The air today was horrid muggy–like having a hot and sweaty hand clasped around your face. Disagreeable, very. But—FRIDAY! So, I left work a little early, to do some shopping and then consider whether a Pina Colada (SO 1970s!) or a Strawberry Daiquiri (SO 1980’s!) or a Dark and Stormy (SO 2016!) would be the best drink with which to celebrate the evening.

Some sad person decided that today would be a good day to jump in front of a train, and though I of course sympathize with her desperate grief and despair, I will own that one could wish that she had chosen a method that did not discommode thousands of commuters.
But how shameful of me to even think such an unsympathetic thought! Poor fellow human! Who, apparently, did not in fact succeed in her project of self-immolation.
So there’s that.

Also, it turns out that sitting in a well chilled train with a book in hand is not the worst way to pass some time on an oppressive summer afternoon.
So there’s that.
Anyway, I eventually arrived at the station, boarded the bus and made my way home. The sky was ominous with louring clouds–huge storm on the way! As soon as I got home I grabbed shopping list and drove off in haste to grocery store, to get shopping done before apocalypse.
A flash lit up the car dashboard! Was it lightning, announcing the deadly storm?
No, it was that DAMN TRAFFIC CAMERA.
Sigh. Can’t win for losing.
But here is the good thing about today: it is my dear sister-in-law’s birthday! So, Happy Birthday Claire!

May the traffic cameras never see your car and may the rain clouds miss your celebration!

PS. In case you’re wondering, the pina colada won the coveted Which Drink Is Most Lovesome Prize.

I finally watched the movie to blame for those oddly decorative Guy Fawkes masks appearing at every tiresome pep rally of a couple years back–V for Vendetta.

The story involves–oh, I can’t be bothered to tell the story. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing–it is based on a comic book, ludicrously unbelievable, and touting a repugnant concept of politics–so why, why was I continuing to watch such silliness?
Simply, those astonishing actors, filling the screen with their lunatic energy and panache. As the repellent dictator, John Hurt was mesmerizing–his baleful face, all wrinkles and bad teeth, spitting virulent hatred–projected into the huge screen in the conference room where sat his minions, resentfully regarding him.

There was Stephen Rea, as the dogged detective, and wicked wicked Tim Piggott-Smith (whom I remember so well as the heinous Ronald Merrick in The Jewel in the Crown)–oh, and Stephen Fry, Roger Allam, Sinead Cusack–this movie is a feast of fabulous acting.
With, I’ll admit, a completely silly plot. But it is after all based on a comic book.
Intelligent entertainments based on brilliant works of art are rare. This will do until the intelligent, brilliant one comes along.
PS. RIP, John Hurt and Tim Piggott-Smith. Both died this year.

I was watching a VERRA exciting movie, one of those Star Wars shows, a prequel–the wicked villains are BUILDING the I-felt-a-great-disturbance-in-the-Force Death Star–GOSH! Non stop action! Space ships! Hyperdrive! Huge explosions! Robots!
Image result for rogue oneBut I had to stop, it being my bedtime and a school night. And, such was the perturbation of spirits aroused by the show that I was unable to sink into slumber for at least an hour, if not more.


So the next night, instead of watching the heart-stopping conclusion of Rogue One…I watched Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Netflix has poured roughly a gazillion dollars into this much loved old clunker, and a great deal of wild zest too. I own that while at first I held back–ever faithful to the incredible silliness of the original show–I was guffawing away soon enough. The ghastly movie our team is forced to watch–Reptilicus–is so extremely awful one can hardly believe it wasn’t actually created to be the butt of their wit, but, not. Reptilicus is a Danish-American Big Monster movie, and apparently still a Thing in Denmark, cheesy and dumb, but THEIR cheesy and dumb. See, a bunch of Copper Miners in the Frozen North drill into–FLESH. They take it back to the Lab in Copenhagen and keep it in a Freezer Room. But UH OH! The door is left open, the flesh thaws and regenerates into a MONSTER (“t-t-talking bout regeneration!” sing the MST bots).

The terrible production values, the stilted dialogue, the amazing stupidity–it’s all there!

Image result for mads mikkelsen dancerAnd speaking of Denmark, I notice that Danish Favorite Son Mads Mikkelson is now all over the place–just saw him as Evil Caecilius in Dr. Strange, and there he was as Brilliant Scientist and Loving Dad in Rogue One.
Nice looking fellow, no?

From gymnast to ballet dancer to actor to WORLD STAR. Well done Mr. Denmark! Once I felt strong enough to continue with Rogue One, I was pleased to find that–after terrible trials–he is reunited with his now-all-grown-up daughter; albeit briefly. It was a completely unbelievable but nonetheless heart-warming scene, after which he…

But so does everyone else as the Bad Empire forces blow up the entire set. But not before the Plans to the Death Star are smuggled to Princess Leia, or at least, an slightly creepy CGI version of Princess Leia.
Image result for rogue one cgi carrie fisher
The CGI Tarkin is even more creepy. The Stars die but the movie making goes on. T-t-talking bout regeneration!

