Watch This Space
By Jane Silverman, “Dot.calm”
A birthday cruise down the Nile to see the pyramids. A visit to our son in Utah. A family celebration in New York. Our 2020 holidays are on hold while we hunker-down and pray for the world to heal itself. As we pace the perimeters of our isolated world, faces masked and hands gloved, I flashed back to having to put my two cats into six months of quarantine when I moved to London. These were pre-Pet Passport days and the poor things were shipped from San Francisco to an outdoor caged holding facility 90 minutes by train (and taxi) from my new home. To entertain the cats, the facility had a large aviary in the center with colorful birds flitting and singing for them to look-but-not-touch.
And now here we are in captivity, too, in our own goldfish bowls looking longingly at the world through our computers, phones and TV screens. We wave to friends, Zoom with family and embrace life the best we can.
Damsel in De-stress
My favorite escape from the confines of sheltering-in-place is watching Explore.org and its app explore.org which streams up-close stress-relieving encounters with mood-boosting wildlife and nature. Many of its 130 cameras around the world are manually-controlled by remote operators who focus on the best views at each location. It’s unscripted and unpredictable. Take a deep breath (okay pour a drink) and watch – it’s magical when wildlife steps into the frame.
Explore.org is not just live views of lions, tigers, wild hippos, and elephants from the Great Rift Valley in Africa; you can also spy on an eagle nest in Iowa, a Great Dane puppy nursery in Massachusetts, pandas in China; for “Tiger King” fans, there are even tigers from Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. Check out the relaxing “zen den” where you can watch the aurora borealis or even a calming live feed from the International Space Station’s NASA Space cam; it’s the perfect antidote to our stressful days.
Keep Calm & Safari-On
For some real “reality TV,” go on safari with WildEarth wildearth.tv. This award-winning show live streams from safari vehicles, guides on foot, drones, rovers, and remote cams all tracking animals in the wild from the Djuma and the andBeyond Ngala Private Game Reserves in the Northeast corner of South Africa. You can interact with the game ranger in real-time and ask questions by using #safariLIVE on Twitter, or through the chatbox on the Wildearth website. It is an authentic experience and ever so soothing; Sunrise Safari is Midnight – 3 a.m., Sunset Safari 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
If you have had your fill of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the other video-on-demand services, then you might like to try some of these great TV and movie apps for alternative viewing options:
Tubi and its app tubitv.com has 3x the content of Netflix with thousands of movies and TV shows for free (though there are some commercials). It’s my go-to site for current and nostalgic TV shows and has niche categories like Faith, Not on Netflix, Movie Night!, Westerns, British TV, Bollywood Dreams, Telenovelas, and many others to help narrow your search for the perfect escape.
I can always find something to watch on Sony’s Crackle app crackle.com; it offers completely free streaming of ad-supported new and iconic television shows, Hollywood movies, and other very watchable video content.
The Quibi app quibi.com is a revolutionary celebrity-driven “next generation of story-telling” designed to be watched on your mobile device in quick-bites (7-10 minutes). These daily episodes include stand-alone short films, feature-length movies broken down into mini-chapters, documentaries and even dating and cooking game shows. Look for original works by directors Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino, and celebrity-driven works with Idris Elba, LeBron James, Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, Liam Hemsworth, Will Smith, Laura Dern, Kevin Hart, and more. Sign-up for a free three-month trial until April 30.
The Great App-byss
To cancel any free trials, be sure and mark on your calendar the end date and cancel before the trial expires. For Apple: go to Settings on your phone or the App Store, click on your name, and then click the Subscriptions tab to cancel (or to check if you have any active subscriptions). For Android users, go to GooglePlay, click on your name and manage subscriptions. Deleting the app is not enough.
Heard about a great TV show or movie but don’t know where to watch it? The JustWatch app justwatch.com is a free streaming guide designed to help you find where to watch your favorite movies and shows. It’s like a TV Guide for your smartphone and searches across 40 online providers including Netflix, AmazonPrime, GooglePlay, Tubi, Crackle, Quibi, CBS, ABC, and NBC. Not sure what to watch? Click on the filters tab and find movies and TV shows by Genres, Ratings or Prices.
One World: Together At Home globalcitizen.org is a global music concert in support of all the people affected by COVID-19, especially our frontline healthcare and essential workers. Hosted by Steven Colbert and the two Jimmys (Kimmel and Fallon), it was created in collaboration with Lady Gaga, a COVID-19 survivor. Think of it as a historic virtual Live Aid-esque event broadcast live on Saturday, April 18, at 8 p.m. on just about EVERY channel and social media outlet. The show will feature at-home performances from Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Elton John, Idris and Sabrina Elba, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Stevie Wonder, and so many more. Search for #TogetherAtHome.