This Holy Weekend, Carjo and I commemorate the bad times. There was an Easter in our past when we had zero money, no invitations to dinner, crushing debts, and hardly any groceries in the house. So after church we came home, fried up cheeseburgers and watched Popeye on an old VHS tape (our cable had been disconnected).
Not many people are fond of the Popeye movie and I admit it’s not a perfect film. We saw it as young marrieds and though we are not fond of musicals, several of the songs made it into our couples vocabulary: He’s Large, Everything is Food, etc.). It became a thing for us. Lots of couples have “things”, little touchstones that they share together again and again. Popeye is one of those for us.
I’m dispatched to find Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth for my wife to view, either on Netflix, Amazon, or cable. Carjo will play her dad’s Tennessee Ernie Ford albums. And despite the fact that Carjo will be making a traditional ham dinner this weekend, our main meal for Easter will be cheeseburgers, followed by a viewing of the Popeye movie. You can’t celebrate the good times without remembering where you have been.
We’ve finally succumbed to peer and societal pressure. We’ve begun to watch House of Cards on Netflix.
“Money is the Mc-mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who doesn’t see the difference.” How the hell can you not be fascinated by a character that spins out something like that. Frank Underwood is easily the most quotable character since Gregory House MD rode away on a motorcycle with Wilson.
I assume we’ve now done about 8 episodes in 36 hours and probably will stagger back for more very soon. It’s not perfect by any means but sweet mercy, it never fails to engage or entertain. I worked for a short time in a congressional district office and I’d hear stories from the DC HQ now and then. It was never up to this level of machination but the stress level and hours spent at work would make an Apple design team assume the fetal position. DC is indeed a crazy place. But what really makes this work is the complexity of the characters and how well the actors work that complexity. When you create a character, many writers stick to one or two notes to define them. To get your creations to be as truly complex as Frank and Claire Underwood takes a lot of work and I applaud the writers on this show for digging this deep. I don’t know if Frank goes under any profound change but I doubt if any epiphanies are in his future. But Claire appears to be on a journey of sorts and I wonder how that is going to affect their partnership. Anyway, we are locked in for the ride and anxious to see where it takes us. Don’t send me any spoilers. I can be as ruthless as Frank.
April 16, 2014
Tagged writing, netflix, television, House of Cards, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright., characters, Washington DC, power, binge watching
I have made a few posts about the deplorable state of science fiction on television and its equally dismal future. So you can imagine my glee and jubilation when this news broke:
For those unfamiliar with The Expanse, it’s a trilogy set in the somewhat near future in our solar system. I just finished Abaddon’s Gate a few weeks ago and the series is one of my favorite space operas in at least a decade. James SA Corey is the nom de plume of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. These two fiendish bastards put us on quite the ride in these books. Once the plot is set in motion the pace is relentless, the characters often quite remarkable, and the prose is as smooth as the hull on a starcruiser. Daniel Abraham has built up a reputation as a thinking man’s fantasy author and Ty Franck is the assistant of George RR Martin (by now you should know who that is or I don’t know what you’re doing here). I feel obligated to post this photo which I think was taken after the shock of the TV deal settled in.
Of course, this is SyFy so my guess is some of the grit will be scaled back, profanity removed, etc. But with capable writers and an adequate budget this should be the series we genre fans have been waiting for a very long time (depending on when you thought BSG jumped the shark).
I haven’t been this excited since HBO announced that they were picking up a series based on a fantasy book called Game of Thrones. We all know how that turned out.
April 15, 2014
Tagged #don'tfuckthisup, Abaddon's Gate, daniel abraham, fantasy, game of thrones, george rr martin, science fiction, SyFy, the Expanse series, Ty Franck, writing
We got some snow overnight. I think it started around ten last night. Sansa had gone outside earlier because she has absolutely no sense at all and when I hobbled into my wife’s office I heard this unholy screeching at the sliding glass door. She came in with moisture clinging to her and I assumed that it was raining. Carjo turned on the TV station that shows the current radar and sure enough, we had a cloud of blue passing over us. Snow.
This snow won’t last. Even at forty degrees above, the sun is too strong to let this stuff remain for more than a day. Like I said, it’s not that I’ve been able to go out and frolic in the backyard, let alone pick up dog droppings. So unlike the snow, they’ll keep for another week or two. Then the frolicking will begin in earnest.
This cat is one tough, robust sonovabitch. For a little while we were making final plans for Jasper. He was making some strange noises in his throat, had trouble purring and couldn’t speak at all, there was this gurgling cough that was scary to consider, he had been sleeping poorly… But last night he walked into the living room like he used to, climbed up on the top of the love seat, and started to groom himself. This morning he took a solid three hour nap and climbed into my lap for attention when he was done.
So maybe this isn’t cardiomyopathy or some other system failure, just an upper respiratory bug that he is now shaking off. This cat is old but has always been pretty robust. If he really has turned the corner it’s a sure sign of his stubborn ability to keep on truckin’. And I am thankful for that.
We just took a spin around town and man, it was nice to get outside. We had some bills to mail/drop off, mail to pick up, etc., and then we drove out by the BBQ place just outside of town. The temperature is in the high 50s, which for most North Dakota natives feels like 75. I had a sweatshirt on while driving and I was getting too warm.
This is a nice clip of Alice, back in the day when he and that band actually were somewhat dangerous, before the band broke up and AC’s act descended into shtick. He might not have been the most articulate spokesman of us late baby boomers but a lot of his early stuff (especially “Eighteen”) were songs we could identify with. The band never had the visceral impact of the upper tier of early 70s bands but they could kick up some dust, especially when they had a riff like this one.
On the night of my high school graduation, my entire class were changing into their gowns in the school cafeteria. Someone had brought in a small cassette tape player and “School’s Out” was being repeatedly blared at the highest possible volume. A couple of my female classmates climbed on top of one of the dining tables and were dancing and singing along. The kicker was, I think it was a couple of the “good girls”. Our superintendent opened the door, surveyed the situation, and said to the principal, “here’s one more class I’m glad to see the last of”. My hat is off to Alice for an anthem that, at the time, meant something.