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The Affair on Showtime

Posted: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 14:20
Do you watch the Affair on Showtime? It's fantastic. 
Check out this article about it by Maureen Dowd--the BEST Op-Ed Columnist from the NY Times...
 
This part is a pretty bold but sadly, most likely an accurate statement from the showrunner Sarah Treem--
But, she adds matter-of-factly, “you probably have a 20 percent chance, maybe a 10 percent chance, of actually getting through an entire marriage with no infidelity.”
 
WE live in a world awash in unreliable narrators.
 
Officials at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital were unreliable narrators on Ebola. The Internet is bristling with unreliable narrators who prefer their takes to the truth. The unsavory husband and wife in the thriller “Gone Girl” are such chillingly unreliable narrators that they easily beat out the undead unreliable narrator, Dracula, at the box office. And let’s not even start on Fox News.
 
So now comes the riveting “Rashomon” in Montauk, Showtime’s “The Affair,” with Ruth Wilson and Dominic West offering alternating he recalls-she recalls versions of the same story in each show, as they get swept up in sexual infidelity and a serious crime during a shimmering summer.
 
I went to Brooklyn to talk to West — the British actor who played the raffish Baltimore detective Jimmy McNulty in “The Wire” on HBO — and the show’s co-creator, Sarah Treem, as they shot scenes at a school there.
 
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RELATED COVERAGE
 
Maura Tierney, left, Dominic West and Ruth Wilson play a married couple and the husband’s mistress in Showtime’s “The Affair,” created by the team who worked together on HBO’s “In Treatment.”Showtime’s ‘The Affair’ Offers His-and-Hers FlashbacksSEPT. 3, 2014
West’s character, Noah, is a novelist and teacher who lives in a Brooklyn brownstone with his wife, played by Maura Tierney, and four kids. He’s happily married but feeling insecure about the lackluster performance of his first novel. It gets worse when his wife giggles at his facial expression during lovemaking, and he’s taunted by his arrogant father-in-law, a famous fiction writer who owns the oceanfront mansion in the Hamptons where the family is spending the summer.
 
When West meets Wilson’s comely Alison, a diner waitress and Montauk native who is also married to someone she loves (Joshua Jackson) and also feeling uncertain and anxious, the chase is on.
 
But who’s chasing whom? In West’s memory, Alison is sultry and curvy, wearing sexy outfits and seducing him. In Alison’s version, she’s wan and withdrawn, still mourning the drowning death of her small son and dubious about Noah’s aggressive blandishments.
 
Treem, a playwright and “House of Cards” writer, created “The Affair” with Hagai Levi, with whom she also worked on HBO’s “In Treatment.”
 
Treem said the new show uses sex to illustrate that the characters are “trying to connect and they fail at it all the time. I think we have a lot of sex in this show, but in terms of the sex where they’re actually unified, that happens very rarely.”
 
Treem is a newlywed. In June, she married Jay Carson, a former campaign spokesman for Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton who is a producer on “House of Cards” and the father of Treem’s nearly 2-year-old son. Yet the brainy, alluring 34-year-old has an intriguingly jaded philosophy of romance.
 
“I have this belief that, in all relationships, there’s this long erotic moment that happens at the beginning of the relationship,” she said. “It’s like the pole of a tetherball court, and then everything else is just basically that damn ball going around, winding and unwinding around that one erotic moment, and you’re trying to always get back to that incredible moment of connection with somebody, and it’s gone forever.”
 
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She said they put up a quote by the poet Robert Hass in the writers’ room, the final line of a passage where he describes the sensation of making love to a woman: “I felt a violent wonder at her presence like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat, muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her. Longing, we say, because desire is full of endless distances.”
 
I tell her that Carson asked me if he should be worried, given how knowingly his wife writes about infidelity.
 
