Friday, February 28, 2014

February Television

I watch too much TV. That's my own assessment, not some expert pronouncement. Sometimes it bothers me and I cut back on TV watching. Other times, I just shrug it off.

This February the Olympics dominated the prime time schedule. Jeff and I watched some ice-skating and skiing, even a little curling, but I realized that we were watching sports that we wouldn't normally watch.

Why? It was convenient. I wonder if most people watch as we do: watch events because they're easy to watch: i.e. they are shown during prime time, and the other network shows are showing reruns. I doubt the Olympic ratings would be as high if they competed against first-run programming. We got bored with the events after a while.

We've been watching Almost Human. Jeff likes more than I do, but I enjoy the futuristic setting. Plus Karl Urban.

Girls started its third season. In many ways, Girls reminds me of Sex and the City. I don't mean the NYC setting, the number of or characteristics of the main characters. I mean that I don't really like any of the characters, but I'm interested enough to watch to see what happens.

We started to watch a new sci fi and Sy Fy show, Helix. It started off well but now seems a bit incoherent. But we'll keep watching; I think there are only a few episodes left.

Now, reality TV. Let's stick with SyFy--Face-Off has started its sixth season. I enjoy the show, but the previous season just ended in November. It may be too soon for another. I mean how many special effects artists are there?  I also miss some of the challenges from the earlier seasons, such as face painting, beauty and old-age make-ups. The recent seasons have focused too much on creature make-ups.

The commercials for Opposite Worlds during Face-Off intrigued us enough to watch the show. The show itself--not so intriguing. But we still watched all the episodes. One team lived in a house of the future with all the amenities. including a hot tub and champagne. The other team lived in a cave-like environment, and had to split wood, start their own fires and cook their own food. The concept was flawed because players in the future had too many advantages over those in the past. The challenges were poorly planned and dangerous. Plus, you didn't got to know the personalities of many of the players. The host emphasized the social media aspects of the show, but they weren't adequately explained.

I also have to confess that I watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I can't say why; the characters (and I do mean characters) are annoying. Most of the show is focused on minor slights and insults that aren't worth discussing. But the characters do discuss these slights, endlessly.

I can't wait until Game of Throne returns--in just over a month. That will be good TV.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

From Expectations to Frustrations

That sums up my last week.

It's not that last week was particularly bad--actually a few good things happened. It was that I started the week thinking it would be a quiet one, that I didn't have many obligations. I thought I'd have a lot of time to get work done on long-term projects. I ended up having four meetings with or about a community organization that I'm in, plus endless rounds of email debates about tactics for the organization.

Another problem was uncertainty. Snow (again) derailed one of my tutoring appointments which I had to reschedule. That made a snag in family plans. I was also trying to pick up a small group tutorial after the original instructor had to back out. It took several days to work out a revised schedule. Then another tutoring student asked to change his appointment. I felt like I didn't know from one moment to the next what I was doing.

I should know by now: I can't expect what to expect.

Now, if I only knew if that statement is brilliant or ridiculous. Maybe it can be both.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Veronica Mars Re-Watch: Season Two Episode Thirteen

Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough

It's the Winter Carnival at Neptune High to raise money for the senior trip to either Catalina or Magic Mountain. That is, until someone steals the cash box when Veronica has it. She solves two mysteries in one: who stole the cash and who stole answers to an upcoming test.

Also at the carnival: students including Madison Sinclair are nasty to Jackie because her father has been questioned about the crash; Logan flirts with a girl named Hannah, whose father claimed Logan killed Felix; Beaver and Mac are apparently an item.

Keith agrees to help Terence Cook prove he didn't blow up the bus. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Veronica Mars Re-Watch: Season Two Episode Twelve

Rashard and Wallace Go to White Castle

This episode picks up with the reveal of Wallace's involvement in a hit-and-run accident. Wallace is going to name the driver who happens to be the best high school basketball player in years. Unfortunately, said driver Rashard and his buddies have named Wallace as the driver. Wallace and Veronica have five days to prove his innocence. Of course, they succeed with an assist from Jackie (who hadn't been seen for a few episodes.)

