Friday, January 24, 2003


Have you ever spent a pile of time watching TV shows or movies on one particular subject? Did it make you start to think that you were actually in that place or time period?

For Christmas this year, my Dad gave Stacey and me an envelope full of cash. Which at first seems like a great thing, because hey, cash, get to buy whatever you want, right? It took us some time to figure out exactly what to do with the money, though.

At first, we decided we wanted to get something for the house, but something interesting and not too utilitarian. So we trudged off to IKEA, which we’ve been avoiding like the plague ever since we discovered that we couldn't even enter the store without leaving with at least $150 worth of stuff. Not always important stuff, just things that we pass by and say "wow, isn't this nice?" like a box full of candles, a desk organizer, or maybe some Christmas decorations. Hardly a buggy-load to write home about.

So we decided that this time, we'd get something really special. I think it was the longest amount of time we’ve ever spent in an IKEA store. It was almost painful: we found so many things we liked, but they were all either too mundane or too expensive. In the end, we left the store almost empty-handed. We bought a 20-piece cutlery set that was very nice (but we didn't really need) and a spoon-rest. I couldn't help but feel a little defeated.

It was at this point that we switched gears a bit. If we couldn't find anything at IKEA, maybe home furnishings wasn't the way to go. So we went back to the drawing board and decided that maybe entertainment would fit the bill. There are a bunch of DVDs that were on our need-to-have list, but none was higher on our list or more unreasonably expensive than the Band of Brothers box set.

Stacey and I were totally blown away by the miniseries when it first aired on TMN a year ago. Every week, we were glued to the TV screen, enrapt, mesmerized, and horrified by the ravages of war on the men of Easy Company throughout the Second World War. Band of Brothers captured the essence of the war, and walked us through some of the most important engagements of the conflict.

It was gripping, emotional, and brutal all at the same time. We got to know and care for the characters, and in many ways, watching the series is like experiencing their hardships through their eyes. The series isn’t all about glorifying war; if anything, it tells you that war doesn't make a lot of sense. It shows you that it was fought on both sides by people who were terrified but had to look within themselves to find the courage to fight. There are heroes, there are cowards, and there are people who under any other circumstances would be living a quiet, peaceful life. And for everyone, there are victories and there are defeats. Fantastic, fantastic series…but maybe just a little too realistic.

Now we're watching the series again, but in a much more concentrated way. We've watched the first few episodes in succession, and it's starting to weird me out a bit. While waiting for the bus, I half-expect a Sherman tank to rumble by or gunfire to erupt from the building across the street. Loud noises make me want to dive for cover. Sirens are making me edgy.

Maybe I should just stop watching the episodes right before going to bed.


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