Friday, October 10, 2014

5 Unique Desk Gadgets for Under $40

5 Unique Desk Gadgets for Under $40

5 Unique Desk Gadgets for Under $40

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 11:35 AM PDT

Coffee Warmer USB Hub ($16.99)

USB Mug Hub

Two questions: Do you like drinking lukewarm coffee? Do you like crawling under your desk to plug in all your gadgets? No, no, a thousand times no to both questions. This is the greatest country in the world. Why shouldn’t you own a device that keeps your coffee warm and lets you plug four USB gadgets into it? It’s called convergence, and you’re the new Convergence Sheriff in this office. Carl Andrews from Biz Dev was the former sheriff but he quit when he bought a B&B up in Kennebunkport in order to make a go of it in the burgeoning hospitality industry. Greatest country in the world, and all: you’ve gotta take advantage of those business opportunities.


Bulletproof Clipboard ($39.99)

Bulletproof Clipboard

Look, you could spend a few bucks on a clipboard that doesn’t stop bullets. But why not spend $40 on a clipboard that does stop bullets. For starters, it’s quite a conversation piece. I don’t know about you, but in my line of work, we talk about clipboards on a daily basis. Having a bulletproof clipboard adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to just about any clipboard-related conversation. If you’re in a clipboard-related conversation and the other person isn’t interested in your bulletproof clipboard, walk away. It’s not worth pursuing, personally or professionally.


Heated Lotion Dispenser ($39.95)

Lotion Heater
Hammacher Schlemmer

Your reputation at work is that of a normal, down-to-earth, model employee. Let’s shake things up a bit. Bring this dispenser into the office and you could be known as the creepy, hot-lotion person. Someone stops by your desk to chat about clipboards? Send them on their way with a handful of hot, greasy lotion. People in a meeting need a little perking up? “Hey, you guys are more than welcome to some of my hot lotion,” you’ll say. Your boss wants to talk about your performance? Make sure that initial handshake is firm and hot, yet baby-skin soft.

[Hammacher Schlemmer]

Zamboni Desk Vacuum ($14.94)


It’s come to my attention that some of you didn’t grow up in Minnesota like I did. But where I come from, the Zamboni is more highly-revered than the sportiest of sports cars. All kids want one, but only one kid in your high school grows up to drive one on a daily basis (Hi, Rob!). Thankfully, the mighty Zamboni has been shrunken down and outfitted with some potent suction, perfect for snorting up all those unsightly Cheez-It bits you have a habit of dropping. Just as your body is a temple, so too is your desk a hockey rink of productivity. Keep it clean.


Mousing-Hand Garage ($38.98)

Hand Garage

Other than stepping in a puddle while wearing socks, there’s not much worse than saddling up to a cold desk surface first thing in the morning in the dead of winter. How are you supposed to gracefully tab through those mountainous spreadsheets when your dexterity’s been compromised by sub-optimal hand and wrist temperatures?! This USB-powered hand garage keeps your digits nice and toasty while you’re clicking and scrolling during even the most blustery of nor’easters.


Past Nonsense:

Ebola Death Toll Tops 4,000

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 10:45 AM PDT

At least 4,033 people have died of Ebola in seven countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday. More than 8,300 total cases have been confirmed.

The new statistics, which include deaths in five West African countries as well as the United States and Spain, come just days after the death of the first patient to be diagnosed in the U.S. The current Ebola outbreak is the worst in history.

Numbers released last month warned that under worst-case-scenario circumstances, as many as 1.4 million people may be infected with Ebola by the end of January. And U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden warned Thursday that action was need to prevent Ebola from becoming “the world’s next AIDs.”

Ebola Patient’s Temperature Spiked to 103 Degrees Before Initial Release

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 10:20 AM PDT

DALLAS — Thomas Eric Duncan’s temperature spiked to 103 degrees during the hours of his initial visit to an emergency room — a fever that was flagged with an exclamation point in the hospital’s record-keeping system, his medical records show.

Despite telling a nurse that he had recently been in Africa and displaying other symptoms that could indicate Ebola, the man who would become the only person to die from the disease in the U.S. underwent a battery of tests and was eventually sent home.

Duncan’s family provided his medical records to The Associated Press — more than 1,400 pages in all. They encompass his time in the ER, his urgent return to the hospital two days later and chronicle his steep decline as his organs began to fail.

