Monday, March 01, 2021

Still Here

And it is getting warmer. I let go of the girl who pulls my recycling and garbage down my drive so I hope that means we are done with snow and ice. I paid her $20 a week for a two-minute task so it's a nice saving. I am also trying to get Comcast to lower my cable bill. I called and they gave me three plans but couldn't really explain what I was giving up. So I asked them to email me the plans. Hope they do. Since I never watch any network shows I am paying for a lot I don't use right now. (Over 200 channels, I believe) Not sure if giving up the landline is a good idea but I supposed I can get one outside of this plan. Nobody knows the number anyway. 

This week I also fixed my sink myself and changed the toner on my computer. Baby steps. 

I was so lucky to get a nice email from someone who liked SHOT IN DETROIT. He is a retired psychology professor at WSU but didn't know of my connection with the school. He is ordering two more of my books. It is nice to think a few people out there have read them. COVID has made everything in the past seem remote.

In the NYTBR today there was a full page ad by a guy hawking his short story collections. Now a full-page ad with color costs close to $200,000 so he must expect that this ad is going to sell a lot of books. Or else ego knows no price limit.

Reading these two books. The second (LAST BUS) for my book group. It really seems like a YA book to me, but I have enjoyed other books by Doig so I will stick it out. If the main character is 11 and what happens to him is consistent with what happens to 11 year olds, why is it an adult book? The language certainly isn't sophisticated either. I am also reading some stories from the Bill Crider memorial anthology. I have to say the first one by William Kent Kruger really shocked me. 

Started THE KNICK on HBO MAX, which is almost as unpleasant as the other two series I am watching. So I gave it up. I have troubles with medical shows that actually discuss illness.I watched three episodes from the nineties of Dalziel and Pascoe, where I liked the characters but found the plots overly complicated with far too many characters. I think I used to like this sort of plot but don't know. It seems too much a puzzle where you don't have many clues.

I finished IT'S A SIN, which was absolutely terrific but so sad. It is sickening how many young men died from AIDS, ashamed and alone. How many of their parents abandoned them! 

Funny show on HBO MAX Stath Lets Flats. Funny like the British version of The Office oFawlty Towers. Although after three episodes I am not sure I will keep watching it.

Going out to dinner tonight. I can hardly believe I am saying that. I thought it would be May or June before that happened. But if we have all had the shot and wear masks except to eat, it should be okay. (I hope). The restaurants here are opened at 25 % capacity.

So what are you guys up to? 


Lastyear said...

Also enjoying the warmer weather, but keep your fingers crossed
Finished Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan. Great book but sometimes hard to get through due to bad things happening to good people. Sort of a cross between The Crucible and the Twilight Zone episode The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. In a short article about the book she also mentions being influenced by Megan's You Will Know Me. Also read Eleven. A short story collection by Patricia Highsmith. Great stories but very dark Now reading Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman and a story collection by Lisa Tuttle.
Watched a lot of documentaries this week. The one on Joan Didion, Zappa, and The Other One about The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir. Watched I Care A Lot on Netflix. Didn't watch a lot of shows other than Bill Maher and John Oliver. I have been watching Blue Skies based on books by C.J. Box. I hope they paid him well since the show is terrible. Will probably watch HBO's Bearskin today.
They are opening our exercise room starting today. It's small-a treadmill and 2 bikes but very few people use it. I have already signed up so that will be something to help get rid of the ten pounds I have put on this winter.
Hope you have a nice dinner, Patti.

George said...

Western NY is back in the freezer today with temps in the 20s and a forecast low of 13 degrees tonight. We may get some Lake Effect snow this afternoon, too.

I read LATER by Stephen King. This is King's latest Hard Case Crime book. I enjoyed it because I like ghost stories.

Diane and I watched NOMADLAND. My review ill be posted to my blog tomorrow.

More and more of our friends are getting their Covid-19 shots. Now that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved, we may be turning the corner on vaccinations.

Stay safe!

Jeff Meyerson said...

Yeah, we are still not quite ready to go out to dinner yet. Outdoor dining, yes, once it gets warm enough. But we are looking forward to going back to our favorite Japanese restaurant once eating inside feels safe, as it is just not the kind of stuff we would take out - miso soup, salad, bento box. Needs to be eaten there, fresh. But if you go at lunchtime, as we generally do, it is usually pretty quiet. Italian, Greek, Turkish, Mexican, Chinese, etc. we do take out but not this. We might eat in a Polish or Indian place in a couple of weeks, based on two weeks after our second shots.

