Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 18, 2014

Holy monsters, have I really written nothing in a month?! Fie and shame on me.

My daughter's family is still with me as the search for a home drags on into its 3rd month. We're all starting to feel the pressure, but the alternative (them living on the streets) isn't acceptable. This is a temporary problem, and we all have to keep reminding ourselves of that.

In the meantime, the kids (including Bear) have started school. They seem to enjoy it and are doing well. The son in law is still working at the same place. We're looking forward to welcoming a visiting Japanese student, though we can't serve as a host family this year (just no room!).

There's a plan to go to the Ren Faire this weekend. We scored free tickets, but even so, it's going to be an expensive undertaking. And I seriously can't afford to underwrite this.

Found out that Baba had a stent inserted for a blocked artery. He came through well, went home the next day (yesterday). Bear and I will go and see him on Sunday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

This weekend I missed a good one from my MetMuseum calendar:

"The Lake of Zug" by Joseph Mallord William Turner, painted in London in 1843. I love the intensity of color. It almost distracts from the activity around the edge of the lake in the foreground.

Saturday was busy. The whole crew trooped out to look at an apartment that Mamita was hoping to get. I admit, it was completely beautiful. Cream walls, arched doorways and lots of original maple paneling and cabinetry from the 1920s. I wanted it for myself, though it was far too large for little me, and I do love my tiny "cottage."

From there we rushed to get Papi to work before meeting up with a walking tour in East Greenwich. This is another thing it turns out that you don't want to do with under-twos in tow. We made it to about six houses and gave up. Wren just wanted to run around everywhere, and Peppy kept wanting to snack. So we headed for home, and stopped on the way for an excellent brunch. That was much more up everyone's alley.

Sunday was rainy and dreary, so we just stayed home.  Tonight I hope to start organizing our activites that we've done so far, so we can start writing about them.

August 15, 2014

Today in my art calendar, a 15th century silver and gilt medallion from Italy.

Nice, huh?



Friday, August 15, 2014

August 14, 2014

So on my way in to work this morning, "All Summer Long" by Kid Rock was on the radio. One of the key lyrics in the chorus is "Singing Sweet Home Alabama all summer long."



Which of course made me think of Sweet Home Alabama, by Lynyrd Skynyrd.


and its key lyric "I hope Neil Young will remember, a southern man don't need him around anyhow." Which is a reference to Young's song "Southern Man."


Which is a song taking the South to task for its racism and slavery.

Now, I don't like Neil Young's voice, so I've never listened to the song all the way through, or even read the lyrics. I do like the message of the song, although as Van Zandt of Skynyrd said at the time, it does paint southerners with a broad brush. My "something new" of the day.

Kind of a stream-of-consciousness thing.

Tonight I'm going to a discussion meetup about supersitions and old wives tales. Promises to be interesting.

Mamita is registering the kids for school. It's been arduous, and she's not enjoying the process at all.




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13, 2014

Another loss that resonates with me. Yesterday we said goodbye to Lauren Bacall. Perhaps it's unfair, but I don't feel the loss was nearly as tragic as Robin Williams'. Bacall was 89, and had lived a good, long life. Williams was 63. His death was likely a suicide, and he'd been struggling with depression. While Bacall's death is sad, it's more of an expected passing. Williams was a life cut tragically short. I do feel sympathy for Bacall's family because their grief and loss is overshadowed (even here on this blog) by the ongoing shock and search for meaning in Williams' death. It's much like what happened to Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson a few years ago.

Anyway, rest well, great lady. You earned it.


Today I listened to a couple of works of classical music. Two that were unfamiliar were quite nice. The third was less than impressive. They're on my list, if you're keeping score.

We're getting tons of rain today, and it feels like it's been awhile since we've seen any. I'm sure the plants need it.

Finally got around to reviewing "Killing Jesus" by Bill O'Reilley:


The story of Jesus' life, alongside background on the history and proliferation of crucifixion and some details on what it meant to be a Roman or a Jew at that time, intersect at the time of the capital-C Crucifixion. It's compelling and interesting. I don't know about accurate.