While topping up the litter box I happened to notice some text on the bag: Instructions. ‘Cleaning out Solid Waste and Clumps every day, proper disposing of, blah blah blah’–and— ‘WASH OUT LITTER BOX ONCE A WEEK WITH SOAP AND WATER’.
Well, knock me down with a feather.
You know how many times I’ve washed out a litter box with soap and water?
That would be…. NEVER.
Image result for victorian cleaning ladies
In related news, you are probably wondering how often I clean my coffee machine–twice yearly, monthly…eh?
Well, NEVER is once again the winner over here in Bethesda.
I often think about doing it though, so there is that.

Emptying and cleaning the fridge?
Ah. NEVER is clearly on a winning streak here.

Still, I make the bed every day, so I think I get points for that.

Guilty Pleasures

My brother sheepishly admitted watching a show which no sensible adult could watch without shame. So naturally, I feverishly hunted for it on Netflix and settled down to waste my time with it.
MY, the Stupid is very strong in this one.
And yet, strangely compelling.
What can I say–while I may have made derisive comments to the cats during the episode, I watched the whole thing. Shannara is one of those American made series, with a strong ‘Yonda is da castle of my Fadda’ vibe (honesty constrains me to add that apparently Tony Curtis never said these words in any movie ever) and of course it complies with the exacting American TV casting tradition which rules that all the young actors and actresses must look EXACTLY ALIKE–all beautiful, slim, and perfectly made up. Mascara is mandatory. Half of them must be blonde and half brunette: is the LAW.
Also, elf ears.

It’s Friday night. GO ON. You can watch that depressing Sundance winner tomorrow.

I am dealing with non-stop adversity here, comrades! But bravely of course! Ever dauntless!

Betrayed by Garden Device
Just when I finally got the automatic watering system running like CLOCKWORK, there was a sudden horrid flood on the path under which a buried hose takes water to a planter box.

SIGH. Pulling up immensely heavy flagstones, dabbling in the mud–in the blinding heat, while having the blood drained out of me by voracious mosquitoes (probably infected with Zika)–so NOT the way I had planned to spend my weekend.
Well, the hose connector had just burst apart. It was an example of an exciting new technology in hose connectors–so much quicker and better than the old fashioned kind! Except, that is, for its COMPLETE failure to actually, you know, connect hoses. I replaced it with an old fashioned connector, and trashed it, together with all its family of expensive couplers and gewgaws. Put the mud and flagstones back down. Then spent a satisfying few minutes writing a venomous review on Amazon. HA! That should show them.

Betrayed by Electronic Device
Having decided that I MUST watch Game of Thrones–damn the expense!–I turned on Roku, found HBOGo and clicked on GAME OF THRONES SEASON 7! YAY! Go Jon Snow! Except his voice was mute. As were all the other voices. I could hear wind blowing and gulls screaming, and the occasional dim whisper–but, nothing more. The subtitles were valiantly doing their part, so I knew what people were saying but couldn’t hear it. Somewhat unsatisfying, don’t you know.

Was it the speakers? Was it the receiver? Was it the punishment of an angry God? No time to find out, getting so late. So, I went to bed, feeling ill used. The next evening I tested the speakers and the receivers–which all worked–and tested the other device–which worked. Eh? So, I did what I should have done first, asked Mr. Google. “WHY can’t I hear dialog on Game of Thrones?” Well well, what do you know. OTHER people had this problem. It was a setting on Roku–change it from, uh, [original setting that worked perfectly until now] to ‘Stereo’. BINGO! My $14.99 not wasted after all.

Betrayed by Browser
You’ll be thinking, HOW can this poor woman be doomed to more suffering! And yet, so it is. See, after my lovely trip to NY and Maine, I came home and put together a wondrous web page documenting all the charming times we’d had. HOURS I spent on it, making everything just so. Then with all the pride of a master artist, I set it winging up to the cloud, and made ready to unveil it to my adoring public–but first, prudently checking it out to make sure all was ship shape. WELL. Chrome refused to load my updated styles. Chrome liked my OLD styles and would NOT change, not if it were ever so. My every effort in vain. Other browsers–Edge, Safari–blithely displayed the updated look, but not Chrome.

Well, well it could be worse. It could be EVERY browser hating on me, instead of just Chrome.

New neighbors

I looked out into the yard–and there was a raccoon looking back at me. No– not looking at me–looking at her 3 babies who were trotting towards her, along the garden path right under my window. I RUSHED to get the phone, but too late, they had all gone when I returned.

Bertie indicated that he would like to go out and welcome these interesting new neighbors, but I forbade it.
Image result for raccoon
Because, rabies.
Also because I am cruel to cats, or at least, that is what Bertie says.

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