Happy Siete de Mayo

MyFitnessPal tells me I have 877 calories to go today. Totally disrespected that limit tonight.

Our local Mexican restaurant was insanely busy on Cinco de Mayo, so we reluctantly stayed away that day. Great news for them, not so much for us. (We survived.) So this year we instead celebrated Siete de Mayo, and it was wonderful.

Not pictured: the second margarita. It’s been that kind of week.

in fair Corona, where we quarantine

Quarantine looks continue to evolve, perhaps inevitably, towards peak dystopia.  Or, as a friend pointed out, steampunk Indiana Jones.

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I was largely out of commission the last ten days or so.  It started with a headache a two days after Easter, persisting for several days, until it transformed into a stomach flu for most of last week.  By Friday I was starting to feel mostly human again, and was able to work.  I’m not usually this prone to being sick, but the last six months have been rough.  Fingers crossed I’ll be able to go for more than a month without some part of my body crapping out on me.

My last week consisted mostly of sleeping and watching a ton of movies, usually mixed together, which felt a little hallucinatory.  Watch 20 minutes of a movie, fall asleep for 30 minutes, watch another 15 minutes, fall asleep again, then wake up as the credits role.  Insert new movie; repeat cycle several times a day, for several days in a row.  A bunch of movie scenes jumbled together in my head with a litany of bizarre dreams, some of which were inspired by the movies.  “Hallucinatory” is not far off the mark, I think.

The plan for this next week is to reset, fitness and diet-wise.  Onward and forward.

Even in Blackouts: ROMANTICO!

I bought ROMANTICO!, the latest album from Even in Blackouts, last year, listened to it once, liked it, then forgot about it, because it’s on Bandcamp, a service I generally forget exists.  Anyway, lately I’ve been using Bandcamp more to find haunting ambient music to quarantine with, and rediscovered ROMANTICO!.  I have now listened to it every day for the last week.

I am terrible at writing about music, so I’m not even going to try.  What I will say is that Even in Blackouts perform a unique flavor of acoustic/electric pop-punk, and make songs that will stick in your head for days.  ROMANTICO! is their first album in ten years, and is just as good as their previous work, if not better.  If that seems like it may be your thing, then give them a listen.

Also, look at that fucking gorgeous cover art.  How can you not want to own it?

Rebooted

Sarah brought this clever short movie to my attention.  It helps that I’m a sucker for JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS-stop motion skeleton monsters.

It’s not easy for a movie-star to age – especially when you’re a stop motion animated skeleton monster.
Phil, once a terrifying villain of the silver-screen, struggles to find work in modern Hollywood due to being an out-of-date special effect.

2020 Apr 05

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From my local Mexican restaurant: a bottle of Patrón repurposed as a hand sanitizer dispenser.

Been a quiet weekend.  We made pills yesterday and and sat around reading a bunch.  The last week was another busy work week and in general a bit of a struggle, though we did do a happy hour thing with friends on Wednesday, which was a welcome relief.

Currently reading: Just finished CHANGES in preparation for the newest installment of The Dresden Files,  PEACE TALKS , due out in July.  About to start the next (for me) Jack Reacher book, TRIPWIRE.  Such is the state of my attention span during all this shit that I am having trouble focusing on anything more complex.

Currently watching: Doing a rewatch of VENTURE BROS, somewhere in season one, which is uneven but fun.  Finished STAR TREK PICARD, which managed to stick the landing for the most part.  The other night we watched THE MALTESE FALCON.  It was good, although I think I prefer Bogart as Philip Marlowe to Sam Spade.  Which reminds me that I still need to order THE BIG SLEEP.

I ordered face masks from Etsy last week.  Because I’m me, I tried to find some that had a little style to them.  The real question is, should I also order a set of goggles, to really complete the early-days-of-dystopia look?

Overmorrow

I was reading Julian Simpson’s excellent INFODUMP newsletter this morning, and came across a new-to-me word: overmorrow.  Here’s how Julian used it:

And we have to remember that there is an “other side” to this, an overmorrow where we step back out into the world and the shops are open, and the cafes and bars and museums and galleries, and we can see our friends and family and put our lives back together…

According to Dictionary.com, overmorrow is defined as “the day after tomorrow.”  The word originated in the 1500s but generally fell out of usage at some point thereafter.

Always a delight to learn a new word.

Proof of Life

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The quarantine beard is starting to fill in.

I just started week three of a four-week round of prednisone to treat a thing, and it’s been playing hell with my ability to sleep, and my appetite.  Today, for instance, I was wide awake at 4:30am and willing to commit bloody murder for a stack of pancakes.  I had a yogurt instead and logged onto work at 5:30am, which my primitive brain was sort of meh about.

Very glad to have this week be nearly over with.  Tomorrow my plan is to nap as much as I want, and annihilate some pancakes, of course.

The Great Pause

Checkpoint time: a little over one week into what I’ve seen referred to in a couple of places as The Great Pause.  It’s interesting living in the middle of a rapidly unfolding historical Event — big E — that people are already assigning names to.  I don’t remember when the Great Recession started being the Great Recession, but I don’t think it was quite this fast.

