My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 11/13/20

It’s been an interesting week. I did find the time to read and watch TV. Here’s my weekly recap.

Movies – My movie viewing is still stuck in a mediocre limbo of finding random movies on streaming. I’m sure there are plenty of good movies out there I haven’t watched. I’m also sure, given my wife’s love of action movies, I will never find them. This week we chose another Mark Wahlberg movie we had never seen: Mile 22. Wahlberg lead a team that was tasked with getting a mysterious police officer with sensitive information out f Indonesia. It was your standard action movie. The only interesting part was that Wahlberg played a not so nice guy this time and it did not have a nice, everything is fine, ending.

TV – We started watching Cobra Kai this weekend. We watched the entire first season in one day. We are now almost done with season two. It is the sequel show of Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio reprising his role of Daniel Larusso and William Zabka back as Johnny Lawrence. Johnny brings back Cobra Kai and they find themselves as rivals again. It is is really good show. I love that they make Cobra Kai more nuanced this time instead of them being complete villains. We watched the new episodes of Chicago Fire, Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy. They all have the pandemic as part of the story. I like how Fire acknowledged it, but didn’t make it the driving storyline. Station 19 was pretty god at that as well. Grey’s was very much a pandemic show. I’m not sure i will enjoy shows that are too much like real life right now.

Books – I’m still reading Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith. It is 830 pages and I’m reading on my Ipad. I’m finding that combination daunting. I might need to take a break from it until I get the physcial book.

On Deck – Movies will still be luck of the draw. We will finish Cobra Kai and watch our normal shows. A Million Little Things and FBI come back next week. We still have the new episodes of SWAT to watch.

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There’s Always Something

I knew that turning in my letter of resignation was not going to magically make everything easy. Still, a part of my hoped that I would feel so good about that decision that I would get a bit of a reprieve. The problem with anxiety -there’s always something.

I resigned, but I gave 30 days notice to make sure I get paid for my accrued leave. That means instead of being almost a week into a two weeks notice i still have four weeks of work left. Instead of winding down and passing things on to other people I’m stressed about how to spend my work at home time when I’m not going to be taking on new projects. Instead of being free from meetings about upcoming things, the four weeks means I still have to participate. It won’t be until Thanksgiving that I feel more free from the work anxiety

Outside work life s also full of things to worry about. Covid is surging across the country. Restrictions are being put back into place. It won’t change things for us for Thanksgiving. We don’t travel, so we will have our normal four person festivities. Christmas is looming, though, and I can’t imagine things will be better by the time we normally travel. I had really hopes that we would avoid the surge until after the holidays. Once we hit January I will be happy to be in my house and only seeing my wife and kids until things are better.

There’s always the little things as well. Is the basement really fixed and won’t flood with the current rain? Will our second attempt at window installation be successful? Etc, etc, etc.

There is always something.

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What Now?

Yesterday was a big day. I announced on my blog and Facebook the news that I resigned from my job. I still have a month before I am actually free, but the end is nigh. The blog post gave me my second highest views ever on the blog. The highest is still the day a Twitter celebrity retweeted my post about Michael Vick. So now I face the question What Now?

Obviously, the question applies to real life, but it also applies to this space. What do I write about when my life is spent at home writing? How do I use the extra writing time to make my blog posts better? How do I find the discipline to sit in a room and work on writing projects when it will be so easy to let things distract me? How do I decide when it’s time for me to merge from the distraction of writing to look forward another real job? How to I keep myself from getting depressed about my lack of success? How do I stop myself from second guessing my decision to leave my job when things get hard? How do I coexist with my wife who is working from home full time when she needs quiet for work and I can’t work in silence?

I’ve always used the excuse that my blog isn’t great because I don’t spend time on it. I vomit words into a post in the morning before I go to work. I don’t edit anything. I hit publish and I’m done. Now that I have the time to actually work on it, plan posts, edit, etc. how do I cope with the fact that it probably won’t change anything about the number of readers I get?

