February 27, 2018 Retro Day

Weather has been very mixed this week, we’ve had warm days, cold days (tonight it’s COLD), rain, snow, sun… commenting on the cold Willow suggested that it was a 15% chance of popcorn night. She then looked outside and it was snowing, (“flurries of popcorn” suggested John) and I upped it to 25% chance of popcorn.
The end of the month snuck up on me. I called Winkles again and Gary had spaced it, but he’s heading down to Florida tomorrow to pick up another load of rust-free cars, and knows I’m pretty much out of time.
Oh, and I owe you an apology: last week I mis-typed CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and as I wrote this, mis-typed again, but this time I caught it). Sorry for the confusion. Too many initials out there. Willow’s CFS is acting as bad as it was during High School recently, and that’s bad. She was doing well to get to school 3 days a week, and really has to push herself. I have to admit that I have not been pushing myself much. There’s a whole lot of “donwanna” flying around. Today I decided to buckle down and pay bills and otherwise “adult”, and once again discovered that one can get a great deal of moderately unpleasant stuff done while avoiding the stuff you really don’t feel like doing. Kat’s not doing so well either, so we are not a merry bunch at this point.
Still, we look forward to improvement. Today, one of the things that distracted me was messaging back and forth with the organizers of an event in May, Fertile Ground Gathering. It being the end of the month, they have to nail down their speakers. I understand, tomorrow we’ll be discussing and hope to nail down the hotel and date for  CTCW this year. That’s the difference between two months to go and eight months to go. The Magical Marketplace is only in two weeks and we got in to sell this year (although I’m not speaking). I also made my initial appointment down at Tufts. (I’ve started using an egg timer for toothbrushing, I wonder if they still think people should brush for three minutes- it gets borking.) I have to look up bus schedules to Boston. I did a lot of trying to figure out the Amtrak website as I’m going to Fertile Ground without the girls, and Jane says that the train is better than trying to drive to Virginia, even with two of us. In theory you can plug in the name of where you’re going, but Amtrak really wants you to specify the name of the city where their nearest station is, and if you don’t know the area, shouldn’t they have a way to tell you that? I was frustrated. Also annoyed that the forms for FGG were written in light grey on dark grey. I had to have John read them to me so I could fill them in! Sigh. (Bitch bitch, moan moan)
Last week John turned 35. That’s not the sort of thing one has clowns, and ponies for- we did get him a balloon, and he chose cheesecake, so that was easy. John took us out for lunch to a steakhouse, and that was nice. He also loaned us some copies of books of the original Superman, back when he first came out in Action. Not only was he not as powerful then, he was also seen as a dangerous vigilante. What goes around comes around I guess.
Then on Friday, his birthday, we went up and watched Aquaman. Since it came out a while ago we were lucky to catch it in theaters. It was in one of those new ones with the nice big padded seats that recline (although I couldn’t figure out how to make that work until the houselights came up at the end and we stood up, and I saw the control panel. Blush). It was better than I’d anticipated, which is saying something. Aquaman was my favorite superhero for most of my childhood, and I appreciated that they put him in the gold outfit at least for a while. I would probably have liked it better if Jason Momoa had been a bit more blonde, but I’m hardly in a position to criticize that. It managed to be true to the comics the way I remember them, and still have what it needed in the modern world. We stayed through the credits and I was thrilled to see names from all over the world who worked together making this wonderful film. I also loved that they didn’t demonize his brother- and I only WISH that the oceans could toss back all the crap the people have tossed into them. They don’t need to attack us with firearms, just refuse to take our refuse! Wonderful movie, I am SO buying it when it comes out. I love that when they make movies today they include so much stuff that you have to watch it over and over to catch everything.
On the way home we stopped at the Chinese Buffet in Manchester, and although it wasn’t as good as it’s been on previous visits, I’d missed going after Birka- we’d gotten into the habit of stopping there after packing out, and the different schedule prevented that this year. Since I was down at Feast of Lights, we didn’t go for my birthday, which I’d considered, so I felt that “craving” was satisfied by taking John- and he didn’t mind. Since he’s older he didn’t have a lot of things on his wishlist, he got a video game and some B movies he’d been wanting.
Sunday Steve came up to visit. He’s been exhausted by the foolishness at where he works. Some corporate idiot has embraced some new theory and everyone got moved to another building, the building was remodeled so it’s all “open” concept- no one has cubicles (and you know what that’s going to do to the shelf space, like a library with no stacks!) and the managers can watch everyone all out in the big shared space. I’m sure this would work fine in some situations, but not in ALL! It doesn’t seem like a good idea where programmers are supposed to be able to concentrate. I expressed impotent sympathy, and fed him. I made curried lamb, which he was surprised to like, as he’s not into spicy food. But I used the Two Knives Curry, and he had two servings and took one home.
