Friday, April 22, 2016

Getting busy

I am back to my old tricks, home improvements.  It's also for the usual reason, people are coming over.  Usually company would just require cleaning, but these will be work colleagues of M's, so the house needs to look good too.  This week I moved all the downstairs furniture, multiple times, so I could steam clean all the carpets downstairs.  I miss our old hardwoods. Then I hauled 40 bags of mulch to clean up the beds on the front lawn.  I haven't been this exhausted in a long time.  

I also sanded and painted horseshoes and cleaned up the horseshoe pits in case anyone would want to play.  While I was at it, I touched up the paint on the patio furniture.

Then, just because I didn't have enough to do, and because this went with spiffing up the property, I noticed the finish on the front door was worn off, exposing the wood, and just generally looking run down, so of course I felt he need to re-stain it.  I have also found some time to continue working on my book, and somehow lose a few pounds without even trying.  Overall, I'd say this has been a busy and productive week.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Feel the Bern

We drove an hour and a half this morning so I could attend my first Bernie Sanders' rally in Rochester, NY.  There were easily over 200 people there. There was singing, speeches, and inspiration.  I also made phone calls for the campaign last week.   Let me tell you, there are some really angry and nasty people in the state of South Carolina.  Anyway, I don't know if my guy will make it past the primary, but I have to try to change the system however I can.  It was nice to be among like-minded people for a change.

Friday, February 12, 2016

I finished a book!

I received this book for Christmas, and look here, February's not even gone yet and I have finished it.  Unheard of!  So what did I think of this book?  By the end of it, I enjoyed it.  Let me tell you why.

I won't give any spoilers in telling you this, the chapters are set up like vignettes into each character's life. Now, that's not a problem generally, but the beginning of this book was.

When an author uses this device, rather than just running straight through in a logical manner to tell a story, it says to me, the straight story isn't very interesting, let's cut it up, jumble it about, to keep the reader guessing, and tell the story in pieces.

Some authors can do this to good effect, this author didn't really accomplish that until the last third of the book.  At the beginning of the book, I found it very annoying and distracting to constantly be jumping from one story and character, to yet another that had nothing to do with the previous one.  Of course I understood, in all likelihood, the characters and their story lines probably would connect at some point, which is why I stuck with the book.  Even when I could see the connections to the characters, I didn't think the author successfully transitioned from one story to the next.  I think that's what annoyed me the most.

In every chapter, there's a logical place to end it and a way to connect it to the next chapter, as I said, I don't feel like the author did that very well at the beginning of the book, but got better at it as the book moved along.

Now some of you might think, the author was doing the same thing all along, it just took you until the last third of the book to truly connect with the characters to see this.

No, I don't believe so.  I was not only reading this book for enjoyment, I was paying attention to how it was constructed, to give me ideas on how to write my own book.  At various points I remember thinking, the author could have connected this better, transitioned better, etc.

Overall, though, I did enjoy the story, at least enough to finish the book.  The book is set during WWII, and there's scant mention of Jews in this story, which is fine, that's not the story it was trying to tell, but when it did tell of what was occurring under the Nazis in Germany leading up to, and during the war, I would have liked a little more background of what was happening and how the characters felt about it.  The book touched on this, only a little bit, when it focused on one character in school.  It focused on another aspect of society in occupied France, and I think the author did a much better job letting the reader see what it was like to be occupied.  He started to do a good job on the fighting on the Russian front, then backed off.

I don't know.  Overall, I guess it's an okay book, but I found it lacking in too many parts.  M started reading it in an airport, which is what possessed her to get it for me, because she found it interesting, and she knew of my interest in WWII.  I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has read this and had a different impression of it.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The last 3 weeks have been a bit much

Dec. 28, Lemmy Kilmister, Motörhead
Dec. 31, Natalie Cole, singer 
Jan. 4, Country singer Craig Strickland, of the band Backroad Anthem
Jan. 10, David Bowie
Jan. 12, Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams)
Jan. 14, Alan Rickman, revered British actor
Jan. 18, Glenn Frey

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Binge watching Orphan Black

A few years ago we started watching this new show, Orphan Black.  It was an interesting concept, we enjoyed the pace of the show and the acting, but then the t.v. station kept changing the days and times they aired the show, that we lost track of when it was on and gave up on it.  Well, just recently we discovered it on, On Demand, and have been binge watching the first three seasons.  Season 4 begins in April.  

The concept for this show is the lead charcter, Sarah Manning, sees a woman commit suicide by jumping in front of a train, and just before she jumps, she turns to look at Sarah, and we see they look alike. This starts a process with Sarah assuming this woman's identity to find out who she was, and maybe take the tens of thousands in cash she has in her bank account.  Sarah very quickly gets caught up in murder and espionage as she discovers she, like the woman who killed herself, are one of many clones.  The series follows her path in trying to figure out who is behind the cloning and what sinister purpose they had for creating them.  

Each season adds a new layer to who these clones are, discovering more clones, trying to evade people who want to study them, and people who want to destroy them.  The story is very interesting, the acting and filming is nothing short of brilliant because the woman playing Sarah Manning is playing all the clone roles.  She looks, sounds, and moves differently for each clone, and she is so good at it, that it's really believable that these are different people.  Also, the filming and editing is fantastic!  There are always scenes when two or more clones are on screen together, talking to one another, and interacting with one another like dancing together, fighting, etc., and it looks like these are different people in the same room together, but it's actually the same actress shooting these scenes separately, and then being edited together.  If you haven't seen Orphan Black yet, do yourself a favor and watch this bit of brilliance.  It's a great show on many levels.

Sunday, January 3, 2016