Tag Archives: television

It’s My Own Fault

Several years ago I purchased Atlas Shrugged, the FILM, for Saint Aardvark, for Christmas. It was — not a great film. The most notable thing about it was that it starred Taylor Whatsit, later to kick ass in Orange is the New Black, as Our Rational Heroine Dagny Taggart.

The following Christmas, there I was at Amazon for some reason and Amazon said, in that special way Amazon has of interrupting your peaceful internet shoppery, Hey! You bought Part One and now there is Part Two! So of course being as SA and I have that kind of relationship, ie: the kind where we give each other crap, (he gave me Thomas Kinkade: Painter of Light this year. Do not recommend it to you, will still lend it to you) I bought for him part two for Christmas. New actors all ’round. Taylor Whatsit said, um, actually, no I think I’m done with this project. Part Two was not a great film either but it had some production values left. It was shiny and had crane shots and good costumes.

This past November, Amazon said Hey! You might possibly want Atlas Shrugged Part Three? It’s possible? No one else does but…

And I said, There’s a PART THREE? I thought it end–oh wait, no, I just fell asleep.

And Amazon said, Hahaha so true, but hey, it’s only ten dollars?

And I said, OK, but is it for sure the last part because I really can’t stomach any more Ayn Rand ever.

And Amazon said We’re not sure! But it’s on sale! C’mooooonnnnn. DOOO IIIIIITTT.

So I bought it but it wasn’t ready yet. Yes. I PRE-ORDERED Atlas Shrugged Part Three. Anyway! A month later it was shipped and then I had to wait to give it to Saint Aardvark for his birthday this year.

All this is a long-winded way of telling you tonight we are watching the second half of part three of Atlas Shrugged, which, I am assured by SA, who has read the book, is the final part and thank god because it is wretched.

Imagine you had a great idea for a three-part film project and then someone gave you a [x]illion dollars to make it happen! So you spent 90% on the first film, scrounged enough from the 10% left to make a passable second and then by the third realized that even the tenth tier character actors were ignoring your phone calls and you were stuck doing your own makeup. You decided to splice in documentary footage from those “Flying over North America” films and a lot of voiceovers to move the (holy shit no one told you how LONG this story is) story along. You sacrificed pacing of any kind in favour of Characters Announcing How They Were Making a Point Right Now. And then added a soundtrack so floral and overbearing it might as well be in a Danielle Steele made-for-tv-movie. Or a Thomas Kinkade biopic, just saying.

And all THAT is a long-winded way of telling you that I don’t usually drink a lot of wine on a Monday evening (ever since we cancelled cable tv and stopped playing the New Westminster City Council Drinking Game, that is) but for Atlas Shrugged Part Three I will make an exception.

Seventy-Two — Please Don’t Make This Blog Into a Film

This summer has had a couple of themes. Swimming was one theme. You might have noticed it? Let us not talk about swimming again until next year. Amen.

Another theme has been Diary of a Wimpy Kid. These books, which are written in diary style and comic font and have lots of pictures, have completely consumed my kids for months. Arlo was bringing them home from the school library last year, but not really reading them, but this summer he started really reading them. Like, fast. Like, we were at the public library every few days picking up another one in the series. Then he started over again with the first one.

Of course if one child has [anything] the other child has to have one too, which is why we’ve had two library copies of every Wimpy Kid book in the series kicking around the house all summer long. Ask me about my fines!

We still read to the kids, of course, even though they can read to themselves just fine, so bedtime or chilling out time means I get to hear Diary read out loud, or read it myself. It’s not my favourite book, but it makes Saint Aardvark laugh for real sometimes so he gets to read it, if at all possible.*

And then the kids re-discovered that there are three Wimpy Kid movies on Netflix so one of those movies has been in constant play during screen time for a week now and I’m getting to that saturation point I remember so fondly from their toddler days, when I would find myself analyzing the motivation of the blue Wiggle or the psychological makeup of Caillou.

To that end, the things I have observed this summer about the Wimpy Kid and the reason I will not be sad when we move on to a new obsession:

1. Greg Heffley (the Wimpy Kid whose diary we are reading) is a self-centred jerk and it’s amazing he has even one friend.
2. Everyone is EITHER mean OR gets made fun of.
3. Older brother (Roderick) is mean AND rude AND stupid (but I do love him in the films, he is adorable)
4. Adults are ALWAYS idiots.
5. Girls are EITHER horrible or unattainable goddesses.

Now, yes, I know, it’s not written for me any more than Pokemon and Beyblades were written for me. Broad brushes painting tired stereotypes are not the worst thing to find splashing around on your face, right? The series begins with Greg starting middle school — grade six — so I get that it’s reflecting a reality, that of the self-absorbed, insecure, cut-throat pre-teens and teens that populate such places. But is it really that bad? Or are we making it worse by creating this fictional reality for kids to find their reflections in?

You see what I mean about the analysis. Clearly it is time for summer vacation to end and for the real world of school to start up again. After repeated viewings of Diary I have to remind myself that my kids are only going into grade two and kindergarten, not middle school, and that they are not, overall, big jerks. And… breathe.