Duncan carried the deadly virus with him from his home in Liberia, though he showed no symptoms when he left for the United States. He arrived in Dallas on Sept. 20 and fell ill several days later.

When he first showed up at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the man complained of abdominal pain, dizziness, a headache and decreased urination. He reported severe pain — rating it an eight on a scale of 10. Doctors gave him CT scans to rule out appendicitis, stroke and numerous other serious ailments. Ultimately, he was prescribed antibiotics and told to take Tylenol, then returned to the apartment where he was staying with a Dallas woman and three other people.

After his condition worsened, someone in the apartment called 911, and paramedics took him back to the hospital on Sept. 28. That’s when he was admitted and swiftly put in isolation.

The documents also show that a nurse recorded early in Duncan’s first hospital visit that he recently came to the U.S. from Africa, though he denied having been in contact with anyone sick.

Hospital spokesman Wendell Watson did not immediately respond to phone, email and text messages left by AP on Friday. A doctor who evaluated Duncan did not respond to a message left at his office.

A Marketing Firm Could Be Looking at Your Selfies

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

That picture you posted on Instagram from the beach last week might have more useful data in it than you think.

Where are you? What do you have in your hand? Do you look happy or sad? What are you wearing? These are all questions that can help advertisers target their marketing to consumers, so a crop of new digital marketing companies has begun analyzing photos posted on Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest and other photo-sharing sites to look for these trends and insights.

Ditto Labs Inc. uses photo-scanning software to locate logos in these personal photos (is the subject wearing a North Face jacket? Or holding a can of Coca-Cola?) and look at the context in which these brands are being used.

For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, Kraft Food Groups Inc. pays Ditto Labs to find their logos on Instagram and Tumblr. Ditto Labs then analyzes trends like what people drink when they’re eating Kraft products and how happy they appear to be. They are then placed into categories like “foodie” and “sports fan” based on how they’re eating their Kraft food.

Digital marketing firms use personal photos in other ways, too; Piquora Inc. stores massive amounts of these images over a few months to look at trends over time.

This new brand of marketing research serves as a fresh reminder that the photos we put online are public, and once we click ‘post’ we lose control over who sees them and what they’re used for. “This is an area that could be ripe for commercial exploitation and predatory marketing,” Joni Lupovitz, vice president at children’s privacy advocacy group Common Sense Media, told the Journal. “Just because you happen to be in a certain place or captured an image, you might not understand that could be used to build a profile of you online.”

Quiz: How Long Will You Live?

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 10:05 AM PDT

Americans can now expect to live longer than ever, a new government report finds. That’s largely because death rates are declining for the leading causes of death, like heart disease, cancer and stroke.

How long will you live? These eight basic questions, calculated by two researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, are some of the most predictive of American life expectancy. “Those are the most important risk factors that we have solid evidence for,” Lyle Ungar, professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania, tells TIME.

The one missing factor? “If you’re in a happy marriage, you will tend to live longer,” he says. “That’s perhaps as important as not smoking, which is to say: huge.” So feel free to give yourself a little bump if you’ve got a happy relationship.

Find out yours in the quiz below (and if you’re on your phone, turn your device sideways):

via Life Expectancy Calculator from Lyle Ungar and Dean Foster

#AskTIME Subscriber Q and A: Alex Altman, Zeke Miller and Jay Newton-Small

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 10:00 AM PDT

Welcome to TIME Subscriber Q&A, with TIME political reporters Alex Altman, Zeke Miller and Jay Newton-Small. They have been reporting on next month’s midterm elections and will answer your questions about who’s up, who’s down, and why it matters.

To read the full post, you need to be a subscriber. It's not too late to sign up.

PaulDirks asks, Everyone now seems to be agreeing that Obamacare is fading in its utility as a bludgeon with which to beat Democrats. But since polling suggests that the opposition to Obamacare is based mostly on its name and not on its actual effects, doesn't that mean that some Democrats are actually missing the opportunity to campaign on its benefits?

Take a Look at History’s Worst Contraceptives for Women

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 09:59 AM PDT


This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

While the pill has been around for over 50 years, it took quite a long time to come up with a fuss-free method of contraception. Before the pill’s creation, there were some really awful ways to prevent pregnancy, and non-profit organization EngenderHealth has come up with a video to show us of all those methods. We’re talking crocodile dung mixed with honey, beaver testicles with moonshine, pig intestines, and even glass bottles.

The video was made to raise awareness of family planning through EngenderHealth’s WTFP?! initiative, which aims to give a voice to the more than 220 million women around the world who don’t have access to contraception.

