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And The Job Hunt Continues…

Not much has gone on over the past week… just the usual job hunting and crafting and movie watching. Actually stumbled onto the BBC series “Luther”, starring Idris Elba and watched the two seasons back-to-back. I am using the term “seasons” loosely, as there were only 6 episodes in the first season and only 4 in the second. It was more like a continuous stream, as the characters were pretty consistent and the pervading theme ran through it all. I had some issues about how a real detective might actually work and they make enough of an argument that Luther was a bit of a rogue cop, but the fact that he had an affinity for a young woman who murdered her parents (and her dog) and got away scot free, was a bit too much to swallow.

3276264_com_lutherI recall seeing Idris Elba show up for a few episodes in the American version of “The Office”, sans British accent, for a season, but haven’t seemed to find him in television since. I will, however, add the caveat that my television world consists mainly of Netflix and HBOGO right now.

Of note, however, is the fact that although I have seen the movie before, it wasn’t until re-viewing it last night with The Kid, that I realized that the fine young actor in “The Empire of the Sun” was, in fact, Christian Bale.

emp372Lately, I have not been such a fan, and don’t pelt me with comic books, not a fan of his work in “Batman”. Or “American Psycho”. Nor have I cared much for of his film work, with the notable exception of “The Machinist”… which while superb, was extremely hard to watch. I understand that he actually lost all the weight during the filming, which has to be hard on his body, but much appreciated that he put the dedication into his craft.

Knowing that this post is especially short and lacking in content, it is Monday and I haven’t had my morning dose of caffeine (thank you Diet Coke).

MacCupcake

 

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Urban Exploration… Wow! What a Weekend!

On Friday morning, on a whim, me and the Kid jumped into the SUV and headed north towards Iowa. At some point I had realized that it had been just about a year since we had the headstone placed for my parents… just a little over a year since my Mom died. I am definitely not a traditional person, you know, waiting for Memorial Day to visit and have to deal with all the people and traffic and hassle, so it seemed like a perfect time to go now.

But that was really just a reason to have a destination. The real reason was to do a little urban exploration. Or as we called it: abandoned house hunting. So, about 50 miles north of Kansas City, we exited the freeway, found a highway and within a mile or two, we turned off on a gravel road. For the next few hours, we found about six abandoned farm houses in various states of decay.

About sunset, we opted to drive to the next biggest city on our route (if you can call these towns “cities” in Iowa) and crashed at a hotel. We were quite exhausted… and slept right up to check out time the next morning (missed our free breakfast). We drove straight up to the cemetery and visited the graves:

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Following, we picked up the hunt for more houses. We weren’t disappointed. At this point I will cease with words and treat you to photos:

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The photos are in no particular order and some of them were taken by the Kid. Between our two iPhones and my Nikon camera, we had plenty of photography options. Some of the houses’ conditions ranged from close to move-in to completely gone – as in had fallen into its own basement. Most were in some condition in between. We saw some amazing things left behind… in one house, there were 60 year old magazines that looked like they were hot off the news stand. In another house, there were the most beautiful woodwork through out the house and on the front door and stained glass windows on the front of the house. Everywhere were rodents and bugs and spider webs.

The whole trip was fantastic… probably because I was able to spend it with my son. My most favorite moment though, came when we woke up on Saturday morning and he crawled into bed with me and snuggled for a few minutes. He hasn’t done that in a long, long time. Always my baby boy.

Well, that’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed sharing our little adventure.

MacCupcake

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Its The Little Things

I am trying to take a more positive attitude but it has been hard the last couple of days… I have been struggling with a low lying, dull throbbing ache in the back of my head. One of those headaches that doesn’t actually quite make the qualification of a migraine, but bigger than just a stress headache and no treatment that I try is actually helping. I’ve been trying to divert my attention by working on projects and such, but not having much luck.

Went outside for a while, to take photos of some quilts… beautiful light out there, although still on the cool side. Whenever we go into the backyard though, the neighbor puppies always come over to greet us. Two of them are Yorkies (or Yorkie combos) and the other is a miniature pinscher ( or some combo of) and there is a chorus of barking. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo or two:

Neighbor PuppyWe’re getting ready to plant a garden, I think we’re just doing pumpkins and tomatoes, but The Kid had picked out and saved a pumpkin all winter for its seeds. So, we finally got around to harvesting the seeds and then The Kid carved a happy face in the shell and set it out against our big tree in the backyard. Its kind of funny to see a “jack o’lantern” this far from Halloween… but that’s my kid.. weird sense of humor and all. I am sure a lucky mom.

