Monday, April 26, 2021

Still Here


I saw JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH and SOUL to finish off my Oscar viewings. I liked JUDAS more than I expected because the two lead performances were so strong. And I liked SOUL about as much as I expected given my reaction to Pixar's need to turn everything (IN AND OUT and UP) into a philosophy classroom. But the music and animation were great.
I have had good luck with ordering things online over the last year, but this week when I strayed from Amazon, Costco let me down by delivering the wrong thing and making me go to the store to return it. Which means I have to get a friend to drive me there, wait while I stand in the return line, drive me home. Costco got my last online order. 
Read Sigrid Nunez book that I liked but not as much as THE FRIEND.

MARE OF EASTTOWN looks promising. 
I tried to watch CONDOR and saw two episodes but then PRIME told me I had to subscribe to EPIX to get the rest. Well, guess what. I get EPIX with my cable package but episodes 3-5 are no longer there. 
So I guess that's the end of CONDOR. 
Rewatched CROUPIER and SHOOT THE MOON this week. Both were great, but Bob Seger's STILL THE SAME has been in my head since I watched STM. 
Weather has been mostly cold and rainy. Expecting a break this week. Oh, the weeds, the weeds.
What about you?


Steve A Oerkfitz said...

I liked Judas but didn't love it. This week I watched a lot of movies. The Sound of Metal(VG), My Octopus Friend which won the Oscar for best documentary and Celine and Julie Go Boating which I think I liked, but it is an odd movie. rewatched The Train (Burt Lancaster) and Event Horizon. Am Liking Mare of Easttown. Guy Pearce is beginning to look like Brad Pitt. Watched the first episode of The Accident but had problems understanding the lead actress. Looking forward to season 4 of Handmaid's Tale.
Finished The Girl With a Clock in her heart by Peter Swanson and Tower of Babel by Michaewl Sears. Enjoyed them both. Next up Peter Swanson's new one and The Twelve Faces of Alfred Hitchcock.
Academy Awards went by quickly. The only surprise was Anythony Hopkins win. Thank God they didn't play the nominated songs all the way through. They were all terrible and instantly forgettable.
The Detroit Tigers continue to lose. Worst team in baseball right now.
And I turn 73 today. I don't know whether to be happy or depressed.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Happy Birthday, Steve.

Oscars were a disaster start to finish. We watched them the only possible way, recording it and fast forwarding. Still, every choice turned out wrong, from killing any possible suspense by putting Best Director in the first hour to not showing clips from the films, to having presenters give endless introductions rather than letting them speak for themselves, to a speeded up montage of the dead, to the hideous musical bit, to the grand final decision to put Best Picture before the acting awards, clearly so the show would end with a touching tribute to Chadwick Boesman - only to have him lose to an 83 year old white man who couldn't even be bothered to show up. Nice job, Steven Soderbergh!

We did watch NOMADLAND and PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN over the weekend. While I wish I could have seen the former on the big screen, both were well worth your time. But the comparison between McDormand and Viola Davis was striking. Despite playing the title character, Ma Rainey was basically a supporting role in the movie, while Fern was the movie. We still want to see THE FATHER and MINARI, but not JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, though we probably will get around to it. Kaluuya's acceptance speech was an embarrassment.

A couple of rainy days here, but otherwise the weather has improved greatly. Also watched Billy Crystal in STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN. I remember seeing SHOOT THE MOON when it first came out and hating the end, a lot. Still watching our various series as before. Only two episodes of SHTISEL left, sadly. We're enjoying HANNA more than I'd expected to. Finishing up season two of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (discs from the library). Much better overall than the first series. We probably should have watched MARE OF EASTTOWN rather than the Oscars last night. Did watch ATLANTIC CROSSING. Surprisingly, perhaps, Jackie is enjoying KAVANAGH Q.C. more than Morse, but then she never liked the character of the grumpy detective.

