My Week in Books, Movies and TV(9/21)

It’s been an odd week for me. My work schedule was different. I’m at the end of my seven-day stretch with no day off. I’ve only had one day off in the last two weeks. I usually work one evening shift a week, but this week I worked two. I’m tired and sometimes I don’t know what day it is.  I’m going to use all of that as an excuse for not finishing a book this week. I did spend a lot of time in front of the TV.

Books – I’m still working my way through A Land More Kind Than This by Wiley Cash. I’m also re-reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman for my new book club at work. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by how much I had forgotten about Neverwhere since it’s been 20 years since I last read it. It has taken more time than it should to finish these two books.

TV –  In addition to watching episodes of the shows I’ve already talked about here, I started watching two shows on Netflix. I watched all of season two of American Vandal. I wasn’t sure if season two would be as good as the first, especially since most of the cast was new, but I really liked it. I might have liked it more than season one. I would recommend not eating during the first fw minutes of the first episode. Also, if you have issues with poop, maybe don’t watch at all. We also started watching Shooter after my wife rewatched the movie version. It is much better than I expected. I am wondering, though, how the story can span three seasons. I also watched the first three episodes of Mr Mercedes. So far, so good.

Movies – It took me a second to remember that I did actually watch a movie this week. We finally got around to watching The Greatest Showman. I knew that I would probably like it I tend to like musicals. I was surprised that my wife liked it. Besides Grease, I’m not sure she’s every really liked a movie musical.

On Deck – I hope to actually finish the two books I’m reading. I’m not sure what I will read next. There will be a lot of TV as the new fall season starts. My most anticipated shows are Magnum PI and Single Parents. I will report on those during my week of TV posts next week. With all the TV, I don’t know if I will watch a movie. I guess that depends on what DVDs I might get from the library.

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Ways I’ve Become Old and a Semi-Hermit

I say this is how I know I’m old, but a lot of this is probably more mood related than age related. Still, I’m living life like an old person.

  1. I go to bed earlier – It’s rare that I’m up past 10:30. I used to stay up late, mostly because I was playing Diablo or Madden, but still it wasn’t unusual for me to be up until 1AM or later. I could do that and still function the next day. Last night, I was in bed and reading by 9:45 and asleep before 10:30.
  2. I wake up early – I’ve always been an early riser, but I used to be able to sleep in a little(sleep in for me is 8am), now even on days off I’m up by 7. Some of that is pet related. My dog wakes me up wanting to go out and I usually stay up once I’m up.
  3. I don’t go out – I didn’t go out a lot anyway, but it’s worse now. Once I get home, I don’t leave the house. Tuesday my wife worked late and I was on my own for dinner. I have a gift card my son gave me for a local restaurant I like. It was the perfect time to use it. Instead, I stayed home and ate something boring here. I routinely click interested on Facebook events knowing there is a 99% chance there is no way I will go.
  4. I don’t know new music – I’m completely clueless now about new music. I know some from being in the car with my daughter, but I pretty much listen to the 80’s station, the oldies country station or music on my phone. I never wanted to become that guy, but here I am.
  5. I would retire today if I could – I’m ready to end this whole work thing.  I want to be the old guy who putters around the house and occasionally goes to Panera for coffee in the mornings. I don’t have the energy,  mainly mentally, to do this job thing anymore.

I always said I wanted to become a hermit. I’m getting closer every day.

How Far I’ve Gone

Lorna over at Gin & Lemonade has started a weekly prompt to help inspire our writing. I have not yet participated as the first two prompts were fall related and I discovered that I didn’t really have any fall related memories to inspire a post. Anyway, this week’s  prompt is travel related and asks us how far we’ve traveled from home. I had to google distances to figure out which trip was the farthest from home. I used DC as home for the search. I was a little surprised by the result. So, here are my four longest trips(all traveling with my wife for her annual conference) from shortest to longest:

