Tag Archives: Game of Thrones

About them 2019 resolutions…

Okay, so I did all right. I won’t be crossing quite everything off the lists but I’m basically satisfied. In both 2018 and 2019 I made highly specific “kinda, sorta resolutions” tailored to me. It’s worked out well.
I read 33 books. The goal was 20. I did most of my reading in the early part of the year. I put check marks by 13 of them, indicating which ones I really appreciated.  I can’t read the way I used to; it takes more to hold my attention, more to get me to sit in a spot for hours with a book. Because of that, six of my 33 were books I’d read in years past and wanted to read again. Sometimes I just need a sure thing. I have little patience these days for trying to get into a book, trying to relate to characters, or trying to care about the subject matter. I get restless. And I KNOW there are books – like all things – which can hold me; it’s a matter of finding them.

A year ago I bought a yoga mat and a DVD player for the TV in the living room, the only place (other than outside!) where I have space for doing yoga. As with the reading, most of my yoga was done earlier in the year. I am very active outdoors most of the year and didn’t need more exercise of any stripe. Because I hadn’t totally factored that in I fell somewhat short of my intentions. I’ve done the five-minute “sun salutation” 38 of 50 planned times and the 30-minutes of yoga just half of 25 planned times. That said, when I DID do yoga it was usually in 40-45 minute increments per the instructional DVDs.

I like yoga. I don’t worry much about fussy breathing or learning all the poses’ names, or anything that might daunt, bore, or intimidate me. To me, yoga is exercise. Exercise focused on strength, balance, and stretch. It’ll make your body move in ways it wouldn’t in the normal course of a day which is an especially good idea for anyone who is aging. Otherwise you end up like the tin man!😯 I want to be strong, agile, and spry as long as possible. The way I live is dependent on it at many levels. I will not go down easily. I know I’ll be doing yoga over the winter.

I did ZIPPO with learning Italian from cds. That fell off the map in short order because I wasn’t enjoying it and I wasn’t learning Italian. All I can say is I recently heard “piazza” somewhere or other and knew it meant plaza.😐 I think I ‘d like to learn – or try to learn – key phrases and words at least as a starting-off point rather than attempt the language itself. That, or I need different cds. I felt inept very quickly with the set I was using. Other than English, I have never felt I had an aptitude for languages and my opinion after this year hasn’t changed a whit.

Thai cooking wasn’t a success either. Thai cooking, it seems, requires a lot of ingredients I don’t typically have and more trouble than I wanted to invest. I did attempt spring rolls because I love them when I have them out but mine, which I decided to bake since I cook NOTHING in pots of oil, were okay, not great.  Instead, I continued to make this Thai-inspired cole slaw. If I can find more recipes like it, I’d definitely try them. Lime, peanuts, cilantro, be still my heart!

I watched a lot of DVDs, both movies and series. I had wanted an idea of the number since I’d never kept track. The thing I realized is that as with books, I need the right movies or series to hold me. I ADORE movies, as I adore books and music. But a lot of each is just average, nothing special, not to me. I want the gems, the ones I get excited about, the ones that thrill me, and make me sit back in awe of someone else’s brilliance and accomplishment. How did they do that?! That’s the feeling I want. That’s why I read, watch movies/series, and listen to music.  I want to have that O-MI-GOD feeling. Am I demanding? Do I expect too much? Yeah, well maybe. But once you’ve had that feeling, it’s Continue reading

“Winter is coming”

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Over the past week I hauled home, sans vehicle, 16 28oz cans of Furmano’s tomatoes which means I now have a stash of 26. I take my tomatoes seriously. Besides, they’re on sale for $1. I used to buy the “Chunky Crushed” but somewhere along the way added ingredients included Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid and Xanthan Gum, and that’s a few too many additives for my pleasure. The “Crushed” variety, although thinner consistency 😢, merely has Citric Acid. Delicious Citric Acid! (I’m kind of kidding. Citric Acid is common and generally considered safe.) While I’m on it, “Diced” contain Calcium Chloride and Citric Acid but I rinse those before using. I stopped buying ready-made, jarred pasta sauces (too much salt & sugar) long ago and canned became my go-to. Furmano’s is tasty and regularly drops to $1 a can, so I stick mainly with them.

I guess I should mention I’ve never canned my own tomatoes and have no interest in starting. The memories of my mother spending days in the kitchen in hot, steamy summers working that scary pressure cooker remain strong. She’d be in a pretty foul mood and the whole enterprise appeared messy and chaotic. Also, um, the results, served up in future family dinners? They were not good, at least to my child self.😒

In the past I’ve made my own sauce from fresh tomatoes (which could be frozen instead of canned) but I really can’t get behind the reality that it takes 20 tomatoes or therabouts, to produce a measly cup of sauce. I don’t care for them odds. Don’t get me started on having to buy tomato paste in order not to have thin, watery sauce…

Two winters ago I shared my tomato stash which looked like this. I have (more) time on my hands in winter to do things like arrange my tomato cans into a pyramid for the purposes of this blog clearly.😁

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If you think one thin, middle-aged woman could not eat all that, you’d be wrong, friends! (She did & then some.)

What led to this post other than the 16-can-purchase was finding the wood shelves they’re pictured on, curbside yesterday. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with them but since they were solidly built & real wood (not pressed board crap) I figured I should just grab them. They were a perfect fit for a spot in the kitchen and after I’d lined up the tomato cans and admired them the words “Winter is coming” sprang to mind. And so it is. But by god I’ll have 🍅.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game of Thr…oh my god, watch out for the rolling head!

