Vicarious TV

Hello. My name is Crystal Lindell. I’m addicted to reading recaps of TV shows that I don’t actually watch.

For example, I haven’t actually seen the show “Big Love” since, umm, 2007, but I religiously read entires about it on Tuned In and What’s Allen Watching.

I do the same for “Scrubs”, “30 Rock,” “Cougar Town,” “Big Bang Theory,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “SNL”, “House”, and “Men of a Certain Age” (a show that I have not actually ever seen one episode of ever).

For real.

I used to tell myself that I was just going to read the recap and watch the episode later. But later comes, and then I don’t want to watch the show because I already read what happened.

It’s a vicious cycle people!

To be honest, I didn’t even actually think this was like a problem, problem until about 30 seconds ago.

My friend (@Dijea) Tweeted me that the movie Shutter Island  is based on a book. My first reaction was to Google the book. A normal person would do this so they could buy it.

I did not.

I did it so I could find a summery of the book – complete with ending – and therefore not have to read the ACTUAL book. My habit of “reading to avoid watching” has now mutated into a habit where I “read to avoid reading!”

I blame Twitter.

And my Blackberry.

And Wikipedia.

They’ve morphed me into some sort of knowledge junkie. The more information I crave though, the less time I have to learn things the old-fashioned way (living), so instead, I just scour for tidbits everywhere.

Plus, I mean, holy crap, who the heck has an extra 30 minutes of their life to give up in the name of “Cougar Town” when it’s just easy to read how “Bobby and Andy [horrified] Grayson with their keg-pumping routine, and Andy [woke] up in can jail and Grayson discovered “Seacrest Out” written on his torso.?”

Sure, none of that really makes much sense to me, seeing as how I’ve only watched about three solid episodes. But it reads funny enough. And I just keep coming back for more.

I can’t stop myself.

I do however, somehow find the time to watch “Say Yes to the Dress” on TLC every week, even though I am currently more single than a solitaire player.



I just realized I’m living vicariously through THAT show.


I need to get a life.

Or at least get rid of my computer/blackberry/internet.

And maybe TLC, just to be safe.

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David Sedaris talked pretty and signed my book

I’ve confirmed what I’ve long feared – I’m no where near cool enough to be friends with David Sedaris in real life.

You’d think I would be.

We’re both writers. People think both of us are funny. And we both date boys.

But when he asked if I knew that breast milk could cure eye infections, as I approached him Thursday night – I stumbled without ever finding a clever response. Likely because I’d never had the good fortunate to need breast milk for an eye infection.

My friend Beth and I had just been to his show, and then waited in a two-hour line set up roller-coaster-wait style in the hottest conference room this side of the Mississippi.

“Oh. Um. infections?”

“EYE infections.”

“Oh. Um. No. Um. Oh. Oh. Um. Thanks so much for coming to the quad-cities and signing everyone’s book. I think that’s really awesome,” I said faster than a speeding bullet. “I have a question for you. How do you think your career would be different if you were just starting out now? What with all the digital media and blogs?”

“Well, I think it would be worse. Everyone expects everything to be free now,” he told the newspaper reporter still chugging through her company’s pay cuts. Sedaris went on to explain how he’d negotiated his book contract for a three-book deal, and then started talking about how much he makes in advance.

At that point, he asked the two girls who still look for coupons before going to a sit-down restaurant,  how much we think he gets for an advance.

“I don’t know.”

“Just guess. Take a guess.”

“Ten thousand dollars?” I said.

For real.

That’s what I said.

I honest to God, at that moment, thought $10,000 was a lot of money.

“$100,000?” Beth chimed in, trying to save me.

He gave us a blank stare that said, quite clearly “you are in no way cool enough to be my friend in real life.”

“You think I get $100,000 as an advance? Really?”

To quote Sedaris himself, “It seems open and shut now, but at the time I was truly conflicted.”

Was $100,000 too much? No. It couldn’t be too much. Too little? By how much?


This isn’t going well.

I swear to ink, if this man doesn’t tell me how much his book advances are, I’m googleing the crap out of it the second we get home.

“Well, let’s say I make $2 per book. The way an advance works, is that if they give me $3 million before hand,  I then have to sell 1.5 million copies before I start getting royalties,” he explained.


The man makes a $3 million advance, and I guessed $10,000.

“Oh. Wow. Ok. I understand. Umm, my friend beth has a quick question I think.” ask him!” I whisper-yelled to her.

“Oh. Um. What’s your favorite word?”


“Oh.” “I don’t know what that means”


“It’s Ethiopian for hello”

Phew. I wasn’t supposed to know what it means. It’s not even my language. Thank dictionary.

Then beth told him about the Web site Etiquette Hell because he’d told a few stories about rude people during the show and had requested more from readers during the signing. He then took out his notepad, wrote it down, and said he’d check it out.

Maybe we redeemed ourselves.

Probably not.

But maybe.

Oh. and Don’t worry. I gave him my blog card.

Sedaris doesn’t allow photos. At all. (Ask him about that time at Costco, if you ever get a chance), so I don’t have photographic proof this all happened. However, I will post the super-duper awesome picture I have of my signed copy of “When you are engulfed in flames.” You can be jealous if you want. I’m cool with it.


– yes. he drew that picture of the lincoln-turtle. no, I’m not sure why.

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