I can’t wait for the inevitable thriller that will arrive a few years from now called THE GREAT PAUSE, about a rough-and-tumble anthropologist who finds himself drawn into a plot surrounding millennia-old curse tablets discovered in an Athenian well, which unleashes a deadly plague upon the world…  Not that anything like that could ever happen.

Things that helped me get through the past week, in no particular order:

* Being busy at work.  The world doesn’t stop just because the world has, in many respects, stopped.  Last week at work was insanely busy, which I’m not complaining about; I’m aware of how fortunate I am in my situation.  But it’s legit been helpful to have something to focus on during the days.

* Making dinner.  Cooking is far from being one of my favorite things in the world, but we made dinner every night last week, which was actually fun.  Then on Friday and Saturday night we ordered takeout to support some of our favorite local restaurants.  The pappardelle with Venetian pork & beef ragu from Grist was outstanding.

* Exercising.  With doing the full-time work from home thing, this has been very helpful towards making the mental transition from “work” to “off work.”  My gym has been closed, for obvious reasons, so I ordered some adjustable dumb bells and a bench, but they didn’t arrive til the weekend.  So with nothing else to do, last Monday I went for a run/stagger.  It was rough in the moment, but afterwards I felt pretty okay.  In the three or four times I’ve since gone, it’s been a little easier each time.  I hope to keep up the pace. (har har har)

* Cleaning.  Our basement is starting to look really good.

* Writing.  Last Sunday I started working on a ghost story that’s been bubbling around in my head for a while, and I’ve been working on it in the evenings after I come back from a run.  The off-work reset that exercising presents is apparently also shaking loose some creativity from my fusty brain.

That’s my coping strategy thus far.  I’ll be curious to see how it mutates as time wears on.  Hope you all too are finding ways to get through this weird-ass time we’re living in.

Thirty-Eight

We’re in Cincinnati for the weekend, originally to see a show, celebrate my birthday, and do some other fun stuff.  For one obvious reason, rhyming with “Come on Eileen,” many of these things were canceled.  But, since the Airbnb was already booked, we decided to still venture down and spend the weekend lounging in our adorable little space.

Downtown Cincy is a ghost town.  Only a few places open and fewer people in them.  We were supposed to leave for San Diego next week, but will be postponing that trip til later in the year.  Things right now are certainly surreal.  Makes me think of the old curse, “May you live in interesting times.”  Maybe one day, times will be a little less interesting.

I turned 38 this past week.  Here’s me enjoying a celebratory margarita last night, and not looking a day past 37.

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Recently Watched, Jan 2020

Interested in a few microreviews of movies and TV shows I’ve watched recently? Too bad, you’re getting them anyway.

BLACK DYNAMITE: A blaxpoitation movie that is less a parody and more an homage, and just as funny now as it was ten years ago. There are many great bits to this movie, but my favorite? Donuts don’t wear alligator shoes:

THE WIDOW: A fairly bleak thriller about a woman who believes her husband died in a plane crash until she sees him on news footage, so it’s off to the Congo to solve the mystery. I liked this fairly well. The Congo made for an interesting setting, and Kate Beckinsale is quite good as a determined woman who’s gone through some trauma and is trying to keep her shit together long enough to find her husband. An eight episode, limited series on Amazon was a good format for this type of show. I wish more filmmakers would go this route.

CASABLANCA: Just a fucking classic. I’ll say no more, except that I just now remembered I need to see if I own copies of THE BIG SLEEP and THE MALTESE FALCON.

RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD: What an ugly, miserable film. The John Rambo of this film is so far removed from the tragic figure of the first film, that I sincerely wonder what Sylvester Stallone was thinking when he wrote the script. I’m so mad I sat through the whole thing.

KNIVES OUT: An old school whodunnit in the vein of CLUE that’s clever, funny, and brilliantly casted. Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc is wonderful, but Chris Evans steals his scenes as a sort of anti-Steve Rogers. This and READY OR NOT were my favorite movies from 2019.

V: The original miniseries from 1983 about alien Visitors who one day show up all over the world in big shiny ships. Instead of pulling an INDEPENDENCE DAY, the Visitors want to help humanity by stealing our jorbs resources, and eating our small rodents. More than a little cheesy now, yes, but it is still a surprisingly effective allegory for Nazi-occupied Europe. Also it stars Marc Fucking Singer, so now I’m ready to watch THE BEASTMASTER again.

6 UNDERGROUND: A Michael Bay-directed, Ryan Reynolds-starring, Netflix original (??) that was frenetic and incoherent, and just unwatchably dumb, and I turned it off after ten minutes.

UNDERWATER: ALIEN, but set on the ocean floor. The plot made little sense, but Shit Starts Getting Real within the first five minutes, which was an interesting approach to take. Worth watching when it eventually hits Netflix/Amazon/etc.

ELEMENTARY: We’ve been watching this pretty much nonstop since September and we’re now somewhere in the middle of the fifth season. I’ve seen it before — except for the last season — but Jess hasn’t. The platonic chemistry between Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu is everything. Easily my favorite filmed adaptation of Sherlock Holmes

THE GOOD LIAR: A twisty, witty thriller with Sir Ian McKellan and Dame Helen Mirren as the leads? Count me in. This was quite good.