Monday, March 15, 2021

Still Here


Most of my family with the exception of Kevin (14) and Megan have had the vaccine. A big relief as we tick people off. Kevin is soon able to student drive at 14 years and 9 months. That seems crazy to me. I can't believe he now takes a size 12 shoe. He is able to play his guitar very well; it really helped that he used this pandemic to learn how to read music, which they don't normally teach kids at the school of rock for playing guitars. He is also improving his tennis game. But his real love--surprise, surprise is Xbox games. I think it is a way to communicate as much as it is about game playing. 

Josh is back in the office every day now. He has a new boss who beat out a candidate called Scary Mary for Chief Prosecuting Attorney. This is the first time Josh has worked under a Republican. Although his last two bosses were both indicted for crimes so that's not so great either. Josh is the head of the appellate division and is mostly in appeals courts. 

Megan has a book coming out in July (The Turnout) and is working on four TV and film projects. 

Julie, my DIL, is still working from home. She works for Michigan Legal Services which helps people who can't afford a lawyer, especially right now with eviction attempts. 

That is a small family, isn't it? 

I saw Supernova with Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth. I can't believe how many films right now have an Alzheimer's theme. This was set in the Lake District, which almost made up for the grimness of the plot. Great acting. 

Watching Harrow on Hulu about a coroner. The Allen-Farrow doc has been harrowing. So too the Oprah interview with Meghan and Harry. My So-Called Life is on Hulu. We were away for a year when it was on. Very well done. Still working through Handmaid's Tale. Netflix has really crashed and burned lately. 

Those of you who still have traditional cable. What do you pay a month? I am trying to decide if I should cut the cord.

Just started Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell. Not sure if it's my cup of tea. Of the dozen or so hardbacks I have bought in the last year, I have read few of them. Jo Ann Beard on "By the Book" in the NYT today said she finished any book she started. I would say I finish 25%. I usually finish a short story though. 

What about you? What are you doing? Do you finish every book? What is your cable bill if you have cable tv and Internet?


TracyK said...

Glen and I finally got our first shot of the vaccine. I got a message from my health provider on Wednesday to set up an appt and it was on Friday at 5:00 p.m. While I was checking in I asked why my husband had not gotten an appointment and what he could do about it, and since he was waiting in the car they made an appt on the spot and he came in and got his too. So we are both much relieved. Just luck that it worked out that way; I have heard that they expect a shortage of vaccinations in our area in the next few weeks.

Our monthly Cox bill is about $200 and includes internet access and cable, but we don't get any special channels like HBO. We pay separately for Amazon Prime including BritBox, and for Netflix.

This week I finished I HEAR SIRENS IN THE STREET by Adrian McKinty, read more of THE MEANING OF NIGHT, and started reading STAGE FRIGHT by Christine Poulson. I hope to finish that one tonight.

I almost always finish a book, which is why I am still working on THE MEANING OF NIGHT (440 pages out of 700). If I hated it, I would stop reading but I am curious about the ending. Last year I quit two books after a 100 or so pages.

We are still watching (and rewatching) Poirot TV adaptations with Suchet and also some of the Peter Ustinov adaptations.

Steve A Oerkfitz said...

Two of my three kids have been vaccinated. One runs the kitchen at a nursing home and the other works as a teacher's assistant. My best friend and his wife just got their first shots. Everybody I know has had bad reactions to their shots. I have had no after effects at all.
My cable bill, including internet and HBO runs $184. I also pay for Netflix and Hulu. I was going to cancel Hulu but the next season of Handmaid's Tale starts next month.
Netflix has been disappointing for new series but I always can find something to watch. Looking forward to The Serpent next month. I remember reading Serpentine by Thomas Thompson years ago about the same case.
No movies this week.
Finished The Dry by Jane Harper. I have enjoyed all 3 of her books that I have read. Now about half way through Later by Stephen King. Only 248 pages. For King that is practically a short story.

Margot Kinberg said...

So glad to hear you're all on the road to getting completely vaccinated. I think the quicker we all get protected, the better it will be. Looking forward to Megan's new book!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Me, too. She used to send me copies ahead of time but no longer.
I can just get the Internet through Comcast and get HULU PLUS TV. I would save about $50 a month but I would have no one to come out if I had trouble and I would also lose my DVR, which I don't use much but I do sometimes. Everything I watch is on streaming channels-everything- so I know I am doing this wrong.