  1. Seoul, South Korea – 6933 miles: I really enjoyed this city. Our hotel was within easy walking distance of palaces, temples and other tourist friendly sites. We were blocks away from a traditional market street filled with foods and local crafts. The subway was clean and modern. The people from the hosting agency were friendly and helpful. The only negative was that the trip was too short for me to fully adjust to the time change.
  2. Livingstone, Zambia – 7661 miles: This is by far the best conference trip so far. Finland comes close mainly because it was the only one our son attended, but Zambia was fantastic. The hotel was next to Victoria Falls. We could walk out the hotel gate, cross the street and be at the entrance to the falls. Entry was included in the hotel fee. The hotel grounds had zebras, alpacas, giraffes and baboons wandering around. The social program at the end of the conference was walking with lions and cheetahs. We went on a safari. The people hosting were great. The only thing I didn’t like was the stress of haggling at the craft market.
  3. Hyderabad, India – 8203 miles: We follow the best trip with the worst trip. The hotel location was terrible. The only thing within walking distance was a mall. There were no decent sidewalks, so walking around was hard. I was sick most of the time and then had an injury to deal with. The hosts were friendly enough, but we have clearly moved in to “we are hosting a conference and the conference is all that matters” territory with the group. They didn’t seem to care if we had a good experience in the country and seem to be discouraging family from accompanying the attendees. Very disappointing.
  4. Manila, Philippines – 8555 miles: Like India, the hotel location wasn’t great. Mainly malls in the area, but nice sidewalks and crosswalks and some decent parks and restaurants around as well. It was extremely hot, so we walked around until lunch and then went back to the hotel to cool off and wait for my wife to be done for the day before going out again. The hosts were friendly and did drive us around the day before the conference started so we could see the area outside the city. We also had the option of using the driver to go to the mall, but opted to walk instead. Still not as welcoming as previous countries, but better than India.

A Sad Start to the Week

A little over 10 years ago my wife and kids were in Kentucky visiting her parents. She called and told me that our son really wanted a pet rabbit. I was not a fan of the idea, but they came home with a pet rabbit anyway. This was the first of several pets that arrived at the house without my input. The kids and my wife spent a lot of time with her, letting her out to get exercise hopping around in my son’s room, feeding, her, petting her, etc. I took care of her only when I was the only person at home.We were reluctant housemates, but she was part of everyone else’s family.

One of the funniest memories with Zoey – the kids were home alone after school one day. I called to check on them. I heard my daughter trying to say it where I wouldn’t hear it “Should I tell him?” It turns out what she wasn’t sure about telling me is that Zoey had escaped from her room and was hopping around the house(we had a dog by this point and worried about them interacting). They were desperately trying to catch her, but she was too fast for them. They did eventually capture her and get her back to where she was supposed to be.

Lately, Zoey has not been well. She was old for a rabbit and it was obvious she was nearing the end of her life. The kids and my wife have spent a lot of time recently holding her, petting her and comforting her. This morning, my wife called me upstairs and said Zoey had not eaten last night, wouldn’t take water and wasn’t moving at all. She died a few minutes later as my wife held her. On a normal Monday we both would have been at work when it happened, but it worked out that I am working the evening shift today and my wife has a thing at a local college and was still at home. My son was home for dinner last night and was able to see her for a while. Our daughter spent a lot of time with her over Labor Day weekend.

I won’t claim to be as sad as the rest of the family, but I am sad nonetheless. Very sad for them and knowing how they feel about it. Not a great way to start the week.

A Bonus Tater Friday Rant

I have subscribed to my neighborhood’s NextDoor feed. I knew this was a mistake when I did it. I figured out from the email list that we have for the area that I don’t really like a lot of my neighbors(neighbors meaning people in the entire Piney Orchard community, not the people on my street). I subscribed anyway thinking I would use it for informational purposes and not engage. I’ve been pretty good about it. I rarely click-through to read a full discussion and when I do, I never get involved. If the thread annoys me, I just stop reading. I’ve been so good. This week, I’ve fallen off the wagon.

It started with reading too many messages on the thread complaining about people driving too fast on the road behind my house(and blaming it on “others” who re cutting through our precious neighborhood). I read them. I complained about them. I didn’t respond.

Last night comes the real topic of my rant. I was up late watching my Ravens look terrible on Thursday Night Football.. I get an email from NextDoor. The basics of the post are – a woman was walking home from the grocery store and was going to use the path behind the store. Saw someone else on the path who came from the area of the bushes. The person did not approach her, talk to her, do anything suspicious. In fact, it seemed they walked away from her. She still said she planned to call the police to report it and then described the “suspect” as a slender black male in a hoodie. So, basically, she saw a black guy in a hoodie on a public path, got scared, called it suspicious and planned to call the police. I thought my faith in my community would be restored when a couple of people joined in to tell her that calling the police was dumb and could possibly be dangerous to someone who had done nothing wrong. My only contribution was to reply “So you’re going to all the police to report someone for walking while black? Seriously?” I’ve very eloquent.

