Saturday, December 23, 2017
A fresh take on a cliche.
This film walks a tightrope and does it well. It could easily have descended into parody, it could have been predictable, it could have been too heavy, it could have been too silly, but it manges to do none of that.
It flows along seemingly effortlessly and the plot turns on a dime. Often.
Script, direction, cast -- all bang on.
Particularly the male lead, Levi Miller. He manages twists and turns of the story with precision timing and leaves you with a sense that he was savouring every minute of playing this character. I expect he will have quite a career if he keeps this level of work going.
Friday, December 8, 2017
I must be getting very old.
The holiday season is here and I'm in the midst of many social events and yes, I am enjoying them (mostly) and enjoying seeing friends (mostly) but I have to admit that there's a part of me that's looking forward to January when all this activity will be behind me and I can go back to my regular quiet life.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
I just finished a truly bad book. I'm not going to give out the name or the author or the title, I'm not that mean.
The writing was not the worst I have ever come across but it was monotonous. I think the author was trying to imitate hard-boiled detective fiction from the mid-twentieth century and it just did not work.
I admit to just scanning sections because I could not torture myself by reading in detail.
The stupid and totally unbelievable ending, however, really did it. I felt like hurling the book across the room but didn't want to damage the wall.
Normally when I finish a book I pass it on to a friend or put in the book exchange area downstairs. In this case I decided I did not want to be responsible for anyone else wasting precious time reading it so I tossed it into the paper recycling bin.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
I was in my early twenties when this film came out and I went to see it several times.
For a basically closeted gay person (which most of us were in 1971 - you had your friends but in that era the wrong person "finding out" could mean the loss of your job, housing or family) this movie, where being gay was simply a fact, not a source of drama, was wonderful.
I wondered if I would find the film dated after all these years but I didn't, not in the least. But I also wonder how a young person coming to the film for the first time now would react - would they find it had any interest for them or any relation to their life. To me there was much that was universal but I'm an old fart now and what to me is full of significance may mean nothing to the young.
I loved that this film was so very visual - so much was conveyed with no dialogue or comment. A quick smile or a wine glass lifted slightly in a silent salute speaks volumes.
As so often in British productions every character, no matter how short the screen time, felt real and had a narrative purpose. No filler anywhere.
Glenda Jackson and Peter Finch. Well, they're Glenda Jackson and Peter Finch.
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Friday, September 22, 2017
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
I have been a minimalist for many years now. During the early months of my major downsizing of possessions there were two things that became very clear to me.
1) When you think of buying something new, before you make that purchase it is a good idea to think of how you can someday get rid of it.
2) Valuable things are much harder to get rid of than ordinary things. If it is truly valuable you tend to feel obligated to sell it for money rather than just giving it away or tossing it. And selling something depends on finding someone who is willing to buy it.
There were times when I had so many things that I wanted gone that I consciously gave things, that I knew were worth a lot more than they would ever give me, to a consignment business because my need to be rid of things was more powerful than my need to get every penny I could for them.
Once there were a few pieces of sterling silver that I simply put in a plastic bag and handed to Goodwill because I simply could not face trying to sell them and I just wanted them out of my life.
Monday, September 11, 2017
Friday, September 8, 2017
"I Remember You" by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
This to me was a classic ghost/mystery story by a writer I always enjoy.
There is a 2017 Icelandic film adaptation that I would love to see.
I would imagine a movie version would either be wonderful and scary if well done or terrible if poorly done. But I wonder if a movie would provide enough time to really cover all that happens in the book which would seem to me to be enough for a mini-series.
Monday, September 4, 2017
Saturday, August 26, 2017
I have just finished reading Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki, which I enjoyed.
As a minimalist myself it's always interesting to read someone else's thoughts on the subject.
On page 240 he mentions, very casually, "during ethics lessons in elementary school".
So in Japan they have ethics classes in elementary school. I assume for that age group that the classes include ethics in day to day life, not just the sort of thing doctors or lawyers are expected to be exposed to.
So in Japan people learn about ethics, in everyday life, in elementary school.
Sounds like a very good idea to me.
I wonder if there are other countries that do this.
Friday, August 25, 2017
What is it with these women who walk down the centre of the sidewalk and refuse to move, even an inch, for other people on the sidewalk?
I've had this happen when I've been lugging two full carry-alls of groceries and they've been carrying nothing but a purse.