I never know what to make of Bill O'Reilly's books. I listen to them on audio, and he narrates them himself. His tone is so sensationalizing that I'm not quite sure if it's his reading or the material, but his conclusions often sound overblown and questionable. Details about Jesus' life and heritage that O'Reilly states as fact sometimes don't ring as accurate compared to other things I've read (availability of wood determining whether Jesus was a carpenter or a stonemason, and other things like that). He gets well inside Pilate's head, and I have no idea whether his source material is some writing or diary I'm unaware of, or presumption on his part, or educated guesses from his and his ghostwriter's research.
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Looking back on the weekend, which is our last activity of note, Megan and I took Peppy (3 months) and Wren (19 months) to Newport to tour Rosecliff mansion. They were both remarkably well-behaved, although Wren did start to get antsy after awhile. It's really not meant to be attractive to toddlers.  Afterward we went on a cruise along Ocean Drive and admired the views and the homes of people lucky and ostentatious enough to build big on the cliffs. We stopped in Jamestown for dinner at Chopmist Charlie's and paid absolutely too much for stuffies, salad and...uh... well, it wasn't memorable. But it was a beautiful day and we saw beautiful things and had a good time. We were all exhausted when we got home, but it was the good kind of exhausted.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 11, 2014

via National Geographic
Found this today as I was cruising through Bing. Amazing shot from British Columbia. What you see is the splash of a rock being thrown into the water, in front of a sunset. Amazing.

And later in the day I was stunned and saddened to learn of the death of Robin Williams.



I'm old enough to have watched Mork & Mindy in its original run, and I watched him grow from a manic young comedian to an actor with gravitas. He had an amazing sense of innocence and whimsy that I'll dearly miss. My heart goes out to his family, friends and fans.


Friday, August 08, 2014

August 7, 2014

I've been so busy with children and grandchildren that I really haven't had time to post. However, I've been working hard to keep up with my HabitRPG tasks otherwise. If you don't know HabitRPG, it's a fun little task manager that lets you make your to-do lists, and as you check them off, earn "gold" and "silver" points that you can then use to buy rewards, which can be virtual swag from the program (outfits, helmets and other tools), or anything you desire in your real life. You can join groups (or not), and sign up for challenges (or not). Occasionally you'll find eggs and growth potions that hatch the eggs into adorable little pets that you can feed. Best of all, it's free, and so far pretty motivational.

Anyway, I've joined a "better your life" challenge that gives lists of things to do every day to improve your life.
1. Write about 1 thing you did yesterday to improve your health.
I went to the zoo with my daughter's family. We walked and saw animals. I was out in the sunshine, and drank lots of water.

2. Choose an intention for the day.
I'm not really clear on what that is, but I do want to join in a photography project that's going on in Providence, so I'm hoping we can do that today after work. Today's intention is to look at my city in a different way.

3. Write in your journal about last week.
Last week was rainy and hot and one of those weeks where I really just didn't feel like doing much of anything.

4. Write in a gratitude journal
I was grateful to be there the first time my granddaughter saw an elephant, a giraffe and a camel. I'm looking forward to doing it again when the baby is old enough to understand.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2014 Emmy noms (with commentary)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad (haven't watched it)
Kevin Spacey - House of Cards  (haven't watched it)
Jon Hamm – Mad Men  (haven't watched it)
Jeff Daniels – The Newsroom
Woody Harrelson - True Detective
Matthew McConaughey – True Detective
I'm rooting for Jeff Daniels, because I like The Newsroom and it's the only nomination for the show. I also like Daniels (but not enough to watch Dumb and Dumberer).

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Michelle Dockery - Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife  (haven't watched it)
Claire Danes – Homeland  (haven't watched it)
Robin Wright - House of Cards  (haven't watched it)
Lizzy Caplan – Masters of Sex  (haven't watched it)
Kerry Washington - Scandal
I'm rooting for Kerry Washington. Downton took a downturn last season.
I could give it to Claire Danes, Robin Wright or Lizzy Caplan based on their other bodies of work, too.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Dancing on the Edge  (haven't watched it)
Martin Freeman - Fargo
Billy Bob Thornton – Fargo
Idris Elba - Luther  (haven't watched it)
Mark Ruffalo - The Normal Heart (haven't watched it)
Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock: His Last Vow
I'm rooting for Martin Freeman on this one.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Jessica Lange – American Horror Story: Coven
Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story: Coven
Helena Bonham Carter – Burton and Taylor (haven't watched it)
Minnie Driver – Return to Zero (haven't watched it)
Kristen Wiig – The Spoils of Babylon (haven't watched it)
Cicely Tyson – The Trip to Bountiful (haven't watched it)
Sarah Paulson was great on Coven this year.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
Ricky Gervais – Derek (haven't watched it)
Matt LeBlanc – Episodes (haven't watched it)
Don Cheadle – House of Lies (haven't watched it)
Louis C.K. – Louie (haven't watched it)
William H. Macy – Shameless (haven't watched it)
Oh Sheldon, you beautiful praying mantis. I hope you win.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham – Girls (haven't watched it)
Melissa McCarthy – Mike & Molly (haven't watched it)
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie (haven't watched it)
Taylor Schilling – Orange is the New Black (haven't watched it)
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep (haven't watched it, but I've been meaning to
I'm rooting for Amy Pohler on this one