Jackie did get Verizon to lower our package by $35 a month, based on new offer, getting rid of Showtime ($10-15 a month and since HOMELAND is over we don't watch it), dropping the landline. So even adding $7.99 for MHz Choice and $5.99 for PBS Masterpiece, we are paying less. We are watching SEASIDE HOTEL, MONTALBANO, MURDER BY THE LAKE, and now have started SPIRAL, the hit French show on its 8th season. It is a little like LAW & ORDER - police (in Paris), a prosecutor, a tough examining magistrate (judge) as in the Maigret books, lawyers, etc. The main story in series one is about a Romanian escort (and student) who is murdered and whose face is mutilated. But each episode has other stories - a nanny who is nuts and murdered a baby, etc. It is definitely worth a try (despite how gruesome it sounds, and occasionally is). The main cop is a woman, as is the morally ambiguous ambitious young lawyer, the other main characters are men.

We started series two of HIDDEN (Welsh) but gave it up. Watching new series of MOSSAD 101 (so far, first was better). Still watching THE GOOD PLACE and SCHITT'S CREEK.

Jackie made plans (tentative, of course) for our first trip - July 4 with my cousins to Boston and maybe the Cape of Cod (as Radar called it on M*A*S*H) or Salem. We'll see. Definitely NOT comfortable with flying at this point.

Agree with you on THE KNICK, which we didn't like and quickly quit. I am quite interested in the late 19th Century, but not any of the series I've seen set in that period.

Weather improved this last week and most of the snow is gone. 40s all this week, two days in the 50s, one last 30s. I hope Spring weather will be here soon.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, it is very hard to know what is safe. But I think if you are with people who have had their shots, you have to be safe. Because supposedly the only risk is you having an asymptomatic case which you can give to someone without the shots. But I have people that insist you have to wear masks in your house if visited by someone outside your bubble even if they have had the shots. And other people i know went on a trip this weekend without having had their shots yet.
I am about to try BANSHEE on HBO MAX. We'll see. On and yes, BEAR.

Todd Mason said...

For my part, I wouldn't yet risk eating in a restaurant even if I'd had my shot/s yet (hoping the J&J won't be too awful, would prefer a one-shot deal to a series, however short). One simply doesn't know how effective the current vaccines are against All the strains.

And people particularly in various spots have been leaving their masks off everydamnedwhere, just to show they ain't afraid of (being) no ghosts.

BANSHEE is over the top, very much including in the big violent setpieces, but I enjoyed it when it played on Cinemax, back when there was a reason to have Cinemax and fights between Warner and other cable systems didn't lead to Cinemax being an endangered extra-price luxury even by extra-pay-cable standards. I like having a landline, as I'm not the biggest fan of smartphones, nor my ability to keep track of any cell, but it can be an expense (and currently our landline equipment needs to be plugged in to an electrical outlet, as well, so its usefulness in emergent situations is less than it could be).

Aw, mention of SPIRAL plucks a nostalgic string as I think of MHz Worldview as a small public broadcasting network, which I would watch as well do TV GUIDE schedules for, where the only disadvantage in comparison to MHz online is that they would censor the various foreign materials to keep the FCC off their affiliates' backs, in the wake of the attack on KCSM (RIP) years ago for daring to run PBS's series THE BLUES.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Yes, BANSHEE was over the top but a hoot for the most part. Jackie was an even bigger fan of it than I was. Of course, the lead (Antony Starr) is now playing an even more outrageous character in THE BOYS.

Rick Robinson said...

I've been reading, as usual, EARTHBOUND! by Milton Lesser (Stephen Marlowe), 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA by Jules Verne, which I had not read, just seen the Disney movie, found the book quite different. Now reading one by Christopher Fowler.

Nothing else, no shot in sight yet, though we try every Monday and Thursday, when appointment sign-ups are available.

Jeff Meyerson said...

One more. We finally started watching THE SPY (miniseries) on Netflix last night, the true story (mostly) about Israeli spy Eli Cohen, played by Sacha Baron Cohen. Good so far, and if it helps, it's in English for the most part. I'm pretty sure his story did not have a happy ending.

Jerry House said...

We have Mediacom as our cable provider. We dropped cable television and kept internet. We are now hooked up to Apple TV, piggy backing on Jessamyn's account, and it works for us. It's been over a decade since we had a landline. The big subscription services -- HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz -- offer nothing that would justify paying for them.

Kitty's birthday is Sunday. I think she's maybe 28 -- at least she is to my mind. The girls want to take us out for lunch the following weekend; we'll have to find a fairly safe (uncrowded) restaurant. Since Kitty and I have both had Covid, we'll follow the usual protocols and socially distance. Odds are, though, we'll end up with take-out and celebrate at home. It's going to be a while before we are vaccinated.

