Monday, June 29, 2020

Still here

I had forgotten that back in January I agreed to read and write a short introduction for a Canadian reprint of a book from the fifties entitled I AM NOT GUILTY, Frances Shelley Wees. Last week the book arrived along with a catalog, mentioning my introduction. Had forgotten all about it after so much time had passed.
Wees, a Canadian, was better known for her novel THE KEYS OF MY PRISON, also published by Vehicule Press. This task came my way via Brian Busby. So I am knee deep in that, trying to find something interesting to say beyond a plot summary.
Watching DEAD STILL, about a Victorian photographer who photographs the dead. Sound familiar? So far I haven't really gotten into it. I am kind of in a lull, having finished several viewing projects.
Read THE OTHER MRS. by Mary Kubick. Still working on BORN A CRIME by Trevor Noah. Also reading some short stories from Sarah Weinman's first anthology of domestic suspense.
Watched the Spike Lee movie DA FIVE BLOODS which was rather spoiled by the NYT opinion piece by Viet Nguyen who scolded Lee for being attuned to the problems of black soldiers, but oblivious to the ones of the Vietnamese. Nguyen had spent his whole life watching US Vietnam films that use the native Vietnamese as victims or murderers or servants and not real people.
Sad week. This virus has us by the throat! This needed to be handled at a federal level not state by state. Great piece on Michigan gov, Gretchen Whitmer in the NYT magazine.
How about you?


Margot Kinberg said...

It sounds as though you're doing some interesting reading, Patti. I've been wanting to read that Trevor Noah book, as I hear it's good. And now I have to read your introduction to the Wees...

Jeff Meyerson said...

That Victorian one sounds like your book! Interesting. I had an occasional F. S. Wees book picked up in England but never read one. I didn't even know she was Canadian.

The week was mostly spent recovering from surgery. Even laser surgery like this can have side effects, especially from the anesthetic. I am still appalled at the lack of any followup from the doctor or his assistants. I could be dead on the floor for all the interest they show. The worst thing is, they gave me no warning about what to expect in terms of recovery time, symptoms, etc. It's all trial and error plus a little helpful insight to post-surgical recovery from a friend who was a nurse for 30 years.

It's been slow - lack of sleep due to constant waking is bad - but yesterday seemed to be a lot better, so here's hoping by next week I will be closer to normal.

We watched a few movies this week - George's favorite from last year, Ford V. Ferrari, which was better than I expected (I do not like car racing movies, as a rule), but far from the best of the year.

Last night we watched a mess of a movie called Ode to Joy that even Martin Freeman couldn't save. You probably don't want an endless recap, but...Freeman is a 40-something Brooklyn librarian with cataplexy, a real thing (related to narcolepsy) where a person's muscles just show down in the presence of strong emotion, like anger or fear. Only to make it fit the title, one supposes, his trigger is joy. So he can't allow himself to get too happy (the opening scene at his sister's wedding was bad) or emotional. So when a really hot woman (Morena Baccarin) he meets in possibly the worst staged "meet cute" scene ever shows an interest in him, he ends up in the ER with a head injury. So naturally, he pushes her on his immature younger brother. It gets sillier from there, to the inevitable ending.

It's always interesting to me when you watch something filmed in a place you know, watching the way they distort things for their purposes. For instance, there was a chase on foot in Manhattan in THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU where Matt Damon turns a corner and is suddenly several miles downtown. In this, Freeman is a librarian. He gets off the subway in Downtown Brooklyn. Rather than use the actual library three blocks away (not very picturesque), they put library banners on Borough Hall. Plus, this is the worst library location ever. You walk up all these stone steps to get into the building, then have to climb a huge flight of steep steps to the second floor to the library. If there was an elevator, I didn't see it. For the inside, they seemed to use one of the other library branches (maybe Park Slope or Flatbush). Plus, there are always half a dozen employees (including a full-time security guard) just standing around the desk shmoozing, and there never seems to be more than one or two patrons - understandable, considering the hassle to get there!

A lot of the rest was filmed in brownstone Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Promenade. One good line: the brother, in turn, sets him up with the very ditzy Bethany, figuring rightly that she won't provoke strong emotions. Anyway, she has the best line in the movie when she tells Freeman, "I'm sexually attracted to Bob Newhart."