(via Design Taxi)

Watch Taylor Swift’s Amazing Cover of Vance Joy’s “Riptide”

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 09:49 AM PDT

There’s no doubt that “Riptide” was a break-out hit for Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy. Now that Taylor Swift has covered the heart-tugging track, it could be even bigger.

Vance Joy (real name James Keogh) released his debut album, Dream Your Life Away, last month on Atlantic Records. He spent the summer making the rounds of the festival circuit, performing well-received sets at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands. But despite the success of “Riptide,” Keogh has been operating just outside the spotlight, still an up-and-comer. No more. It’s hard to stay under the radar when one of the biggest pop stars in the world covers your song.

“I had a special feeling about [the song],” Keogh told TIME last year. “I didn’t know if it was going to necessarily be a really popular song, but I knew that it was catchy and it had a definite spark to it.”

Swift covered “Riptide” for BBC1’s “Live Lounge” singing while accompanying herself at the piano and losing herself in the song’s emotions. It is a beautiful version of the song and should be enough to tide fans over until Swift releases her fifth album, 1989, on Oct. 27.

Why Ben Affleck Still Can’t Win

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 09:40 AM PDT

Everyone’s so worried about spoilers surrounding the big twist in Gone Girl but there is one twist that David Fincher might not have planned for with his latest blockbuster: how much everyone hates Ben Affleck. It’s even keeping some people from seeing the movie. Yes, with a $38 million opening weekend, plenty of people are going to see the movie, but many in spite of it starring Affleck, not because of him. I bet no one saw that twist coming!

There are plenty of people with specific reasons that they hate Ben Affleck that are superficial and easily dismissed. There are people that don’t like his liberal politics (especially in light of his recent kerfuffle with Bill Maher). Then there is the legion of comic fans who are upset that he’s going to be playing Batman.

However, there are other people with more vague grievances that are harder to dispute, like his perceived shortcomings as an actor. “I’ve hated Ben Affleck since I saw Good Will Hunting, which is really terrible. And I don’t think he’s ever been good in anything,” says Sam Stecklow, a 19-year-old student from Chicago. Well, at least that’s a little bit more concrete than people who just hate his chin.

Another common theme of Affleck animosity seems to be his attitude or some sort of implied douchiness. “There are a multitude of reasons why I hate Ben Affleck,” says Alexandra Snyder, a 25-year-old community relations manager from Washington, D.C. “First is his naturally douchey demeanor…He is so goddamn pretentious…He is like an ugly frat guy.”

It’s funny that people hate Anne Hathaway because they say she has some sort of false humility but they hate Ben Affleck because he has no humility whatsoever.

But I think all this hatred goes all the way back to 2001 during his Bennifer days (it was more than a decade ago, don’t you feel old?) when he and Jennifer Lopez were canoodling on the cover of every tabloid and giving each other outrageous gifts. Not only did that enter us into the age of the ubiquitous relationship portmanteau, but also ushered in the current state of the celebrity gossip industrial complex, which has lead from Bennifer to Britney with her head shaved to countless pictures of Kaley Cuoco and her pink wedding cake chandelier.

Affleck and Lopez’s relationship, which was covered more than climate change and Ebola combined, came at a time when Affleck was vying for leading-man status in the wake of his 1998 Oscar win for Good Will Hunting, which he costarred in and cowrote with his BFF Matt Damon. His bid for Hollywood A-list didn’t go so hot. Affleck fizzled in Reindeer Games, which was followed by high profile bombs Pearl Harbor, Changing Lanes, The Sum of All Fears, and Paycheck. Then there was his much hyped and much hated turns with Jennifer Lopez: Jersey Girl and Gigli. Ugh, Gigli. It’s still an easy punch line after all these years.

This combination of attention and failure is what caused so many to sour on Affleck permanently. We were seeing him on the cover of Us Weekly looking like the biggest star in Hollywood, but we all knew that no one wanted to go see him. It was like he was being foisted on us needlessly no matter where we looked, and every time we saw him he looked rich and smug and horrible. It was almost impossible to escape the feeling that he was being needlessly foisted upon us by Hollywood, a product whose supply far outpaced his demand, a syndrome known in some quarters as the Colin Farrell Paradox.