She laughed, replying, “I wrote the show when I was still single at 31, so at that point in your life you see a lot of infidelity. You have married men coming on to you. You see your friends already in affairs. From my perspective at that point, infidelity was all over the place. Now, being married, I would like my marriage to work. I love him, and I want to be faithful to him, and I want him to be faithful to me.” But, she adds matter-of-factly, “you probably have a 20 percent chance, maybe a 10 percent chance, of actually getting through an entire marriage with no infidelity.”
 
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RECENT COMMENTS
 
John Perks 5 days ago
This article was so predictable after the first two lines. Maybe I'm being 'rude', but I find it represents the pseudo cynicism of the...
vh 5 days ago
OMG, Thanks all for the laughs today!!!Especially the one about "Blaming Obama "So,What else is new, new's???
sim 5 days ago
Why is this column printed in the Review section? This belongs with the Arts section, maybe Style. There are so many critical issues in...
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When I ask her if she thinks that men are more prone to cheat, she instantly replies: “Yes, I do.”
 
West agrees that the show may be “a shag-a-thon,” as he merrily put it, but its real subject is meant to be marriage.
 
“When you have four kids, inevitably your sex life suffers,” said West, himself a father of four. “But, for me, in my 20s and 30s, the stakes are much higher if you’re unfaithful. I feel, as you get older, the stakes get a lot lower. I don’t think infidelity would bother either me or my wife so much as if anything happened to our children, for instance. It ceases to be the primary anxiety.”
 
WHEN I mentioned that it was interesting how, in Noah’s remembrance, Alison has fuller breasts, West’s eyes widened in surprise.
 
“Does she?” he said, laughing. “Is that right? Well spotted.”
 
The actor said that, after playing Iago and the English serial killer Fred West, he yearned for a more heroic role.
 
“I was really keen to play a good guy,” he said, with a wry smile. “So this is the good guy I’m playing — a cheating husband.”

What To Do With All Your Kids Artwork...

Posted: Thu, 10/09/2014 - 10:00
What to do with all that artwork??? I feel guilty if I throw anything away but where to keep it all is the problem plus it's probably a fire hazard! Below are some ideas--
ArtKive + Plum Print  
The ArtKive app lets you snap pictures of your kids’ art and collate them into a bound, hardcover book. If you’re not great with an iPhone, they offer a Concierge service, where they’ll scan it all for you and return the originals. Plum Print provides a similar service, minus the app.
Print All Over Me 
We’re big fans of this site, where you can print any digital photo or drawing onto clothing. In addition to T-shirts and sweatshirts, they also have beanbags and textiles, the perfect canvases for scribbles and rainbows.
Jan Eleni 
An old favorite from goop gift guides past, interior designer Jan Eleni scans your kid’s work and then designs it into a Damien Hirst-like grid. The end result is an archival print that’s worthy of prime living room real estate.
19 Queens Gate 
Using water-based inks and natural fibers, this service will turn any drawing or painting into a cushion. It can be a perfect scan, or a crappy iPhone photo—they can make anything look amazing.
 

SLEEP!!

Posted: Fri, 09/26/2014 - 13:12
Newborns (1-2 months)
Newborns sleep a total of 10.5 to 18 hours a day periods of 1-3 hours spent awake. The sleep period may last a few minutes to several hours.
Infants (3-11 months)
Infants typically sleep 9-12 hours during the night and take 30 minute to two-hour naps, one to four times a day.
Toddlers (1-3 years)
Toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. When they reach about 18 months of age their naptimes will decrease to once a day lasting 1-3 hours. 
Preschoolers (3-5 years)
Preschoolers typically sleep 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after five years of age. 
School-aged Children (5-12 years)
Children aged 5-12 need 10-11 hours of sleep.

Toddler Crack!

Posted: Fri, 09/26/2014 - 11:06

My daughter Karolina is obsessed with these videos! Who is this woman??



YouTube’s Biggest Star Is An Unknown Toy-Reviewing Toddler Whisperer

Is it possible an unknown, one-woman toy-reviewing YouTuber called “Disney Collector” is making more money than most CEOs?posted on July 18, 2014, at 10:57 a.m.




