27.11.17

Culture Vulturing at an awkward moment



Because when you're in Dublin, and the Abbey Theatre has a production, you go, right?  And so, I did.  This production, Let The Right One In, is based on the Swedish movie (which was based on a novel) and was just opening when we saw it, although it was originally seen on stage in London, New York and other places since 2013.  I mention this to give some context: this isn't a new production (except in Dublin) nor is the subject matter new.  I also mention this to tell you that there are no spoilers here because see above.

Without getting into the performances or the technical aspects (although I certainly could), there was one moment that took me aback.  Those who know me know I love me some vampires.  And I know that Eli is a vampire.  And that Haken is not her father but an old man in love with Eli, an old man who probably fell in love with her and agreed to be her protector (thrall?), helping her to cover up her killings and move from town to town when much younger.  But Haken is at the end of his life, while Eli is still "young" - and his despair at this realization and that Eli might be looking for someone new/younger is palpable.  So when Eli offers to remove her shirt, or to sleep with Haken, I know that this is actually a very old being offering comfort to a younger man but... but... the visual is of a young girl and a much older man. 

Had I seen this when it was on stage in New York (2015) or London (2014) or even two months ago, that moment wouldn't have taken me aback.  But in this post-Weinstein, post-Spacey, post-Roy Moore moment?  It did.  There have been a number of articles about how we come to grips with the artistic works of people (like Woody Allen or Richard Wagner) when we have contempt for the person.  Clearly this moment isn't about that, but it did make me wonder: how will the vampire story fare, on or off screen, given our moment of #metoo?

12.11.17

Landmarking

We all have those landmarks we're waiting to pass: first birthday, first time in "double digits", first time driving a car, getting into college, buying a car or house, etc..  It's a natural way to measure time and our progress in the world. 

Over the past couple of years I've started to think about upcoming landmarks, some of which are personal (health, family) and some are professional (retirement, last job).  Last night, as I drifted off to sleep, some of those drifted through my mind, not always in a pleasant way.  Example: I have so many books on Mt. Bookpile - will I ever read them?  Another example: since my eye problems began, I've had two relapses - when is the next one, or can we prevent it?

And then there was the pleasant one of our Big Girl giving me kisses as I read (totally interrupting Saturday Book Club reading), something I haven't had since last year when our Old Guy joined the Mantle Cats.  And our Only Guy has gotten a little friendlier... my landmark will be when he lets me cuddle him (or, more realistically, when he curls up in bed and doesn't run away after a minute).

I've been reflecting on some of the landmarks long since passed, and others that never really happened.  Some, like children, were just not going to happen.  Others?  Most days I don't think about them but some days there's a fleeting regret.  Let me be clear: I hate regrets.  They're like guilty pleasures - at a certain point in your life, stop.  You're too old to feel guilt about something that gives you pleasure.  I've reached that time, but the time to stop having regrets?  Not so much.

Maybe that's my next landmark?  The land of no regrets.  Or as close to it I can get.

27.10.17

Lazy Thoughts

Reading... Jo Nesbo's The Snowman.  It's a series I've been reading out of order (not sure that matters in this case) and because of the movie it made sense to read this one now.  As mysteries go, there are enough twists and red herrings to keep me interested; as series go, Hole is compelling but he's pretty bleak as a "leading man".

Listening... to Camille O'Sullivan.  Several years ago, Thing Two gave me a CD by Camille, which led me to buy tickets to see a Camille when Thing One and I were in Edinburgh in 2007... turns out, there were two singers using the same name!  Now there's one going by Camille and one going by Camille O'Sullivan.  I've never seen the original, but have seen the "new" one three times, including last week at Irish Arts, where she did an evening of Jacques Brel.

Watching... my DVR'd list grow, while not actually watching much more than some morning news.  Too much to read, to many naps to take and far too much else going on to have the time.  Next month maybe.

Following...  this year's My Simpler Year program and beginning to plan for 2018.  I've already offloaded several "heavy weight" items from my mental and physical lives, but what hasn't gone needs work.