As I deal with the what now in life I’m also dealing with the what now for the Common Tater.

Every End is a Beginning

Regular readers of the blog know that I have been in an unhappy situation. I felt stuck. I was depressed. I knew I needed a change but I wasn’t sure if I was able to make a change. Today, I have news.

I started talking to Mrs. Tater way back in June about the possibility of me leaving my job. I was unhappy before the pandemic. I was even more stressed and unhappy during the time I was working completely from home. I knew then that things would not be great for me when I did return to in-person work. I was correct. Most of what I liked about work was gone. All of what depressed me about work was still there and magnified. I started to feel physically ill at the thought of a new work week. I was depressed. I started going to therapy to deal with it. I knew deep down I would never get right while in this situation.

I had talked to my wife several times about it. I had pretty much given up hope of her being on board with me leaving my job with no landing spot. It is a giant leap of faith for someone to be OK with losing part of the household income for an undetermined amount of time. I wrote up a plan for how i would spend my days and how I would try to spend my “sabbatical” trying to wrote something that could be profitable. I did admit that I am 99% sure that I will not find a way to make money writing, but at least I would have the opportunity to know for sure. Then there were weeks of nothing. I would occasionally ask about the email and she would say she had not had a chance to consider it. I was losing all hope.

Sunday evening we went for our dal walk. I decided to bring it up one last time as I was already getting more and more stressed out about the end of the weekend. As we walked and talked she surprised me by saying that she agreed that leaving my job was the best thing for me to do. I made sure several times that she was really saying what I thought she was saying. She was telling me to leave my job. I called my kids when we got back to the house and they were both happy and in support of my decision. I texted my brother and sister to tell them. They were also happy and supportive. I told a small circle of my friends. Same story. I guess they all understood how unhappy I was.

So, Monday morning, while feeling like I was going to vomit, I wrote and sent my letter of resignation to my boss and HR. After 25 years with the same organization and years of doing the safe thing I took a leap to the unknown. As of December 12 I will officially have no job. I am taking a chance on myself that I will find the right place for me moving forward and that I have not doomed myself to never finding another job.

Life is too short to be miserable.

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Tater Talks TV Ratings

I’ve noticed recently that ratings are down for several network TV shows this season. After a text conversation with my brother this morning I was ready to write a post about people rejecting the shows that are writing too much of the bad news from real life into their shows. I was seeing ratings down for shows like Good Doctor, The Connors, Black-ish, etc but not down for shows like American Housewife, The Masked Singer, I Can See Your Voice and others that are not dealing with Covid in their shows. Then, last night, Young Sheldon and Mom were both down even though they are free of our current real life. So, what is the reason for the low ratings? Here are some possibles:

Streaming – Streaming was already taking over the TV scene before Covid. Then Covid hit and we were all home for weeks and network TV ended when shows stopped production. We all turned to streaming to have something to watch while stuck at home. Now we have lost interest in the weekly network shows and will not go back to them as much as we did before.

Distraction – People aren’t watching the shows because they are all following election news instead. I guess we will see if this is the case once the election is finally done. If ratings stay down, maybe not. I don’t get this one because I need TV as my distraction from real life.

Covid Storylines – I still think this is part of it. I think people are turning off some shows because they want an escape from real life and they won’t get it if the shows are full of what they want to forget for a while. I am afraid I will be less interested in Grey’s and Station 19 because it will be about the pandemic. I’m stressed enough without getting real life in my fake shows.

Those are my three reasons why I think the ratings are down. I am still happy I have the distraction of TV back.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 11/6/20

It was a slow week in both viewing and reading. Too much election coverage and too much falling asleep on the couch when trying to watch something.