Took a break from heavier reading with a Bruno book by Martin Walker. Nice to visit the Dordogne and read about the food and wine. Also reading short story collections by Robert Walser (who George wrote about last week) and Michael Chabon. I thought I'd read his early collection (A MODEL WORLD) but it isn't familiar at all. Highlight of the week was THE HIDING PLACE by Paula Munier, a K-9 mystery set in Vermont. Great dogs.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Happy that you're alive, but depressed the world is such a mess right now. And also why not 37 instead of 73, right. We deserve some extra time. Happy Birthday, Steve.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Jeff-Mike Hale (NYT) said it was like that last night's banquet at a convention and that sums it up well. I know they were limited by many things but boy, there was not a memorable minute. Although Union Station looked pretty. And yes, I always thought Viola Davis' was a supporting role.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Union Station looked great, much like Union Station in D.C. after its makeover.

Jackie orders a ton of things from Amazon. When it comes on their trucks or from UPS, no problem. But she has had several things sent via the USPS that never got here. In fact, she just had to get refunds for two robes followed by nail polish. Neither arrived. A couple of times in the past, things did arrive after we got the refund, but these have disappeared into the ether somewhere. So far she has not had a problem with any Costco orders. I didn't realize you'd have to take it back to the store. What a hassle! With Amazon orders (as with slippers that didn't fit right), we just take them to the UPS store a few blocks away. You get a return code from Amazon and don't even have to repack them.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Especially since it was their mistake. And the woman at the store was annoyed I hadn't gotten someone online to email me info for her to put in the computer. I order things from amazon several times a week except not books if I can help it. The two biggest mistakes in my life were smoking for 20 years and not driving.

George said...

We woke up to 35 degrees (wind chill 27 degrees). But the weather-guessers say we'll be in the 70s on Wednesday. Weird.

I bailed out of THE OSCARS after an hour. Diane stayed up and watched it all. This morning she told me Anthony Hopkins won BEST ACTOR. I can see why.

I never smoked and although I know how to drive, my approach is that each time I get behind the wheel everyone on the road is trying to kill me.

Like Jackie Meyerson, I order a LOT of stuff from AMAZON (not just books). Occasionally AMAZON sends me the Wrong Thing or a Damaged Item. Usually, AMAZON just sends out a replacement and tells me to just keep the wrong/damaged item. Stay safe!

Jerry House said...

I have very little interest in any of the Oscar nominees but will probably eventually watch some of them. Like Joe Bob Briggs, I fear I rate movies more on their "blood-breasts-beasts" rankings. I can be very low-brow.

The nearest Costco to me is in Mobile so I cancelled my membership when we moved to Florida. We broke down earlier this year and got a membership to Sam's Club for our glasses and my hearing aids, as well as for the discounted gasoline. Beyond that, there's nothing there that interests me. A zillion miles of things I don't need and food in quantities that we cannot go through. Their snack bar pizza is passable, though, but nothing I would go out of the way for. Their target demographic is definitely not an old geezer who doesn't spend money on things he doesn't need and his ever-young, ever-beautiful trophy wife. (A hint to all the men out there: marry the trophy wife first. That way you may be able to have more than 50 years of pure bliss.)

After a week of computer-less living, my computer has returned to life. Evidently it did not have the coins needed to cross the River Styx, so it's back, baby, and I can start blogging again. A big shout-out to my computer-savvy daughter who resurrected the thing. I was able to post a birthday tribute to grandson Mark on his actual birthday, albeit late in the evening. Regular posting will resume tomorrow.

Watched THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER, the latest Marvel series on Disney. Interesting but not outstanding. A bit too preachy for my tastes. Looking forward to LOKI in June. One problem with this pandemic is that we are watching too much TV. Things tend to blur together after a few days and I have a hard time remembering the titles of shows that I have watched and truly enjoyed. I should keep a list handy, but I'm just too lazy. I did enjoy THE IRREGULARS despite the erratic character development. We are now going through ROSE AND MALONEY; Phil Davis does his usual bang-up job and Sara Lancashire is interesting (despite looking like someone I'm not really fond of in real life. Too may streaming services are now letting you watch the first episodes of a series, then requiring you to pay to watch the others. Grrr.

