Move It Move It

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Last week I made a valiant (and somewhat misguided) attempt to turn my basement upside down.  It’s looking pretty upside down to me now whenever I walk through it to get to the laundry room, so I guess you could say my efforts ended in success.  But knowing the details might make you rethink that conclusion.

I’ve been reluctant to tell this story because it makes me look like an idiot.  So I’ll just tell you right up front I have other excuses.  I’m old, for one thing.  Officially now, because the government said so.  They will be sending me money at the end of this month to remove all doubt.  Old people do some weird shit, and it’s not because they’re intrinsically stupid or anything, it’s mostly because they forget that there are things they’re simply not physically capable of getting away with anymore.

Here’s the background.  Don’t worry, it’s short.  Our television set is ancient and my son offered to wall mount his previous flat screen TV (they have a new and improved model) in our family room and hook it up for us, thus getting us back into the current century as far as home entertainment goes.

He can do this only if we move the monstrosity of a wall unit/entertainment center piece-of-crap furniture (which looks like a prop from that 70’s show) away from the wall where the new TV will go.  He suggested we throw it out.  But I’ve made silly promises to myself about things like that, so I can’t do it.  Besides, I must have somewhere to store our thousands of VHS tapes and DVD’s.  And other assorted crap which has no other home.  Sigh.

He also said moving it was part of the deal, and in no way or at any time did he suggest I should move it on my own.  He also didn’t give me strict orders not to, perhaps because it didn’t occur to him that I might try.   But I’ve been moving furniture around by myself all my life. Often up and down stairs.  I know how to empty things completely and remove drawers and take things apart until they’re manageable.  The trick is to take it slow.  Do it a bit at a time.  Preferably not in your bare feet.  That’s experience talking, right there.

The first thing to come off the wall unit was the TV which I slid carefully on to a sturdy end table kind of thing with a top surface at almost the same height.  So that was easy.  It did involve some unplugging of things but I was able to get everything reconnected and working again, so if W comes home in July to a still completely messed up basement, at least he won’t go off the deep end about having no TV.

A couch, two chairs and a coffee table are now stacked high with wall unit contents.  This includes two heavy drawers full of heavy things.  I am saving going through all this for another rainy day when I’m wearing shoes and have stocked up on garbage bags. Or when  I’m organizing a colossal garage sale.  I haven’t decided.   I could have stopped here, of course, and waited to move this thing across the room, but I had already moved other smaller things into the toy room to clear a big space and the sliding thing had gone so well.  I decided to slide the top half of the wall unit on to two end tables placed at either end.  This was trickier because of its length and having to go back and forth inching it off evenly a bit at a time.  Then the bottom half was easy to slide across the carpet to the new location.  I should have stopped at this point too.  But now I was cocky and confident enough to move the top half across the room by moving each end table a foot or so at a time.  The tops got very scratched up in the process, but they were already in need of a good sanding down.  Or a good throwing out.  Another project for another day.

With the top half in front of the bottom half, all that remains is to WAIT FOR ANOTHER PERSON to lift up one end while I lift the other and set it gently back where it belongs.  That’s how things are sitting right now as we speak.  However, there’s another little episode to relate here in which I briefly believed I was superwoman and could lift this huge thing on my own.  It didn’t end well, except for the part where I didn’t die.  It toppled over and fell face first on the carpet.  On the way down, one of the little glass doors opened (did I mention those stupid glass doors?)  Well, to make a long story slightly shorter, one of them made it to the garbage bin intact, but the other one went there in a gazillion pieces.  A lot of it got sucked up by the vacuum cleaner.

The good news is, the carpet has probably never been so well vacuumed in years.  And I’m WAY smarter than I was before.  Plus alive.   And we will never again have to wipe dirty finger prints off those two pieces of glass.  Not that I remember ever doing that, but still.  I’m trying to feel like slightly less of a moron by looking on the bright side.