I'm not being misogynistic here. Men do it too but 90% of the time it's a woman. (And I generally like women far better than I like men.)
When this happens I try to remind myself that I'm lucky not to be some poor schmuck who's married to or involved with them and has to put up with their self-centered shit regularly.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Through no fault of my own I've been exposed to a slew of YouTube videos recently.
Some were interesting but a lot were superficial crap posted by young people (who I can understand being a bit silly, they're young and their frontal cortexes are still developing) but also by a lot of older people.
It makes me wonder:
Are we not expecting people to become adults anymore?
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
I mainly watch movies on DVD's that I borrow from the library.
Recently a slew of them I'd requested showed up at almost the same time.
Well put together, fun, the cast is good. These action comic type things just are not for me - perhaps I'm just too old.
Florence Foster Jenkins
Pretty good, easy to watch, often touching.
Hugh Grant all grown up.
Simon Helberg charming.
The Light Between Oceans.
The cast is great, the writing good, the photography beautiful.
A low budget film with an excellent cast and so much said and unsaid.
Definitely my kind of film.
The Conjuring 2
I may not be a comic fan but I'm a long time fan of horror - well done things with a budget like this one but also low budget schlock.
Some good scary moments.
Perhaps just a bit too long.
Yep, I watched them all in sequence.
These are just great - a rare case where the sequels at least hold up or even get better as they go along.
Michael Gros is just delightful.
The Iron Lady
Finally got to see this.
Meryl Streep deserved the awards she got for this one. I often forgot it was her on the screen.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
I saw this movie in the theatre when it was originally released.
It was satisfying to see it on DVD all these years later and find it doesn't seem like an old out of date film at all.
Lots to think about while watching it and after.
It's a film I would like to spend time talking about with someone but there's no longer anyone in my life who has any interest in this type of film. (One way I suppose that we senior citizens become isolated from the world.)
There was commentary on the disc which included Neil Degrasse Tyson which was good but more limited that I had hoped.
Monday, August 14, 2017
A really good movie - not a great movie but a good movie and I enjoyed it very much.
A movie for grown-ups.
About art, love, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, loss, survival...
The cast were all in good form.
The script was excellent.
The credits are backed by a beautiful arrangement of 'Flow Gently Sweet Afton".
(Such a treat to finish a film without pop music.)
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Something that my extrovert friends don't understand is that when I know I'm going to have an evening, or a day, or a weekend on my own that scheduled alone time is just as important to me as any social event that I have committed to.
It is difficult when someone wants me to do something and they just don't understand that just because I have nothing social planned for that time that that means that I am available. I'm not. I'm hugely disappointed if I have to miss expected alone time.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
I haven't been wearing shorts much this summer because I'm conscious of signs of aging on my legs. Veins, bald patches, sagging flesh around the knees. Normal aging. So I've been hesitant to show them. (Also, I try to avoid the sun for health reasons.) But it means I'm often warmer than I need to be.
But I've been noticing other old people and they're going ahead and wearing shorts and t-shirts that show the sagging flesh underneath and I've come to to realize that it doesn't matter. That's what aging involves. That's how it looks, and why shouldn't we old people wear what feels comfortable.
I've been a young person and know how critical the young can be of the old. And I understand it might be uncomfortable for them to look upon old bodies because some part of them knows that that's where they are headed no matter how much they avoid facing it.
It happens to us all if we're lucky enough to live into old age.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
It's really important to keep the daily shower thing going.
Many days it would be easy to say that I had a shower yesterday and I haven't done anything to make me sweaty so I can leave it until tomorrow.
But the danger there is that leaving it until tomorrow can lead to leaving it until another tomorrow.
And that's how old men end up smelling.
Monday, July 24, 2017
I've made an effort this spring and summer to buy a few new items of clothing.
But I'm finding that, even though I spend time in the store trying things on and thinking about when I can wear an item and what it will match etc. etc., I'm not wearing them. I don't seem to like them.
Perhaps I just need to make more of an effort to wear them until I get used to them.
One big problem is that I don't really like fashions now. I've never liked tight form-fitting clothing and of course that is what's being marketed for men now. Narrow pants, low-rise (which I hate to wear or to look at on others), tight shirts with very short tight sleeves, soft fabrics which show every imperfection in your body.
If I like an item of clothing I tend to wear it until it literally falls apart. I wear faded and frayed things regularly.
