A Tiny Hiatus!

Hi folks!

Thank you for following my blog – I appreciate each and every one of you, from the folks who don’t say much to the ones who chat all the time. Blogging is so much fun and I’ve met some of the nicest, most intelligent and passionate folks through this medium. I’m so glad I’m part of this community, and I’m glad most of all that people think enough of my posts to follow my blog. Thank you so much for spending a few minutes listening to me!

I’m slowing down on the film reviews lately and it’s because I’ve been working on fiction a lot more. I still watch movies and TV, but I don’t always have something insightful or interesting to say and I’d rather say something useful or interesting than just say ‘I watched this’ for the sake of keeping active.

I’m continuing with my Game of Thoughts coverage, because those are WAY fun to write and live-watching the show with everyone is such a hoot. We’re all in this together, to the bitter, bitter end!

Other than Game of Thoughts, I’m going to take the next two weeks off from writing posts – I’ll still comment and read other people’s posts, but going to take a small break from blogging. I’m volunteering at MegaCon 2016, I joined a local speculative fiction critique group, I’m knitting a blanket for a baby shower, I’m writing, cooking, and working out more, and I have some major deadlines coming up for my job.

So please, forgive a bit of slacking on my part! I hope you stick around for the new content, and take care of yourself in the meantime.

See you in a few weeks!

tinypotato
Tiny Potato believes in my Tiny Hiatus

 

One Hit At a Time!

Some of these are things I can do something about. Some of them are things I must accept and deal with to the best of my ability. As anyone who has read Slaughterhouse-Five or been through recovery knows, the important thing is knowing the difference.

I had not intended these check-ins to become a regular feature, but life piles up and here we are.

Here is the Current State of Affairs in the Benevolent Dictatorship of Jennsylvania.

The Good:

  • I have been writing almost 3k words a night for the last week, not including blog posts. I also have some places I want to send my fiction and nonfiction writing. I attended a cool spoken word performance Saturday night, am going to a writer’s group with friends Tuesday night, and to another writing group Wednesday night. Writing and I have our teeth in each other again, and neither is backing down.
  • I am working out with coworkers in the parking lot after work. I forgot my workout clothes but don’t care, I’ll do it barefoot in my work capris and blouse. We do calisthenics and kettlebells like the wild savages we are, and it’s AWESOME.
  • I am going out of town this weekend for my family reunion. I’ve made Herzog’s appointment to be boarded at the vet, and  must remember to pack his favorite toys, something to snuggle, and a bag of spinach as a treat because he is a very strange cat.
  • I have to make something to take to the reunion, so I am making the Pioneer Woman’s Green Bean Casserole recipe. I made it a few years ago for the holidays and it was a big hit.
  • I have a new blue dress for the reunion and it is cute. I am excited.

The Bad:

  • Some fucko stole some personal information and tried to use to it to file a false tax return. This is coming JUST as I have paid off some major debts and a light appeared at the end of the tunnel. So help me, the light will not turn out to be the dumpster fire of some jackwad ruining my credit. NO SIR. I put fraud alerts on my accounts.
  • This might be the tip of an iceberg of a bigger problem. I am being VERY careful.
  • Because of a snafu with my insurance, I may have to find a new therapist. I go to a therapist once a month to check and make sure my head is staying on straight, and now I must either change after 3 years and get a referral, OR I could keep going to her and paying her whole fee out of pocket, which I can’t afford.
  • I have been loaned to another project at work, so I have two different projects to keep up with right now.

The Ugly:

  • THREE separate friends are battling cancer in various forms. All I can do is be there for them, cook them healthful meals, and offer them rides and a shoulder when they need it, but what I wish most fervently is for cancer to magically take human form so I can take it apart with my bare hands. THE THINGS I WOULD DO TO IT.
  • The news is depressing as shit and I have all but given up on keeping up with it in depth, and just follow sound bites which is the worst way to follow news.

How We Do

Some of these are things I can do something about. Some of them are things I must accept and deal with, to the best of my ability. As anyone who has read Slaughterhouse-Five or been through recovery knows, the important thing is knowing the difference.

I am strong enough to weather the things I cannot change.

And as far as the things I CAN change…

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… Around here, we take those problems One. Hit. At. A. Time.

Say Hello To the Person In the Seat Next to You On the Burning Plane

So from me to you, I hope you’ll hear me and believe me when I say It’s going to be okay.

I’m still alive! Just busy.

I’ve been watching a lot of movies, but haven’t had time to blog about them. I’ve been working on fiction, and wrote up an entry on Mudder of Dragons about my trip to New York and I’m working on another one for tomorrow. Go check it out if you’re bored or stuck in traffic!

Patricksponaugle linked to an amazing Oatmeal comic on Twitter last night and reading it really gave me pause. Here it is:

It’s going to be okay.  

You need to read it. Right now. Don’t save it for later, don’t scroll past and think ‘Oh I’ll read that later’ like I almost did, because I am NOTORIOUS for such and then forgetting. Just read it. It takes less than five minutes.

–Yeah.

If we are alive and reading this, we’re all on that burning plane RIGHT NOW, and we all have the opportunity to tell someone ‘It’s going to be okay.‘ Half of the act is saying it out loud – the other half is believing it yourself once you’ve said it.

It’s easy to gloss over the nuance of human suffering with what seems like a platitude… but really, it’s true. Holding on to hope in times of desperation is one of the best things about humanity – maybe that sounds like bullshit off a greeting card, and people say it all the time in situations when things AREN’T going to be okay and bad things happen anyway… but that isn’t what life’s about.

It actually reminded me of something that happened to me, one of my life’s great regrets.