Yesterday I wanted to change some things around in the bedroom because I’m tired of where the computer is and I wondered if moving it somewhere else would inspire me to sit down at it more often to write.  I stood in the middle of the room for a very long time considering the possibilities.  The feeling passed, and I didn’t move one damned thing.

Older and wiser!  At last, that could be me.

Intel and Espionage

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Although I say I never watch television, it’s not the whole truth.  For the second time, against my better judgement, I have been glued to Netflix the way I was with “Once Upon a Time” a few months ago.  This past couple of weeks it’s been “Covert Affairs” that has had me hooked.  And yes, I did watch the whole thing (well, as much as is available here on Netflix), episode after episode until the end of season three.  That is a lot of episodes.  And a lot of getting nothing else done and being annoyed that there were actually other things I should be doing.   Like going to work and eating and sleeping.

If you don’t know this Annie Walker, I think you might like her.  She’s a CIA operative who can do just about anything a man can do, but she does it all in high heels.  How impressive is that?  Her empathy is both her biggest strength and her greatest weakness.  She dodges bullets, tells lies, accomplishes impossible missions, solves puzzles and always breaks the rules.  My kind of girl.

annie walker

Okay, thank God season four isn’t on there yet.  I’ve started having dreams about high-speed car chases and double agents and people running around in airports.  You think they’re just late for their flight, but no, think again.  They are spies.  Or with the FBI.  Or some foreign intelligence agency. Once you get this, you may never want to fly again.  Or leave your house.  Or trust a stranger.

It’s unfortunate that some of my favourite characters have disappeared or been blown up in cars or shot dead in kitchens, but that’s how Annie’s world works. I hope Netflix decides to get the next two seasons so I can be immersed in her world again sometime.  Sleeping is highly overrated in comparison.

Nobody Likes This

nobody likes this

 

This reminds me of the suggestion to change my password to ‘incorrect‘ so that when I can’t remember it, the prompt will say ‘your password is incorrect’.

No, I don’t know why two such dissimilar things seem to me to be connected but there you go.

We spent an excellent weekend with kids and grandkids, and although I hate to say so and jinx it, the weather was BEAUTIFUL!  It’s actually still beautiful today.  We were sitting outside on lawn chairs beside our snow mountain watching the kids try to pummel it into submission, but it’s a pretty hard packed hill that will be around for a while yet.  There was also a dog catching snowballs.  Entertainment like that is hard to find.

When I got home from work today there were three messages with gorgeous artwork sitting on the pillows of my bed, and another one on top of my computer.  See how well these kids know me?  Those are the two places I would be certain to find stuff, that’s for sure.  And my fridge is completely papered over once again with delightful works of art.

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend and a fun April Fools Day.   Think Spring.

Liberal Arts Movie Review

liberal arts

Watched this on Netflix the other night and was pleasantly surprised by some excellent casting and a feel good story with a better ending than anticipated.  There were some funny parts and some thought provoking moments.  Movie watching doesn’t get much better than that.

Cast/Synopsis:

Jesse (Josh Radnor) introverted and uninspired 35-year-old admissions officer at a school in New York, recently dumped by his latest girlfriend, is invited to speak at a retirement dinner in Ohio for a former college professor.  He goes back to this nostalgic place where his life held the most passion and promise to face some truths and revelations about himself.  He encounters some influential people in his quest for connection and meaning in his life.  (Josh Radnor wrote the screenplay, by the way.)

Peter Hobert (Richard Jenkins) the retiring professor who is second guessing his retirement. (Nobody feels like an adult. It’s the world’s dirty secret.)

Judith Fairfield (Allison Janney) One of Jesses favourite teachers – brilliant, but cold, cynical, and condescending.  (Put some armour around that gooey little heart of yours.)

Nat (Zac Efron) free spirit visiting a friend, killing some time, navigating life at university on his own terms.  (Don’t say no – fortune never smiles on those who say no.)

