The Escape: Home, Books, Movies, Etc.

Home again. I was greeted by the dog, who seems to only love me for the treats I give. He runs to get in front of me, herding me, hoping for something, anything.

My younger son tells me that we need to do something ASAP about the wifi in his room and that he has repetitive strain injury from the mutes on his drum set — lower noise means less bounce and more wrist movement. (Yes, we bravely bought him a used acoustic drum set for Christmas, replacing the electronic one that he has outgrown. Surprisingly, the noise is not much worse than the electronic kit.)

My husband, on the other hand, spares me about 30 seconds, all with his finger hovering above the play button, waiting to resume the show he is watching. (In his defense, he actually was more attentive on Sunday, so I’ll give him a pass.)

Sigh.

IMG_4226Anyway, day 3 of the great escape was good. I stopped in at a glass blowing studio that I’ve always just passed by before, and I watched the artist at work. Amazing how a lump of glass can become something beautiful in the right hands.

I didn’t buy anything, though, not being able to justify it, even to myself, as a worthwhile expenditure. After all, I have my 99 cent flower to take home!

Books

Hungry HeartMore Shopping: I had a gift card for Chapters, so I browsed the remaindered books, something I love doing but hadn’t done in so long, and I picked up Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner. Weiner is one of my favourite authors of women’s fiction, with funny, relatable characters navigating life and relationships, often while battling self-esteem and body-image issues. One of her books, In Her Shoes, was made into a movie and I wrote about it here.

I’m interested to read about her background and what lead her to write such compelling stories, as well as to understand something about her writing process and her life as a reader. She has been outspoken in advocating for equal time for women’s popular fiction as compared to men’s popular fiction, and she asserts in the first chapter that, “Women’s stories matter. They tell us who we are, they give us places to explore our problems, to try on identities and imagine happy endings. They entertain us, they divert us, they comfort us when we’re lonely or alone. Women’s stories matter. And women matter too.” An embraceable thought following International Women’s Day.

MornnovinA Book and a Kickstarter Campaign: I’ve also been rereading another book by a female author, who is also a fellow-blogger and Armitage fan, Alyssa Marie Bethancourt. (If you’ve never read her very personal essay on Lucas North, it’s well worth the read.)

Last year, Alyssa self-published her debut novel, Mornnovin, and it is a wonderful book for any lover of fantasy, magic, and epic quests. It has all the required elements — elves, fairies, humans, a world that needs saving — as well as a strong female lead and a perfect romance that shouldn’t be happening. The characters are all very distinct and well-developed, even down to highlighting nature/nurture personality differences between two siblings. The book follows three groups of people, each with their own trials to overcome, who must all come together for a vital quest, gathering members as they travel. Alyssa calls herself an Autistic Wordpainter, and has incorporated autistic traits into her race of elves, which adds an interesting element to the nature/nurture question.

Those of us who have read Mornnovin, are eagerly awaiting the series’ second book, Trajelon. To date, 53 of us have supported the Kickstarter campaign, to the tune of $2,886 USD, to see Trajelon published. With just over a week to go, Alyssa needs to raise another $814 USD to reach her goal. If you contribute $20 USD or more, you will receive not only a digital and a trade-paperback copy of the new book, but also a digital copy of Mornnovin so that you can read the whole series to date! Please visit the Kickstarter campaign here, check out the rewards at the various levels, and make a contribution if you are able.

Music

After watching Richard Armitage in The Stranger, I discovered the music of Walking on Cars, an Irish band whose song Monster was used as the theme song for the series. I absolutely love the voice of Patrick Sheehy, who is also the band’s lyricist. Their album Colours has been on repeat throughout my recent stressful time at work and on my escape too.

Movies

Before taking the ferry to get home, I went to see Ben Affleck’s new movie, The Way BackFor some reason, I have a soft spot for this big bear of a man, who I think has had a bad rap in terms of his acting ability. I particularly appreciated his performance as the autistic contract killer in The Accountant, alongside Anna Kendrick, and I also enjoyed seeing him bring the husband to life from the book Gone Girl.

