Tuesday, October 27, 2015


When I was a boy, I lived in front of the television set.  I was one of those kids who could tell you the primetime schedule of all three networks with more certainty and relish than I could list the first five Presidents of the United States.  So it's a bit weird for me to realize that I haven't watched broadcast television in over two years.
When I moved into my current home, I didn't bother getting a television.  Instead, I made sure I had wi-fi that could reach every room in the place.  The only thing I miss from television, really, is local news and I can catch the rebroadcast of that online.
When I want entertainment, I spent most of my time on my laptop.  I listened to audio programs available via the BBC or spent time watching videos on YouTube.  Occasionally, I would buy a movie or rent an episode of television via Amazon Instant Video.
I was content.
Then, last September, I decided to try Netflix.  For $8 a month, it sounded like a good deal, and the first month was free.  So, I signed up, logged in and checked out what they had available.
To be honest, I was not impressed.  A lot of their stuff you can find at other sites for free.  The stuff they did have was stuff I didn't really want to watch.
Everyone told me I should watch Daredevil, that it was really good.  I made it through six episodes and lost interest. I tried watching Arrow and The Flash, but they didn't tickle my fancy either.  That first week on Netflix, I spent feeling really disappointed.
But I had it free for a month and thought I'd give it that long.  Surely there must be something worthwhile on the site.
I revisited some old favorites, like The Munsters and Kolchak, but I'm not the type to get lost in nostalgia.  Then I somehow wound up watching the entire run of Spooksville, a supernatural tween show produced in Canada.  Then, to my surprise, I found an Australian-produced mystery program, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, and bingewatched all three seasons.  That led me to the discovery that Netflix has the entire run of Agatha Christie's Poirot, starring the fantastic David Suchet in the title role, and Dawn French's The Vicar of Dibley, one of the funniest Britcoms that I've ever seen.
The trial month ended and I decided to keep my Netflix membership.  I watched Daniel Radcliffe in Horns and was horribly disappointed by the flatness of the film.  Halloween was coming and I eagerly perused their offerings in horror, but most of them left me cold. I wanted the original Halloween or the excellent 2007 Trick R Treat.  I got recommended Supernatural and The Gates. My disappointment was a palpable thing.
I thought that the site's algorithms weren't recommending me good things because they didn't really know my tastes yet, so I spent an hour filling out profile preferences.  It didn't seem to make much of a difference.  Supernatural still popped up in my recommendations, but now so did Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Vampire Diaries. It was like taking one step forward and two steps back.
I'm still working my way through Suchet's Poirot, and just recently started watching Murder, She Wrote on a whim.  
I've told myself that once I'm done with Poirot, I'll probably shut down the account.  I can find stuff to watch online for free. I can go back to listening to the BBC and podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale.
But then someone told me Netflix was going to be getting the original Star Wars movies.
Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in. :-(

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Moon & Tree

Ping was lying in her bed, when she saw the moon get tangled in the branches of a tree.  She called for Papa, who came into the room expecting monsters under the bed.  Instead, he found Ping, sitting up, big tears sliding down her cheeks.
Papa put away the maracas (because monsters of all kinds can’t stand the sound of maracas), sat on the bed and asked Ping what was wrong.
She pointed out the window. “The moon is stuck.”
Papa looked out the window and chuckled.  “The moon is fine. It just looks stuck, but it’s not.”
“It’s not?” Ping said, her little face full of doubt.
“Oh no,” explained Papa.  “The moon is high in the sky and the tree is just reaching for it, but it can’t touch it.  Nothing can touch the moon.”
“Oh. Why is the tree reaching for the moon, Papa?”
“Because it loves the moon and wants to hug it,” said Papa.  “But it can’t.”
“Does the moon love the tree?”
“I don’t know,” admitted Papa.  “Maybe.  Time to go to sleep now, sweetheart.”
Papa tucked her in again and, just for good measure, rattled the maracas to drive away any monsters.  Then he kissed Ping and said, “Goodnight.”
“It’s sad about the tree,” said Ping.  “It’s sad that it will never get to hold the moon.”
“Maybe, sweetheart. But we can’t always get what we want. Sweet dreams.”
The next morning, when Papa came down to breakfast, Ping had already left for school. Mama handed Papa a cup of tea and a blueberry scone and kissed him on the cheek.
“I have to run some errands this morning,” said Mama. “I’ll see you later.”
Papa walked her out to the car.  As he waved goodbye from the sidewalk, he noticed something yellow attached to the trunk of a tree.  The tree was an old birch and was the one Ping saw from her bedroom window.  Attached to its trunk with a bit of tape was a drawing of the moon.
Papa looked at it for a minute, then went into the house.  He came back outside a few minutes later and duct taped the picture to the tree.
Then he went back inside the house and finished his breakfast.

Monday, October 5, 2015


No witty comments today.
Just pictures from where I live.

Thankfully, my home has not been flooded.  I still have electricity and running water.  Others haven't been as fortunate.
If you would like to help, the Salvation Army is accepting donations online or you can simply text STORM to 51555.  I'm sure any assistance would be appreciated.
What next?
Hopefully, dry weather.