Dean (John Magaro) intelligent but angst ridden undergraduate student, always with his nose in a book, seen as a younger more self-destructive version of Jesse himself, depressed and suicidal.  (I kind of just wish this would all be over with as soon as possible.  Why did you love it here so much?)

Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) seemingly wise beyond her 19 years, embarks on a relationship with Jesse.  (Age is a stupid thing to obsess over. What if reincarnation is real, huh? Think about that – what if I’m like thousands of years older than you?)

Ana (Elizabeth Reaser) the clerk in the bookstore back home who has been patiently waiting the entire movie for Jesse to finally notice her. (I want to be an old lady with long, gray hair in a ponytail….and I want a really, really wrinkly face….and a small house, maybe by some water. I think getting old could be really nice.)

Warning:

This film contains classical music and references to great works of literature.  And no real violence or nudity or bad language.  So I guess it’s not for everyone.

Why You Should See It Anyway:

All the acting is good, but Elizabeth Olsen shines.  We get to look at life from the points of view of three different age groups.  Zibby wants to rush forward into her future, Jesse looks back in order to find out how to move forward, and Peter finds himself looking back and wondering what happened, regretting that there is no going back.

Best Quote:

Zibby:  I sometimes feel like I’m looking down on myself. Like there’s this older, wiser me watching over this 19-year-old rough draft, who’s full of all this potential, but has to live more to catch up with that other self somehow. And I know I’ll get there. It’s just sometimes I think I want to rush the process, you know? And I don’t know, maybe – maybe I thought you were some sort of shortcut. Does that make any sense?

Jesse: If I wrote you, I would be like, “This is the best rough draft ever.”

Jane Fonda is Peace and Love

Yesterday it snowed and melted and snowed some more.  When I drove home from work the roads were icy, dry, and icy again.  Mostly the ice was at stop lights and around road curves of course, so the going was slow.  And it unnerved me just enough to decide venturing out again, even three or four blocks to go out for something to eat, just wasn’t worth it.  Never mind sliding into someones bumper from behind, I don’t want to slip and fall on my butt in a parking lot either.

So what to do with a quiet couple of after-work hours (before reading myself into oblivion) while W watches sports on tv?  By the way, I’m not totally out of the sports loop.  I’m cheering for the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.  And no, I haven’t watched a game yet, but when it’s closer to the end I’ll probably get sucked in like everybody else.  If there’s a contest for world’s worst sports fan, I’m a contender.  Meanwhile, time to check out new arrivals on Netflix.

And this is the delightful movie I decided to watch;  Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding, starring -


Chace Crawford (Cole), Elizabeth Olsen (Zoe), Jane Fonda (Grace), Catherine Keener (Diane), Jeffery Dean Morgan (Jude), Marissa O’Donnell (Tara) and Nat Wolff (Jake).  Do I pay attention, or what??

The story is predictable (not just somewhat contrived) fun, with great casting.  I cannot imagine anyone but Jane Fonda as the beautiful Grace, stuck in the ’60’s forever.  Diane is an uptight New York City lawyer whose equally uptight lawyer husband tells her he wants a divorce.  She packs up her teenage kids and goes off to visit her estranged (for 20 years) hippie mother at her farmhouse in the countryside near Woodstock.  It turns into a summer adventure of romance (for all three of them).  They attend a war protest and a music festival, participate in some moon howling, learn a few family secrets, and make some very clichéd self discoveries.

Perfect.  I wanted some mindless diversion, and this delivered. I don’t care that the movie got less than rave reviews – every movie doesn’t have to be some powerful statement about some controversial event.  Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding is harmless fun with a delightfully happy ending.  Good for the hippie soul.

Snow White and the Huntsman Movie Night

On Tuesday night I was all set to watch this movie after work, but the DVD wouldn’t play!  So I had to take it back and exchange it for another one.  The customer service person told me it was possible they got a ‘bad batch’ of the movie, and if the exchanged one also didn’t work, my next move should be to take it back to a different store where they were more likely to have a ‘good batch’.  At that point I began to question how much I really needed to see the damned thing.  I mean the movie sleeve shows an angst ridden Kristen Stewart looking glum, Chalize Theron all poised and gorgeously, wickedly evil, and a hatchet wielding Chris Hemsworth ready to kill somebody.  Or something.  That part isn’t clear.  But really, I already know the story, right?

