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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Food for thought… or at least, for distraction

Published: November 4, 2005
Section: Opinions

I am one of those people who can only focus on work at fifteen minute intervals. I have the blatant inability to sit down and do an assignment until it is done. I jokingly attribute this flaw to ADD. Unfortunately, I have no qualified disorder to act as the scapegoat for my problems. There are just too many distractions and I cant seem to filter them out. Theres AIM, the obvious and all consuming diversion. Sometimes I force myself to sign off, tragically disallowing all those people out there in cyberspace the opportunity to read my boring away messages. But even when I take it this far, I can always scrounge around for at least a few minutes of mental respite from my work, activities that I will typically avoid doing become tempting. I fold socks or rearrange the clothes in my drawers. I will vacuum my rug, change my sheets, or finally send my dad an e-mail. Ill do anything. I think I could find distractions in an empty room with white walls.

Another major aspect of my so-called disorder is the TV. As I sit at my desk, the little box in the corner calls my name. It is so tempting to grab the remote and flick through a few channels, just to see whats on. I just like to know that Im not missing out on anything really good. For example, Ill turn on the TV and, look! the Patriots are playing. So now I have to spend the next two and a half hours going back and forth from reading to the game. Or that last episode of Laguna Beach that I missed is replaying, and I cant miss another Orange County cat-fight. So the reading for my eighteenth century literature class will fall by the wayside, at least for the time being.

I almost find it a relief when there is nothing to watch. It doesnt happen too often, but every once in a while there will shockingly be no program I have even the slightest interest in. This is huge, because I have been known to watch those paid commercials for rotisserie ovens with fascination. Those little pockets of time were my prime time for getting work done. Give me even half an hour and I can bang out a five page paper. I relied on those windows for my only periods of production;

my GPA depends on MTVs persistent airing of dumb shows like Date my Mom and The Fifth Wheel. Honestly, I really dont care who these people are dating.

My system came to a crashing halt when Brandeis added three more channels to the roster. When I read that we would soon be able to watch the Food Network, I had mixed emotions. On one hand, a whole new offering of some of my favorite TV shows would be available. On the other, I would no longer be able to do my work. I once thought that I was the only weirdo to watch this channel with such spirit and glee, but I have recently found many fans to be coming out of the Food Network closet. The channel doesnt only have cooking shows (some of which can actually be very helpful for us low-budget, limited-cooking space college kids). There are shows that travel across the country and around the world, exploring all types of native cuisine. Only the Food Network can put together an hour long program all about hot dogs.

One show follows prospective entrepreneurs as they try their hands at starting their own restaurants. There are also the cult classics like Iron Chef. There is truly something for everybody on the Food Network. If you like food and I certainly hope that you do, youll find a show. Sadly, I like them all. And that doesnt bode well for my attention skills. Ill either have to get rid of my TV set or drag myself to the library. Knowing me, I think the latter is a much more likely option. But you should check it out if you havent already. Channel 62. But beware, your grades may suffer.