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race  (haven't watched it)
Dancing with the Stars (haven't watched it)
Project Runway (haven't watched it)
So You Think You Can Dance (haven't watched it)
Top Chef (haven't watched it)
The Voice (haven't watched it)
write-in: Food Network Star

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live (haven't watched it)
Real Time with Bill Maher (haven't watched it)
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (haven't watched it)
Daily Show. All day, every day.

Outstanding Miniseries
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde (haven't watched it)
Fargo
Luther (haven't watched it)
Treme (haven't watched it)
The White Queen (haven't watched it)
Fargo.

Outstanding Television Movie
Killing Kennedy (haven't watched it)
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (haven't watched it)
The Normal Heart (haven't watched it)
Sherlock: His Last Vow
The Trip to Bountiful (haven't watched it)
No strong opinion here.

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Louie (haven't watched it)
Modern Family
Orange is the New Black (haven't watched it)
Silicon Valley (haven't watched it)
Veep (haven't watched it, but meant to)
I do love Modern Family, but The Big Bang heory has my heart.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad (haven't watched it)
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards (haven't watched it)
Mad Men (haven't watched it)
True Detective
Why isn't Game of Thrones on this list 5 times?

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Moira Walley-Beckett – Breaking Bad (haven't watched it)
Vince Gilligan – Breaking Bad (haven't watched it)
David Benioff, D.B. Weiss – Game of Thrones
Beau Willimon – House of Cards (haven't watched it)
Nic Pizzolatto – True Detective
Game of Thrones, naturally.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik – Episodes (haven't watched it)
Louis C.K. – Louie (haven't watched it)
Liz Friedman, Jenji Kohan – Orange is the New Black (haven't watched it)
Alec Berg – Silicon Valley (haven't watched it)
Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche, Armando Iannucci – Veep (haven't watched it, but meant to)
Can't make an assessment on this one

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk – American Horror Story: Coven
Noah Hawley – Fargo
 Neil Cross – Luther  (haven't watched it)
 Larry Kramer – The Normal Heart  (haven't watched it)
Steven Moffat – Sherlock: His Last Vow
 David Simon, Eric Overmyer – Treme  (haven't watched it)
I'm going to give this one to Fargo too.

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with John Stewart
Inside Amy Schumer  (haven't watched it)
Key & Pele  (haven't watched it)
Portlandia  (haven't watched it)
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon  (haven't watched it)
The Daily Show. The writing is sharp, witty and smart.

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
The Beatles: The Night That Changed America  (haven't watched it)
Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays  (haven't watched it)
The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards  (haven't watched it)
Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles  (haven't watched it)
67th Annual Tony Awards  (haven't watched it)
Can't make an assessment

Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown  (haven't watched it)
COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey
JFK (American Experience)  (haven't watched it)
The World Wars  (haven't watched it)
Years of Living Dangerously  (haven't watched it)
COSMOS, by default, but also because it's quite good.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 17, 2014

After listening to hour after hour of Pharrell's "Happy" (courtesy of my 18-month-old granddaughter, who is obsessed in the way that only toddlers can be), this parody makes me happy.

Today is apparently the anniversary of the opening of Disney Land. I investigated further and learned:

1. It's the only park created under the direct supervision of Walt Disney
2. The "backstage" areas (where guests are not invited), are painted a dull green to blend with the foliage. Disney Imagineers call it "go away green."


July 11, 2014

There is no conceivable reason this song is stuck in my head this morning.

Sometimes life is just random.