This morning there have been several more posts telling her there was no need to call the police or offer a description of someone who was walking on a public path. There have also been people thanking her and saying that it is always good to be vigilant and post suspicious activity even if it seems silly. THERE WAS NO SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY! Someone was walking on a public path. They did not approach her. They did not talk to her. They did nothing but exist. The existence of a black make in a hoodie is not a crime. Would we be discussing this at all had the “suspect” been  blonde, teenage girl(the scariest of all humans)? I doubt it. The existence of white people is not generally considered suspicious. I walk a lot on trails in the area while wearing a hoodie. No one calls me suspicious because I’m an old white guy. We have to stop calling the police to report people of color for living their lives. I don’t want to live in a neighborhood where this is considered a good idea. Stop!

Is it good to be vigilant? Yes. Be aware of your surroundings. If you are on a trail and are uncomfortable with someone else on the trail, leave the trail.  If someone actually breaks the law, call the police.

End Rant.

My Week in Books, Movies and TV(9/14)

It’s been another one of those weeks where I can’t remember what I did and when I did it. Was Labor Day just last week? I should probably start taking notes or something so I remember what I watched and read and don’t have to rebuild my week while I am still sleepy on a Friday morning. I probably won’t, but I should.

Books: I finished Sunrise Highway by Peter Blauner and There There by Tommy Orange. Sunrise Highway is a thriller dealing with an NYPD detective trying to prove that a police chief in a nearby county is a serial killer. It’s a good story and Blauner is a good writer, but I’m disappointed that he’s joined the “write a series” trend. There is nothing wrong with writing stand alone novels. There There was very good. I listened to it and the audio is great. It has a voice cast with a different person voicing each characters chapters. I love that. It takes a while for all of the characters to come together at the final event, but it’s worth the time it takes to get there.

Television: I watched episodes of the usual shows I’ve mentioned before. I watched the season premieres of Last Ship and The Deuce. The Last Ship is still a decent action show, but I’m not sad that this is the last season.  I think the last season would have been a good stopping point. The Deuce’s time jump could be interesting. We’ll see. We also watched the premiere of You on Lifetime. So far, it looks like a good adaptation of the book. Peen Badgley is good as the stalker who can be charming.  I think I will stick with it.

Movies: We watched Rampage. It will be no surprise to anyone that I slept through portions of it. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. I like The Rock, so that helped. I think that might actually be the only movie we watched this week. I don’t think we even watched an old movie in the background while doing other stuff. I have no movies from the library right now, so this coming week could also be a movie-less week unless we watch one that is sitting on our DVR.

On Deck: I’m reading a land more kind than home by Wiley Cash for my personal book club. I need to re-read/skim Neverwhere for my new book club at work. American Vandal season 2 is not available on Netflix and I have Mr Mercedes season 1 on DVD, so I know what shows I will be watching when my wife isn’t home. As I said above, I have no movies on deck. We do have Greatest Showman and Murder on the Orient Express on the DVR, but I’m not sure my wife wants to watch them.

When Do You Give Up?

I have a few shows on my DVR that I never feel like watching. I’ve watched a few episodes of one of them and find myself looking at my phone more than the screen. One I haven’t had the urge to watch once. I watched the first seasons of the shows and liked them enough to record season two, but apparently not enough to watch season two. Yet, they are still there, taking up space on my DVR. I have no idea how long they will sit there until I give up and delete them. Probably when the new TV season starts and I start having a disk space crisis and something has to go to make room for the shows I actually care about.

I will occasionally give up on a book if I read 50 pages and it’s not grabbing me. I have problems giving up if I’ve made it past 50 pages and then get bored after 100 or so. I feel like I’ve committed too much time to give up at that point so my reading slows down while I spend days finishing a book I no longer care about. Why do I do that? There are too many good books out there to waste time reading one I obviously don’t like. It’s the same with movies.  We recently watched an entire 90 minute movie that none of us as enjoying because no one wanted to be the one to suggest turning it off.

How long do you leave a show on your DVR before you admit you will never watch it and delete?

Do you have a page number for how long you read before you stop? Do you have a point of no return where you will finish no matter how bad it gets?

Do you turn movies off halfway through if you aren’t enjoying it?

Why do we waste precious time on things we aren’t enjoying?