Movies – We watched one movie. Well, my wife watched it while I dozed off and on on the the couch. It was Just Getting Started. Morgan Freeman plays an ex-mob lawyer in witness protection. Tommy Lee Jones is an ex-FBI gent staying at the resort Freeman’s where Freeman’s character works. Rene Russo is the love interest. The mob finds Freeman and sends people to kill him. It sounds promising, but it was not really that good. I was not sad to fall asleep for most of it.

TV – We did watch two new shows this week. First was The Undoing with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. They are a wealthy couple n New York. A mom at the private school their son attends is murdered. Grant’s character disappears at the same time. The police start questioning Kidman a lot about the situation. So far, so good. We also watched B Positive. It is a sitcom starring Thomas Middleditch and Annaleigh Ashford. He finds out he needs a kidney and at the same time runs into an Ashford who he knows from high school. She agrees to donate a kidney but she has to stay clean and sober for three months first. I’m not sure if I will stick with it, but I liked it enough to give it a few more episodes.

Books – I read Providence by Max Barry. It is a sci-fi about a crew of four on a ship mainly run by AI in a war against an alien race. It seemed like it took me forever to read it. It wasn’t bad, but I had trouble caring about the story. I’m not sure if it was the bhttps://ko-fi.com/taterook or my mental state.

On Deck – Movies will be again luck of the draw. Some TV shows start a new season next week. I will have a new Chicago Fire, Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy to watch. I am reading Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith. Galbraith is JK Rowling and there is controversy around her and a plot point in the book. It makes me sad because I love the Strike books.

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Do You Have an Online Plan?

A second person I knew online only from FriendFeed died recently. It made me think of this and the fact that I still haven’t told anyone my passwords in case anything happened to me.

I recently found out that someone I only knew online passed away.  We followed each other on Twitter, but did not communicate much there. We had both been active users of Friendfeed before Facebook bought and killed it. I didn’t really know him, but we he was one of the people on Friendfeed I could count on interacting with my posts. If not for a post on yet another social media site, I might have never known about his death. It’s possible that others I have known online have passed and I missed the news for various reasons.

This made me think – how would people know if something happened to me(I’m pretending here that random people online would care). Facebook friends would be easy. That is a more personal place for me and the majority of the people there are real life friends and family. I’m sure someone in my family would post something and tag me and then people who didn’t already know would know. I’m not really active anywhere else online except for posting here. I do wonder, though, if I should have something in place for the blog. Maybe I should give someone my password so they could post any news that I would be unable to post myself. I would hate to think that my blog would go quiet and no one would ever know why. Hopefully, this will not be something I need to worry about for years, but the death of my online connection put it in my mind.

So, my question for you – do you have someone who is tasked to post on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc if something were to happen to you? If you blog, do you have a plan in place for someone to post if something were to happen to you? Do you prefer not to think about such things?

The Day After

I gave up on watching the results at 11 last night. I knew nothing would be decided so I might as well get some sleep. I was hoping for a little more clarity when I woke up this morning. It looks like it might be a few days before we know who is the next president. I knew it was coming, but the stress and anxiety of the election added to my normal stress and anxiety, likely heightened by phone calls today that will stress me out even more is not good. I need non-work distraction. Some random thoughts:

We should all want every vote to be counted even if they are votes for the candidate we don’t like.

Counting votes after the polls close is a normal and legal thing.

Mail in votes are valid votes.

No matter what is happening now, our laws have a process in place for someone to become president in January.

Our country is still divided and will continue to be divided no matter the results. We need to work on figuring out how to fix this.

A History of Election Posts

Instead of a new election post, I’ve put together a list of past posts regarding elections. The last one goes all the way back to the first time Obama was elected. So, if you want to read old Tater thoughts on elections, here you go. I’m so ready to be done with political ads this year. Here’s hoping this is not a long, drawn out process and we get an answer soon. And while voting – click here to vote buying Tater a coffee

In Defense of Independent Candidates

A History of Dumb Posts on Election Day

Another Message to America

We Are the Problem

A Message to America

Election Thoughts