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Down and Nerdy: "Grey Gardens" coloring books and "Don't Break the Chain"

IN WHICH coloring books are celebrated, James is very wrong about a couple of movies, and a tool is shared for achieving your goals.

Briana's pick: "Grey Gardens" coloring books

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the 1975 documentary “Grey Gardens” lately. There has been a musical, a play, and most recently an HBO film adaptation starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. But of course, if you want to experience the full madness and beauty of the Beales (mother Edith “Big Edie” Ewing Bouvier Beale and daughter Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale) then you absolutely must watch the documentary first. It is a remarkable look at the everyday life of two women, isolated among the wealthy elite, in their decrepit East Hampton mansion (Grey Gardens). Eccentric doesn’t even between to describe the two, but you can’t quite call them crazy either.

The documentary itself is far from nerdy, but the collective obsession surrounding it is quite clearly top-shelf geek. Aside from the theatrical adaptations, the film has inspired fashion lines, been referenced in song, television sitcoms, comic strips and TAH-DAH! now you can even get your own set of Gray Gardens coloring books. The three volumes (available for purchase here) contain illustrated snap-shots from the documentary. They are each signed by the author and allow you to reinterpret the film from your own point of view. But truth be told, I haven’t colored a single page. Each black and white image is too fantastic to alter.

James' pick: "Don't Break the Chain"

One of my hobbies is tweaking around with personal productivity and time management tricks and apps – reading Lifehacker, fetishizing office supplies, making to-do lists, testing web apps that promise to help me get more done.

A really simple concept that I have found to be very helpful was shared several years ago by Jerry Seinfeld. He decided that in order to be a better comedian, he needed to write jokes every day. So to motivate himself, he bought a calendar and a red Sharpie, and put a big red X on each day he wrote a joke.

This is such a simple idea but it has a really profound effect. The more days in a row you do something, the more you have invested in it, and the more you will be disappointed in yourself if you "break the chain." Simple and genius.

Likewise, the web app inspired by this concept is genius – create an account and sign in, and you'll see a calendar each time you visit. Click a day to turn it red. At the bottom, it will remind you how many days you've been getting it done – or how many days you've missed in a row. Make this page your default browser page, and see if it doesn't help you achieve those resolutions you laid out for yourself a few weeks ago.


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