I have been on a John Creasey reading kick lately, having read about ten of his novels over the past two weeks. There's another fifteen I really want to read over the next month. That would leave me with another fifteen unread, before I have to go out and find more. Creasey wrote over 500 books (many of which were never published in the US), so there is enough of his mysteries to keep me going for some years now. I've also been finishing up a number of doorstop anthologies, mainly horror and golden age mystery. That, and dipping into old pulps, as well as searching for Wednesday Short Story candidates, has kept me busy.

A lot of heavy rain here lately, although we did get to go the beach last week and saw a bunch of dolphins. The Gulf of Mexico is relaxing and the dolphins just add something special to the ambiance.

Have a great week, Patti, and I hope the April showers will bring you many lovely May flowers later in the week.

Jerry House said...

George: Yes, the other drivers are out to kill you. For the past several years, your local registry of motor vehicles have included a contract on your life with every new driver's license issued. The reason for this well-verified practice is not known. Be careful. Very careful.

Steve: Happy birthday! 73 doesn't seem so old now, does it?

Jeff Meyerson said...

Jerry, as a Creasey fan, you would have loved this. Years ago now ( I could look up when it was, but it hardly matters - let's just say late '80s or '90s), my friend Bob, who took us book hunting all over England, Scotland and Wales, took me to a huge open warehouse-style place in Southampton. They had gotten hundreds (maybe thousands) of books, maybe from Creasey's personal collection, certainly from someone associated with him. I walked up and down the aisles and there were books under many of his pseudonyms in many of the series, hardback and paperback alike, going back to the 1930s. I don't remember how much I bought - it was all for resale and some of them were too expensive - but it was great seeing all of them in one place. There were also magazines and digests.

pattinase (abbott) said...

That was a very funny post, Jerry. Perhaps the break in posting spurred you on. Yes, trying to decide if I should go on with CONDOR having missed three but in looking at their synopsis just too much happens to miss three hours. I am sure I have read Creasey but can't remember what.

Steve A Oerkfitz said...

Never read any John Creasey but I did read a few of the Gideon books he wrote under the name J.J. Marric.

Rick Robinson said...

Today is Barbara's birthday. Happy birthday to you, Steve.

The much needed rain which was predicted didn't arrive. It's just late April and we're already talking drought. So far this is the driest April on record.

I guess that's the problem with all of the special video platforms: they have what they do, when they do, and then pffft, it's gone. We may miss things, but basic cable serves us.

Didn't watch the Oscars, which Jeff thinks were so awful, but would someday like to see Nomadland and Chicago Seven. None of the other listed films were of interest anyway.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Rick, Happy Birthday to Barbara. It is also Beth Fedyn's birthday.

TracyK said...

Happy Birthday, Steve. Be happy, not sad. My next birthday I will be 73, and I will be happy and grateful.

Happy birthday to Barbara, too. April is a nice month for birthdays. My sister turned 69 this month. I can believe I am old, but I still think of my sister as much younger.

I think California will be in drought again soon. Well, some parts already are, I guess. Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

We watched the Academy Awards show last night, it was better than I expected. I did not like the presenter's introductions, but the rest I liked about as well as the way they usually do it. I did not miss the production numbers at all. I never liked the hosts for the Oscars (maybe Billy Crystal?), so I did not mind the lack of a host. We have watched the Oscars every year since the early nineties, missing only one due to a required work event.

We haven't watched any of the Best Film nominees, but plan to watch Mank, Trial of the Chicago 7, Judas and the Black Messiah, and Minari.