I watched the first three seasons of Game of Thrones this summer. The series is based on books I haven’t, and won’t be reading. I am certain TONS have been written about the show, by critics and peasants regular people alike, but I haven’t read any of it. I don’t have cable (shocking I know) so it was really just a name I heard or read here and there. I didn’t know what it was about and only this year did I understand it was a period show, and I got that much from watching other HBO DVDs where you’re forced to sit through LONG clips/ads of many HBO series at the beginning of the first disc. The clips can’t be fast-forwarded through, those tricky dogs. So a couple times, while not paying a whole lot of attention, I saw the boy sitting on the throne and took in the period costumes. That doesn’t really do it for me. I don’t think: medieval times, period costumes, oh goody! Still, I had recently read where somebody, a critic or writer, called it “the best show” on TV. That got my attention.

I usually don’t want to know too much about a show (or movie, or book) before seeing it so I’ll come to it “fresh” and have my own opinions. I don’t want it spoiled for me or to have my own experience overly colored by someone else’s. I was truly able to do that with “Thrones.” I decided to give it a go and checked Season One out of the library, following that with Seasons Two and Three. I still haven’t read what anyone else has said. If you haven’t seen it and plan to, don’t worry, I won’t give away any plot points or specific surprises.

I watched it on a screen measuring 9″ x 11″ and that was plenty big enough. Why? It’s a gore fest! A very well produced, well-acted gore fest. Once you get over that, i.e., expect it, then okay (a very qualified okay). The plot was complicated with several story lines and a mess of characters. Getting a handle on the players was the first challenge. Thankfully, with a DVD, I could occasionally pause it and try to get straight in my own head on who was who and how they related to the others. [Pause. Thinking hard: “Oh I get it. He’s their father.”] Only well into Season One, did I realize the box set included a LIST of all the people and their descriptions. Oh.

I quickly fell hard for Peter Dinklage, who plays the dwarf Tyrion (I am not being backward in using that term over Little Person. He’s called a dwarf or more often, imp, and worse on the show. Remember the time period, which is not big on political correctness. You should see the way the WOMEN are bounced around.) Dinklage subtly steals every scene he’s in – he’s just that good – playing a whip-smart, sarcastic, wise-cracking, well-born Lord. He has and delivers the best lines, but it’s more than that. You can see him feel and think in character. I am so used to seeing Little People cast for visual humor, as punch lines, it is a revelation and privilege to watch Dinklage at work in this part. (Googling just now I see he won an Emmy for the part in 2011 and a Golden Globe in 2012. Wonderful. Much deserved.)

I’m not saying the other actors are slouches; just that no one else on their own would compel me as well to hang in there. He is the main reason I pressed on when I started to feel – more than once – that I’d had enough of the show’s brutality and just couldn’t watch any more. It IS brutal and while I get that a statement is being made about that place and time, I also feel that some of it’s gratuitous, as in how many inventive ways can we show gruesome killings? Season Three in particular has disturbing scenes of torture that seem to go on & on. I learned to watch out of my peripheral vision. It was too graphic, too upsetting, and for what? Occasionally characters recite a chant that ends in “…for the night is dark and full of terrors.” That may well be, but frankly, the daytime isn’t all that promising either.

Nobody had to tell me this show is made by men. It has that stamp all over it. In many ways, it’s a guy’s show. Yes, yes, I’m sure many women, like me, watch it too, but the underlying sensibility, despite strong female roles, is masculine. That frustrates me a bit. You know what it is, which occurs to me now? It makes me feel more the spectator as opposed to part of the show, a vicarious participant. Women-driven shows, on the other hand, are more welcoming, at least to women. They want us to relate to the characters, to live vicariously through them. Game of Thrones is strongly, hyper-strongly, visual, which dovetails with it being male-driven (what with men being more visually oriented). The look of Game of Thrones IS spectacular. Cutting edge. Nothing says “cheap” or “back lot.”

The show has fantastical, other-worldly elements. Heck, there’s even a smoke monster (shades of “Lost”) except this one is black and has a better role. Even with the fantasy elements, the show plays it totally straight. It’s a drama which takes itself very seriously. There’s no wink, wink, nudge, nudge, as in, “We don’t really expect you to believe this.”  On the other hand, this allows the plot to go any old way it wants, reality be damned, which makes me leery of it.

I was dismayed to see how many characters are offed in Season One. (Really?! They’re killing him?? Oh yes they are, cue the rolling head.) It wasn’t too surprising then, that new people – like it or not – were introduced in Season Two. They were running out of people! That’s clearly a direction the show continues. It doesn’t pay to get too attached to anyone (but I can’t help myself).

There’s a few elements that do take me out of the moment. The women reflect and talk too much about their second-class citizen status. They’re too progressive in their comments, too reflective of their limitations as women. I don’t believe it. I don’t think women in that time would think or talk like that, and certainly not as many of them. Sometimes the women’s costumes don’t make sense. In the same climate, one woman will be in a revealing, barely there get-up, while another is dressed in heavy cloth, high neck to ankle. I get distracted thinking one or the other must be too hot or too cold in her attire. On occasion, a character utters a line that sounds too modern, like, when faced with dilemma or disaster, someone says, “Fuck me.” Yes, it’s funny, but not time-period appropriate. Lastly, I would NOT want to have watched Game of Thrones as it aired, then or now. I know I’d be thinking, “Aren’t they out of those damn woods YET?” or “Oh no, I can’t take another week of watching this beating.” The pacing would never work for me. I’ve found some episodes satisfying and others tedious. What drove me, despite elements of the show that are off-putting, is that in the end, I want to know what happens to these characters. With or without their heads.