The shape of one-dimensional characters

Zippy and I just returned from our weekly date. It was his turn to choose and he chose Guillermo del Toro’s THE SHAPE OF WATER. I would not recommend the film. However, Sally Hawkins’s performance was lovely and the movie was so visually pleasing that I debated whether to recommend watching it without sound. Alas, I believe the heavy-handed characterization and plot line would still sledgehammer their way into your consciousness even without audio.

As a writer, I’m kinda pissed. The characters were lazy stereotypes, including Michael Shannon’s character who was so  over-the-top I nearly burst out laughing. That character didn’t have one shred of decency. Not one. Plus, there wasn’t a whole lot of nuance in the film and absolutely zero question as to justice vs injustice. Zero question.

And you know that quote from Chekhov about the gun? (“One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off. It’s wrong to make promises you don’t mean to keep.”)  Yep, THE SHAPE OF WATER committed that sin when a hard-boiled egg didn’t go off.

 

 

 

 

I’m out.

Sunday Confessional: So.Much.Stuff.

Today I was looking in our linen closet, and unearthed this shirt:

 

 

 

 

Neither Zippy nor I can remember which son owned it. I’m guessing it was Wildebeest, but am not 100% sure. Why do we still have it? Why is it taking up space in the home? For that matter, why are we holding onto half the crap in our lives?

The good news is, I haven’t come across any Napoleon Dynamite moon boots.

This week’s date

It was Zippy’s week to choose our date and he chose LOVING VINCENT.

It’s the first ever fully painted feature film, painted by a team of over 100 artists.
That’s 65,000 painted frames.

Visually, the movie was stunning. Narratively, it was a bit bumpy.
Still and all, I’m glad to have experienced it. Vincent Van Gogh felt  things very deeply, and any celebration of sensitive people can only be a good thing for humanity.

Solar Eclipse or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Shadows

Zippy got up at 2:45 this morning to drive north to Torrington, Wyoming, so he could experience the total solar eclipse. If I could’ve been teleported back home, rather than sitting in gridlocked traffic after witnessing the eclipse, I would’ve gone with him.

I chose to stay home. When I spoke with Zippy after he arrived in the little town of Torrington, I felt pangs of regret for missing out on what he was experiencing. Why didn’t I go with him? Why didn’t I have those special glasses?

But it was too late. Peak eclipse around here was at 11:47, so I busied myself building a pinhole projector. Then while I waited, I played around with a colander.

As the peak moment approached, I watched in my pinhole projector.

NASA-approved viewing apparatus

I was momentarily confused when the sun spot appeared to be getting larger rather than smaller. Was it possible I wasn’t clear on the whole eclipse concept??? Then I realized that my progressive eyeglass lenses were distorting the image and if I held the projector farther from my eye, I could see the diminishing sun. So then I t ried photographing that projector image.

As you can see, I was nowhere near aiming my camera phone at the correct angle. The lighting was really throwing me off and I couldn’t see what I was doing. But don’t get me wrong, I loved the eclipse lighting! Rather than being the usual mid-day harsh lighting, it was subdued and trippy. I had so much fun looking at my plants in the yard. It was like being on a pyschadelic trip.

 

My absolute favorite things to look at were the crescent-shaped shadows from the maple tree. 

My brother called me about 20 minutes before peak eclipse to verify I had special glasses. When I told him Zippy had taken our only pair, my brother urged me to jump in the car and drive to his house. I opted to stay put, and I’m so glad I did. While I couldn’t look directly at the sun to see what millions of people saw today, I thoroughly enjoyed my backyard eclipse experience. The sky was off-limits to me, so I focused on all the cool details down below.

SQUIRREL!

Actually, unlike Dug the Dog from the movie UP, I maintained my focus today. I woke this morning with a game plan for working on opening pages of a new middle-grade, and I kept to that schedule. I made good progress and am feeling (slightly) less nervous about sending those pages (plus more) to my critique group on Monday.

I declare today a WIN for this writer.

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Life is just one gigantic marble maze

Exhibit A:

Look at all the bright and shiny colors!
The rocket ship! The stars!
There’s even a dotted line to map out the route.
There’s so much potential in the marble maze of life.

And at the end of some days, I go to bed feeling like a WINNER.

Other days it seems as if I keep falling into the same damned hole.

But the secret  to the marble maze of life is finesse,
a little bit of TILT,
and a willingness to fall down,
get back up,
and show Hole 15 that this aggression will not stand.

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Happy Windsday, Piglet

Zippy and I just went for a run.
It is very blowy out there.
Ugh.
winnie-the-pooh-and-the-blustery-day-winnie-the-pooh

It wasn’t quite that bad.
I mean, neither of us went airborne.
But that’s only because we’re not chubby little cubbies all stuffed with fluff.

Otherwise . . . WHOOOOOSH.
Trust me.

 

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Vermiculture or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Worms

These days there isn’t even the option of pretending not to see the bad things being done to the planet and its inhabitants. Agent Orange and the Billionaires’ Club are taking what was formerly done on the down-low, cranking it up a couple hundred notches, and shoving it in our faces. Anger, anxiety, and despair (just to mention a few) are running high. I’ve made tons of phone calls and sent emails, and while those are important tasks, I’m not feeling overly swell about my influence on Washington, D.C.

Enter the worms.

Back in mid-December, I blogged about nabbing some free wooden drawers off Craigslist. I wanted them for worm bins. And now, after lots of reading and research, I’m pleased to say Zippy and I have converted some of those drawers into worm bins.

bins-with-lids

Zippy did all the construction. He drilled holes in the bottoms of the bins and ventilation holes on both sides. Then he lined the bins with shade cloth.

ventilation-holes  bin-interior

I prepared the bedding using newspaper, phone book, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, and an ancient newsprint drawing pad that I must’ve brought with me from North Hollywood (via Santa Rosa, Bakersfield, and Anchorage). Yes, I sometimes lean “hoarder.” But hey, isn’t it cool that the worms are benefitting from my issues?!

bedding-supplies

Bedding supplies

bedding-preparation

Shred, shred, shred some more!

On Saturday, we went to pick up our two pounds of worms from a worm farmer in the Denver area. Unfortunately, I don’t have photographic documentation of our worms’ homecoming because I was focused on getting them out of the cloth sack and into their prepared bins. But here’s a fair representation of what those worms looked like when I released them from the sack:

compostwoms

And here’s a quick and slightly blurry overview of the bin in use (didn’t want to dawdle since worms are light-sensitive):

bin-in-use

The worms are working away in the damp shredded paper, etc., beneath a damp “blanket” of newspaper. They’re eating our kitchen scraps and their bedding. They’re helping me feel less horrified about my footprint on this planet.

Today the Senate voted to confirm a wealthy, unqualified, anti-public school fundamentalist to head the Department of Education. I had no influence over that vote. I do, however, have control over my worms’ well-being and my household contribution to landfills.

 

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Gump philosophy

Life may, indeed, be like a box of chocolates. The chocolates in this Belgian sampler were certainly full of surprises.

All that remains from Zebu's gift to us from his travels in Belgium.

All that remains from Zebu’s gift to us from his travels in Belgium.

Yum, chocolate curry.

 

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