There seems to be so much choice when you look around in a store, but really most of it is just variations on whatever narrow choice of styles some "fashion expert" has decided is "in" this year, and no doubt what will cause many people to buy whole new wardrobes just in order to be in style.
Sunday, July 23, 2017
I'm a little worried about the amount of time I spend on my own.
It's not that I mind doing that, I'm quite happy being alone. But since I'm a retired person I don't have the regular impetus of a job to get me out of the house. I quite happily go for days without leaving my condo. I think what is worrying me a bit is that the number of days I do that is increasing, and the number of days in a row that I do that is also increasing.
It's worse in the summer of course since my body does not respond well to hot and/or humid weather and I feel pretty miserable physically if I have to spend time exposed to it.
Fortunately I have a small group of friends who, in some combination, get together to go out to dinner every Saturday (or sometimes Friday or Sunday) evening. I'm actually the only one in the group who almost always is available to do that.
But there's no one in my life whom I would just call up on the spur of the moment and suggest a movie or a lunch. No one I just hang out with, or go for a walk with or window shopping with. If I go to lunch it's something that is planned well ahead. There's no one I go to movies with. Actually, I never go to movies anymore - I sometimes look at the listings but don't find anything I want to see. And it would mean going out and sitting in a theatre with strangers.
I've thought of volunteering but everything seems to involve working with people. Which is a strange comment because the reason I consider volunteering is to get out amongst people more!
One thing I am totally sure of is that I have no interest in any way of forming a romantic relationship with anyone.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
I am generally very happy living by myself and spending most of my time alone.
Yet I do look forward to getting together with friends (unless it is a large group thing). But often when I've been with them for a while I find myself longing to get away from them and be on my own again. I probably don't cover that up as well as I hope I do.
I appreciate that people still deal with me at all. I must be a real pain in the ass a lot of the time.
It's not intentional.
I drink when I'm out for the evening because:
1) I think it will make me more sociable
2) I'm bored. (Approach/avoidance -- I want to be with people/I want to be alone.)
It might be better if I stopped drinking.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
I hate hot and/or hot and humid weather.
I barely leave my home on hot days in the summer.
But then I don't like leaving home at the best of times.
Aside from the weather I find people really annoying. I also find the world a threatening place.
I often hate my home because of noisy neighbours.
I'm not a very happy person I guess.
I have no idea what could make any of this any better.
Friday, July 14, 2017
I've tried writing short stories over the last few months.
They all seem to come out as revenge fantasies.
Not revenge about things in my life, but the main character always seems to end up, in some form, avenging himself/herself on the people in his/her life.
This has to be about me and things I'm not acknowledging about my life.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
There's a party.
There's a bowl of mixed nuts.
Some people have a sampling of the various types and maybe have an extra two of their favourite.
Some people stand a the bowl and munch down on the cashews until there are none left.
I've never understood the second type of person. To me they exemplify why there is such financial and other inequality in the world.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Friday, June 9, 2017
I remember a long weekend early one summer, many years ago, when I was a university student and my parents were away for a long weekend and I was staying at their house looking after their pets.
I was starting a summer job on the Tuesday and I was thoroughly enjoying my three days of solitude and peace. My parents lived in the country and there were no neighbours nearby and no one was running a tractor or cutting wood. Just the sounds of nature.
On one of those sunny mild afternoons I was sitting on the back deck with the dogs and I experienced such a feeling of contentment and presence. I just wanted to stay there like that forever.
All through my life I have been most contented when I've been able to be by myself, somewhere peaceful, not trying to do or be anything or get anywhere. Just being.
Which is one reason I love retirement so much - it gives me many more opportunities for that kind of moment.
Friday, June 2, 2017
Years ago when I was a student one person introduced several of us to the works of Ayn Rand.
Whatever one thinks of her ideas she was an compelling and persuasive writer and all of us were at least intrigued by what she had to say.
One friend said, "That's all very interesting but I can't live that way, that's not the kind of person I want to be."
That was such a moment of clarity, and I thought, "Yes, exactly, you're right."
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Many years ago at work we were being given a retroactive pay increase and getting a nice amount of money in a single cheque.
I was saying to a colleague that I might use that money to buy a new colour television (this was back when black and white TVs were still common).
