Temporarily Grounded

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Sansa was back to her usual bullshit again. Last night she stayed out until four am. It’s been very nice this week and the day before she spent all the daylight hours outside. Yesterday, after resting for about sixteen hours, she felt obligated to stay out late to compensate. Too late by even our lenient standards.

Today the high was almost eighty and the cats were wandering in and out. Sansa slept inside until early afternoon, secure in the knowledge that she’d be able to pull the same crap tonight. My goal, as always, is to be smarter than the cat. So when she went out this afternoon I tried to keep an eye on her. When she made the mistake of wandering inside for a fuel stop around eight tonight I took advantage of it. I hustled all the other cats in, made sure the dogs were peed, and locked the doors. The dogs will get one more shot to relieve their bladders but the cats are done for tonight. I suspect that if they knew it was Sansa’s fault they’d turn on her but they’re cats and they won’t. It’s almost ten thirty pm now and they’re all winding down. Except of course for Sansa whose running up and down the halls, complaining.

You made your bed cat. Enjoy an evening in it and I’ll let you back out tomorrow morning.

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Out on the Trail Again

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We took the dogs to the farm today and walked them about half a mile, up and down the section line. A few hundred yards from the farmstead I spotted a fecal grouping from what was obviously a large canine. My little dogs were enthused to sniff at it and Pippin made sure to anoint a tuft of grass nearby to claim the area. I just watched the surrounding fields for whatever left the track.

On the way back to the farmstead my wife spotted a hand-size print in the dust near the group of turds. It looked sorta like what I’ve posted above. That’s the track of canis lupus for you city slickers. Now grey wolves hunt near dawn and dusk but they’re not exclusive to that time. I figure that as long as we stick near the dogs we’re OK but I believe me, I’m wary.

Anyway, we’re home. My wife has found one tick on her. Merry checks out fine. We’ll be putting up with ticks until the end of June. They’re gross and insidious little beasts but hey, I’ll take a tick anytime compared to what else is out there…

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Some Sleep, My Kingdom For Some Sleep

I was awake most of the night last night. Again.

My wife got up around three am, which of course woke up the dogs, which of course work me up. My wife was back to sleep in five minutes. I wasn’t so lucky.

I had taken a melatonin around midnight which should have been enough to knock me out until dawn but nope. My ADHD infected psyche starting marching double-time and there was nothing I could do to quiet it until about eight am. THEN I could sleep. Good thing I work at home but still, I lost half of a day and it pisses me off.

I’ve just been handed a series of projects that will keep me busy for weeks on end. Probably into summer. There’s no immediate deadline on these but I do have to keep chipping away at the stone. Plus work on the book. Plus some nagging upkeep issues on the house. I don’t need my brain misfiring for five hours in the dark.

So tonight, once the Cat from Hell is back inside and I can lock the doors, I’ll chug a serving of Zzzquil and hope it does the job of getting me unconscious and yet back up ready to rock in the morning. Or at least ready to stare numbly at the news feed on the computer monitor while eating my breakfast and guzzling a Coke Zero. You start your day your way, I’ll start my day my way.

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My Haircut, Let Me Show You It

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Pippin is pretty notorious around these parts for having a ridiculous fur coating. The outer layer is is thick, coarse, and grows very fast. So we’ve had him groomed often. But due to various circumstances we couldn’t get him to the groomer and his coat was dragging on the floor. So Carjo went after him with a pair of really sharp scissors last week and this is the fugly result.

Being he’s a dog he has no idea how terrible this looks. All he knows is that he’s shy about ten pounds of long hair and he feels better about. Now he keeps asking for hugs or to just get picked up. This ragged mess will even up in a couple weeks and he’ll start the summer looking fine and feeling cool. I wish I could say the same for my own fat ass. And so it goes.

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RIP Sweet Prince

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2016 strikes again and man, this one stings as well.

I confess it has been a few years since I played any Prince music. The last album I bought was LotusFlow3r, a three disc set that really didn’t do it for me. The 80s stuff was an important part of my personal soundtrack in my twenties but those gated drums and cheesy synths hadn’t worn well. So yeah, it wasn’t until this past weekend that I played any Prince music.

It is a damn powerful catalog he has left us. That run from Dirty Mind to Sign o’ the Times is pretty much brilliant. He swaps genres like a schizophrenic, plays more instruments than anyone has a right to, and his voice ran from a powerful baritone to a gospel falsetto that never failed to raise the hackles. The songwriting was as powerful as anyone in his day and better than most. His bands were diverse, dressed as fab as their leader, and damn, they all could dance. And nobody could dance better than Prince. Back in the day people would talk about what a great dancer Michael Jackson was but his was always highly choreographed and other than the occasional crotch-grab, safe. Prince was spontaneous: knee drops, spins, swinging the mike stand around his legs, and splits, most of the time while holding a guitar, often while playing guitar.

If there is one thing that sticks in my mind after all the videos I’ve watched and songs I’ve listened to in the past 72 hours it’s what a guitar jock he was. He just loved to play. Even his lesser material could be redeemed by a screaming guitar solo. Prince may not have been the innovator that Hendrix was but we will likely never again see an African American guitar hero like this again. Look at that footage from his Superbowl halftime show. While most halftime shows are tightly choreographed he’s just soloing what the hell he wants to play, making that performance one of the greatest halftime shows ever.

