People talk about troubles, sing about troubles, write about troubles.
We try to solve troubles, outrun them, avoid them.
Troubles can tear us apart or bring us together.
I’ve worried over the years that I might be a trouble magnet, or that I brought on troubles…or even that I was troubled. As I got older, I realized troubles find most everyone, in one form or another, it’s how you meet those troubles, that’s what matters. I’ve had varying degrees of success with that part.
Distracting ourselves from our troubles by thinking about the troubles of others, isn’t that part of the magic of books, TV, and movies? I recently got captivated by “The Troubles” of a small supernatural Maine town…Sounds Stephen King-ish, that’s because Haven, my new addiction, is loosely based King’s The Colorado Kid and is crammed full of King references. Haven, going into Season 6, with it’s hilarious X-Files meets Twin Peaks meets Psych meets Supernatural à la Stephen King, but with more romance, just keeps getting better, unlike King’s Under The Dome.
Syfy’s Haven is bursting with talent, much of it Canadian (filmed in Canada), including the incredible Colin Ferguson (I miss Eureka soooo much), Adam Copeland (WWE’s Edge), and rumour has it William Shatner will soon visit Haven – that will be the icing on a wonderfully weird cake. And the complicated bromance between Nathan (Lucas Bryant) and Duke (Eric Balfour) is a delight to watch (sigh).
Should I have escaped some of my own troubles by falling into a Haven, or enjoying a 20-year-old pop culture burp (aka Clueless based on Jane Austen’s 1815 classic, Emma), or a war between angels and humans in Dominion? Perhaps not, but as it turned out, it gave me the excuse to slow down, take a break, and start to feel ever so slightly better.
Like most books, TV, and movies, these programs are actually about the characters, about friends, family, romance, and the choices they make, that we all make every day and how we face those choices, handle them, and the fallout (good or bad or neither or both). The supernatural stuff is added as a cool hook (yes, I’m including Clueless as supernatural, wouldn’t you?).
So I’m glad to be back, more or less, and here’s what I got from my mini-break…
Life is for living and the living…small towns in Maine might be the exception.
Turns out they can tear us apart, literally and figuratively (you lied to me, INXS).
Life is short and unpredictable…enjoy the ride.
There’s always more than what we can ‘see’.
Little is as it seems.
You never know what’s going to be a trigger – for memories, anger, sorrow, joy, pain, hope.
The things you own can own you.
Sometimes what seems like a haven isn’t and vice versa.
Apparently angels, especially archangels like to dress in black leather, a lot.
John Lennon was correct, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.
Love is the best and worst thing that can ever happen to you…sometimes both.
And last, but never least, you don’t need to be afraid of what you can’t explain…except Donald Trump, some things are just too freaky.
In the summer, readers run away from blogs like swimmers running out of the water away from the shark in Jaws (We’re going to need a bigger blog).
So what do you do in a blogging slump? Post more? Less? Write longer or shorter posts? Add more pictures of cats? More tweets, likes…eat more chocolate? Or just accept it and take a break for the rest of the summer? Acceptance is such a strange thing, isn’t it? It can be positive – you accept a gift, get accepted into a club, accept an award, or it can become something you feel forced to do, such as compliance or acquiescence.
I accept The Imitation Game was a brilliant film starring Benedict Cumberbatch (who apparently can’t be anything but astonishing) about WWII. I don’t accept it’s completely factual, clearly they took certain liberties such as Cumberbatch portraying Turing as though he had Asperger’s Syndrome. I don’t know if that’s Hollywood pretending everyone who’s a genius has Autism, or because they wanted Cumberbatch to play Turing more like Sherlock.
Joan Clarke (played with dazzling brilliance by Kiera Knightley) wasn’t recruited by Turing, crossword puzzle or otherwise, but was engaged to him.
They did concede Turning’s machine was based on a Polish cryptologic machine (the Polish broke the Enigma code years before), but that he’d built a better, faster machine for the more sophisticated code.
This is Hollywood. They add drama.
Unlike previous films about the Enigma code, this film didn’t cause international snits like U-571, or put us to sleep like Enigma (despite a stunning performance by Kate Winslet, wait, wasn’t she in another famous historically inaccurate film, something about a ship?).
I don’t take umbrage to movies that play with history. Most of history is changeable, written by the victors and those who want to cast themselves in a positive light. I read history books and watch documentaries, but even those should be taken with a grain of salt. Movies, TV shows, and books, even those based on real-life people and events, those are for entertainment.
