far more adult than you would think at first glance.

    It's a fantasy series, set in a world that basically an amalgamation of traditional Asian cultures. The main character is Aang, the Avatar, who is the protector of the world, and must defeat the Fire Lord, who is set on world domination.

    I know, I know, it sounds kind of corny, but believe me it isn't. The show touches on topics of right and wrong, destiny and fate, justice and revenge, friendship and family, guilt and forgiveness.

    There is a character in the show that grapples with finding his destiny - going from wanting to please his father, the Fire Lord, to determining on his own what is right and wrong.

    It's a very powerful series, light hearted at first, but more serioues as the show progresses. I think you'd enjoy it.

  34. Feel better, Ruth!

    I would recommend Sex and the City, I always re-watch it when I am home sick or snowed in. (I would be happy to mail them to you for you to borrow, too.)

    I just watched all five seasons of Weeds in a very short time, too.

    Punky Brewster is a kids show, but really cute and fun. (google her, hehe)

    Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty and Lost are all good shows, too.

    I'm from Fj. :)

  35. For some cartoons: Ren and Stimpy is awesomely funny, especially the happy helmet episode, or the planet of missing left socks. Cow and Chicken is another early 90's cartoon I also enjoy. There's also Two Stupid Dogs, Secret Squirrel, and Angry Beavers. And Sponge Bob is fun to watch as well. For comedies, BBC episodes of Keeping Up Appearences, and Absolutely Fabulous are fun to watch, as well as the Canadian comedy group The Kids in the Hall.

  36. Friends, Gilmore Girls, Babylon 5, Big Bang Theory, classic disney, sex & the city, simpsons, family guy. :)

  37. oh and Golden Girls. Bea Arthur & Betty White are comedy gold.

  38. ARRGH! I keep forgetting to mention TV shows like Roseanne (AMAZING show) and Grace Under Fire.

  39. I am SHOCKED that my suggestion has already been mentioned!! I recommend GOLDEN GIRLS because I used to watch it each Saturday night during my adolescence and learned a lot about sex and friendship from those ladies!!! :) Also, I'd recommend Scrubs -- not too much pop culture reference but neat primer on young-adult relationships. oh, and it's freakin' funny! :)

    Love to you Ruth!

  40. I've never commented before (I think you are amazing, btw), but I just had to say that you *have* to watch Saved by the Bell. I think we are around the same age (I am 27), and it is a classic for anyone of our generation. Saved by the Bell quotes and references are constantly making their way into my conversations with friends. It is so ridiculous and cheesy, but it never gets old. "I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so... SCARED!"

    I also want to say I think you are a fascinating person. I am so glad you have this blog. I was raised Catholic (14 years of Catholic school prior to college and law school), but am now an atheist. The entire fundamentalist Christian movement captivates me. I think what you are doing takes so much strength and courage. It is so much more of a challenge to explore the world, question everything, and reach your own conclusions that having someone (or one book written by male humans) dictate all of your life choices. My family has always encouraged and supported this exploration. Doing it on your own must be one of the most scary, lonely, and yet exhilariting experiences. Where ever you land on the religious spectrum, at least you will have chosen what is right for you. Everyone is proud of you! Keep it up, and please keep blogging :-).

  41. I didn't see any mention yet of Three's Company! It is a MUST!!!

    Love the other suggestions, too...I would add Who's the Boss, Growing Pains, Boy Meets World, Sabrina, Reba...that's all I can think of at the moment. Currently, I love House, Ghost Whisperer, and I was loving Smallville but I really think the last two seasons were superfluous.

  42. Don't feel bad about not 'getting' the pop culture references. I grew up largely without TV, and then have had 8 concussions since childhood, trashing parts of my memory. When someone mentions something I don't know (several times a day) I frequently make a note of it and hit up wikipedia. If it was a popular film or TV show, it might link to a category such as "Sitcoms of the 1990s" at which point I go skim through that to see if it rings any bells with what I've heard and not understood lately.

  43. I am going to suggest Firefly because it's fun and light and I think since it's a space western, and completely fantastical, there are less cultural references to get that aren't explained in the story. It's basically a western set in the future and they travel around space. Most of the stories are light, but there are a few darker ones. There's a movie made from it called Serenity which is darker is tone and subject. I suggest you check it out to see if you might like it.

  44. So glad that you are watching Gilmore Girls. I'm in agreement with Big Bang Theory and Scrubs. Any classic Disney movies, or tv shows from Nickelodeon would be light hearted and relateable with other students.

    When buying a computer, a desktop is designed to last longer and you can replace parts if they go bad. A laptop is not intended to last as long but as a college student I would probably recommend that to you. If you don't need a huge screen or something super powerful, don't get it, it will be a waste of money. I switched from a laptop to a netbook and after a while you don't even notice that the screen is small. You'd probably do best with a small laptop (so you still get an optical drive). You can use it to watch all of your new shows, just make sure you keep up on your school work! Go to the store and check out the brands to see if they feel sturdy to you even if you want to shop online.

  45. I just discovered you through a link from a friend's FB page. I want you to know that you have been added to my prayer list. I didn't grow up ATI, but I was deeply involved in the ministry from 1992-1996, and then my marriage to an ATI-raised "man" in 1996 nearly killed me. I divorced him in 2001, and have never looked back. I bet we could swap some serious common experience.

    Anyway, I know how tough it is, what you are going through, and I just want you to know that you're in my prayers.

  46. Does anyone watch Big Love? Whew, talk about an inside peek into patriarchal religion. It's just like fundy Christianity ... only they have polygamy.

  47. Some suggestions...
    1) Doctor Who
    2) Robin Hood (British tv series... started in 2006 and ran for 3 seasons)
    2) Lost
    4) Prison Break
    5) Legend of the Seeker

  48. Also... The Office & Bonanza (ran from 1959-73...I'm such a nerd for loving that show, lol)


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