Weevil asks Molly Fitzpatrick about her relationship with Felix. They met at St. Mary's Church; Molly's brother is a priest there. Weevil and Logan ask Veronica to bug the church confessional, which reveals Thumper as the one dealing with the Fitzpatricks. The PCHers turn on Weevil when they learn that he's been hanging with Logan.

Keith sneaks into the evidence locker at the sheriff's department to conduct his own investigation into the bus crash. The episode ends with a news report that Sheriff Lamb is interrogating Jackie's dad, Terence Cook about the crash.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

February is the cruelest month...

It had started to snow as I wrote my last entry yesterday; we got another few inches of snow and ice. I drove home through flurries this evening. My car now looks like a powdered donut. We're getting more snow Monday night into Tuesday morning. I think I speak for the most of the US when I say enough is enough.

Predictions of temperatures in the forties sound good, but I was fooled by predictions before. I'll believe the forty degrees when I see them.

I have to give a shout out to our condominium super and his staff. Our sidewalks are clear (except for that one driveway from the garage which ices up at night and melts during the day.) The parking lot is in decent shape. But damn, we are surrounded by mounds of snow--some six feet tall. It's hard to drive down the street because parked cars are sticking out in the driving lane because of too much snow along the curbs. We can't cross the street for walks because that condo hasn't cleared its sidewalks. Snow piled up on corners makes entering intersections risky.

T.S. Eliot says April is the cruellest month. But this February has to be the worst.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Veronica Mars Re-Watch: Season Two Episode Eleven

Donut Run

Veronica finds Kendall in Duncan's bathroom. Her confrontation with Duncan leads to a very public break-up. Veronica retreats to her bedroom to listen to sad music until Sheriff Lamb arrives. Duncan has kidnapped his and Meg's baby daughter. Lamb arrests Veronica as an accomplice.

The FBI is on the case, including Lucy Lawless as a snobby agent. Sleazy PI Vinnie Van Lowe is investigating on behalf of Celeste Kane.

Midway through the episode is the reveal that everything, including the break-up, was part of a elaborate plan for Duncan to escape with the baby to Mexico. Keith is furious that Veronica played him, but is instrumental in covering for her with the FBI.

Logan and Weevil are working together to find out who killed Felix. Weevil gets a clue from a tattoo artist--Felix was involved with Molly Fitzpatrick.

Wallace has a mystery of his own involving a hit-and-run accident in Chicago. 

Veronica Mars Re-Watch: Season Two Episode Ten

One Angry Veronica

Meg has woken up. She asks Veronica not to let her parents raise her baby if something happens to her. The Aaron/Lilly sex tapes are missing.  Veronica has jury duty over Christmas break. That's just the teaser.

As indicated by the title, this episode is Neptune's version of 12 Angry Men: the defendants are a pair of 09ers accused of beating up a Hispanic girl.

Woody Goodman hires Keith to investigate what happened to the tapes. Keith deduces  that Logan bought and destroyed the tapes by his use of "Dude." Pretty tenuous evidence. Later he discovers that Deputy Leo was the seller; his goal was to help his sister with Down's Syndrome.

New Year's Eve brings sad news: Meg has died. But there's also good news: Wallace is back.

Beefcake alert: Shirtless Sheriff Lamb working out.

Trivia Note: The hold-out juror is played by Ivonne Coll. My last name is unusual; it's nice to see it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

More Snow--Oh No: A Poetic Lamentation

We got a foot of snow yesterday. Just for a change of pace, in the afternoon, we got some sleet and rain. Then last night, a few more inches of snow. A neighbor told me that this year we've had forty percent more snow than usual.