In The Way Back, Affleck plays a functioning but miserable alcoholic whose life has become nothing but drinking and getting by. His first beer of the day is drunk during the morning shower, coffee cups hide the booze during his working hours, and he is carried home to bed from the bar each night. His performance is excellent and really true-to-life, incorporating his own personal experience as a recovering alcoholic into the role.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is not great. He is offered the chance to coach the basketball team at the high school where he was a star as a teenager. This is the beginning of the road to redemption, of course, but despite good performances from the young actors and the actors playing his family, the lackluster story can’t be overcome. To me, there are things that are unrealistic, too, such as the way he easily puts the drinking aside for a time to focus on the boys and the amount of swearing done by him during the coaching. I’ve been around a lot of youth sports and I don’t believe that would have been tolerated. Again, though, Affleck’s performance itself is very believable.

Netflix

Speaking of drunks, I have of course been watching Season 3 of Castlevania on Netflix. I’m only halfway through, though, so no spoilers please! I have to say that I am enjoying this season much more than Season 2. Once again, I have been struck by how light and colour is shown so vibrantly and beautifully in this series, to the extent that some scenes (e.g. purple flowers) look almost like photographs. I really love that Richard Armitage’s Trevor Belmont is back to his snarky beer-loving self (interesting how this is not so funny in real life) and that the series is exploring the relationship between him and Sypha, with a lot of snappy banter back and forth. While in solidarity as a woman, I like that Sypha is in charge, I’m not sure that I like how our man Trevor is being lead around by the… hand by Sypha. Show a little initiative, man! Again, the vampires are too cartoonish for my liking (where is Dracula when you need him?) and the gore is a little much. However, I really am liking the season so far.

Life

Back on the home front, I did a massive grocery shop today — while I think the coronavirus panic is a bit out-of-hand, I do see the merit in a little bit of extra buying, especially since we also live in a potential earthquake zone. I don’t know what the stores are like where you are, but our stores are all out of all hand sanitizer, many cleaning products, toilet paper, and… Spam. I thought that was pretty hilarious. For those who don’t know, Spam is a canned meat immortalized in a Monty Python song.

It’s a crazy world. And already I am missing my home-away-from-home.

Back to work in the morning. Back to reality.

30 thoughts on “The Escape: Home, Books, Movies, Etc.

  1. Sue you did a lot for a mini escape!!
    I haven’t started on S3 yet I’m going to rewatch S2 to figure out what happened but if Trevor is back to drunk snarky from S1 then yippee!!
    I will pass on Affleck movie
    I saw Bombshell on the flight home last week so I will probably blog about it
    The dog missed his mum!! 😘❤️ Mine are all glued to my hips now
    Hope you recharged a bit and things at work slow down ease up for you 😘❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think you needed a few more days if only to make everyone aware of how much they should be missing you!

    Affleck — it was on my “maybe” list b/c the trailer made it look like it was a realistic portrayal of acute alcoholism. I know plenty of people personally who drink in the shower. But at the top right now are still 1917 and Emma and I don’t even know if I have time for those.

    Castlevania — still haven’t seen series 2. Uch. Or The Stranger. #badfan

    I’d been writing off the coronavirus panic as media hyperbole until Saturday when I did a little research and decided some preparation might be in order (universities are like Petri dishes and I work at two of them now; dad is in several high risk categories for having complications if he gets it). So I spent $100 on non-perishables we would use anyway (except a case of Gatorade and disinfecting wipes — we don’t usually consume those, but I bought them anyway after reading a list of recommendations) figuring what we don’t use could be donated. And if we have to stay at home for 2-3 weeks we can use that time to eat our way through the freezer, which needs a defrosting. As far as I can tell no one here is panic buying at all. I did not buy hand sanitizer as (apart from all my normal objections to the stuff), it seems not to do much good unless you buy the industrial strength kind and I’d rather wash my hands with soap than with a 70 percent alcohol solution.

