Stuff I’ve Read, Watched, Done #23 – November 7, 2021 (including a visit to the Cinema!)

Well, here we are at the end of another week. And even though I’ve felt pretty busy, I haven’t actually done all that much to talk about here.

Part of it is I guess that I haven’t actually been super-well for the last while. Nothing sinister or anything, but a lingering scratchiness, which has just made me a bit tired.

And then last night I had a big day with lots of walking. Just check out my steps here! That was 17, 264 steps in the one day, by far my biggest count for the week, and indeed for about a month. And then in the evening I cooked nachos for dinner for my family and friends. I’m not much of a cook but nachos are one of my specialties–they are not prepared with refinement but they are tasty and everyone seems to like them.

I meant to get a picture of them for this post but I forgot, so instead here is a snow pea that my wife grew herself and then put into the green curry chicken!

I did some work on my documentary projects. This included a technical meeting on location to prepare for filming some interviews next week–so that’s real progress. And also I finished going through the notes that we were given from a client in order to understand what else has to happen.

I did watch or do a couple of things though (beyond my normal blogging)…

Death Comes to Pemberley

This is three-part mystery-drama based on a P.D. James novel which I binged on one night with two of my daughters. Our family is pretty big fans of the 1990’s Pride and Prejudice, so this was interesting to see. Of course it took a while to get used to different performers in the key roles, especially Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth and Matthew Ryhs as Darcy, but by the end of the first episode I was pretty much there. Penelope Keith, star of various British sit-coms that I watched back in the day, also appears as Lady Catherine de Bourgh. And Jenna Coleman from Doctor Who is there, playing Lydia–it’s always a treat to see her.

The mystery that the show presented was pretty good–it involves the mysterious death of Captain Denny, with the odious Mr. Wickham as the prime suspect–something which causes the Darcy’s great personal difficulty even as it threatens to bring terrible scandal on the family. I guessed much of the solution before the end but it was still engaging to watch it unfold, and at least one of my daughters and I agreed we’d be happy to watch an ongoing series about the lives of these characters.

Pandemic Legacy – Season Zero

My friends Rod, Michelle, Anne and myself have been playing Pandemic Legacy together for some time. This is a variation of the game Pandemic–a cooperative board game where you play members of a disease control team trying to deal with a pandemic. Legacy is a sub-group of this game which is a more story-based approach to the same thing, with games unfolding in a way that they have consequences on future games. We’ve played Season 1 and Season 2 together, and are now 3/4 the way through Season Zero. As the name implies, Season Zero is a prequel game which takes place in the 1960’s. Diseases are still part of it, but it’s really an espionage game in which you spies trying to figure out what other spies are up to.

Way back when we were first getting started at this game…

You play the game through a fictional year (with one or two games played for each month), and we’re currently up to October. In October, we had three goals: to infiltrate an enemy station and access a medical ward in order to get information, to pursue an enemy agent as he flees London and capture him before he reaches an enemy-controlled city, and send teams to Johannesburg in order to capture an informer.

We’ve done pretty well with this game so far but we totally tanked this one, failing to even come close to achieving any of these objectives. It was pretty brutal. We only had time for one game that night so it all ended on kind of a downer note.

However, you have two chances to win each month (and if you win the first one, you just go onto the next month) so at least this means we get another game out of it. It’d been a while since we played so hopefully this time we can synchronize our watches and coordinate our schedules enough to play again soon.

The Eternals

The other big thing we watched was The Eternalssomething I didn’t expect to be doing, with money as tight as it is. But my kids were pretty persuasive, and off we went!

Someday I will go to see my last ever film in a cinema. Will this be it?

It was an enjoyable-enough film which yes, was quite different than other MCU movies (as has been widely asserted), although I would not say it was definitely an advantage. It’s got the epic scope / high concept story we’re expecting from something adapted from a Jack Kirby property–aspiring to be “significant”, especially with its notable diversity in its casting, while lacking in depth of character. The family chatted about which character we liked the best when we came out, but none of us really loved anyone. It was generally agreed that Icarus and Circe (er, Ikaris and Sersi, I guess) were completely lacking in romantic chemistry, and that the five minutes we got of relationship between the fast girl and the mind control guy was far more engaging. I guess my favorite was Gilgamesh (played by Don Lee), while the nerdiest of my daughters says hers was the fast girl (Mikkari, as played by Lauren Ridloff).

This was a movie where people liked to stand aside each other in lines an awful lot. It felt like at the end that the filmmakers wanted us to be excited about a sequel in the same way we were at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, but we were nowhere close to that–although my eldest was over-the-moon to see the Harry Styles cameo in one of the post-credit scenes.

Probably the most notable thing about The Eternals for me is how much a lot of the characters mapped onto members of the Justice League. Ikaris is Superman (flight, strength, laser vision, and presumed goodness and leadership), Phastos is Batman (technology-based and a bit of an attitude toward Superman), Thena is Wonder Woman (warrior woman with a sword and shield), Sersi is Green Lantern (big power-up seems to be will-based), Mikkari is Flash (super-speed), Kingo has a bit of a Booster Gold vibe going on, Gilgamesh is a bit like Aquaman (a brawler with a sense of kinship with Wonder Woman) etc. Some of the other connections are a bit more of a stretch.

I realized after I’d watched this that I don’t think I have written about any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe stuff this year. It’s not that I haven’t seen stuff, it’s not that I haven’t had any opinions–I’ve had plenty. But I guess with all the Daily Doctor Who material I’ve been working on I’ve lacked a bit of energy. I’ll probably get compelled to revisit it all in these pages at some point.

Song of the Week

I have a playlist on my phone called “Ben’s Mix”, which is made up of 100-200 songs that I like which I shuffle between when I’m driving, etc. I was thinking about how with each of these songs there is a bit of a story about it, about what it makes me think of or why I like it. So I’m going to let my phone pick one randomly and then try to write up some comments on it while it plays.

Get Together by the Youngbloods

Apparently, my version of this song comes from the soundtrack to the film Cats &. Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. I’m pretty sure it’s the original version by the Youngbloods, but I guess I don’t really know. I first became familiar with this tune on the same Madly Mellow Music Mix that a friend gave me which introduced me to …but that version was by the Indigo Girls. And then later I heard it in the movie Forrest Gump–I’ve never even seen Cats & Dogs 2!

I don’t have any particular connection with this song aside from that Indigo Girls version from my friend’s mix-tape, but I appreciate it and it’s melancholy peace-loving overtones: “Some may come and some may go / He will surely pass / When the one that left us here / Returns for us at last.” That’s poetry.

Meditations

I don’t like what seems like unfairness and injustice in the world, and the tendency that is out there to limit open discussion and to paint our enemies (or just those who disagree with us) with very broad brushes. With all of that and how it at times impacts me personally (or those I love), the world and life seem like stressful things lately. Often I can feel a general sense of anxiety raging in the background of my mind. It tempts me toward lots of selfishness in my thoughts and prayers. I was seeking God over it tonight in a small way and was reminded of the significance of living a life surrendered to him. That’s my prayer for myself and my loved ones, that we would learn how to do this. Or, it’s one of my prayers, anyway.

I also felt reminded recently of a lesson from Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, where she talks about learning from her father about the idea of a “grace ticket”. Like a train ticket, sometimes you don’t have the grace for something before you need it, but when you need it you can trust God for it.

Baby steps.

2 thoughts on “Stuff I’ve Read, Watched, Done #23 – November 7, 2021 (including a visit to the Cinema!)

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