Chris Ritter/BuzzFeed

To 3-year-olds, she is an obsession. To their parents, a mystifying annoyance. To YouTube marketers, an elusive moneymaker no one’s been able to tap for profit.

To the rest of us, DisneyCollectorBR is a faceless YouTube channel giant that is consistently among the site’s top most viewed per month. In April, the channel was the third-most viewed worldwide, coming in right behind Katy Perry. During the week of July 4, the DisneyCollectorBR channel received more views in the United States — 55 million — than any other channel on YouTube, according to data from OpenSlate.

Despite the channel’s massive, sweeping, and somewhat perplexing popularity, no one — neither the toddlers who watch with near-religious fervor and their parents, nor executives deeply embedded in the YouTube ecosystem and its economics — seem to have much of a clue who’s behind it. In an earlier, more anonymous internet era, popularity and anonymity were more commonly paired. But today, where marketers have wrangled nearly every viral hit and YouTube stars’ faces are on billboards in Times Square, staying anonymous amid billions of views is not only unusual, but damn near impossible to pull off.

All DisneyCollectorBR videos start the same way: A difficult-to-place, but seemingly non-American woman’s voice says, “Hey guys, Disney Collector here. Today I’m going to show you…” The woman, who shows only her brightly manicured hands, proceeds to introduce and open a children’s toy, many of them from recent Disney movies. She then demonstrates the toy’s features — what you might less clinically call “playing.” She regularly calls a toy’s features “adorable,” and tends to end her sentences with a singing inflection. In many videos, she also seems to make a deliberate effort to crinkle the toy’s packaging, to ear-pleasing effect. As far as plot goes, that’s about it.

DisneyCollectorBR’s most watched video, an unwrapping of “egg surprises” branded by Angry Birds, SpongeBob, and Cars, recently hit 90 million views. Five other videos have received over 40 million views, and another 15 have over 20 million. The channel’s hundreds of videos have been watched over 2.4 billion times — that’s more than “Gangnam Style” by Psy.

The videos fit broadly into a popular YouTube category known as “unboxing,” where a video shows off the features of a product, most often a piece of technology like the new Xbox. For teenagers and adults with purchasing power, unboxing videos can be a kind of virtual tour of a product in which you’re interested. Or, since they’re typically made by amateurs, a kind of authentic check and balance on flashy advertising. For kids and toys, it’s a little different.

A number of parents of toddlers, the channel’s target audience, tell a similar story of their children finding the channel: their kids, fans of the Disney Carsmovie franchise asked to watch some related videos on YouTube. From there, they happened upon a DisneyCollectorBR video. When they finished, another one loaded. In the days and weeks following, the kids, entranced for whatever reason by the toy demos, asked for more. The consistent story of organic discovery makes sense, because unless you closely follow YouTube metrics, how else would you find out about DisneyCollectorBR? Despite the channel’s immense viewership — the numbers don’t lie — there is almost no information about its creator.


Multiple messages sent through the YouTube page, through Facebook, and through a website’s contact form went unanswered.

For curious parents, the channel has become a fascinating subject — with both their kids’ passion for its videos and its creator’s identity something of a mystery. “I heard this crazy voice, and I’m like, What the hell is this,” said Jonna Rubin of Framingham, Mass., whose 2-year-old and 5-year-old watch the channel, “with equal fervor.”

Elizabeth Olsen, a Portland, Ore., mother of two, said her 6-year-old daughter, who is learning to read, has taught herself to use the iPad’s microphone so that she can use Siri to search Disney Collector videos on her own, a solution to spelling struggles. From there, she said she navigates to more videos through YouTube’s sidebars, and though she sometimes ends up watching another channel’s videos, she usually finds her way back to Disney Collector. “Unattended she could probably watch for two hours,” Olsen said.

For adults, it can be hard to understand why kids are so enamored. “I equate it with me looking at the toy catalog from J.C. Penney as a kid,” Olsen said. “It’s like an infomercial.”