I did drive when I was younger (age 26 to 38) but quit because I had vertigo. I never missed it and am still terrified by riding on the freeway. But it does limit what I can do, even with two drivers available to me.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We really all are of a similar age. Except for Gerard, Todd and one or two less frequent guest. Had I a vote, I would have cast it for Minari, especially given the times.

Gerard Saylor said...

Happy birthday to Steve. Yes, I am younger for this crowd at 50.

Went camping over the weekend with Scouts. I have to stop experimenting with different sleeping methods and JUST BRING THE COLD WEATHER SLEEPING BAG. I gave up at 12:30AM on Sunday morning and slept in my van. The lack of sleep had me worn out for most of Sunday when I got home yesterday at noon-ish.

I've gotten back to reading more. Finished a Neville Stuart novel which always makes me think I should read a Neville Shute novel. I'm listening to an adult horror novel by R.L. Stine, RED RAIN, which is a tough read because it deals with children and murder.

Alice Chang said...

I'm also no kid any longer, and have the joint pain to prove it, as I turn 57 this coming Hiroshima Day; my Heinz birthday. We'll see how many flavors of pickle we'll all be in late summer (the Census, for which I was a Fed for one [1] all too eye-opening day, should be a bad laugh).

Patti, you have begun to convince me that as underwhelming as Verizon is as electronic provider, Comcast seems to be worse--Epix has all the back episodes of CONDOR on demand for V subbers. CableTown, as they called it on 30 ROCK, took on a lot of my colleagues when TV GUIDE was gutted, and mostly gave them duller jobs. I think you'd get the feel jumping in, but that's just weird of them.

Inasmuch as Amazon has now bought up Book Depository, the national competitors for used materials are thin on the ground or books from others a bit easier.

Happy birthdays to Steve, Barbara and Beth (who'd I let slip), or for that matter actually youngish Theo Meyer, who's birthday party I'm missing as, I gather, it's family only Plus Alice, in part for Covid reasons. (I'm all shot up, but safety first...except when we see George on the road.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Welcome, Alice. So nice to see a new face. I will look for the three missing eps of Condor. I liked the first two very much.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Murder and children is way beyond my comfort zone. Sleep grow more important with age.

Todd Mason said...

Sorry! I hadn't realized I was posting on Alice's log-in!

Todd Mason said...

(Alice, like Gerald, is a dewy youth of a mere five decades. I may be no gentleman in noting this, but somehow I doubt she'll mind too intensely.)

Jeff Meyerson said...

Watched the second MARE OF EASTTOWN episode last night, and enjoyed it more than the first. Also watched the next MONEY HEIST and the last two episodes of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (season 2).

Got an email today about yet another Harlan Coben series, this one THE INNOCENT from Spain. Apparently he has a contract for FOURTEEN series! We're already watching NO SECOND CHANCE from France. Others have been from Poland (THE WOODS), the U.K. (THE STRANGER, which we didn't like at all; there is another U.K. series coming - STAY CLOSE). The guy will not need a telethon any time soon.

Todd Mason said...

I'll agree that the second episode of MARE is an upgrade.

Amusing old-style timelot battle on broadcast, as CBS runs SILENCE OF THE LAMBS sequel series CLARICE vs. ABC's REBEL(Erin Brokovitch production of a series more or less about herself) vs. NBC's L&O: ORGANIZED CRIME, built around Christopher Meloni's SVU character. Al three series almost good. Thursday nights, which used to be the move-ad-heavy night. Vs. premium cables fights with each other mostly on Sunday nights, with some expasion to Saturdays and Mondays. As someone with not much interest in awards shows, I'd actually forgotten the Oscars ceremony was on.

Todd Mason said...

And the fifth episode of CLARICE, which I caught in repeat on Thursday on CBS, is pretty brilliant...mostly about the family life of the survivor Clarice rescued from Jame Gumb about a year before, and how things aren't really working out for anyone involved...including in a smaller way, for Starling herself. Easily the best episode of the series (I've seen), I'd say, though there's one other I haven't seen so far.