Thursday, August 30, 2012

True Blood: Season Five Finale

I've watched True Blood the finale twice and still don't know what to make of it.

Let's start at the beginning. Russell has drained the elder faery and seems on the verge of destroying all the rest, until the cavalry arrives in the person of Eric. It seems out of the blue, a deus ex machina, but later it's said that Sookie summoned him. It  just seemed so easy. I've read theories on TWoP that Russell had to be high for Eric to stake him, but I wish that had been mentioned somewhere on the show.

I'm confused about Jason's vampire-hatred. Yes, he's heard that vampires killed his parents, but he has also allied himself with vampires in the past. Has he forgotten his relationship with Jessica? Has he been poisoned by the faery blast meant for Russell?

Sam was clearly my favorite of the episode. He willingly sacrificed himself to Bill to attempt to (unsuccessfully) reason with him. Later he flew into Roslyn's mouth where he shifted. My reaction: awesome (literally.) Before he did that, Luna shifted from Steve Newlin back to herself. This may be the exposure of shifters to the world.

Tara and Pam? Too much too soon. Remember how they hated each other? In True Blood time that was just a few weeks ago. I saw how they were getting closer and appreciating each other, but I only saw Jessica's question to indicate that they could be a couple.

Overall, the idea of the Authority worked better than the actual execution. The build-up was too slow and the payoff too rushed. I was thrilled to see Russell again but thought his death wasn't what it could have been. I wasn't crazy about seeing Reverend Steve again but his new vampire grew on me.

The birth of "Billith" (credit to a TWoP poster) and the search for Warlo give me something that I want to watch next season.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Baseball Blues: 2012 Mets Misery

How hopeful I was; how naive I was. I knew it was a long shot, but I believed.

I guess that is the center of belief; it doesn't matter if it is a long shot.

For three months, I was happy and optimistic. The Mets played above their capabilities; remember all those two-out hits? 

That seems so long ago, a different world full of hope.

Of course I remembered the Mets' collapses of 2007 and 2008. I didn't realize until I saw a graphic last week that the Mets have fallen apart in the second half of the season each year from 2009.

There were problem losses before the All-Star break, but I hoped they were glitches. For the most part, the Mets fell apart after the break. Now they are 10 games below .500 (I think their worst record was 12 below) and 18 games behind the MLB leading Washington Nationals.

Now I hope for a winning record.

I Wrote Today

I was looking at the calendar this morning. Many of my students have started school already and September begins at the end of the week. It got me thinking about about how close I am to the end of the year and how little I've accomplished.

When Spike and I were out on our morning walk, I thought about The Adulterer's Handbook. This was an idea I had months ago. At the Writer's Retreat in June, I wrote the first scene. Later I shared this scene as a blind submission to another writer. (Her comments were not particularly helpful. I did change the waitress' name because she was confused--I had two characters whose names started with the same letter in a piece with only had three characters and 700 words. It seems to me that she didn't try very hard.)

Anyway, today I wrote a second scene--about 500 words. I'm not sure where I'm going with this story and whether it's a short story or a novel or something else but I'm happy that I returned to it.

I feel that I should get a round sticker to wear on my collar, "I Wrote Today" like the "I Voted Today" sticker that I receive at the polling place. I hope an imaginary sticker will inspire.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Face Off: Season Three

I've written about Face Off before. It's my favorite reality TV show. The competition makes sense to me, unlike competition on the dating shows. (Full disclosure--I prefer the tacky VH1 version of dating shows to the ostensibly more classy Bachelor-type shows.) I also got into Top Chef, but so much of the judging on that show is based on the taste of the food--that I can't experience. On Face Off, I can see the results of the competitions.

Season Three started off with a competition to create a make-up using something from the roof-top welcoming party; the winner was granted immunity from elimination.  The spotlight challenge divided the contestants into pairs to create a character for a modern interpretation of the Star Wars cantina scene.