And if children of the ’80s and ’90s think back to the VHS tapes they watched until they melted in the VCR, it doesn’t feel that far off — kids do love to watch things over and over again.


Dane Golden, who works in the YouTube channel ecosystem as the VP of marketing at Octoly, a startup that connects brands with independent video creators on YouTube, said he’s followed Disney Collector with fascination since discovering the channel through the blog TubeFilter, a kind of Billboard for YouTube. He said he was “bewildered” when he first came across the channel and recognized its massive popularity. He didn’t understand the audience, he said, until a number of parents he knew all reacted with an, “Oh, my kid watches that all the time.”

Golden did what he called some “due diligence” on the channel and who might behind it — and was surprised to find almost no information online. For kids, he thinks, anonymity might be part of the appeal.

“What I believe to be true is that kids are loving this because the woman never shows her face,” Golden said. “You never see anything but her well-manicured hands. She has a very comforting voice. It’s just like playing with other kids playing toys. I think she disappears in the mind of the children.”

What struck Golden most was not just the host’s anonymity, but the lack of affiliation with what are called multichannel networks, known in the industry as MCNs. Almost all large YouTube channels are now part of MCNs — like the music-focused Vevo; Fullscreen, which works with NBC and FOX; or Maker Studios, which sold to Disney this year for $500 million. The dozens of MCNs function like studios for independent YouTubers, providing services like audience growth, monetization strategies, a content management system and statistics dashboard, legal services, partner management, and so on, in exchange for a portion of advertising revenue. By most counts, DisneyCollectorBR appears to be the largest unaffiliated channel on YouTube.

That’s not to say MCNs aren’t interested in the genre. Maker Studios, whose list of partner channels includes those by Robert De Niro and Snoop Dogg, works with channels like EvanTubeHD, a highly popular channel consisting mostly of a charming 8-year-old reviewing toys (he does show his face), and is aware of the toy unboxing phenomenon.

“These videos tap into some primal human traits and emotions — curiosity, the thrill of suspense and surprise, and the joy of receiving a gift,” said Michael Ross, Maker’s general manager of family programming. “Almost everyone has watched a kid squirming in delight as a gift is unwrapped — the slower the better (as long as they can stand it).” Disney-owned Maker said they have not worked with DisneyCollectorBR or BluCollection.

“I believe she’s an enigma,” said David B. Williams, an entrepreneur who spent several years at Disney after they bought his online video startup and has spent 18 years in the industry. “I think a lot of the MCNs whose job it is to pursue channels like hers, have pursued her and have not gotten far.”

Williams, who is now the chief content and technology strategist at Endemol Beyond, a new digital division of the television production company behind shows like Big Brother, became familiar with Disney Collector not just through the YouTube marketing world, but also because he happens to have twins who are 3½ years old. In his observation, it is “toddler crack.”

“I call it first-person toy porn,” he said. “I think it works because it’s Christmas morning every minute.”


Williams said he suspects the channel is bringing in seven figures a year in advertisements — even without an MCN, channels can easily enable YouTube’s monetization settings to have banner ads and pre-roll ads placed on their videos.SocialBlade, which analyzes YouTube data, pegs the number at between $1.6 million and $13 million, considering the number of views and subscribers.

Is it possible an unknown, one-woman toy-reviewing YouTuber is making as much money as the average S&P 500 CEO?

In this case, Disney Collector may actually have little reason to affiliate with an MCN. The largest MCNs frequently sign channels on the promise of growing them faster, in exchange for a percentage of ad revenue. But if you’re already huge, and you don’t want to be on a billboard, why would you want to give up some of your earnings?

That said, there are some quirks to operating independently. Since you must be 13 to have a YouTube account, the core toddler audience is likely watching using a parent’s account, which might explain why the pre-roll ads are frequently for Target or AT&T. If YouTube thinks 35-year-olds are those watching the channel, those are the ads it’ll serve up.

So, who the hell is Disney Collector? Best guess: a 43-year-old Brazilian woman who lives near DisneyWorld in Florida, whose husband produces a similar and also popular channel called BluCollection. True Disney diehards who’d like to be left alone while raking in a fortune, so it would seem.