Uncorking... Warwick Valley's Black Dirt Red.  Because I'm out of Henry of Pelham's Baco Noir.

Looking... at leaves turning and enjoying the sights of fall.  Earlier this week I was at NELA and had the extreme pleasure of driving from Boston to Burlington and back - gorgeous.

20.10.17

Culture Vulturing: Three Times Lucky

Many years ago, as a senior in college, I had the opportunity to go to England for Spring Break (yeah, I know - spring. England. Not the warmest place in the world.). Because I'd been there before, I knew that once I got to Oxford, I'd head to the ticket booth to see what I could see during my time there and in London.  One ticket?  "Henry V" at Stratford

The visual experience was stunning.  There was one scene that took my breath away, when the French army, in gleaming gold, silver and copper colors, rises up from below/behind the ragtag English army.  Just gorgeous.  And then there was the relatively unknown lead, a guy named Kenneth Brannagh.  I returned to Oxford and told my mother that I'd seen an incredible actor, one I'm sure would go on to do amazing work.  His Hamlet, which I saw a few years later, was equally great. 

One time lucky.

On a later visit to London, Thing One and I were at loose ends and decided maybe a visit to the opera would be nice.  By complete chance, we managed to get seats to La Traviata.  Which, apparently, is considered one of the greatest productions in modern times.  Now, I hadn't seen this before and I'm certainly not enough of an opera scholar to have known this at the time.  I just knew it was a wonderful evening and that the performances were incredible.  And Angela Gheorghiu? A star was born.

Two times lucky.

Two nights ago I accompanied a friend to the Lyric Opera production of Tosca.  Why?  Her son is in a children's chorus and he'd be appearing in the first act.  Ok.  I'm up for it.  "Buzz" says that the woman portraying Tosca is gonna be big.  What do I know?  I know it was a fun evening.  The production was rather minimal in terms of set, but the performers were not minimal.  And my friend's son may have decided (at the ripe old age of 12!) to become an opera singer.

So, three times lucky.

29.9.17

Lazy Thoughts

Reading... adult books, still.  And am in need of a palate cleanser - yet most of my go-to authors either published earlier this year or aren't planning to.  Sigh. Ideas?

Listening... to whatever shows up on my iPod.  It's not that I don't care, it's that there's a lot going on and I'm using my time driving to/from work to think.  Yes, I should be more mindful or present.  Working on that, I promise.

Watching... the last season of 19-2.  I binged watched most of it last weekend, but saved the last episode for this one.

Following... The Lightning Notes.  My friend Diana pointed me to them a while ago and, well, it's a "must read" in my Feedbin lists. Example:



Uncorking... nothing, at the moment.  Lots of tea being drunk, however, thanks to finding MEM Tea's outlet nearby.  Although I will have to order some from my two fave Canadian shops soon.

Looking... at my cankles and really hoping that I can get off the Prednisone soon.  I really don't want to have to buy new shoes and clothes because of this stupid eye thing.

25.9.17

The easy way out (aka "the problem with Facebook")

The other day, a friend posted this on Facebook:


As someone who has autoimmune diseases, and as someone who has many friends fighting their own battles against them, I appreciate the thought but... UGH.

Look at the last three words: copy and paste.  Why?  What possible good will that do?  Why not "type AMEN and share" or "can I get 10,000 likes" or some other (to my mind) incredibly passive way of supporting people who are depressed, fighting a disease, or otherwise pushing for recognition or bringing attention to a favored cause or point-of-view?  Instead, why not encourage people to call their Senator or other elected official to encourage them to fund medical research and health care access?  Why not donate to research hospitals looking for cures?  Or to hospitals (or health care organizations like Doctors Without Borders who provide care to those in dire situations)?  Or, in your hometown, to a hospital or nursing home so those who can't afford good care can get it?

Far too many of my friends - and there are only two people I'm connected to on Facebook who are not friends off Facebook, one of whom was my father's advisee "back in the day" so of course I had to "friend" him - post these things.  One of my relatives constantly posts links and pleas to sign online petitions , none of which I sign because they have no weight much less vetting.