Jeff Meyerson said...

We were paying $238 (including HBO and Showtime and Amazon Prime with Britbox and Acorn), plus the internet, of course. Dropped Showtime and the landline, which dropped us around $35, but added MHz Choice and PBS Passport, which added another $12, I think. Netflix is separate.

Glad to hear you got the shots, Tracy. I'm like Steve - no side effects at all. My brother works for a health care company and had his shots early. One of my sisters works for the Governor's office in Arizona (which didn't seem to help her) and was able to get shots for her and her husband (both have pre-existing health issues) by going online at 2 am. Youngest sister hasn't had a shot yet. My nephew is 20 and works at a grocery, so we are hoping he gets a shot soon. No one else in the younger generation (20s and 30s) has had it yet.

We're trying to clean up Netflix by checking shows we've bookmarked to make sure we want to watch them, and eliminating those we don't. "X"-ed out several yesterday, some because we just don't enjoy most that are too teen-oriented, others because they are just too dark. The first LOCKE & KEY wasn't bad, but an oblivious mother and way too much about the kids (why isn't this child in school?) turned us off. Still watching shows we were watching. Last night watched the soso THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, as awkward as its title. I could list my problems with it, but why bother. Watchable, with good actors, but too long and just okay rather than riveting.

On Acorn (or Britbox?) we started THE BAY (which is up to series three), another show with issues. SPOILER ALERT for some parts of what follows. First, the main character, DS Lisa Armstrong (Morven Christie) is supposedly a family liaison officer, the woman who sits with the family making cups of tea and lets them know what is going on with their case (teenage twins go missing, and the boy is soon found murdered), yet she is also clearly investigating the case herself. And, not surprisingly in one of these shows, she has two teenagers of her own who are running wild (the 15 year old jail bait daughter is particularly hard to take) while she is clueless. In the first episode, she is drunk on a karaoke hen night with friends, and steps out to the alley for a quickie up against the wall with a hot guy who caught her eye. What do you know, surprise surprise, the guy turns up as the "loving" stepfather of the missing twins. So what does our heroine do but erase the CCTV recording that shows them leaving the bar together. But that only took 10 minutes, so where was he the rest of the missing hour? Well, Mr. Stamina spent the rest of the time IN BED WITH HIS MARRIED GIRLFRIEND. Nice, right? Meanwhile, his distraught wife is pregnant. It's set at the awful (we've been there) Morecombe Bay, by the way, and I have a vague memory that Patti watched this, but I couldn't find the reference. END SPOILER

Also watching the German/Austrian MURDER BY THE LAKE, the Italian INSPECTOR MANARA and (Sicilian) INSPECTOR MONTALBANO, plus we are nearing the end of MORSE (Saturday night here is Brit Night - we're watching the original UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS). Still watching MOSSAD 101 and THE GOOD PLACE and SCHITT'S CREEK on Netflix. Excited about the return of SHTISEL (Israel) on March 25.

I finished the Richard Russo book of essays (THE DESTINY THIEF). One of the most interesting pieces was about the 'transition' of his good friend and fellow teacher and writer James Boylan into Jennifer Finney Boylan (now a NY Times columnist), which was first published in Boylan's own book about her transition.

We had two gorgeous days of 71 and 68 last week, but it was in the 20s this morning, so we're not totally out of the woods yet. Be careful out there! We did eat out twice this week (outdoor section built on to existing restaurants) for the first time since November.

George said...

We woke up to 17 degrees this morning. We're supposed to warm into the 30s today. We may hit 50 by the end of the week.

Diane sends SPECTRUM a check for $190 for our cable and Internet services each month. We pay for HULU, HBO Max, DISNEY+, and Netflix separately.

My sister (aka, The Cruise Queen) bought stock in cruise lines a few months ago. She's the sister who has taken over 90 cruises before the Pandemic hit. She called me this morning to tell me her stocks have all DOUBLED and she's booked four cruises for the Fall.

Great news about your family! Katie is doing well in Boston and Patrick is in Charleston, SC. He heads of Ashland, NC this weekend. Patrick plans to be here for Mother's Day. Stay safe!