The small crop of fascinated bloggers, parents, and YouTube marketers seem to agree on a few leads. First, that the “BR” in DisneyCollectorBR stands for Brazil, which is supported by some videos she does in Portuguese. Second, that BluCollection, which also reviews toys — with a slight bent to those marketed to boys, though both channels are gender neutral — is produced under the same roof. The two channels list each other as vaguely affiliated on fanpages, and as related channels on YouTube, to support that assertion. The channel also uses a similarly faceless format for its videos. DisneyCollectorBR, with its nail art and enthusiasm, seems to get a little more attention, but BluCollection, with a total of 1.7 billion views, is also almost perplexingly massive. If they are in fact a couple, they’re the Beyoncé and Jay Z of YouTube. If no one had any idea who Beyoncé and Jay Z were.

Another lead came from the comments section of a personal blog post written by Julia Arnold, a parent of two curious about Disney Collector’s identity. Arnold said she frequently watches the videos with her 4-year-old son, who has taken to imitating Disney Collector with Easter eggs.

In the comments section of the post, which was titled “Who ARE BluCollection and DisneyCollectorBR?,” a commenter with no affiliated email address who said he was a friend of the couple identified the pair by name, saying they lived in Florida near DisneyWorld, and kept private, having at some point gotten rid of any social media accounts. Searches of public records revealed people by those names do exist, but past and present listed phone numbers were disconnected or went unanswered.

In a way, DisneyCollectorBR has achieved the modern internet ideal: She is adored (and presumably, rich) for doing what she seems to love, and widely watched but uncorrupted by the annoyances of fame. If only she’d let us know how she does it.

 

Discipline Without Screaming

Posted: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 11:32


 


tea pot steaming

Brian Maranan Pineda

My boys, who are 3 and 5, always seem to want the things that they know they can't have: cookies for breakfast, a movie at bedtime, flip-flops on a snowy day. When they get the inevitable "no" for an answer it often sends them into a tailspin -- whining, writhing on the floor, and kicking the air. Nothing gets to me more than these spontaneous freak-outs. Don't they understand that if they stay up late watching Shrekthey'll be cranky the next day? Before I know it, I'm yelling again.

How do things go from movie request to scream-fest in seconds? The kids hit one of my triggers, and like many parents, I react by shouting. (If you've never screamed at your children, know that statistically you're one of the few. According to a study in The Journal of Marriage and Family, 89 percent of parents report doing it.) Still, it doesn't feel good. In fact, most shouting sessions result in a scream hangover. Afterward, adults may feel guilty, wishing they could have dealt with the situation in a better way.

It turns out that it's no fun for kids either, according to psychotherapist Alyson Schafer, author of Ain't Misbehavin': Tactics for Tantrums, Meltdowns, Bedtime Blues and Other Perfectly Normal Kid Behaviors. If yelling is your main form of discipline, it can diminish your child's sense of security and self-esteem, she explains. "If you just yell on occasion, you won't damage your kids," assures psychotherapist Jim Hutt, Ph.D., creator of counselorlink.com; still, it's not a good strategy for getting good behavior. Yelling is scary, so it activates a child's emotional "fight or flight" response while shutting down his logical thinking. "If I yell at a kid, he's going to stop processing information, and if I want him to learn why his behavior is inappropriate, I need him to be able to understand what I'm saying," Dr. Hutt explains. When parents raise their voice, all it teaches kids is to do the same when they're upset. "If we hit, they hit; if we yell, they learn to yell. If we are calm, they learn how to be calm," Dr. Hutt says.

Of course, given the right triggers, even the most Zen parents lose it sometimes. When you do, it's important to apologize to your kid and admit that you should have handled things differently. "Parents can't preach that it's okay to make mistakes, then neglect to admit their own mistakes and, worse yet, fail to apologize," Dr. Hutt says. It can also help to identify the situations that most frequently get you shouting -- that way you can plan ahead about how to react, so you're more in control of your emotions in the moment. We went to the experts to get better solutions for some of the most common scream-inducers.