This delightful movie wasn’t actually about the war or codes, it was about acceptance. Alan Turing was a gifted mathematician and cryptographer and yet, in the end, it didn’t matter if he saved millions of lives or gave us the basis for modern computers, it mattered that he was gay. He was only 41 when he committed suicide after being forced to endure chemical castration. His future work, his life, all lost because no one could accept he wasn’t their definition of ‘normal’.
Fear and discrimination are the real enemies. People refusing to accept the differences of others. Differences should be encouraged, supported, celebrated. Different isn’t less, most often, it’s more.
As for the blogging, who knows, maybe this is a good excuse to write that book I’ve been putting off.
So plan to be spontaneous today, here’s some, er, blogging advice to hold you over.
And snap out of it, WordPress, you’re driving bloggers insane (perhaps a short drive, but still a waste of gas).
Anyway, this was rather delightful excuse to post lots of pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch. You’re welcome.
The occasional broken heart (some courtesy of good-for-nothing teen heart-throbs leering suggestively from glossy magazine covers), the enforced cleaning of my room, scrapped knees and elbows, the tedium of school, bullying, losses…still, I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a time where we knew little.
Sure, pesky facts sometimes showed up, but we were quick to scare them away and defiantly let our ‘ignorance is bliss’ flag fly!
Of course, I knew horrible things had happened and were happening, but for inexplicable reasons (I blame chocolate and kittens), I seemed to believe things would get better.
I don’t know, maybe it was growing up in a small town, but even with all my extensive sci-fi reading and viewing I could never have imagined this strange new world I would someday live in where Donald Trump could be President of the United States; someone would list their dog as a job reference; Kardashians are deities; people fawn and argue on social media over food while many don’t have any food at all; we would still believe governments and corporations who regularly and flagrantly lie to and cheat us…where fiction is fact and fantasy masquerades as reality.
The news, entertainment, internet, politics, business, sports, relationships – it’s like we’re watching The Tudors or The Borgias and the only thing that has changed are the outfits…and the quality of the acting. Lies, intrigues, shifting alliances, hypocrisy, machinations, double standards (like when someone does whatever they want, but when someone else does the same thing or less, they’re outraged, shocked, appalled – insert Fox Newsworthy propaganda rhetoric here).
Tired of the daily circus, I eagerly plopped down on my couch, green tea in hand, sore feet on the exercise ball (hey, it has to be good for something) to distract myself from the distractions and marvel at Colin Firth’s magnificence in Magic in the Moonlight.
But alas, I found the movie full of philosophical questions about the meaning of life. Sigh. Is nothing sacred? While enjoying the witty banter, I also had to think about whether this is all there is. This day-to-day, this cycle of life, the collective cultures, religions, the systems and wealth of knowledge obtained from human history and common experiences…Or is there more? A higher power, a divine plan, magic, a metaphysical world beyond the rational. Are there plans or is it all spontaneous and just happening as it’s happening? Perhaps I should have just revisited the pastoral peace of Pride and Prejudice, but then, I’d probably wonder again whether I would really like Mr. Darcy if I met him, or think he was a rich, pompous jerk.
My brain was awash with questions…and green tea. Do we need illusions or even delusions to survive and then more and more as stress levels build?
Is that why the world is looking more like the final days of an empire?
It might also explain why pop culture has become an avant-garde-Spanx-clad-Salvador-Dali-painting-on-Viagra.
Oh well, off to Outwit, Outlast and Outplay another day.
My mind full of me
Until youth ran from me
Have you ever had one of those odd weeks, where you had to choose from odd choices? I did, and it seemed as though my viewing and reading, though vastly different, all had a common theme, at least, in my mind: choices.
Gone Girl. Mesmerizing, mostly due to Rosamund Pike’s luminously disturbing performance. The choices in this film and the fall-out of them had me speculating, head-shakingly weirded-out, kind of appalled and that wasn’t even by Ben Affleck’s ‘acting’. Pretty sure this goes into the movies-not-to-see-on-a-first-date category – http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/02/14/20-movies-to-avoid-on-a-first-date/
Zoo. Sorry, not Zoo Station by U2, but that would be a cool theme song, this Zoo is the TV adaptation of James Patterson’s bestselling-creepy-makes-Blackfish-look-like-Disneyland novel about how animal behaviours are changing and becoming more aggressive toward humans (gee, I can’t understand why, we’ve been sooo nice to them) due to choices and changes we’ve made.
Annie. I love Annie’s gumption and her choice to never be limited, to meet her hard-knock life with a smile, a song, kindness, and courage. I tried to watch the latest version, I don’t care what you change, as long as you don’t mangle the songs…yup, they mangled the songs.