    So then I admitted on FB that I had laid in some supplies, and my brother took me to task for overreacting and wasting money. After that I read an article that said political liberals in the US are something like twice as concerned as conservatives. While only 6% of GOP voters have taken precautions, 11% of Dem voters have. Tja. Handwashing is becoming a political issue.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I definitely needed a few more days, for a variety of reasons! And now I find that because of Coronavirus concerns, my boss won’t be away as long as she was supposed to be. More work piled on already.

      Affleck’s portrayal is realistic, but I don’t know that the road to recovery is portrayed well or that there is anything to learn from it.

      I’m enjoying having good Armitage TV to watch again!

      I’m laughing about the Coronavirus buying, and yet I stocked up on canned goods, frozen fruit and veg, and skim milk powder yesterday. Might as well be prepared — we’ll eat it eventually. I live in a community with a high Asian and immigrant population and there is a lot of panic buying. My organization also runs classes and it’s a real concern about when offerings should be curtailed. Adding to my stress is that as chair of our health and safety committee, I’m responsible for the related communications and procedures, in addition to all my regular work.

      I saw that Trump used his visit to the CDC to note that the tests are almost as perfect as his phone call and the transcripts. I mean, really.

      Like

      • well, the CDC apparently came out today and suggested supplies, so I’m no longer resident in the lunatic fringe, I guess. Something like 20 universities have now canceled F2F classes for the remainder of the spring. I wonder if in two days I’ll be trying to figure out how to finish the term with my students.

        Liked by 2 people

        • 🙂 I recommend computer lessons:
          – yourself, live on webcam, at the time you would set. You will be the star of the screen,
          – your previously written courses could be sent by internet,
          – then questions and answers. You will read all the questions one after the other and then choose the best ones. Then like Richard you will answer them on screen and throw them carelessly, once resolved.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I hope so. The thing is that no matter what happens now I can’t go back (e.g., if the campuses decide to reopen) as I’d inevitably carry something back to dad. Not sure how this affects my future employability.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I suppose teaching online is not quite the same for you. My son’s college went to live streaming classes on Google Hangout. He absolutely hates it. Because he is learning music production, it is supposed to be very hands-on, which is perfect for him. So online doesn’t quite work.

              Like

              • It sucks 2/3 of what I really enjoy about teaching out of it, frankly. If I really thought it was the sole future of teaching, I’d be rushing to find something else to do.

                Liked by 1 person

                    • My position as adjunct is completely dependent on enrollments — I’m not part of any permanent faculty — and I teach mostly introductory courses now. So if the economy tanks and people stay out of college (as they did in 2008), that means no work for me as all the classes will be covered by permanent faculty. My desire to teach solely online is also very low. At the same time, it will be hard to get out and look for a different job if we’re doing social distancing over the summer.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I didn’t realize college enrolments went down in 2008, but it makes sense. Anything discretionary will be affected. I know you were thinking you had taken on too much, but it would be nice if the choice were yours. Job hunting could be hard … we’re doing interviews on video chat right now. Much as I complain about my job, I know I’m lucky that at least I have something secure, especially now.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’ve really been in a “que será, será” mood about my career since moving back to Wisconsin. It is what it is — the world is changing really rapidly right now and I think a lot of things will be very different once we emerge from this.

                      Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 Just wash your hands with soap is a rather good option , adding disinfection of door handles etc too. As for your father no children around him, Don’t worry except if you (or his helpers) catched a cold, fever, chill and so on… mask would be useful.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Voici la première question qui vous est adressée, en hommage à certains fans dont l’humour n’a pas de prix, par les temps qui courent. Ce qui me réjouit.
    Quel est votre arbre favori, Servetus?

    Liked by 1 person

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