As I mentioned the other day, our schedules weren't too messed up by the storms. We were just inconvenienced. But, we are all so sick of the snow.

Surprise: another two to four inches are forecast for Saturday.

I can't.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Another big storm is on the way--six to 12 inches of snow. It's going to start around midnight tonight and change from snow to sleet to rain to snow. It sounds as if we'll get a second wave of snow on Friday.

We're lucky that we don't have to go anywhere the next few days. I think things will be okay on Friday--I hope so, anyway. But it's nice to have a buffer day if necessary. We are well-stocked with lots of food. I haven't heard any predictions about losing power, but we also have flashlights, candles
and batteries.

Friday is Valentine's Day. We usually avoid going out to dinner, because of all the special menus and high prices. One day last week on a walk around the block with Spike, we discussed dinner options. Last night we made some decisions and I put together a grocery list for the things we needed from the grocery store.

I'm looking forward to a good dinner and the first drink in six weeks.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Cheers for the New Week--Glad Last Week's Over

You know your week is bad when the big thing you're looking forward to on Friday is...doing the laundry. Our elevator was fixed sometime on Thursday afternoon, and I spent most of Friday catching up on laundry--seven loads of it.

Ralph Kiner died on Thursday. I'm too young to remember Ralph as a baseball player. I only saw him years later as a Mets announcer. I wasn't much of a fan. I remember my father laughing at one of Ralph's gaffes on Father's Day. "To all you fathers out there, happy birthday." I grew to appreciate Ralph more in recent years. He made appearances for an inning at a time on Mets broadcasts; his stories were great.

It's snowing again. Luckily it's a light snow. Last Wednesday, predictions were dire. A coating to two inches is not so bad. It's going to stay cold for a while. And forecasters are already speculating about the next storm Thursday and Friday. Swell. I can't worry about that one yet.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Bad Week

I'm not alone in feeling frustrated with the bad weather this winter. I'm sure we had more snow three years ago, but I think we had more bone-chilling cold this year.

This week we've gotten about a foot of snow in two installments. Today's installment added an inch of ice. On Monday, I had to cancel a class. I wanted to cancel today's also, but we have only one built-in weather make-up class. Plus another storm may hit the area Sunday night into Monday morning--just in time to mess up our next session. So I held class today, but got stuck in the driveway of one student's home. What fun--five guys had to push me out.

Mainly because of the snow, I haven't made it back to the gym. Just when I was starting to get into a good routine. Curses, foiled again.

In other problems, our building elevator's been out of service since Sunday night. I had decided to do laundry then. I'm not much of a football fan, and figured I'd be only weirdo doing laundry during the Super Bowl. In our building without the elevator, I'd have to go outside, down the front steps and walk into the basement entrance to get to the laundry room. I decided against that Sunday night. I wasn't able to do it during a snowstorm. Besides the elevator was supposed to be fixed today at the latest. We're still waiting.

I know these are minor annoyances in the scheme of things, but it helps to vent.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Year of Planning Dangerously

Friday marked the beginning of the Chinese New Year.

More correctly, January 31st was the start of the lunar year, the year of the Horse. I've read that 2014 is the year of the Wood Horse, a  year of reaching upwards and planning ahead. But the fire in the horse can burn up plans. In the Year of the Horse, balance is the key.

Interesting because I'm been thinking, reading and writing about planning lately. I am trying to plan my days better, set goals and work on them. It's a work in progress, as is my life in general.

It Was Nice While It Lasted

On my walk with Spike on Saturday morning, I couldn't help but smile. It was warm (in the forties) and sunny. The forecast was for a warmer Sunday, with temperatures for the next several days in the mid- to high thirties. I thought we'd get to retire the Fido fleece, and that all the snow would finally melt away.

Later that night, my mother told me that a few inches of snow were predicted for today. That prediction was off; it snowed all day--five-and-a-half inches worth.

We've got six more weeks of winter. It's going to be tough.  Too bad my attitude isn't this good.