Well not really.  The second DVD worked just fine, and I was pleasantly surprised by some of the delightful twists and turns as I watched it last night.  But here’s the most delightful thing of all – Kristen Stewart.  Give the girl kudos for this one.  She is good.  And she almost smiles a couple of times.  Even though she sees her dead father with a bloody knife embedded in his heart and is locked up in the north tower of the castle for half  of her young life, escapes to the perils of the dark forest, and has her life saved by one of the dwarves when he sacrifices his own for her.  Then there’s the small matter of her heart being a big part of the wicked queens quest for immortality.  There is not a lot to smile about.

I love the fact that it’s not the prince who breaks the poisoned apple spell.  If that’s a spoiler, sorry.  And the ending isn’t exactly happily ever after either, but you get the feeling that it’s a definite possibility.

And then there’s this – beautiful and haunting music to go with a rather sad part.

 

Maybe you won’t be blown away by this movie as the sleeve suggests, but I don’t think you’ll be unmoved by it either.  There’s some incredibly beautiful bits and some excellent special effects.  For lots of reasons,  I want to watch it all over again.

Once In A Blue Moon

I hope it’s a clear night tonight so that we can all get a good look at that big old blue moon!  Because I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly seen one before.

Here’s a song to watch blue moons by.  It’s also a reminder that they don’t make background singers like they used to.  And a nudge to dig up that old American Graffiti VHS tape and watch it one more time.

Happy blue moon/last day of August everyone.

 

You Don’t Become A Hero by Being Normal

Yesterday I went to see the first 3-D movie of my life.  It was one of those spur of the moment things to decide to go at all and a last-minute decision as to which show to see.

So suddenly there we were, crazy glasses on, watching ParaNorman with things jumping off the screen into our faces.

There were some scary gruesome bits, so it might not be suitable for the very young, but kids quickly get to the age where they think it’s fun to be grossed out by ghosts and zombies.  It’s a great bold story with a strong moral lesson.  I don’t think it’s just for kids.

Grabbing Life by the Balls

The Big C is a television series I’ve been watching on Netflix.  Is this not the absolute best way to watch these things – having the power to skip all the intros and the credits and cut to the next episode with no commercial interruptions?    Although I rarely watch anything on tv anymore, I guess you could call this a condensed version of doing just that.

Thinking it was a movie when I first clicked on it turned out to be a happy accident because otherwise I wouldn’t have started watching it at all.  Days later and almost to the end of season 2, I’m still hooked.   So I suppose it’s safe to say I like many things about it.  The acting, the writing, the portrayal of not one but several messed up lives and how they intertwine.  Some of the situations seem a little too contrived, but the excellent acting always saves it.

After having listened to bits of the theme song a dozen times I was compelled to hear the whole thing.  And I’ve come to love it too.

Wikipedia  has a well detailed article on the premise and cast here .  The show is into its third season, so they must be doing something right.

Every person living with cancer or close to someone fighting the disease has a story to tell.  Some of us have been given a heads-up on how long we’ve got to get our shit together affairs in order.  Most of us think we have forever.  But the only thing for sure about the life we’re living is that it ends.  You take the life you are given and you deal with it.  It’s the living and the dealing that make you who you are and your life what it is.

Grabbing life by the balls seems to me like one of the best options we’ve got.  So let’s just do that.

Musical Interlude

You do something to me.

Something that simply mystifies me.

Tell me, why should it be

You have the power to hypnotize me.

Let me live ‘neath your spell.

Do do that voodoo that you do so well.

For you do something to me

That nobody else could do.

(Cole Porter)

It’s a harmless little bit of poetry, until it’s paired with this music and this voice.  And then it’s something else entirely.