Example?  The amazing support (in school librarian-land) for Carl Harvey's petition asking for support from the White House to get a certified school librarian in every school.  So much excitement, so much chatter... and ultimately, the response was "thanks, we'll pass this along"

How many of these petitions, reposts, AMENS and sharings have an effect?  It's the easy way out, the easy way to sit back and think you're actually doing something, honoring someone or supporting a cause.  And that's one of the huge problems with Facebook.  The goal, as I understand it, was to bring people at Harvard together, to get to know classmates better.  The result, or one of the results, has been to encourage a passive form of supporting those in need or getting involved.

I'm thinking of posting a request that friends refrain from reposting memes, gifs, Game of Thrones photos, etc. for a week.  How many shares do you think that'll get?  Hey: share this post.  That'll help!

24.9.17

A suggestion

After a weekendfull (ok, really more like a coupleofyearsfull) of everyone being shocked, saddened, enraged, etc. over the ever more outrageous statements by Trump, it should be clear to all that there's only one thing driving this: his colossal ego.

Does he really believe his statements? Is there any mind at work there? WHO CARES??? If it can lead all the talk shows, dominate headlines and keep attention focused on him, The Donald will say and do anything. He's the little kid who knows that as long as it's attention it's good, even when it's about horrible actions and thoughts.

So... what if we just ignored him? Let him hold a rally or press conference, give a speech, have a heart attack, skinny dip in the Rose Garden, reunite with Ivana - anything. And just ignore it. No commentary. No discussion. No bloviating by employees of former administrations. No outraged twitter reposts and responses.

Put him in a Time Out.

And do that every time he acts less than presidential. Every time he gives an inflammatory speech.  Every time he tweets to his base.

It'd drive him crazy.

But maybe, just maybe, we'd all regain our sanity.

23.9.17

Achievement Unlocked!

I guess I wasn't paying attention a few days ago when I posted my review of The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole but... drum roll.... it was my 2000th (that's two thousandth) book review since starting the Killin' Time Reading blog in 2008.  Not every book I've read got reviewed thanks to work I have done and am currently doing on book award committees or read for professional review on SLJ's Adult Books 4 Teens blog.  Still, that's essentially one book every 1.8 days.

My name is Lazygal and I have no life outside reading.  For realz.

16.9.17

CRION over youuuuuu,...

Pardon the musical pun (but at least it's better than this one, which apparently has no relevance for the 30-ish and under crowd).

Anyway, as of this week we have a definite diagnosis for my eye.  Last week, a mere two days after stepping down on the Prednisone - and trust me, you do not ever want to go on a high-dose of that drug as the side effects are nasty - I started to relapse.  Fast.  Emergency trip to the doctor and yes, confirmation.  I have CRION.  It's something, like my lack of a gallbladder or missing cartilage in my knees or being a mere 5'4.5", that I'll be living with my entire life.  And the level of Prednisone I need to prevent further relapses is not sustainable over the long term.

It also means that starting yesterday, we (my doctor and I) will be monitoring my liver and kidney functions as my immune system won't be working due to CellCept, a drug that usually prevents donated organs from being rejected by the donee's body.  The good news is that the side effects, beyond an increased susceptibility to the average cough and sniffle, are minimal.  No more heart palpitations.  No more "post-vomit" mouth taste (one of the better Prednisone side effects!).  No more tremors.  And, with luck, no more relapses or fear that this will cross into my right eye.

Unfortunately, CellCept takes a couple of months to really take effect.  And you can't just stop Prednisone, you have to taper it off.  Plus, see above re: needing high levels to be able to prevent relapses. So I'll be taking both for a while.  Ugh.

Still, it could be so much worse.  I could be unable to work, or read, or watch tv or live a normal life.  I could live in Florida or Texas, trying to rebuild my life after Harvey or Irma.  I could have an incredibly serious disease that won't easily be controlled by taking pills daily.  I could be a Mets fan.  Or a Jets fan.

11.9.17

Notable Quotes

I'm FINE!
"Ruth Zardo" (Glass Houses by Louise Penny)

A propos of this post on Lightning Notes