My Week in Books, TV and Movies 11/16/18

Another slow week for me. I’m almost positive I will not make my goal of 100 books read this year.There was a lull in movies from the library and nothing exciting on TV. I’m sure all of this makes you very excited to read the rest of the post.

Books – I finally finished one of my book club books, Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas. Ilgunas writes about his quest to pay off his student loans and lead a debt free life. Part of this involves living in a van while going to grad school at Duke. It was an interesting story and it made me want to go on adventures, but I hated the author. I hated him more when I got the audio and listened to him read it. I would have cared more about his quest if he wasn’t such a dick about it. I also read Brave by  Svetlana Chmakova. I really like her books

TV – I didn’t watch anything new this week, so I will talk about the new series All American and a storyline I hope the resolve soon. The basic premise of the show is that a football player from Crenshaw is recruited to play at Beverly Hills High. He ends up having to live with the coach and his family in order to play. From the very beginning there are hints that the coach might actually be his dad. The coach’s daughter is attracted to him as well. So, now we have the story of possible accidental incest. A CW high school show really doesn’t need an accidental incest storyline. This show doesn’t need the intrigue. It’s fine as it is with the high school drama and conflict between his two worlds.

Movies – I did not watch any new movies this week. I did watch Lean on Me with Morgan Freeman while I was off for a snow day yesterday.

On Deck – I’m reading The Reckoning by John Grisham and continuing to read The Sparrow. I’m hoping to have Eighth Grade and The Spy Who Dumped Me over Thanksgiving.




This is my deck this morning. A week before Thanksgiving and I’m still at home because work has a delayed opening due to snow. I know a lot of people are complaining that it’s too early for snow, but if we are going to keep getting precipitation I would rather have this than more rain. At least the snow gives us closings and delays and a chance to pause and relax for a bit. With rain we keep going as normal, just in terrible conditions. Unfortunately, the rain/snow line is getting perilously close to my house and soon the nice, white, calm snowy day will turn back in to what we’ve had all year – heavy, flooding rain. I will trade my nice, calm snow delay morning for a terrible, wet, slow evening commute home.

So, I am not complaining about the snow. I’m enjoying the nice respite from work and wet before everything goes back to normal.

The Simple Life

I am reading the book Walden on Wheels for my book club. It is a memoir by a guy who details his time trying to live simply to pay off his student loans. He works in Alaska at a camp here he gets free room and board, he works as a park ranger, he hitchhikes home and when he goes to grad school he lives in his van. As I read this book(and listen while sitting in rush hour traffic) I think two things: 1. This guy is a dick and 2. The simple life doesn’t sound so bad.

While I have no desire to be this guy

I wouldn’t mind making some changes. I’ve written here before about how much I dislike the suburbs. The suburbs is the opposite of the simple life. The suburbs means a bigger house with room for lot s of stuff. The suburbs means a yard you have to keep manicured so your neighbors don’t hate you. The suburbs means the need to drive everywhere you go. I’m here until my kids graduate and get their own places. Once they are settled I will work on convincing my wife to consider a condo in the city. I’m not sure how successful I will be, but I would love a life of no lawn and the availability of public transit.

A simpler life also means the possibility of lessening the need for a job you don’t love to make the money you need to live life in the DC suburbs. The condo in the city won’t be any cheaper, but I hope to be retired by then and can save money by having no need for money for more than a couple of Metro rides a week. I was at Panera today and again longed to be the person who could enjoy sitting there sipping my coffee with no office to get to. I could deal with the suburbs if I could somehow make a living writing or doing some other job I could do from my laptop at Panera. I would take the simple life of living in the suburbs with no need to deal with rush hour traffic and no need to leave the house and deal with difficult people.

So, while I have no desire to live in a van down by the river, I do desire the ability to live a life less dependent on a traditional career.

It’s Not a Parking Space!

When we arrived home last night from a work get together(yes, we actually socialized with other people. Those poor people) my car was basically on empty. I didn’t have enough gas to make it all the way to work this morning. I go a little out of my way for gas because I have a Royal Farms card and save 10 cents a gallon if I go there. I wake up early so it usually isn’t a problem.

I left the house with what I thought would be plenty of time to get to the gas station, fill up and get to work with time to spare. You should know, for me on time for work means early for work. I get stressed out if I’m not going to be there at least five minutes early. So, I leave the house and head out to the gas station. I get to the main intersection and both lanes to turn right are blocked by a fender bender. I cheated and cut through a parking lot to get out to the street I needed. Traffic was worse than normal because traffic is always bad when it is wet and it seems to be wet here all the time lately. It won’t stop raining. And it’s dark a lot now. How do people live like this?