Me and my wife spent almost twenty years in the Twin Cities and we’d hear Prince stories. A coworker of my wife had an aunt from Prince’s old neighborhood that did his hair and makeup. If he got to uppity she’d call him Roger to his face. A coworker of mine spotted him once, sifting through used soul records at Cheapo’s. He approached his Royal Badness using a the name of a mutual musician acquaintance as an entry. The supposedly unapproachable star got into an animated conversation, “ah hell, he was a way better guitar player than he was a drummer”. See even though he moved away at different times in his life, Prince would always return to Minneapolis. He created the Minneapolis sound and he was its most fervent curator, the true Chairman of the Board. From Paisley Park all things flowed.

Now he’s gone and the world is again a darker place, with a lot less purple, glitter, and flash. I hope there’s a heaven and that Prince was greeted at the Gates by Bowie and Mercury, offering a couple pots of makeup and maybe some hairspray. They’ve got a show to do. Wish I could see it.

2016 brought to you by GRRM

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My Inner Phil Dunphy

Yesterday was another round of moving my aunt into assisted living. We moved a lot of small stuff, hung pictures, moved more small stuff, and fussed with electronics. Minot, where my aunt lives, spreads across the Souris River valley. My aunt’s old condo is on the north side of town, about ten blocks away from the north slope of the valley. Her new apartment is about ten-fifteen blocks away from the south slope of the valley. So it seemed like half the day was spent driving down one slope, across the valley floor, and up the other slope. The novelty wore off fast.

I succeeded in forcing her laptop to accept all the Windows updates and Samsung updates, plus killed with fire all the extraneous Windows 8 junk like Start8. Her printer and her computer refuse to talk talk talk (see above) so the next time I go I’ll have to get that figured out. I just ran out of time to mess with it any further. There’s a surprising amount of companies that have not dealt well with updating drivers and printer manufacturers are among the main offenders. So my guess is I’ll have to figure out the model number for her printer and download something workable. It’ll be a pain but it’s well within my capabilities.

I’ve always had the hots for Julie Bowen’s Claire Dunphy. I figured it was because I prefer my women to be like my beer: pale and bitter. Now I sadly realize it is because I am really Phil Dunphy. Wish me luck on explaining this to my pale and bitter wife.

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The Magicians – Someday We’ll Be Heroes

The Magicians - someday we'll be heroes

The first season of Syfy’s The Magicians finished up last week. It wasn’t perfection like The Expanse but there’s more positive to dwell on than negative. Let’s review, shall we?

The Magicians series was something I tore through. Part of it was Grossman’s superb pacing but also I found the idea of a more adult and far more self-aware Harry Potter/Narnia fascinating. The protagonists start out as whiny, self-involved, gifted college kids and grow into adults, maturing as they find the world of magic is far darker and complicated than they believed. Also, there was a lot of sex.

There’s a lot of deviation from the books. Julia’s saga gets moved from book two to season one which did seem to work. It gives the viewer a gritty contrast to the magical academia in Brakebills. Janet’s name was changed to Margo, I suppose to make it easier for viewers to not confuse her with Julia. The episodes were more episodic, ever mindful of the greater arc but resolving themselves every episode. And then there’s a host of other discrepancies, some no doubt due to the show’s budget and time constraints, some due to changing from one medium to another, and some due to just writers/showrunners having a different version. One thing that really worked was moving the characters from just having finished high school to grad school students. Having actors age that much would have been an unreasonable burden.

The casting is sometimes great. Jason Ralph nails Quentin’s “precious snowflake” persona and Hale Appleman IS Eliot, utterly convinced in his own creation of himself while finally acknowledging that something in him is fundamentally broken. Stella Maeve had a difficult role as Julia. She starts her journey as whiny and entitled but by the end got fueled by something deeper and darker. All in all, I saw no missteps in the cast and some bit characters got inhabited by actors that went all in (Mackenzie Astin for one, Anne Dudek for another).

There was some evidence again of Syfy trying to push the edge. Plenty of characters drop f-bombs which the network barely mutes (I assume that when these episodes play in Europe the mute gets lifted). Like the book, there’s a whole lotta drinking and drugging but hey there was plenty in the books as well. These ARE college students. And sex. It’s mostly under the covers or partially clothed, there’s not much for nudity. But at least the network doesn’t just imply that Eliot sleeps with men but they actually show it. And the three-way that shatters relationships hinted at in the book is given an actual airing. My wife kept rewinding that because it warmed her slashing shipper heart.

All in all, I’m looking forward to the next season. I hope that the show gets more money to play with because man, those Fillory scenes could have used something far grander and the books only escalate the fantastical from here on out. But as a fan of the books I’m elated. Despite the deviations and limitations, they nailed the spirit of the books. In genre adaptations that’s often what’s missing and this isn’t the case here. So on to next season. If this is indeed the golden age of television and by extension, the golden age of genre television, we have another solid addition to the pantheon.

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