He also helped me install the DVD/VHS recorder player I’d bought when the VHS part of ours died. Technophobia prevented me from trying it without help. Sadly, it was a “reconditioned” one. It seemed nice but about 40 minutes into the first DVD I tried watching it switched to VHS and any time I try to switch it back it just switches itself back to VHS again. Worse- the door won’t open, so there’s a DVD stuck inside (an NCIS). Also I’m feeling stupid for not checking it back when I ordered it, because I doubt they’ll want to replace it after this long. At least I now have one working DVD player, and one working VHS player. I would rather not have to switch them back and forth whenever I feel like watching something, but considering my over a thousand VHS library, probably over half of which I don’t have on DVD, I am pleased to be able to watch them again. I immediately watched Gunga Din, which I’d been wanting to see since I watched Sergeants Three a month ago. Having been sensitized by the horrible demeaning of Sammy Davis Jr. in the Rat Pack film, I was more aware of the way they treated the Indians in the older movie. The unconscious bigotry does make it harder to enjoy the good parts of the movies. I don’t want to be looking for things to be upset about, that’s not particularly helpful, but I am pleased that we’ve gotten better- even if we have a long way to go. I also watched The King and I and the new Jungle Book movie. Willow says people thought the animals weren’t well CGI’d, personally I was more offended by the violence they did to the original plot. (And why the heck did they voice Baloo as a cockney?) I can accept things they couldn’t help, but there should be a reason when you decide to deviate from a book that is so good you decide you want to make a movie from it. I did read Anna and the King of Siam when I was a kid, and first encountered the Musical. The historical tale was far darker than what they made from it- but I suppose that’s true of South Pacific too. (Come to think of it Carousel is really dark, wife beating and murdering, and even Oklahoma has “the good guy” trying to talk the “bad guy” into killing himself. No wonder they have to have people singing and dancing to distract them from the underlying menace!) I also watched Fierce Creatures, which had a lot of sexual humor, but I love it. I watched Cromwell, which I watched with Dad when it came out one summer. I can sympathize with his trying to make sure that the King was not “above the law”, but at the same time, knowing how when he got in power he tried to impose his own ideas on the whole country, I’m still uncomfortable with making a hero of him. Wanting to do good and help some people cannot justify doing horrible things to others.
I have to admit that sometimes I watch simply because going upstairs seems like too much effort. (I need to exercise more!) So I knit while watching. I finished a pair of mitts for Willow that match her shawl, and she likes the shawl.  Old shows like Bones and NCIS are easier, because I can look away while I’m cooking, but I couldn’t do that with Diabolique (It’s in French, and I can’t quite keep up without the subtitles); City Lights is, of course, a silent film. Knitting is about all I can do while watching a film that actually needs watching. I am currently working on another circular scarf- I’ve decided to call them wool leis- they are decorative like a necklace or a lei, but knit. I find them much easier to wear than jewelry.
I’ve been wishing I had my mother around to talk to, now that I am old enough to understand her better. When we were kids she’d tell us about reading comics, and movies she’d enjoyed when she was younger. I think she may have been trying to say “yes, it wasn’t that long ago for me. I do understand!” But all we were hearing was “Shirley Temple was a child movie star not an adult TV star”, our Flash had a hat, “We listened to Lone Ranger and Green Hornet on the Radio”, etc. We heard “It was different when I was a kid” was heard by us as “you’re doing it wrong” not “it’s changed, but not so much that I don’t get it.” At this point I’d love to explore and appreciate the changes that arose between the forties and sixties. At this point in my life, 20 years isn’t that much!
I really have been under motivated lately. I’ll read a few hours at night, then start reading again in the morning, often only getting up when the battery to my kindle runs out of charge. I finished the Lina Potter romances: Palace IntrigueThe Royal Court and Price of Happiness I was telling you about last week. It came out as I’d expected, the couple eventually fell in love even though he’d been disgusted by his wife when he first married her (and before the modern woman took over her body and dropped 100 pounds), and she thought he was a jackass. And he was. Even at the end he mostly liked her because she’d become beautiful, not because she was smart and accomplished and loyal and good for everyone around her. It was interesting while I read it, but it was also frustrating- more because of the “looks-ism” than bad history. (Potter didn’t seem to know that medieval Europe didn’t have potatoes and chocolate.) Oh well.
I finished reading the new translation of the Odyssey translated by Emily Watson. She kept a bit of the poetry in the translation, and the story- well there’s a reason its lasted three thousand years! The plot folds in and over itself like a croissant, but all makes sense. The characters are complex and appealing (when they are meant to be). If you haven’t re-read it recently, you might want to think about taking another look. I have just started A Discovery of Witches. I also just bought Fernando Salazar’s The Temple of Beauty & Fractured Symmetry, on kindle (admittedly, one was a free download this weekend); I like reading what my friends have written. If they are interesting to talk to, they probably have something to say in a book as well. A bunch of TED talks on how the timing of when you eat motivated me to pick up the book Chrononutrition. I shall attempt to not to try to bug you about timing meals to help with your metabolism. I want to get back to  reading some non-fiction, my “TBR” pile is full of marvelous books (currently on top: Myth and Materiality).
Oh! The computer just told me it’s one o’clock. Staying awake reading in bed until one hardly seems worth mentioning, but at the same time staying up until now at the computer seems inappropriate. Oh well.
Tchipakkan

… and popcorn