She didn't think that was necessarily the best use to make of the windfall. Whenever she got unexpected money she put it into savings. If she wanted something like a colour TV she started setting aside a bit of money each payday until she had what she needed to buy it for cash.
Although I grew up with parents who always waited until they could pay cash for discretionary items (and had always stressed saving part of income) this sensible idea of how to use unexpected money was new to me.
I did put that retroactive cheque into savings and it's a policy that I have followed ever since and it has served me well.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
One of the things that annoys me about dog owners walking their dogs in this city is the attitude they have that everyone else is supposed to make way for them.
Because they want their dog to have immediate access to other people's front yards and gardens to use them as bathrooms they expect you to move away to the far side of the sidewalk.
I enjoy looking at gardens and I also make an effort to smooth the flow of foot traffic by keeping to the right hand side of sidewalks.
More and more people are moving downtown and the sidewalks are getting more and more unpleasant to use.
(And why is it that dog owners think other people's gardens and lawns are an appropriate place for dogs to shit and piss?)
Monday, May 8, 2017
Something I enjoy on Blogger is the "Next Blog" button. I like moving to a random blog and seeing what it is about, maybe decide to follow it, and then move on to the next one.
Thus I am annoyed when I come to a blog where the blogger has removed the "Next Blog" button. As a matter of principle I close such blogs and refuse to look at them.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Recently I've been trying a different approach to surviving all the clunks and bangs from various neighbours.
I've used noise sources in the past but I've always tried to turn them off whenever possible so that I could have at least a few hours, minutes, of peace. Now I'm just leaving the noises to run 24 hours a day. Currently in the bedroom/office I have rain sounds, plus thunderstorm sounds plus a fan running. I spend most time in this room. When I'm in other rooms I turn on additional things - the sound machine in the kitchen and/or the sound machine in the living room. Sometimes the kitchen exhaust fan as well and the bathroom fan. If it's warm enough that I'm forced to have the balcony door open as well I put a really loud fan right in the doorway (which also helps a bit to pull cooler air in). I never use the "solarium" so there's nothing in there.
I try to vary the sounds a bit since I find that I can get used to them and then I start to hear the sounds under them.
It's not perfect, I can still sometimes hear bangs and such but with the constant noise they don't send me into a startle reflex as easily.
One downside is that I can only listen to music or watch TV using headphones or earbuds.
I seem to be adapting and I am sleeping better - I often now sleep until 7 a.m. instead of being jolted awake several times from 5:30 on.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
I watched a news special recently about the future of housing development in the Toronto area.
Lots of nattering and pandering and protecting the interests of whomever the person speaking worked for but in the end the message was that there are many people going to come to the area in the next twenty years and there's no way there can be space for detached dwellings for all those people. They can only hope for a condo in one of many buildings in densely developed areas along transportation routes.
Not to neglect the fact the majority of them will probably have to scramble just to afford that condo. And already, condos are getting smaller and smaller and smaller.
One panelist pointed out that balconies are a bad idea since they tend to deteriorate with the weather and require costly repairs. So even that little bit of private outdoor space may be unavailable. (Personally I prefer not to have a balcony so I don't have to listen to the noise other people make while they are out on theirs.) Parks are all well and good but they are not private space where you can get away from humans and have some peace in the natural world.
I find it sad that owning your own house is something else that may become the prerogative of the one percent. That the hope of having a place of your own is becoming a pipe dream - and while you may "own" a condo you are subject to many rules and conditions that make it feel like a rental.
I personally did not like owning houses, even the country. Neighbours were annoying and noisy and intrusive but then I'm a person who does his best to isolate himself from humanity as much as possible.
Just think of how much more of everything, including space, there would be if the world held maybe one billion people instead of seven.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Monday, April 10, 2017
RE: My post of April 5.
One reason things bother me is that long in advance of their happening I start planning for them and rehearsing them in my head. Over and over.
I think this is a way that I try to control my anxiety by being prepared for whatever is going to happen or whatever could possibly happen. But I think at the same time this keeps whatever it is, and the associated anxiety, really fresh in my mind.
Sunday, April 9, 2017
A beautiful spring day in Toronto.
One of the first of the season.
Which means there are people out walking and the sidewalks are jammed. It's hard to move, certainly if you're trying to get someplace and not just strolling along.
Which makes me wonder what the sidewalks are going to be like when all of these condos that are currently being built in the downtown core are occupied.