DSCN2299Well, I am up to the final season of Six Feet Under and thanks to a little hint from my friend Kiki, there is apparently one helluva series’ finale coming up. So, going to put my feet up and watch a few more episodes and hope that relaxation is what does the trick.

The only problem then? Finding something else to watch. Suggestions anyone?

MacCupcake

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Any Where But Here?

Okay, so there is something not sitting right with me these days. My job ended a couple of weeks ago and I thought I would try and get in my time off before I started working again, but I don’t seem to have any energy or drive to start the job hunting process. I only have half hearted enthusiasm for any of my creative work, which is what has always driven me. Doesn’t help that the weather isn’t all that good, hovering around the 50 degree mark for the past week or so. Not warm enough to really want to do anything outside (or even in the garage) but not cold enough to really keep me indoors. I think that this particular weather is doing a number on my arthritis in my knees but it is counterproductive to just sit all day.

I haven’t written or posted anything in days on either blog. None of the projects that I have finished are selling – hell, not even getting any interest – and nothing listed on eBay is selling either. I have that dollhouse and wardrobe filling up my entry way and I am sick of walking around all the packing and boxing. I feel like just putting everything away and giving away everything so that I can make a clean start. Not that I am overly optimistic about having any real effect on how I am feeling.

I can’t even find anything really worth watching either. I am watching Six Feet Under – which honestly, I believed was going to be a comedy but is completely not!sfu-1024x831

Its not a bad show, but it certainly is not of the caliber of True Detective or House of Cards. Those kinds of shows are so few and far in between. I wish I could do something like that, write well. I keep feeling like I have the opportunity here to start the second half of my life, but just don’t know how to go about it.

Which brings me back around to this blog. I started writing it – about 300 posts ago – as a way to analyze what I could do, where I could go, what I could become in the second half of my life. I never seem to look that far ahead, rather diverting my attention to the short term and the right now. Even all of my enthusiasm about moving to Europe has waned and I don’t even have any consideration for it in my peripheral. Its almost like I’ve all the options in the world and it is too overwhelming to even contemplate. So, instead, I do nothing.

I don’t know why I get to this point, seems to happen regularly about every 7 – 10 years. The move to Phoenix and then again to L.A. Then to San Jose and then to K.C. Its almost like I don’t know what to do when I don’t have organizing or packing/unpacking or exploring a new city or something that needs to be done. All of the creative endeavors that I have taken on have been pretty successful. It is either that or I simply stopped trying. Can’t fail if you don’t try, right?

So, here I am. Going to take the rest of the week off, I think. I am going to dwell on what I should be doing and not, and not be doing what I should. It’s sorta a plan, isn’t it?

MacCupcake

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True Detective – The End?

Okay, was anyone else as disappointed as I was with the final episode of True Detective? Even the death of Reggie LeDoux and DeWall was more satisfying and more rewarding as the killers of Dora Lange than the ending they gave us. Just my opinion. It seemed, much as I have discussed and thought about endings to favorite books, that nothing can really match your own imagination.

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But the final episode – much awaited and anticipated – was lacking and disappointing.

Who was the Yellow King? Errol? I don’t buy it. There was so much more to the whole story than for it to be this bastard child. After all, it was supposed to go as high as the state government and the Tuttle ministries. I mean, those two men alone were involved in something before the ‘spaghetti monster with green ears’ was even born. Errol himself couldn’t have been much older than Dora herself and we all knew that that the men in the animal masks were around when Marie was just a toddler.

And we all were aware that Carcosa went back generations. And reached out in all directions. Touched so many people’s lives and – as Rust was so keen to describe it – this sprawl reached farther than just this half wit and his half-sister and back farther than his grandfather Mr. Sam.

This didn’t answer anything, just opened it all up for more questions. But we all know there is no return for the curious and inquisitive Rust and Marty.

Nope, this didn’t give us the answers, just the opposite. I’m sorry, but I felt cheated with this last episode.

Anyone else feel like I do?

MacCupcake

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Another Viewing Obsession – Carnivále

I don’t know if I ever told you, but I am a casual television watcher. That is, I have to be doing something other than watching television when the television is on. (On a whole ‘nuther rant, are the sets still called “television” if I don’t watch broadcast programming?)

So, the television is often on in my house, even if I am busy cleaning, painting, cooking, writing, sewing, etc. and not really even watching. But every once in a while there is something I stumble upon that makes me sit down and look up from what ever I am doing and actually watch the program. Recently that has happened with Netflix’s House of Cards and then HBO’s True Detective (side note, tomorrow is the eighth and final episode in Season 1). But after carefully viewing not once, but twice (and sometimes more) and then discussion and dissection of both programs, I was left with what to watch next. These two productions are two of the finest series that I have ever watched!