Once again, one obnoxious character emerged in the first episode. Unlike Seasons 1 and 2, that character left in the first episode. He left of his own accord when his team was in the bottom of the judging. Good riddance. While drama can be entertaining, it can also distract from the real point of the competition.

I'm psyched that the new season has started.  Watch Tuesdays at 9 PM.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Little Things That Make Me Happy

Spike likes to walk on stone walls. I don't know why exactly--maybe he likes being taller. On our walks he would often jump up on flat stone walls as I continued on the sidewalk.

Last Saturday we left the Civil War Barbecue and were returning to our car. Spike suddenly jumped up on a stone wall. He hasn't done that in a long time and it made me happy to see him so agile and puppy-like. I guess Greenies JointCare treats are doing the trick. Hooray for Spike!

Civil War Barbecue and Encampment

On Saturday after we returned home from our pet sitting gig, Jeff, Spike and I went over to the Norwalk Historical Society for the Civil War Barbecue and Encampment. For $12, we had all we could eat of burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, side salads and dessert. The net proceeds will be used to fund the restoration of the Norwalk Riverside Civil War Statue

Volunteers from the 11th Regiment Connecticut Infantry Co. A conducted drills and firing demonstrations. We saw the kinds of tents and provisions the soldiers were given and a commanding officer's field desk. I was surprised to hear that at least on the Union side, clerks outnumbered soldiers eight to one. A volunteer explained that the clerks had to create three reports after each battle, accounting for every bullet used, etc. One set of reports was wrapped in red tape and hence the reason for that term. Note: this Wikipedia entry disagrees.

This is the third event we attended at the Norwalk Historical Society in the past year. I'm not sure if the group is more active or if we are just more aware of their offerings. But it's been fun to participate.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer Songs

I've written about winter songs before here and here inexplicably leaving out "A Hazy Shade of Winter" by Paul Simon. I've also mentioned one spring and some summer songs here.

I've been thinking about some summer songs myself and then goggled summer songs--and reviewed lists.

I guess my favorite is Sly and the Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime."

"Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful brings back memories of my father. When he heard the bridge with traffic and street noises, he thought something was wrong with the car.

Speaking of my father--he used to have an album of Roger Miller's greatest hits--I can't forget Roger's "In the Summertime." How can you resist this version with the Muppets.  Then there's Frank Sinatra's "Summer Wind." That song also reminds me of my father.

I won't list all the summer songs here. Or even all the summer songs that I like. I would be constantly updating this list. Think of: "Summer of Love" by the B-52's, "A Summer Song" by Chad & Jeremy, "Suddenly Last Summer" by the Motels, "Those Lazy, Hazy Crazy Days of Summer" by Nat King Cole.

This post offers just a taste of summer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Music Memory

Generally, smell is the sense most connected with memory.

But music, a part of the sense of hearing, triggers many memories.

The other day while riding to Ridgefield, I was listening to the True Oldies Channel on the radio when I heard the Heb Alpert song, "Rise." Immediately I was back to the summer of 1980 of General Hospital when Luke raped Laura.

The weird thing was that I wasn't even watching General Hospital at the time. But my roommate Pam was watching and we started watching each other's soaps.

Another weird thing was that my favorite character on GH was Luke, the rapist. Maybe because I didn't actually see the rape scene. Probably, it was because Anthony Geary as Luke was compelling.

We didn't realize at the time that we were witnessing the dawn of a cultural phenomenon that culminated in Luke and Laura's wedding in November 1981. Although many discussions of Luke and Laura focus on that event, it would have just been another soap wedding had it not been for the 1980 summer storyline. Love on the run: trying to decipher the little black book, uncovering the mystery of the left-handed boy, evading Hutch the hit man (who later grew a heart of gold), dancing in the fantasy department store sequence, posing as newlyweds Lloyd and Lucy, erecting their own version of the walls of Jericho each night.

Yes, the falling in love with your rapist storyline was grossly offensive. (Later comments by Genie Francis claiming that it was date rape did nothing to make the story less disgusting and made her look insensitive and stupid.) Yes, some of Luke and Laura's adventures were outlandish. But they were intensely watchable; Geary and Francis had chemistry.