 

The Power Struggle

Your daughter wants a cookie for breakfast, and she won't take no for an answer. She's probably thinking, "If I cry and scream, maybe Mom will give in." As her demand escalates into a full-blown battle of wills, you lose control and end up yelling at her.

Why parents lose it When kids undermine our authority (doing things they know we disapprove of or ignoring what we say) it leaves us feeling helpless. When you find yourself screaming, it's probably not even about the cookie anymore; it's an attempt to take back control. "The power struggle is a contest about who has the upper hand in the moment," Schafer says. "We want to impress upon our kids that we are the one in charge."

The no-scream solution To keep a power struggle from escalating, make a conscious effort to get out of fight mode. Rather than focusing on winning or losing this particular battle with your kid, try to work together to find a better solution. First, state your position simply ("We don't have cookies for breakfast"). Then offer some choices ("Would you like to have yogurt or cereal?"). This will make her feel like she has some control over the situation, Schafer says. If that doesn't work, you might try defusing the tension with humor. Doing a silly dance out of the blue may be just the trick for putting your child into a happier mind-set, one in which she's willing and able to find some middle ground.

 
Dealing with Defiant Behavior
Dealing with Defiant Behavior
 
 
 
It Worked For Me: Genius Discipline Tricks
It Worked For Me: Genius Discipline Tricks
 
 
 


How to Discipline Your Kids
How to Discipline Your Kids
 
 
 

Running Late

The hardest part of the day for many moms is getting the kids out of the house. You ask them to get dressed and put their shoes on; they ignore you. You finally find your keys and are ready to go; they run off and hide. It's all fun and games -- until you unleash the scream beast.

Why parents lose it It's extremely frustrating when you're in a rush to get out the door and no one is taking your concerns about staying on schedule seriously. You can't help but feel insignificant, out of control, and burdened all at the same time -- you're obviously going to have to drop what you're doing and force your kids' shirts over their little heads yourself.

It's easy to forget that young children have no concept of the consequences of running late. But repeating yourself over and over isn't the solution. "It teaches them that they're too stupid to get it or that they don't have to respond the first time," Dr. Hutt says.

The no-scream solution Rather than nagging your kids until you're at the point of shouting, just tell them it's time to get ready once -- and then don't give any more reminders, Dr. Hutt suggests. Say, "We're leaving in ten minutes. I hope you'll be dressed and ready." If they aren't, pick them up and put them in the car firmly yet gently -- in whatever they're wearing. If your kids have to go to school in their pajamas, they'll know you mean business next time.

 

Sibling Squabbles

Your daughter borders on genius when it comes to pushing her brother's buttons. In the car on the way to the park, she leans over and touches his beloved blankie with one graceful finger, setting off a full-on battle. Your temper goes from zero to 60 in three seconds or less.

Why parents lose it No matter who "started it," it's almost impossible to play referee when both kids are screaming and kicking -- and the situation becomes flat-out dangerous if their fighting is distracting you while you're driving.

The no-scream solution When things are already heated between your kids, having a strongly negative reaction is like adding fuel to a fire; it will only escalate the situation. Especially on the road, where you can't really shift your attention and get involved, your initial instinct might be to yell -- but try to be responsive rather than reactive, Schafer recommends. After pulling over, matter-of-factly let your kids know it's unsafe for you to drive while they're fighting, saying something like, "I understand you're upset, but I can't go anywhere until you calm down. When you've worked it out together, I can drive again." Then sit quietly, read a book, or IM with friends until they've chilled out. By staying collected, you make it clear that you're not going to take sides, and you set an example for how your children should behave with each other. The immediate lesson you're trying to impart is this: Calm cars move; fighting cars stop. But the bigger message goes beyond driving. When parents respond to children in ways that make them feel heard and understood are going to learn to treat others that way as well.

Originally published in the May 2012 issue of Parents magazine.

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