Jeff Meyerson said...

I'm guessing you meant Asheville rather than Ashland, George? We were there after the Raleigh Bouchercon. Patrick should love it.

Now that they're out - and I must admit that I forgot it was today - I can't remember a year that I had less interest in the Academy Awards. I must admit that I thought the top nominee (and critics' darling when it came out), MANK, seems very overrated to me. It was OK as a modern day homage to CITIZEN KANE, but it is certainly not something that knocked me out, or that I would be likely to watch again. I was more impressed with SOUND OF METAL and MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM, to be honest.

Jerry House said...

Cable is provided by either Mediacom or Cox in our area, depending on where you live; I can't figure out where the lines of demarcation lie --it's as if one side of the street has Mediacom and the other has Cox. The Mediacom office is on the Cox side. I'm sure there are logical, clear-cut reasons that define the territory of each, but damned if I can figure it out. (File under Florida living.) Anyway, we have Mediacom, originally for cable television and internet. We dropped the cable television (but still rent the Mediacom modem) and use Apple television instead.

We are having problems with our internet, or maybe it's our old computer or maybe it has a virus or twelve. It decides to reboot four or five times a day. As of yesterday, it won't let me on to my blog or my e-mail. Grrr. As a technological Luddite, I find this extremely frustrating.

We are dog sitting, cat sitting, snake sitting, turtle sitting, and lizard sitting this week while Christina and family are taking in New Orleans. Walt, it seems, has never been and it was high time to remedy that. Kitty and I enjoy the city but are more likely to spend our entire time there eating beignets than doing the tourist thing. (Yum) We may have to schedule a trip for ourselves on the far side of the pandemic.

We had our first vaccinations this Saturday. No side effects except for a very mild ache that showed up 24 hours later, then -- poof! -- it was gone. I'm hoping the vaccine/mask/social distancing holdouts will come to their senses soon so we can reach herd immunity. Judging from the evidence so far of spring break in Florida, that's not happening in the near future. **sigh**

Also on Saturday, we celebrated Kitty's birthday six days late so everyone could all get together. We went to a local sea food restaurant, stuffed ourselves, took home some mega-sized deserts, and has a crafting party (decorating picture frames this time). A lot of laughter, a lot of fun, and a lot of family (which is a good thing in our case).

Watched COMING 2 AMERICA and decided that we were not its prime demographic. It was cute, but not much more than that. We also watched 1934's LORD EDGEWARE DIES, a very sad Hercule Poirot flick. Poirot (Austin Trevor) was tall, clean-shaven, a tad too British although supposedly from France (Mon dieu! Not Belgian?). The script was poor, but to make up for it the acting and photography was poor. Captain Hastings (in opposition to Poirot, wa short and had a mustache) served as buffoon, making me wonder if "Captain" was his given name and not a title. Also, Hastings was evidently a former police officer rather than retired military. I hope they paid Agatha a lot of money for this misappropriation of her novel.

I didn't finish any novels this week, but continued to read a lot of short stories, including a lot from Arthur Saha's YEAR"S BEST FANTASY series and a number of stories from old ALFRED HITCOCK'S MYSTERY MAGAZINEs. Throw in a few science fiction, mystery, western, and horror tales from various anthologies, and I kept somewhat busy. I'm not sure why I couldn't get into any novels this week; hopefully that will change soon.

The weather has been gorgeous and the beach -- despite getting more people -- remains as relaxing as ever.

I hope you have a relaxed and fantastic week, Patti!

MP said...

There's no easy answer to explain the cable bill. I pay Comcast $77 per month, but that's for a DVR and channels like HBO and Showtime and whatever non-basic packages I have. Basic cable is covered by my condo association and I have absolutely no idea how much that is. Wi-Fi is from A T & T, to whom I pay $115 per month, but that also includes a landline. In streaming I pay the standard charges for Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, although the $119 per year for Amazon also includes free two day shipping. Considering how much stuff I buy from them I'm sure that adds up to a tidy sum.

My recent reading includes Stephen King's very entertaining LATER, Jane Harper's THE SURVIVORS, which isn't quite up to her standard, and NEVER FAR AWAY by Michael Koryta, who is rapidly becoming one of the best thriller writers around. Up next is Jonathan Kellerman's SERPENTINE.