The rest of this entry is behind a cut because it deals with the death of a family member and a personal failing on the part of the writer. I invite you to read it, but please be warned, it’s depressing.

Continue reading “Say Hello To the Person In the Seat Next to You On the Burning Plane”

Thursday, Better Known as Friday Eve

In Which The Author Doesn’t Say Much of Value Other Than An Apology

Happy Friday Eve, Dear Readers!

It continues to be a hell of a week – hell of a month actually, but I’m not getting into that.

But there’s hope on the horizon, swirling toward us like Falcor from the dawn-touched clouds in The Neverending Story – FRIDAY. 

I Can See Friday From Here!
I Can See Friday From Here!

Although not a payday Friday. Ah well, can’t have everything!

Sorry I’ve not been posting much here. I’ve been watching stuff but haven’t had the mental energy for a really in-depth analysis of anything lately. I’m planning a round up of posts from the archives that will help orient new readers (HELLO AND WELCOME NEW READERS!), but haven’t sat down to work it out yet.

So bear with me! New posts are coming!

I hope your week is going well!

Reading the News Lately Entry: HBO’s The Corner

Look, I’m not going to pretend I’m anything other than a white woman who watches a lot of TV and movies. But as an American, Baltimore’s strife kills me for a lot of reasons; I know that I live in a different America than a lot of people, I know that I am privileged. I am also struggling to understand both sides of a conflict that has made a lot of bodies and broken a lot of lives. In thinking about it, I remembered I had watched this amazing show and wondered how many other people were aware of it.

Watching a television show won’t make someone understand what’s going on in Baltimore, but The Corner introduced me to a conversation going on in this country that I wasn’t previously aware of, and helped me find an orientation to that conversation. Hopefully it can do the same for others.

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I love The Wire. It was one of the most important shows on American television and yet all it garnered was critical acclaim, and a few awards. You always know when someone has seen it, because we can’t stop ourselves from talking about it. David Simon, the creator, has talked about what’s going on in Baltimore because as a resident of the city he has long been privy to its inner workings.

A lot of people are probably looking to The Wire or recommending it to others who don’t understand what’s going on in Baltimore right now. And rightfully so, as it is one of the few television shows of the last twenty years that addressed some of those very problems. But The Wire was still required to be a commercial property, and so the stories were sometimes hampered by the need for some kind of cohesive narrative to draw the (white, middle/upperclass) audience in. It was thought-provoking, it was hard-hitting, but at the end of the day it still had to be entertainment.

The Corner paints a much more interesting picture, of the city in particular and America in general, and was made by many of the same people. Short of going to Baltimore and living there for a few years, it’s the closest some of us watching the news can get to understanding what’s going on.

Directed by Charles S. Dutton, The Corner is a dramatization of the nonfiction book The Corner: A Year In the Life of An Inner City Neighborhood. Many of its actors are recognizable from The Wire and elsewhere, and all of them give knockout performances.

As the title indicates, the six-episode miniseries shows a year in the life of a neighborhood that has fallen apart for a variety of reasons. Drugs, economic disparity, civic corruption, it’s all there on display. No punches are pulled by Dutton’s direction or the writing of the show- the grim realities are all exhibited without agenda other than ‘this really happened.’

For example: Francine, a drug addict and mother to one of the main characters, decides to get clean. She goes to a nearby center where she’s been told she can do so. However, the program has a limited number of beds, and sees people eager to turn over new leaves every day slide right back into addiction. She’s told to come back and apply again for four Tuesdays in a row so that they know she’s serious about getting clean. Basically, another month on the street.

It seems simple enough to us, who are reading this article or watching the show in our comfortable living rooms, with smartphones we can program to remind us where to be on certain days at certain times. Or even if we’ve been trained by parents or school programs about time management and basic organizational skills, being somewhere four times in a row sounds easy! We have cars we can use to get around, or means to check the bus schedule fare to get us there.

Francine has none of that. Her ‘normal’ doesn’t require her to know what day it is, or be anywhere at a certain time. As an addict, her internal clock is timed to her next fix, not “Humpday Happy Hour” or “Casual Friday” or anything that might help her get to the center at the right time on the right day. And a month in Bunchie’s neighborhood is a very, VERY long time frame in which a lot of things can happen. The show does not belabor the point, just makes it and steps back.

Another powerful thing about the series was getting to see so many actors I recognize from other shows display such range. Many of the people from the Wire play characters diametrically opposed to their characters in The Corner. Maria Broom, known as Lt. Daniels’ politically-savvy wife Marla in the Wire, is totally torn down as Bunchie, an unemployed addict who sits on her stoop all day. Likewise Clarke Peters, who played natty and understated badass Lester Freamon plays Fat Curt, so named because of the grotesque swelling in his hands and feet that years of drug use have caused. Seeing people of color displaying their range in such a way was a huge eye-opener; I started really thinking about how few roles there are for people of color in American entertainment, and how limited those roles usually are.

Look, I’m not going to pretend I’m anything other than a white woman who watches a lot of TV and movies. But as an American, Baltimore’s strife kills me for a lot of reasons; I know that I live in a different America than a lot of people, I know that I am privileged. I am also struggling to understand both sides of a conflict that has made a lot of bodies and broken a lot of lives. In thinking about it, I remembered I had watched this amazing show and wondered how many other people were aware of it.

Watching a television show won’t make someone understand what’s going on in Baltimore, but The Corner introduced me to a conversation going on in this country that I wasn’t previously aware of, and helped me find an orientation to that conversation. Hopefully it can do the same for others.

The Corner is not available on Instant Watch, but is available through Netflix Disc service and HBO GO or NOW.