/end endless recap

George said...

Like you, Diane and I are concerned about the explosion of coronavirus in the South and the West. This is entirely predictable based on the lack of wearing masks and the lack of social distancing in those states.

My niece in Texas is panicked because her 3-year-old daughter may have covid-19. She received a phone call from the woman who runs the Day Care center that her daughter does to each day. One of the other kids tested positive for the coronavirus. So, now their 14-day quarantine begins.

My sister in Clearwater, Florida, also panicked from the rising number of cases in her area and the full hospitals, decided to fly back to Western New York. She wore a mask, googles, and gloves. Her flight from Tampa to Buffalo had 109 empty seats.

Diane and I arre hunker down, watching the rest of America decend in to Coronavirus Hell. Stay safe!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Even though the movies are free and you have plenty of time, you hate to waste it on a bad one, which I routinely do.
I am beginning to think it Covid is here to wipe us out. If we don't have lasting immunity, we might get it again and again until it kills us. Especially scary was the article in the Times today about the delirium issue and its effect on the brain.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

At least the weather is good. High 80's to 90's for the next ten days are predicted. Could use a little more rain though. The high temps don't bother me much. At least I can spend time outside.
As expected a lot of library books have all come in at once. Still finishing up Dune which is great but not a fast read. Started the Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. Can't really tell where this is going even after 60 pages. I liked her previous novel Station 18.
Watched I'll Be Gone in the Dark which started last night. About the Golden Gate killer/rapist based on the book by Michell McNamara, Patton Oswalt's wife, who passed away before he was caught. Started season 3 of Line of Duty. Started out weak. I didn't care for the casting of the crooked cop who intimidates the other cops on his squad. He doesn't look the least bit intimidating. He actually bears an uncanny resemblance to Andy Kaufman.

Getting tested tomorrow for the virus. They are going through my whole apartment building for anyone who wants it. A few are refusing unfortunately.
Watched a few movies. The new remastered blu-ray of the Road to Wellville. A movie I seem to like better than most other people. Also Judy and Punch an Australian movie staring the actor who played Dewey Crowe on Justified. A peculiar film. Takes place in the middle ages and is a bit on the violent side. And Wildlife. Well done but a bit underwhelming.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I hate the nineties. I have a very narrow temperature range requirement 60-80. Megan interviewed Patton Oswalt about the book at some bookstore. I am anxious to see it. They need to get a test where they can tell on the spot if you have it. Or insist you quarantine until you get your results.

MP said...

I also hate the 90s, but when you live in Atlanta you just have to get used to it. So far this year hasn't been too bad temperature wise, with only three 90 degree days so far. Last summer we hit the 90s in May and pretty much stayed there through September.

Last night I watched HBO's Perry Mason which, despite my original reservations, is turning into a real treat. Then the season finale of Penny Dreadful:City of Angels on Showtime. Tonight I'll get to "I'll Be Gone in the Dark".

I know I'm about ten years behind the curve on this, but I've just discovered Dave Chappelle and have been watching his standup specials on Netflix. Very funny guy.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have only been in Atlanta once and it winter. Quite a treat then. I have been to Savannah a lot because friends have a second home there. Lovely city.
Every time I give up Showtime, I regret it. But you can't buy them all.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Patti, Jackie said she agrees 100% on the 60-80 temperature range. I'd still take the heat over the winter cold and all that goes with it. I can just turn on the air conditioning. Nothing like that gets rid of the snow.

Steve, totally agree on the wimpy guy in Line of Duty season three, but keep watching, things change in an episode or two. Unfortunately, as far as I am concerned, I have seen a variation of the same plot too often lately - on this, on the Welsh Hunterland, most recently on the Icelandic Valhalla Murders, one of the Harlan Coben shows, maybe one or two others. (SPOILER ALERT - WARNING - DANGER WILL ROBINSON) Something bad happened to a bunch of kids, usually at a school for incorrigible kids or the like, and now years later, the people responsible are being killed (deservedly so, in many cases). (END SPOILER)

Jeff Meyerson said...

Hinterland (not Hunterland)

TracyK said...