Haven't watched much streaming stuff lately, just the brain boggling BEHIND HER EYES on Netflix.My head is still spinning from that ending.

Take it easy and stay safe. Oh, almost forgot the most important thing--my second Covid shot is Wednesday.

Rick Robinson said...

Trying to type with large cat in lap... I have read BULLETS AND OTHER HARMFUL THINGS edited by Rick Ollerman and loved it. I really liked all but one of the stories (yours was excellent!), and highly recommend it to everyone. I also read THE WATER HORSES by Alan Steele, a science fiction novelette set on his Coyote world. Very good, but I wanted to know what happened next. I also have one of his novels I've just started, but then a library book came, so I'm now reading that: THE STRANGER DIARIES by Elly Griffiths. So far, so good.

Watched The Grammys last night. Nicely produced, but what a mess the acts were. Great show if you like heavy, mostly naked women of color waggling their fannies and sort-of Rapping. Bah. I won't be watching again, which may have been what I said last year.

I have many short story collections and anthologies here waiting to be read but don't seem to be getting to them.

Barbara just finished EDWIN OF THE IRON SHOES by Marcia Muller, the first Sharon McCone mystery. I suggested it to her and she liked it, though she usually reads darker stuff. She also just read Harlan Cobin's THE BOY FROM THE WOODS and liked it. Now she is reading THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch, and is enjoying it a lot. Obviously, she's doing more reading than am I, though she also runs the errands and just finished a baby quilt for the neighbor's granddaughter.

We're still trying for our shots, and are hopeful, but the system here is...difficult. Soon, we hope.

We've been putting down composted mulch in the garden beds, and enjoying the Daffodils that are blooming. Many signs of life in the beds. It's too early but one of our Dahlias has sprouted. Last night it got to 31, and will be about 50 today, so I hope things will survive the cold. We did get some rain yesterday afternoon, so that helped.

Friday night TCM had three great movies in a row. The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and Citizen Kane back to back. We watched the first two and recorded Kane. I'd seen them all several times, but Barbara hadn't seen Falcon and enjoyed it, especially Greenstreet.

That's it, have a good week, Patti. Glad your family are getting the vaccine.

Jeff Meyerson said...

"I'll tell you right out, I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk."

Rick Robinson said...

Forgot to mention, I bought and started THE MISADVENTURES OF NERO WOLFE, Pastiches and Parodies, and found it quite disappointing. I read about a third of it before quitting, and only liked 1 story, which was really just okay. DNF, and not recommended. I put it into the “go to Goodwill “ box.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Boy, I sure miss not having TCM. HBO Max shows a few of their movies each month. But not enough. I need to put mulch down. Those bags are heavy though. I notice that our group here still basically has old fashioned cable. My kids don't. Megan seems to have no regular channels and Josh maybe a handful.
I am just starting a Jane Harper novel. Need to read Edwin. Been meaning to for years.
Thanks for sharing your lives with me so generously. I can't express how much it means hearing from all of you each Monday.
Praying for Rick and Barbara to get their shots. And good for all of us that have one or two of them.

Gerard Saylor said...

Snow started here in Southern Wisconsin about an hour ago. Someone has volunteered to take on my role with the local Boy Scout Troop. I'll transition out of the lead role during the summer.

Boy #1 has been declined admission by his two top college choices. Both places admit 6-7% of applicant so I guess I should not be as aggravated as I am. But, the kid hits the 99% percentile in most all his school subjects and is active outside of school as well. Some years it's just a crap shoot for who the colleges want when building a class. Never mind the fact that ALL the applicants are top notch students. I'm likely more upset than he is.

Spring Break is in two weeks and I will take both children on some college visits since all summer visits were cancelled. My wife has to stay home because of cat issues. And the dog.

My wife, Boy #1, and I are scheduled for the Johnson & Johnson shot this Wednesday.

My reading has fallen to the wayside again but audiobooks continue. I've been listening to APPEL by Joel Adam Struthers, a Canadian who joined the French Foreign Legion in 1994. He's the same age as I, and at 22-years-old there is no way I would have signed a five year commitment to anything.