Poldark. You’d think the trials and tribulations of people in the 1800s would at some point cease to be enthralling and yet…not even slightly, BBC, Masterpiece me some more! 40 years after the first run of this series, Aidan Turner (The Hobbit movies, The Tudors, Being Human, TMI, etc.) was chosen to take on the famous role of Capt Ross Poldark and he might give Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy a run for his money…might.
Miss Emily: A Novel. Ireland’s Nuala O’Connor (Penguin) brings us this fictional re-imagining of a time in the life of a writer known for her eccentricity almost as much as her poetry, Emily Dickinson.
When I read what I call a coat-tail book (a book that uses a famous historical or fictional character to bolster their success), I think, would this be as good if they hadn’t use a famous name? In this book, I found the main character being Emily Dickinson distracted from a well-written, at times disturbing, but ultimately intriguing story of overcoming trauma, adversity, and anxiety.
The story is told to us with the alternating voices of Emily and an Irish servant girl, Ada, who works for the unconventional Dickinson family in Amherst, Massachusetts. We see how the choices of the main characters and those around them affect lives, but more than that, how they respond to those choices.
With or without the charming voice of Emily Dickinson, an interesting read.
Our choices and the choices of others lead us down many paths, but none of those choices defines us, what we do after, that does.
As a girl you grow up being taught so many things, but many girls aren’t taught how to be single, better yet, singular, or even better, singularly spectacular. I’m pretty sure this goes for boys as well.
One of the big things looming over a single person is dating. The mysteries of the ages look simple compared to dating. Dating is so complex there are times you don’t even know you’re on a date, in fact, you could be on a date right now. And actually getting a date, that’s more complicated than doing your taxes and most often, less fun.
Dating keeps getting weirder…texting, online dating (did they just match me up with my ex?), sexting, digital fantasies – are we dating or on a sci-fi reality show? And what’s with The Bachelor? If I wanted to date a guy who was dating lots of other women at the same time I would have stayed in the music scene. No, I don’t accept your rose, I don’t know where it’s been.
Be ready to let it go. Hypothetically let’s say you and another person manage to agree to see each other, at a specific time and place, not virtually, but the date isn’t going well. He endlessly checks his phone, explains how women who like chocolate are emotionally constipated, tells stories about his spawn-of-Satan-horns-and-all ex (still married, just a technicality, really, we’re waiting until after the baby is born to divorce), the time he was in prison (a complete misunderstanding), asks to see your toes, and then he says, “Hey, I missed you,” when you came back from the washroom. You start looking for exits and wondering why you didn’t take the money you spent on hair, clothes, and make-up for the date and buy lottery tickets; the odds are ever in your favour. In a desperate attempt to save the date, you try to find common ground, only to discover it’s more like quicksand.
Be the change you want to see in the date. Don’t think of a bad date as a disaster (that word is reserved for when your plane goes down, the volcano you’re climbing erupts, or you learn they’re discontinuing your favourite ice cream flavour), think of it as a learning opportunity. Do a forensic exam of the date. It might have gone better if you hadn’t talked about your extreme obsession with Daryl Dixon (not Norman Reedus, Daryl Dixon), or the hilarious time you put laxatives in your ex’s coffee, or enthused about the TV show, Say Yes to The Dress and how you can’t wait to be on it, or told your date his haircut makes him look like Charles Manson. But who can really pin down the exact moment where things went wrong?
Be the date. Visualize how you want the date to go. You want to charm your date. Be urbane and witty, your eyes should sparkle like diamonds, your hair should catch the light as your toss it casually over your shoulder (not too close to the candlelight or it will actually catch on fire).
Be who you want to date. Think about it, if you want your date to be interesting and fun, be that yourself. If you want your date to be a bad boy type who may run guns on the weekend and is wiping his fingerprints from all the silverware and glasses he uses on the date, be that yourself (oh, don’t forget to take your napkin, they can do wonders with DNA nowadays).
Be your own date. If dating is getting you down, take a break. Learn how to be a singularly spectacular person on your own. Take yourself out to dinner without reading or checking your cellphone, instead, watch the people (not in a creepy-the-management-has-to-ask-you-to-leave-and-puts-your-picture-up-so-you-can’t-come-back way); appreciate the meal and me time. Take yourself to the movie, but if you’re still on the lookout for Mr. Right even when spending time alone, I don’t recommend Magic Mike XXL, the gents in the audience will be more into Channing Tatum than you.