“He made some horrible film choices while trying to convince the audience he was The One: the actor, writer, action star, humanitarian playboy the world was waiting for,” says Kay Wigs, 31, a government employee who lives in Washington, D.C. “He wasn’t The One, he’s That Dude. That dude you always think would be fun to invite to a party but quickly realize ‘Nope.’ Not only did he break into the good booze without asking, he stole your iPod and drove your mom’s car into a lake.”

It didn’t help that Matt Damon, his constant foil, seemed to take the opposite track. His bet on franchise success, the Bourne movies, was a runaway critical and commercial smash, and even his smaller movies were praised and well attended. He also decided to shun the spotlight and marry a woman no one had heard of instead of getting engaged to the world’s biggest pop star.

But Affleck didn’t marry Jenny from the Block; he ended up marrying another Jennifer and Ms. Garner is just as famous as his last Jennifer. The thing about Affleck is that people don’t see that he’s changed at all. He still married someone who can easily secure the cover of People. He is making better movies now, but mostly as a director. He appears to regard himself so highly that he thinks he should be the one helming the entire film.

His switch to the director’s chair only gives his haters more ammunition since he can find only one actor good enough to cast in the lead role in his films: himself. His movie Argo won Best Picture at the Oscars, but has the dubious distinction of being only the fourth movie to win that award without its director being nominated and the first one of its kind since Driving Miss Daisy in 1990. His career seemed to be back on track, but he still couldn’t get any love from the Academy. Because people don’t think Affleck has changed or been humbled at all, they will never forgive him for his past.

Even with all the praise he’s getting for Gone Girl, many of Affleck’s detractors say that he does so well in the role because the not-as-good-as-he-thinks character he plays is really just Affleck in disguise. After all, Fincher even cops to casting the actor after seeing countless photos of his insincere lob-sided grin. Actors never get any credit for playing a role that is close to who they really are. Just look at Courtney Love’s underappreciated turn as a destructive druggie in The People vs. Larry Flynt.

If we haven’t forgiven Affleck in the almost 15 years since Bennifer, is it ever going to happen? It’s doubtful, but there could be a slow erosion over time. If he keeps making enough good movies, eventually people might start to hate him less, or see the hate as futile and let it go, moving on to a new target. It wouldn’t hurt, though, if he pulled a Woody Allen and started getting some other leading men in front of his camera. Or maybe he can borrow some of Angelina Jolie’s juju and dedicate himself to humanitarian efforts for a bit. After all, she pulled off the great magic trick of making the public forget that she is a former bisexual who wore Billy Bob Thornton’s blood around her neck and made out with her brother on the red carpet at the Oscars. (Fun fact: that sibling kiss happened in 2000, the year before Bennifer was born, so complete image turnaround was possible in that time span if Affleck had dedicated himself to it.)

Maybe his turnaround could start with Gone Girl. Kay, one of the Affleck afflicted who talked to me for this story, says the movie changed her mind about him. “He was spot on – indifferent, uncomfortable to watch, yet funny,” she says. “Maybe he is The One. Oh god, maybe we are all wrong about Ryan Reynolds too. Ryan Reynolds, future Oscar winner for The Benazir Bhutto Story.”

Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie who lives in New York. His work has appeared in Gawker, VICE, New York magazine, and a few other safe-for-work publications.

Why Showtime’s The Affair Will Be as Intense as Game of Thrones

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 09:38 AM PDT

“Welcome to the end of the world,” Alison tells Noah on the first episode of Showtime’s new drama, The Affair, starring Dominic West (The Wire) and Ruth Wilson (Luther). As you can guess from the title, the two leads will engage in an illicit relationship. And though The Affair is far from the first show to trace a secret liaison, the stakes have never felt so high: it really may be the end of the world.

The show unfolds in two parts: first from Noah’s perspective and then from Alison’s. The differences between their two narratives—told to police officers investigating a still-unknown crime—elucidate the differences between how men and women view the world and especially romantic relationships.

Show co-creator Sarah Treem wrote for HBO’s In Treatment for three years and the first season of Netflix’s House of Cards before pitching Showtime a drama about the psychological effects of an extramarital affair. She also penned a play, When We Were Young and Unafraid, which ran off Broadway this summer. You can either stream the first episode on YouTube or catch it on Showtime when it premieres this Sunday after Homeland.

Treem spoke to TIME about why people cheat and how we’re all unreliable narrators of our own lives.

There were a lot of differences between the two narratives in the first episode. Were there any particular things you wanted to communicate as we’re first meeting these characters about how they see themselves or want to be seen by others?

