Sunday, September 21, 2014

Purple Flowers


Caesar's Mom has experienced some medical isssues lately, including today, so this picture is for her. Sending good thoughts her way.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

iTunes Saturday - Purple Summer

Tomorrow, we're headed to a small theater in Los Angeles to see Deaf West Theatre's production of Spring Awakening -- a show that we've seen before and loved. We caught their production of Pippin a few years ago and absolutely loved it, so we have high expectations for this one. In honor of the show, this Saturday's selection is the finale from the show, The Song of Purple Summer.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Qickie Book Review: Bel Ami

by Guy de Maupassant

Georges Duroy wants more from life than just his dreary job and constant lack of funds. While moping around Paris, he happens upon a friend and former soldier who convinces him to try writing, setting him up at his paper -- the Vie Française -- where he's tasked with writing an article about his experiences in Africa during the war. However, writers block sets in and Duroy begs for help from his friend to get the article started. His friend introduces him to his wife Madeleine, a smart and attractive woman, who at once draws the story from Duroy and gets him to write it down. Sh also takes an interest in him and invites him to a salon where she introduces him to the high society ladies of Paris. Duroy uses his good looks and charm to worm his way into the lives of the women, devising a plan to gain respectability and wealth at the cost of their hearts.

Bel Ami presents a vivid look at 19th century Paris, from the corruption of politics and the influence of the press to the salons of society matrons, all told through the eyes of Georges Duroy. He's unscrupulous and conniving, always scheming to find a better life, to earn more money no matter the cost. He uses women as if they were chess pieces, inching him closer and closer to his goal, and discarding them when they're no longer of use. You can't help not liking him, but that's what makes the story such a good read: you want to see to what lengths he will go for his ideal of fortune and fame. It's definitely a book worth reading.

Bel Ami
by Guy de Maupassant
Vintage Classics/Random House
trade paperback, 357 pgs.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Random! Random!

It's 90-something in Long Beach today, though the poor air circulation in the apartment makes it feel 20 defrees hotter. The temperatures all over Southern California are the same or higher. In drove south to visit my folks this morning, and the thermometer hovered at 103. Luckily, they have air conditioning. I hate to imagine the heat in Palm Springs!

On a positive note, I stepped on the scale this morning after my four-mile walk and gleefully noticed a drop in weight. Back in February when I first began using my fitbit, I topped the acales at 214. Today: 200.5. Huzzah!! Not my lowest weight, but it's nearing the target. Slow and steady seems to work for me, and I hope my ortho will be pleased.

I'm also watching zombie flick number three, so far. Too hot to do much of anything else. Yes, I played some "Batman: Arkham Origins - Blackgate" and think I'm nearing the conclusion. I've overplayed it, though, with my Vita requiring a recharge at least three times since yesterday.

A big dish of ice cream sounds so good right now...or maybe I'll just stand in front of the open freezer to cool off.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

iTunes Saturday - Video Game Edition

When you finish a videogame, a song usually plays over the end credits. Most of the time, it's an orchestral combination of the incidental music from throughout the game. Sometimes, though, a song written specifically for the game pipes up, such as Red Dead Redemption providing a heart-felt acoustic western tune. The same goes for Dishonored, which I finished late last week. I enjoyed the song enough to search iTunes and was surprised that it actually appeared as a single. So here it is -- Honor for All by Jon and Daniel Licht. (By the way, Daniel composed all the music for Dexter.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

One of Those Days

The past few days have been bleh, for want of a better word. I feel as though I've been walking down a dirt road for a long time without noticing the subtle clouding of the sky. I focus too much on attention on how I'm walking instead of where I'm going and slam into an invisible something blocking the path. I can't climb it because I don't know how far it stretches into the sky. I can't go around it because I feel that no way exists to get around it. I need to go forward but the urge to sit down and do nothing overwhelms me.

All the mistakes I've made (real or perceived) flicker at the edges of what I can see, not completely clear but a nagging presence, like a buzzing gnat. I have few friends. I'm too high maintenance. My writing goes nowhere. I want to sit on the sofa playing video games all day. I'm doing something wrong but no one will tell me what it is.

I hate theses funks! So I'm going to try to focus on some of the good things that happened in recent days. Perhaps that will help.

1. I finally finished Dishonored with the "good" ending. (It has three, depending upon how you completed the six main missions.)

2. My stack of books is slowly (very slowly) dwindling. I finished four novels within the past two weeks, most of them enjoyable.

3. Imogen Heap's latest album, Sparks, is one of the best albums this year.

4. I stumbled upon the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, about sushi chef Jiro Ono who operates a 10-seat restaurant serving only sushi. The restaurant earned three stars from Michelin, allowing Jiro to charge beginning at ¥30,000 (about $300) a plate. The film focuses on his work ethic, how he prepares sushi, and his children. Beautiful film.

5. One of our cats, River, finally allowed me to pet her without jumping in fright and bolting from the room.

6. I drive the Pacific Coast Highway to and from work every day, affording a views of the Pacific Ocean, the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, and on the rare occasion, Santa Catalina Island, instead of lane upon lane of stopped cars waiting for traffic to move.

Okay...feeling a bit better already.