* He is, however, increasingly irritated by Eli making him start reading at the same place every night. Eli seems to love the first forty pages of the first book and SA just can’t seem to get past it. Poor guy. I’d offer to help, but I’m not going to.**

** THAT right there is Wimpy Kid behavior. Oh god. I’m going down with the ship.

Sixty-Eight — My Body’s Nobody’s Body But Mine

My body used to make sense. I would get hungry and give it food, nothing too fussy, occasional cravings, and then I would digest the food and then I would excrete the food. I would go to sleep when I was tired and wake up when I was still tired because you can never get enough sleep, but that’s normal, right? Alarm clocks: scourge of our natural time rhythms.

Once a month my period would come. Once a year I would get a cold or something worse like a sinus infection but it would go away.

This was before kids. Kids changed my body, of course. Growing a human being in your body and then birthing it can wreak a bit of havoc on systems digestive, reproductive, endocrine and others I am not familiar enough with to list here. There was the usual post-partum stuff; hair shedding and period cycle getting weird and never sleeping and wanting to yell at everyone. All of that resolved a few months (nearly a year actually) after I weaned Eli and I was..back to normal. Or so I thought.

I developed a headache that lasted three weeks. I started to get terrible PMS. I never had PMS before but I started having PMS that made me feel downright medicatable, but only for three days a month. Then there was the feeling-like-I’m-going-to-vomit-nope-not-vomiting thing, which I had years ago, and last year, and this year, and which went away two months ago and came back this week, and now I’m thinking well, that’s just part of me I guess. I’m nauseous. I eat candied ginger for breakfast. Hardcore.

Sometime last year the depressive PMS turned into weird-sleep PMS. In the five or so nights before my period starts, I sleep like crap — hot and cold and restless. I prefer this to the depressive sort of PMS but still.

My hair is half white and half not-white and the white hairs stand up all over my head in this sort of halo formation. That’s a polite way of putting it that also makes me sound angelic, which I am not. This is a perfectly reasonable thing for my hair to do, incidentally, so I hesitate to list it here because I do understand it, but I also think it helps paint a picture.

Emotionally I feel great! Physically I feel like one of those one-man bands with all the instruments playing a different song.

Oh, and my wrist hurts. Carpal tunnel from all the writing by hand and night-time fist-clenching.

Today I ate some fresh pineapple and all I want is pineapple now. I’m afraid I’ll turn into a toddler; nothing but fresh pineapple and then no more fresh pineapple ever. I just cut up my first fresh pineapple and ate a piece before stashing it in a container in the fridge. The flavour is still at the back of my throat; acid and sweet. It was just the right fleshy texture. Maybe a fresh pineapple a day will cure me of all this weirdness.

Or, more likely, it’s that I’ve been over-exposed to Spongebob Squarepants. (he lives in a pineapple under the sea, you know.) Time for a cleanse.

Sixty-Six — A Rough and Tumble Alcoholic with A Heart of Gold, That’s Me

Ginger* asks: If you could be a TV character in real life, who would you be?

My first thought was Dominic DaVinci from DaVinci’s Inquest. I couldn’t quite figure out why, so I thought about some other characters, among them The Littlest Hobo, Amber from Parenthood, and Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company, but I’m going to stick with my first thought. They say your first thought is your best thought.

DaVinci’s Inquest was a Canadian drama that I loved for several years ( imdb says 1998 – 2005 and I believe them). I don’t know if any Americans have ever seen it. The character of Dominic DaVinci, a coroner in Vancouver, investigated deaths in the city and uncovered compelling stories about the dead people, along with their causes of death. Often there was a mystery, but not always. It followed a lot of real-life storylines like the tragedy of the missing and murdered women here in BC, (except I think in the show, the murders were solved faster than in real life.) DaVinci was a recovering alcoholic, a divorced father of one teenage girl, and he had this manner about him; it was love and realism and hubris in one grizzled, grey, Italian-Canadian package. He was smart and sarcastic and compassionate and flawed. The show was incredibly well-written.

He brooked no bullshit. It’s a trait I admire.

* (anyone can participate in Ginger’s Bring Back the Words weekly prompts. This means you! They are fun and informative! Check it out.)

Two *

* The second reason I am using numbers for titles is because I am going to try posting every day for one hundred days! Maybe this is a subliminal result of me watching the first five? seven? episodes of House of Cards, which everyone did months ago but I am a non-joiner when it comes to TV and movies, I will hold out until everyone has forgotten about a thing and then pretend I discovered it.

I liked House of Cards after it had been discovered, revered, dismantled, and then discarded, like a box of forgotten tissues in the middle of allergy season. That sort of thing.

And in the first or second episode of House of Cards, the president, sorry, President, has to deliver something within his first hundred days of office and I was thinking, “A hundred days is not so long.” Then I added up the days and one hundred days from yesterday is September 3rd. 1. That is quite long, actually, as time goes. But 2. it had a nice symmetry to it, in that this is the last month of school and when I finish one hundred days of posting it will be the first month of school.

Really what this tells us is summer vacation is just short of one hundred days long.

I suppose I could claim to want to preserve this last summer before Eli starts Kindergarten SHUT UP! I KNOW! IT’S HAPPENING! NO WAY! but really I just want to write here every day because it’s good practise.*

I can’t stand the smirk of Kevin Spacey’s mouth / I love the smirk of Kevin Spacey’s mouth.

That sort of thing.

* 100 words minimum. Because I am a freak about numbers.