What’s interesting about love affairs is that when people are recounting the story, they remember themselves as somewhat neutral. We remember ourselves as witnesses in our own lives, and we remember other people as actors.

As a writer, and especially when I was a younger writer and I was inserting my own voice into a script or a play, I would find that the character I had somewhat based on myself was often the most uninteresting character in the story because I didn’t have a good perspective on who I was. Most people don’t, really. It’s really hard to see yourself as you actually are.

So that’s kind of what we were trying to say in that first episode: That we are all unreliable narrators when it comes to telling the story of our own lives.

It seems like the two characters each try to make themselves the hero as well.

They both believe that they’re good people. I was interviewing people to prepare to write this show, and I was thinking this is a show about memory. So I was asking everybody how they wanted to be remembered when they died. An overwhelming majority of people said that they wanted to be remembered as kind, which I thought was really significant given how hurtful people can be to each other. Most people are trying to be kind but because communication is really difficult on a fundamental level, we end up hurting each other unintentionally. That was something I was keeping in mind as I started writing these characters: They’re trying hard to be kind. But they f*ck up, like everybody does.

I couldn’t help but think of Gone Girl when I watched the show. Obviously the two are very different, but they both have these competing narratives from a man and a woman in a relationship. In Gone Girl, it’s a battle of the sexes where each character is vying for the audience’s sympathy. Do you think Noah and Alison are competing for our sympathies?

In my mind, they’re both right. But I think the show’s a bit of a Rorschach Test when it comes to what people believe. I do think which character feels the most truthful to you does tell you lot about yourself because we were trying very hard as writers not to judge one side or the other, to tell both narratives as truthfully as we could. So I think when the balance gets tipped, it has to do with the audience member’s own personality.

When people go looking for affairs, it’s not because they’re unhappy with their spouse but because they’re unsatisfied with who they’ve become.That could have to do with gender. I think that men and women have very different experiences as human beings in their lives, and we were excited about telling a story from two different perspectives that were gendered.

Can you give an example of how the gender of the storyteller changed the narrative?

This is a literary thing, but I think that male narrative tends to be more linear. There’s an ascension: starting in one place and ending someplace else. It can be an upward ascension or a fall into darkness, but there is a linearity to the way men tell their stories. When women tell their stories sometimes there’s more of a circular narrative. You sort of end up in the same place that you start.

The way one of our directors described it was like a spiral: you move forward and then you come back a little bit; and then you move a little farther forward and then you come back halfway. When he talked about Alison’s narrative, he talked about her cycling through herself. And I think that’s very true, especially as Alison’s narrative keeps going. She’s getting somewhere, but it’s not as linear [as Noah's story]. She keeps circling back to the beginning. There’s something about the way women experience their lives that feels more circuitous to me. Maybe it has something to do with childbirth or these cycles that we’re in.

Craig Blankenhorn/Showtime

You mentioned interviewing people earlier. How did you do research for this script?

I didn’t interview anybody specifically because of who they were. I was just talking to anybody who would talk to me about their experience with being married or having an affair. We did have a consultant on the show. Her name’s Esther Perel, and she wrote a book called Mating in Captivity. She has spent her whole life talking to couples about infidelity and affairs—that’s her bread and butter. And she has this great quote from Mating in Captivity where she says something like when people go looking for affairs, it’s not because they’re unhappy with their spouse but because they’re unsatisfied with who they’ve become.

We really used that as an operating principle when we were trying to think about why these characters were cheating: it wasn’t because there was something significantly wrong with their marriages. Their marriages were flawed like any marriage. But we didn’t want it to be his wife is a shrew, so he has to cheat. Instead, it has something to do with who Noah is, who Alison is.

If anything, it seems like the characters idealize their spouses and cast the other person’s spouse in a worse light.

Yeah, in the beginning that’s exactly what it seems like. But that will change. I think the strength of the series is that the relationships among all four of them keep shifting. So as the series goes on, nobody looks great the whole time and nobody looks evil the whole time. Your sympathies are constantly realigning with all four of these characters. And the Helen and Cole characters [Noah and Alison's spouses] become much more significant players as the series moves along. They both sort of take over in the second part of the series.

I think the show’s a bit of a Rorschach Test when it comes to what people believe.I really do believe that Walt Whitman quote—I think it’s from Song of Myself—where he says, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.” We were really trying to show in the series that most people are capable of almost anything. It’s just about the circumstances that you find yourself in. You construct a character for yourself, but then sometimes the circumstances change in such a significant way that we are acting in a way that we never would have predicted. But it’s not that we’re different: that behavior was always part of us. So we’ve applied that concept to all four of our characters over the course of a season.