I’ve been investigating the extra programming on my AppleTV, wanted to watch Crackle, but they are having some issue with signin/signons and apparently their customer service isn’t big on responding to online requests and emails. Sigh.

So, I spent some time watching PBS and their documentaries, but sometimes the real world is a bit of a bummer. Not a sports fan, much, and you can only watch so much YouTube before your eyes started to burn. So it was back to HBO GO.

Okay, I will start with this disclaimer: the shows that I talk about that I don’t particularly like? Doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them, just that they are not my cup of tea. If they are yours, power to you and you knock yourself out. You don’t have to admonish me or yell at me if we disagree. If you think you have something constructive to tell me, then I would love to hear from you.

Okay, first up on the watch list was Boardwalk Empire. I had high hopes for this once since I am – and have forever – been the biggest Steve Buscemi fan that there ever was. But after an episode and a half, I just couldn’t buy this guy as a tough guy and head of a mob type organization with that squeaky voice. And he just can’t pull off charming and disarming with that mug.

Okay, next up was Game of Thrones. Okay, I am a lover of fantasy set stories  (hee-yuge LoTR and The Hobbit movies) but just couldn’t get into another time frame where everyone is way too clean and clever and well-read and well-spoken given that just about no one was educated during those times. Sean Bean was a good temptation and I may go back when I’ve run out of stuff to watch again.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Kid loved this one, but I couldn’t get the seriously dry sense of humor (and I was a big Seinfeld fan). Next….

Extras. This one had potential but I can only take just so much of Ricky Gervais in a single sitting. He is funny, but he thinks he is funnier than he really is. Again, this one might warrant another viewing, just not so much of it in a row.

I will get back to the ones that didn’t pass muster (and some that do) so that I can talk about the one I’m watching now. Amazingly, I glanced at Carnivále and still opted to watch the first episode. And I am glad that I did.

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Well written and had a nice story line (or three) when I expected to see a show taking advantage of misshapen and the unfortunate of the world. Instead it wove, sometimes very graphically, the tales of various folks thrown together by the necessity of the depression and the dust bowl and the tough times people found themselves in with a nice side of the occult. I am currently in the middle of Season 2, which I found out at the end of the first season that there is but only one more season. Sigh. Shortly I will be back to the search for yet another series to satisfy my entertainment needs.

Come back for more discussion (and join the discussion in the comments) to include some, but not limited to: Family Tree, Five Days, Getting On, Girls, in Treatment, Little Britain and Little Britain USA, Newsroom, Sopranos, and VEEP.

And I am not ruling out another viewing of either (or both) True Detective and House of Cards.

MacCupcake

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True Detective

Okay, you know how I feel about Netflix’s House of Cards with Kevin Spacey, but now that I’ve watched both seasons three times (and some episodes more than 3), I’ve come to the conclusion that this series has totally ruined all other programs and movies for me. It has to be one of the best written, acted and directed series ever. And one thing that I really liked about how the producers went about it, to offer up the entire season’s worth of episodes all at once.

I think it’s genius. Unfortunately, what it has done is ruined all other series for me. I stumbled upon True Detective on HBO with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as partners in Louisiana and the time frame flips around between three different periods. It is right up there with HoC’s as far as production values, but it is driving me crazy waiting for each episode to arrive.

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I stumbled upon it after the third episode and watching all three back-to-back had me hooked, but then not knowing when to expect more, I forgot to check back. This weekend, I found three more episodes (we’re now up to 6) and I’ve re-watched from the beginning to get a better transition, but now I am sitting and waiting for more. Argh!

The writers are doing a superb job keeping the story on track and giving us just enough to keep us interested without giving away the ending. And the department in charge of costumes and makeup are more than superb about the details of the primary detectives to show the different periods of time and how the men age. Woody Harrelson with his blonde hair is absolutely adorable!

I think that this series is doing just a little bit better with the product placements, House Of Cards got to be almost too over-the-top and obvious, but there are some pretty obvious standouts in this series as well.

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 10.59.12 AMWell, I guess the bills have to be paid and somehow those advertisers have to get to us.

I’ve not done a very good job with my initial commitment of posting every day… I am going to try to do better. Now that my most recent contract is done, I might have a little more time on my hands (looking for a job is the hardest, most time consuming job there is), so I will try to do better.

Thanks for hanging in with me,

MacCupcake

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