Jack had his last basketball game of the season yesterday. The season has been good for him. He's concentrating more than he did with soccer or any other team sport. He holds his position, works well with the other kids, and is really enjoying himself. They've had a winning season (with low scores comparable with baseball games -- they're third and fourth graders) and Jack has scored a couple of times (impressive because he's the smallest kid on the team). Statewide SSA tests are coming in a few weeks which is concerning because unless he gets a certain score, he will not advance to fourth grade. Jack has missed about four weeks of school -- one with Hurricane Sandy and three with Covid quarantines. One of those weeks was when they introduced division and another was when they introduced fractions, so he's way behind on those. On a positive note, his bearded dragon is healthy.

Mark has a job at a summer camp in Alabama this summer. He has no idea what sort of camp it is or what he will be doing. A friend of his worked there last year and got him the job, but she's very vague on details -- but Mark can be very vague on details, also. He did have a Zoom interview with the director, but never bothered to ask any questions. It should be an interesting experience.

The girls are building box gardens in Christina's driveway. It runs out they weigh a few thousand tons and Jessie is beginning to wonder how she can get hers over to her house. We're hoping for some free vegetables this summer.

On TV, John Oliver and the late night comics, as well as some old pre-Code movies. Enjoying WANDAVISION and looking forward to the final episode on Friday. We watched THE LOVE PUNCH, a 2013 romcom/heist movie with Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, and Timothy Spall -- thoroughly entertaining.

Still reading mainly short stories, including a lot from various AHMM anthologies, along with some SF anthologies. Reading only two or three novels a week. Sometimes it hard to concentrate; I blame the pandemic and not old age.

Have a great week, Patti!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Gosh, I love hearing about all your lives. Fingers crossed we come out of this better human beings or at least ones that put on a mask if we go outside with a cold. We should have learned that from Asian countries years ago.
Our real danger now being the the far right persuades the country that the Capital insurrection came from us. Despicable people.

TracyK said...

Not much going on here. It is definitely getting warmer, and I have been doing work outdoors. Not a lot.

We will be watching the last episode of QUEEN'S GAMBIT tonight. We also have been watching more Agatha Christie adaptations, rewatching MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS with Albert Finney and then the Suchet version. Also DEATH ON THE NILE with Suchet.

Reading: CARRY ME HOME: BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, which is going to take me forever, because it is really long and it is depressing. Even more depressing since I was growing up in Birmingham at that time. Also THE MEANING OF NIGHT by Michael Cox which is also long and not very uplifting. That might be a poor choice for reading now.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Which version did you prefer, Tracy? I was so used to Suchet's Poirot that I may have preferred that one.

TracyK said...

Patti, I love the photography and sets of the Finney version, and I like a lot of the actors in that one. But I think the Suchet version is better because Suchet's Poirot is better. In both cases, Poirot is much more serious, but that is true for the novel also. Poirot in the book doesn't show all of the normal quirks of his personality and it was written early in Christie's career. But both were good viewing and I even like Branagh's version, which we have watched twice.

Rick Robinson said...

I should have mentioned the weather is improving, we could see 55 today, though it remains quite chilly at night. Tempting to try getting out in the garden, though there’s really nothing to do yet. We do have a Crocus blooming, and Daffodils about to.

I prefer Suchet’s Poirot over any others I’ve seen.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Finney seemed a bit more a caricature if I remember it correctly. But Tracy is right in terms of better production values.
A long way from anything blooming here.

Margot Kinberg said...

I'm glad to hear you're getting up and around to restaurants and so on, Patti. This lockdown has given us all the 'social blues' I think. I know what you mean about baby steps to do things like fixing sinks. I'm trying to learn to do a few of those things, and just taking it an inch at a time.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thank God for you tube, Margot. I usually can find out how to fix things there.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

No shots yet here either. Went from ice and snow to small hail the other night.

I can not fix a damn thing to save my life.

Gerard Saylor said...

Weather here has warmed up. 34 Fahrenheit right now.

I've been watching a lot of HBO Max lately and found some series that I started to watch on Prime or Hulu that only offered one or two seasons. One of those is the high school set comedy THOSE WHO CAN'T and Noah Wyle's alien invasion show FALLING SKIES. FALLING SKIES is decent but not compelling, it's an easy watch.

I tried watching I'LL BE GONE IN THE DARK last night but bailed because nothing was happening. Nothing.

Boy #1 gets closer to high school graduation. He earned his Eagle Scout last Thursday after a Board of Review. He is also a National Merit Finalist; I'm not sure when the actual scholarships might be awarded but I think it is a 50/50 chance. I was a little surprised that the scholarships themselves are relatively small compared to many other scholarships.