As you know, there are not enough women working behind the camera. So why do you think it’s important we get more women writing stories for TV and especially for prestige dramas?

What’s great about TV is that you have a lot more women working in television just percentage-wise and a lot more opportunities here that are not necessarily there in screenwriting, which is why I personally feel really comfortable in television.

But it’s sort of obvious: If you want to tell complicated, true stories about women then you need women in charge of storytelling. It’s hard for any of us to really get into the heads of other people and understand what makes them tick. I’m not saying that’s impossible at all: I think there are plenty of men in television who write really complicated and really truthful women. But I think having more female voices in charge of these shows can only augment what they already have. And I think the networks are realizing that now.

What lessons did you learn from In Treatment and House of Cards that you have carried over to this show?

They were very different shows. With In Treatment, it was just two people in a room with a camera and nothing else. When somebody got up and walked to the door, we were like, “Oh, that’s an action shot.” So on In Treatment I really learned how to invest in character with no pyrotechnics and understand how a scene can turn on an emotional revelation or a breakdown. That is all you need to create incredibly compelling, white knuckle television.

And House of Cards was huge. It was definitely the biggest show that I’ve ever been on. The budget was enormous; the scope of the show was enormous; and the ambition of the show was enormous. So having those two tent poles of experience was helpful for me because I learned to go small and I learned to go large, and I could decide for myself which impulse was appropriate at which moment in this show.

In When We Were Young and Unafraid off-Broadway and in The Affair, characters are forced to contend with other world views that conflict with their own. Were you thinking about the script for one when you were writing the other?

My theory as a writer in terms of how you create drama is that you figure out the question you’re obsessed with—what’s the fear that is gnawing at your existential soul? What’s your fundamental anxiety at this moment of your existence? You figure out how to ask it in the form of a question, and then you dramatize it from multiple perspectives. You basically create characters who have different answers to that question, and then you put them in a room or a situation together, and you don’t let them leave. That’s how I think you build drama.

I was definitely working on that idea in When We Were Young and Unafraid, and I’m doing it again here. Here, the multiple perspective thing is woven into the experience of the show in a really exciting way, but that’s always been my idea as a dramatic writer. That’s how I learned to write.

So now I have to ask, what is your fundamental anxiety that you are dealing with on this show?

How does marriage work? Does marriage work? Is long-term fidelity possible? Is it natural?

I just got married this summer. I don’t think I was engaged when I started writing the show. I had a kid two years ago, so I just sort of entered that phase of my own life. So that’s what I’ve been thinking about a lot.

Is your exploration of that question causing any anxiety among your family members?

The stakes are as high as they are on ‘Game of Thrones.’I have to be totally honest: the experience of making this show and spending 10 episodes thinking about the consequences of infidelity has only made me want to double down on my own marriage. It’s only made me want to be good to my husband as possible and work as hard on my marriage as I can because I think this show does not sugar coat what it’s like to have an affair. This is not an escapist fantasy. The stakes are incredibly high here. I think if you’d asked my husband at the beginning of the experience if he was nervous about it, he might have said yes, but I feel like he thinks it’s the best thing that ever happened to our marriage now. Like, “I hope you write this show for years.” [Laughs]

[SPOILER ALERT: The final question contains a spoiler for the first episode.]

The stakes are definitely high on this show. Just in the first episode, Noah has to confront the possible mortality of his children twice and that’s all before we even learn about Alison’s backstory. It was very intense, and I didn’t necessarily expect that from this show. Why pack so much drama into the first episode?

When we pitched the show, we said that we were going to do a show about infidelity and about two marriages. It was going to be a very intimate show. But we said we think that the intimacy in normal people’s lives—in a marriage, in an affair—the stakes are as high as they are on Game of Thrones. There is as much emotional depth to dig through as there are on the shows that have the greatest scope. Virginia Woolf has this great quote in Mrs. Dalloway, “She always had this feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live for even one day.” And I believe that about my characters’ lives and all of our lives.

It was definitely a choice to put these dangerous situations at the beginning of the pilot to alert the audience the stakes are high here. This man cares about his children more than anything in the world. He has a lot to lose. Life is dangerous. You don’t have to necessarily go to war for certain days of our lives to feel completely treacherous.


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