It's not like there are more sidewalks or neighbourhoods being added. Just more people
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
I am not good at remaining calm when anything outside of my comfortable routine is going to have to be dealt with at some specific point in the future.
Dentist/doctor appointments, getting tax return papers to the accountant on time, surgery - anything that breaks into my comfortable retiring retired existence causes me anxiety.
I think I long for a life of complete and utter calm with no demands even though I know that such a thing is impossible. Things impinge on everyone's life and the only way that is going to stop is with death.
I feel such as sense of relief, even accomplishment, when one of these things has been completed but as soon as the time for some other thing starts to get close I begin obsessing. The time when I start this varies with the event. For the dentist, maybe the week in which the appointment happens. For air travel it can be weeks or even months.
The period between being finished with one thing and starting to stew about another is really wonderful.
I do wish that I could learn to just appreciate the calm of each quiet day as it happens and not let these life events enslave me until they until they actually arrive.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
I have a friend who many times over the years has done this thing.
In conversation I tell him some interesting fact that I have come across and he will, at most, respond minimally but usually not at all.
Then, a few days later, in a group of people he will present the same fact but always, always, attribute it to "the paper" or "the news" but never, never, to me.
I've never been quite sure how to interpret this.
Does he truly not remember that I was the source?
Does he consciously just not want to give me credit?
Does he unconsciously think that I could not possibly be the origin of useful information?
Does he actually like me?
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Friday, February 24, 2017
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Friday, February 3, 2017
When I read in the news about the salaries some executives are given I find it hard to believe that anyone is worth that much.
I'm told that in order to get the best people one has to pay them that much.
So wouldn't it be better to hire the second best person and pay them less. Or the third best or even the tenth best?
They'd probably do just as good a job.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
At one time in my life I owned an awful lot of stuff.
Part of that amount was made up of things, the majority of which I had inherited, that were reasonably valuable-
silver(plate) flatware and utensils, teapots etc
old 33,45 and 78 records
old comic books
-all the sorts of things that people will tell you are "valuable" or "worth something".
Then I came to a point in my life when I simply could no longer live having all this stuff around me (let alone having to pack it up and move it even one more time) and became a minimalist.
I put a lot of time and effort into selling what I could (this was in the days before eBay) and eventually sent everything that was left to a consignment shop. I got some money as things sold but even at the time I was aware it was a small fraction of what it all was "worth". (Something can be very valuable but that doesn't mean a lot if you can't find someone who is willing to buy it.)
Now, in my joyously minimalist life, I do my best to NOT have valuable things. I have some nice things and things that I like but overall nothing that I would be that concerned about losing. I love having furniture my friends and I can relax with - if something gets scratched or spilled on it's not a big deal and I think of it as adding character. If a dish drops and breaks and I just sweep up the pieces and may or may not replace the item. It's not that my home is shabby or junky but it is a place to be lived in.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
I'm so glad about all the information that is now available about introversion and support for introverts. (Thank you Susan Cain, who seems to have set it all off.)
I do wish it had happened much sooner in my life.
I have lived most of my life being told, and believing, that my discomfort with social situations and people was a personal flaw, something that I needed to "get over", something that I just needed to keep doing so that I would "get used to it."
Well I lived like that for more than sixty years and I didn't get over it and I didn't get used to it.
I have always hated parties and I have always hated dealing with new people more than one or two at a time. I can remember so many hours being someplace where I was not comfortable just waiting desperately for the time when I could leave.
It is only lately that I have discovered that when I am someplace I don't want to be if I simply say something like, "Thank you for inviting me, I have to get going now, goodbye", and leave, no one bats an eye or cares. Possibly because in that sort of situation I'm usually just siting there like a lump not saying a word and it's a relief to have me gone.
And I am still struggling to be able to say, "Thank you for the invitation but that's a setting in which I know I won't be comfortable so I am going to decline."
It isn't that I don't like people at all. If I'm in a comfortable situation I do enjoy spending time with my friends.
But I have to admit that I am the most content when I'm at home on my own.
( Except of course for noise from the neighbours. )
Monday, January 16, 2017
Sometimes when I'm eating something that I know is unhealthy or really fattening I seem to eat it really really quickly.
As though I somehow think that by doing that it doesn't count and my body isn't going to notice the intake.
Whereas what I should be doing, having decided to eat it in the first place, is eat very slowly and savour each sinful mouthful.