Anyway, I get to the gas station and all of the pumps are full. I would be OK with this if they were full of people actively pumping gas, but I would say 90% of them were filled with unattended cars. It drives me crazy when people pump their gas and then leave their car parked at the pump. Move your car before you go in to the store for coffee and breakfast! One woman came out to her car with a bag full of stuff like she went grocery shopping while her car was parked at the pump. There is no reason not to move you car if you paid at the pump. It only takes a second to move your car to a real parking space so others can get gas. Leaving the car at the pump is lazy and inconsiderate. You need to be aware of how your actions are affecting others(in all aspects of life). It took a lot of will power to not yell “This is not a parking spot!” at people coming back to their cars. I feel so strongly about this I wrote about it once before here. It drives me crazy.

Of course, I was still at work on time, but that doesn’t change my feelings on the topic.


What’s Good in Tater Town 11/11/18

Here I am once again trying to remember good things that happened this week. I’m old. I barely remember this week.

  1. Monday afternoon I took a step toward taking action toward change in my life instead of just talking about it.
  2. Leftover Halloween candy at work since I had none at home.
  3. I was able to actually sleep in a little on my morning off instead of waking up way too early.
  4. I used to be one of the “too early” people, but I’m happy to have Christmas music as on option on my drive to work.
  5. It hasn’t been the best start to a season, but I now will have at least one Kentucky basketball game on TV each week.
  6. Readily available coffee both at home and work.
  7. I’ve been able to avoid the illness going around work and my house.
  8. The time change sucks, but it is nice to wake up to daylight and the early dark gives me an excuse to be lazy when I get home from work.
  9. My daughter is home for the weekend and my son came home for several hours yesterday.
  10. We put up the Christmas tree while they were her, so I have a little bit of festive in my house now.

My Week in Books, TV and Movies 11/9/18

I considered skipping this one this week because there’s not much to report. I’m not really sure what I’ve done with my week.

Books – I’m working my way through The Sparrow by Mary Doria Rusell for my work book club and Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas for my personal book club. I really like The Sparrow so far and I don’t hate Walden on Wheels. It’s been slow going, though, for a few reasons. Reading two books at the same time always slows me down. Reading because I have to, even if I like the book, slows me down. After work my mind is usually in a place where I need passive TV watching, not reading. I don’t think I will make my goal of 100 books read this year.

TV – We spent a good portion of our TV time watching CB Strike. It is a really good adaptation of the books. I was surprised my wife liked it as she tends to not like the slower, character based mysteries. The other big TV event of the week was Andrew Lincoln’s last episode of the Walking Dead. Rick Grimes has been the main character of the show since the beginning.  The news that the episode was also the last for now for Lauren Cohan means there are now only two original cast members left on the show. I still like it and I think the loss of Rick and the time jump could reinvigorate the story telling.

Movies – We watched Oceans 8. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I slept through part of it. That’s just what we do. I fall asleep during movies and my wife falls asleep during basketball games. It will never change. The difference is I try to wake her up so she won’t miss the game and if she falls asleep during a TV show or movie I pause it and ask if she wants to watch it later and she just keeps watching and lets me sleep. I’m not sure which one is better.

On Deck – I have a feeling I will still be reading these two books next week. I do have Brave by Svetlana Chmakova as a possible graphic novel break to make me feel better about my reading accomplishments. I have no movies right now, so that spot might be empty next week. I will watch TV. I’m not sure I will watch anything worth writing about.

It’s Way Past Time For “Politics”

I’m watching the Today Show report on yet another mass shooting. These events are becoming way too common. Another 12 people dead. College kids trying to have a good time. I already know what the discussion will be today:

“Thoughts and prayers” – Thoughts an prayers are fine, but without any actual action on our part(and in many cases not any actual prayer) they are empty words.

and the big one:

“Let people mourn before we make this political”

It’s not too early to make this political. It’s way too late to make this political.

It’s too late for the 12 people killed last night.

It’s too late for the people killed in the synagogue in Pittsburgh.

It’s too late for all of the kids who were killed in school.

It’s too late for all of the victims.

It’s time to force people to make this political. We have to have real talk about reasonable gun control. It’s time to have real talk about mental health in this country. It’s time to put real money in to studies to find what drives people to do this and how we can stop it. It’s time to move past thoughts and prayers and on to real action.

Don’t tell me it’s too soon to talk about politics. It got too late a long time ago.