Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Weekly Buffet: Here's What

[Recent weekend in Leavenworth, Wash. - a city that takes Christmas v. seriously.]

At this very moment Hugh Grant is twirling his tooshie around a staged version of the British prime minister's abode. That's right, it's that time of year where "Christmas is all around", which means endless viewings of the (now) modern classic, Love Actually.

At least I've watched one movie, since much to my horror, the date is already the 22nd of December and I've barely even cracked into watching all of my holiday favorites. That's just the pattern of my life lately - a lot has fallen apart over the last month. There's just simply not enough time for everything. Like how it was never part of the plan to triumphantly write something every day in November, get in a groove, and then not post anything for over twenty days! Blast! So it goes.

All in all, lots of fun December activities happened, gift shopping commenced, weekends away occurred, baking went down, and all other activities involving family and the holidays left no room for writing. Sure, all of this having places to go and people to see is a good problem to have, but it has been making me a tad stressed. Nothing feels worse than not having time for something you enjoy. I feel like I'm falling behind!

Now with several weeks off from work, there is time to spend a little time every day at the old computer.

There is a ton of catching up to do.

While Sony was getting hacked and a certain movie got more attention over a controversy than it would have had it actually been released [let's get real, The Interview would have been received as a  ho-hum flick and quickly we all would have moved on to talking about the next stoner comedy], here are a few things I was enjoying.


Otherwise known as the best reason to create a fifth e-mail address to sign up for another free month of Amazon Prime. Do it. That destination is the only place to watch this gem of an Amazon original series.

Transparent has been all the buzz for most of the year. For those who haven't already heard, the story follows a family sorting out their father's announcement that he identifies as being a women.

When I decide to commit to watching a new TV series, I want to find stories and people that are unlike anything else out there. Within the very first episode, it is obvious that this show is different and in the best way possible. All of the characters are equally lovely and horrifically frustrating, but with the impeccable Jeffrey Tambor performance and beautiful writing, every moment of Transparent feels mesmerizing. Even the opening credits, a mix of glorious old family movies set to piano music, is brilliant. Visions of the past is perfect for setting the tone of a show about family dramas.

It's been awhile since I've been this sad to get to the end of a series. Hopefully season two will be on its way shortly. This is a group of people you will want to spend more time around.

Year End Read-A-Thon

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I mentioned my trek to read a bunch of books in a short span of time. Now I'm down to nine days and counting and still have four books to go.

I'm getting there and have been reading a lot of good ones along the way. I quickly devoured the wonderfully strange tale of a girl who can taste extra ingredients in the food she eats - the emotions of the people who prepared the meal (The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake). I also finally got to read the very detailed play-by-play story of two teens finding love at first comic book instead of at first sight, proving that having shared interests can break down any barrier (Eleanore & Park). Both were excellent, but E & P will make you swoon.

Just today I completed reading my first graphic novel - The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil. With a whimsical story and illustrations, it feels like the perfect entry way into this different format. I already can't wait to look for more.

Farewell, The Newsroom

Aaron Sorkin's latest show went out exactly how it came in - being adored by some and chastised by others. Or, if you people are like me, there is the possibility of finding the good moments and frustrating bits in every episode.

Earlier this year when the final season began, it felt like the best yet. Maggie became the strong, interesting female character that Alison Pill deserved to be playing this whole time and the continuing plot line rightly dealt with the ultimate journalistic responsibility - maintaining secrecy of sources. It felt like an important show that had something to say. Plus, it was being told well. Not to mention Jim Harper was hilariously forced into a head to toe Sochi Olympics outfit.

It did quickly became apparent though, that asking Sorkin to wrap it all up in a six-episode mini season was ridiculous. HBO, y'all have talked to this guy before, right? Concise is not any part of his agenda and we love him for it.

After an exciting episode with a little lovely wedding/someone being taken to jail, I panicked upon the realization that there were only two episodes left. How can all of these huge stories possibly be resolved in such a short time?

I was hopeful it could be done, but, what is the real answer? It couldn't all be resolved, well, especially not once the focus shifted to a very surprising turn of events. Annoyance over completely disregarded storylines quickly commenced.

Ultimately, the final episodes felt like a frantic dash. No show should go out feeling cut short, especially for one penned by a guy whose writing has created some of the most compelling moments in television and movies.

It's all done now and even with all the bashing (and recent controversies), many characters and the stories they were telling, will be missed. Complicated ventures are, after-all, still worth having.

Well, it finally got me. I can now add, "get sick" to my jam packed holiday schedule. Hopefully this cough, slight fever, and case of vertigo will go away before Santa pays a visit later this week. We'll just have to see, I will be hunkering down.

At least I have lots of reading and holiday movie watching to get done. Hope y'all are doing the same!

Until next time, folks! 

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