That summer Pam and I were studying for the New York bar exam, staying on in our dorm room at NYU. I took the morning bar review course; Pam took the evening course. In between classes, we found it relaxing to spend our afternoons watching the ABC soaps: All My Children, One Life to Live,  General Hospital and The Edge of Night. The  stress of studying for the bar paled next to being on the run from the mob, amnesia and the like. We must have done something right because we both passed and I can remember that summer fondly.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Tomorrow Jeff and I are headed up to Ridgefield to pet-sit for a week. We did the same thing a few weeks ago. It amazes me how much we packed for a week.

Last month we packed one large suitcase and a duffel bag with clothes, accessories and toiletries. We had a bag with fresh vegetables and fruit, a bag with Spike's food and bowls, Spike's bed, our laptops, my SAT books and files.

I've always over packed. I don't want to spend my vacation doing laundry or running out to buy band-aids or aspirin, etc. I like to be prepared. That's what I told the TSA agent who told me I had too many things. Context: we arrived early for a flight to Jacksonville, FL in December 2001. The agent carefully examined every item of my make-up bag. Then he realized that I had a separate bag of toiletries. He apparently didn't want to examine it as carefully as he did my make-up bag. Hence his comment.

Some of my over packing is strategic. I always take extra pairs of underwear, socks or pantyhose, and tee-shirts. They don't take up much room.

I've also gotten better at over packing--i.e. I don't over pack as much. I color-coordinate my clothes and shoes. I think about my options to do laundry or to purchase needed items.

This week I have access to a washer and dryer, various stores plus our home (we're only 45 minutes away.) But I'm still over packing. We're also taking some strategically selected dirty laundry.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


On Route 84 East, between Danbury and Newtown, CT:

"I'm straight but not narrow."

I only wish I was close enough to read the other bumper stickers.

Pet Sitting: Return Engagement

For a week in July, Jeff and I (along with Spike of course) were pet sitting for Lolly, a beautiful, loving golden retriever who has been going through some health problems. Jeff's sister Melissa trusted only us to take care of her. It makes sense because she knows us and we love her.

The week was when our nephew Kurt was in an AAU basketball tournament in Orlando. As (bad) luck would have it, it was the worst week for me to be in Ridgefield. I was scheduled to teach two classes in Darien (about an hour commute) and I had some tutoring students. (By way of disclosure, one of my students was in Newtown; starting in Ridgefield effectively cut my commute in half.)

Although one of my classes was canceled (the college essay class which I really wanted to teach--d'oh) I still found myself commuting for one hour most weekdays. The one hour commute was a real hour driving--I didn't sit in traffic at all. It reinforced our decision--24 years ago--to live in Norwalk. We hate long commutes, sitting in traffic.

It was also a hot, humid week. We couldn't take advantage of the beautiful decks outdoors (at least not for long.)

We're heading back up to Ridgefield on Saturday. I won't have as many days commuting for an hour and I hope the beautiful weather predicted for Sunday will continue.

Friday, August 3, 2012


When Spike and I headed out on our walk on Wednesday morning, I saw a bird chase a small squirrel across Maple Street.

I imagine the squirrel was the equivalent of a teenager who ventured too close to a nest of eggs or young birds and paid the price.

Emergency Sub

I got a call around 4:30 today asking if I could sub for a Small Group Instruction session tonight from 6 to 9.

I didn't want to work tonight; I've just finished a relatively busy two weeks and was doing lots of household stuff today. I had planned to cook salmon for dinner and watch the Olympics and the Mets. But there was some kind of scheduling problem, I was available and wanted to show that I would help out when needed. I hope people in the office will remember me when the next good tutorial comes up.

As I was driving to the office, I started wondering--why would anyone schedule a class on a Friday night? In August? After all, the next SAT is not until October.

I guess the students felt the same way. Four were expected; only two showed. One was a student I tutored for a few hours in the spring. They didn't want to be there and I commiserated but  they knew the job was dangerous when they took it.