One of the nice things about Santa Barbara is that the temperature very rarely goes over 90, but the down side is that we don't have air conditioning, so when it does we are miserable, especially upstairs.

I too am appalled at the increase in coronavirus cases and how many people refuse to wear masks. My hair stylist is working now but at my age and with the increase in cases I cannot talk myself into taking that risk. In downtown Santa Barbara the State Street area has been changed to carless to allow restaurants to have more outdoor seating, but a good number of people are not wearing masks there.

Gerard Saylor said...

Nice weather here and I was able to get outside both Sat and Sun. I even got the 14-year-old outside the house and kayaking on Saturday night. I was quite happy about that and had a nice time.

WATCHMEN appeared on Hulu last week and I started watching it. I went back to it last night and saw I now need to buy an extra subscription. Screw that.

My library is scheduled to re-open with limited building access and hours this Wednesday. My wife just sent me an email that her library in neighboring Dane County has now postponed their their reopening until Jy 20 because of new COVID cases. I've said to several people that I have been wondering more about my library closing again than expanding our re-opening.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My library is setting your books outside under an awning. What if you go to get them and they are not there. Bet that will happen eventually.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am getting my haircut Wednesday. It is an utter mess. People who wear their hair longer have more options.

TracyK said...

My hair is doing OK, not good, but I can live with it.

I have KEYS OF MY PRISON by Wees. And a couple of other books from Vehicule Press by James Benson Nablo and Douglas Sanderson. I am glad you reminded me of those because I plan to read more books by Canadian authors in the last half of this year, including THE STONE ANGEL by Laurence that you suggested.

Jerry House said...

The weather here has been pretty good, but when it turns unbearably hot it really doesn't matter because we are snug in our self-isolation.

We still go out beaching most early mornings before the crowds and we're always responsible and socially distant. Sundays at the dog beach is drawing more people earlier in the day. Some of those people are morons not keeping their pets on a leash and not picking up their dog's waste. I'd point it out to them but I don't want to get shot, so when the yahoos come we're outa there.

A worker at Jack's summer day camp has tested positive so we're keeping an eye on things. Looks like the worker did not infect anyone or anything at the camp, so that makes us happy.

Finally got caught up on all episodes of SUPERNATURAL yesterday afternoon, 14 and lone-half seasons. The last six episodes of Season 15 are due to air later this year. Star Jared Padalecki's upcoming series, a reboot of WALKER, TEXAS RANGER, has been delayed due to Covid.

Still reading a lot of pulp hero novels, mainly Doc Savage and The Shadow, but I have some about The Spider on deck. Also, slowly catching up on the old MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. novels. Mindless reading is working well for me.

Yes, I got a haircut! But does it count if Kitty has been cutting my hair for over fifty years now?

Enjoy your week, Patti!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am enjoying this one a lot, Tracy.
Thanks, Jerry. Would love a beach. Michigan's lake beaches around here are closed but I haven't been to them in years anyway. Too often get closed for pollution.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Morning from NE Dallas where the temps are forecasted to be mid to upper 90s with a heat index of 112 or so. Blah. Yesterday and today are the anniversaries of the hottest days ever here with an actual temp of 113 and 115 in 1980. Back that year I was 18 and working the fryers down the street at Burger King and knew food had no future for me other than eating it. I hate summer.

The last few days have been rough as I have been having congestion and coughing with off and on chills. The pollen count was really high here and then the damn dust started rolling in Thursday evening and everything got way worse breathing wise. The symptoms are how I react with bad allergies, but, one worries it is Covid. The case counts are soaring and folks are still claiming it is a hoax and refusing to wear masks. The governor continues to play politics as we hear sirens of ambulances nearly nonstop from dawn to dark. They still run at night, but can not blare through the neighborhood.

I am supposed to have my rescheduled visit with my cardiologist on Tuesday. It was pushed back from late March by this damn virus. It most likely is going to be shoved back again.

Watched SPACE FORCE and liked it. Watched THE FLOOR IS LAVA for one episode and wanted to kill every last person involved.

Reading right now ONE DAY YOU'LL BURN by Joseph SCHNEIDER by way of the curbside pickup deal at the library. Lesa Holstine reviewed it months ago on her blog and I was finally able to to get it.