Thursday, October 2, 2014

Weekly Buffet: "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."

[Just a lovely fall sunset. That's all. ]

'Tis the season! I'm not entirety sure what season that is, since according to the aisles at Joann Fabrics it is September and already time to buy decorations for general fall festivities, Halloween, mid Fall, Thanksgiving, Winter merriment, AND Christmas. I got suckered into gazing at a row of doggie tutu's, for I guess the next time your dog wants to dress up as a balleruffa. Ha Ha. Yes, please mock my horrid attempt to combine a dog pun with the word ballerina.

It's also time, as we are well aware, for pumpkin spice everything to pack the shelves of every store. I've been known to dabble in a pumpkin spice latte now and then, but the charming drink of yore, that always reminds me of gathering with close friends to study in college, has gone cuckoo. Do we really need to live in a world with pumpkin spice vodka, gum, and humus? Blech.

Stick to using that flavoring in lattes and donuts/other baked goods - the world would be a much less confusing place.

Over the weekend though, I was alerted to a secret new pumpkin spice item that is actually quite tasty. I say "secret" only because someone stocking the shelves at the grocery store actually said, "Psssst" and motioned me over. I looked dramatically around and mouthed, "who? me?", just to make sure she was in fact directing this serious business my way. I felt like I was being called into some underground grocery store clique.

It turned out not to be a big deal, just a nice gesture. The very pleasant worker had noticed the box of oatmeal tucked under my arm and wanted to let me know that the same brand had a deal on the pumpkin spice version. Thrilled to hear about a deal, I aggressively thanked her for the tip. One dollar for 10 packets of oatmeal! Don't mind if I do.

When not making new friends at the grocery store or starting my pumpkin spice collection, this week I was hanging out listening to some new jams and attempting to get caught up on a certain series.

Second Chances - Homeland

I have a really hard time letting go. From philosophical life ordeals to TV shows, nothing escapes my hold without adequately panicking first.

If I start watching a series, and it's not floating my boat, I still feel compelled to finish every episode. What if it gets better the next season and I gave up too soon? Anxiety over missing something worthwhile compels much of my daily activities.

Sometimes there are year breaks in between, still somehow I will find my way back. I've yet to stumble back to season three of the often upsetting Sons Of Anarchy. Just give me some time. One day I'll find out if Jax ever finds his baby!

Homeland on the other hand is getting my revived attention right now. I watched season one when it originally aired in 2011 and loved every minute. There was Claire Danes as a kick ass CIA agent, wonderfully playing an intense character who must balance a mental disorder and personal demons all while attempting to maintain her role in a vital profession. Mandy Patinkin and Damien Lewis were also fantastic pairs for Danes, easily matching her skill at relaying truly dramatic action. Most of all though, the general plot about an army general turned possible  terrorist, was super compelling. Each of the characters and stories played off current events and our fears as a nation to make one addicting, heart-pounding hour of television.

Then came season two.

Right from the beginning the writers simply didn't succeed as well as their original attempt. The first season had such clear direction with the writers commanding a succinct beginning, middle, and end. In the second season, it felt like those same writers were left  wondering, "Well, what now?" The story was overly complicated, sending characters in every direction even if it didn't make for the best narrative choice.

[Spoiler alert]  One detail was the most frustrating of all: can anyone explain to me why Carrie (Danes) and Brody (Lewis) continued to love each other? In the first season their relationship made sense. Carrie was able to gain inside information and they had a lot in common, bonding over their shared experiences being sent to a war zone. Although, after all that emotional build up, Brody ruined her life. Carrie, the strong character they had developed in the previous season, would never have gone groveling back to the guy who got her fired from her beloved job. Insane.

Without well told stories, TV doesn't hold anything over the movie industry. To me, that is why it's annoying when stories take nonsensical turns when you know the people involved in the show could make better decisions. They could have done so much more with Brody's character! It all started so well. So, even though I wanted to keep trudging on, when season three aired last year, I couldn't make myself watch it anymore.

Now, after seeing intriguing clips for the upcoming new season, set to premiere this Sunday,  I have been blasting through season three without a care in the world.

The third season has it's own writing problems (including a far fetched plot twist early on), but I'm choosing to ignore it all just for the sake of getting caught up. Sometimes interesting characters can keep a show alive. Season four appears to be focused on Carrie being sent overseas. Maybe it will be a fresh start for the show as a whole.The little part in me that can't let go is hoping this is the case. Otherwise, I might just have to learn how to move on.

Concert Fever

What a great time for new music! In the last few months we have seen the release of albums from Ryan Adams, Sondre Lerche, The New Pornographers, Spoon, Tennis, Delta Spirit, and on, and on.

To support these new tunes, all the performers have been hitting the road, including stops in my neck of the woods. In the next week three of the above listed artists will be in Seattle. Come on guys - spread it out a little!

Reality hit that, to avoid over expenditures, attending only one performance would be a likely possibility.  Than the internal debate began - making decisions has never been my strong suit. Ryan Adams tops my list of favorite artists that I have not seen live.  Yet, finally seeing Neko Case perform with The New Pornographers is happening the following night, so, in the end,  that has won out this time. Adams is going to (hopefully) keep going for years, but Case spends more tours out solo than singing as part of The New Pornographers.

Sondre Lerche will be in Seattle the following weekend too, but alas, this gal might have to miss out. There are only so many times I can handle driving to Seattle in a short period of time. Again, people, spread out the performances. Or come to Bellingham, Washington. We're pretty cool up here too.

Well, you know where I'll be this weekend - hopefully bopping around to "Mass Romantic", "Use It", and "Fantasy Fools". Those unfamiliar with The New Pornographers, should give 'em a listen. Fun times will be had. 

After checking out new music, get out and have some adventures too! Drink some pumpkin spice (just straight), head out to a cornfield, or you know, one of the other various timely fall events.  It all only happens once a year.

Until next time.

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