I often feel, when blogging or scanning old photos or looking at programs from concerts I performed in as a kid, like I’m preserving content for an Eric Peterson museum that no one will ever go to. But it’s helpful for me to be able to look back on this stuff, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reread old Facebook or blog posts and came across something that I didn’t remember at all. Which is to say that it’s been nagging at me that I haven’t done a media consumption update in a while.
First, work news. Two weeks in. I’ve gotten a paycheck, yay! Nothing has shown itself to alter my initial impression that everyone really is that nice and helpful, and this really is a chill place to work. I’ve had quite a few one-on-one meetings for people to share with me what they do and what’s going on. I’ve humorously pointed out to some in charge that I still haven’t actually done anything productive yet and they came right back with assurances that what they want me to do right now is learn, which is what I’ve been doing.
I spent pretty much every weekend last year recovering from the week before – it’s nice to go into a weekend with energy and the realization that you really don’t have to worry about your job until Monday. That will probably change in time, but right now it’s fine.
I’m still studying for the CBAP exam, of course (not directly related to work – I’m sure they’ll be happy if I get the certification, but they’re not making me get it). There are six knowledge areas, and I’d ‘blitzed’ four of them, by which I mean I learned the underpinning outline of them: tasks, inputs, outputs, guidelines, elements – to the point that I could recite them for you – and put that all in study documents I could refer to. Based on my practice testing since, I really have nailed down three of the four (and just need to maintain them). The fourth, which was always my weakest, needs a lot more swotting and I’ll do that today, I think. The other two need the ‘blitzing’, so that’s probably the next two Sundays taken care of. That means that I probably won’t take the test by Labor Day but if I can get the six all blitzed and get the area-specific practice tests up to passing levels, all of them, I can then do the big practice test and maybe take the test on the Sunday of the next three-day weekend, which is in October. (My company has a lot more holidays than the last one.) That’s a plan, I think, it’s not like I have other things pulling my attention.
OK, media consumption. Maybe I’ll bullet these.
- The miniseries of I Know This Much is True is excellent. I loved the book. It is unrelentingly sad, but so well done. Ruffalo is perfectly cast as both brothers. The bulk of the story is about Dominic, the sane one, and they filmed his stuff first, then Ruffalo took a few weeks off, gained 30 pounds, and then filmed the Thomas (the crazy one) scenes. Really great stuff. They dropped some plot points from the book that I missed, but highly recommended.
- We watched both seasons of The Politician, which is a batshit-crazy show about a young man who’s completely focused on becoming the President eventually, to the point that he runs a national-style campaign, with focus groups and a support team, for high school president. (No spoilers, but Events Occur.) Second season, he’s running for state senator. They’ve set up a third, I think. The lead is Ben Platt, who created the role of Evan Hansen, and he’s excellent and they do give him opportunities to sing. Second season also involved powerhouses like Bette Midler, Judith Light and Joe Morton. All this to say that I didn’t love it, but it’s great watching all this talent.
- We’d watched the first three seasons of Shetland a couple of years ago, somehow they managed to release two more without us realizing. (I suspect that Netflix had the first three and lost it, and so we never got updated. We’re watching the new ones on Amazon.) So we just watched #4 and started 5. I love Scotland and the accents and of course, the humorous thing about this rather dour show is that you frequently get these characters having some sort of confrontation or deep talk outside with the most spectacular scenery behind them which they don’t even notice or comment on.
- We’ll probably do Broadchurch next.
- Our ‘silly half hour’ show is now Life in Pieces. It fills the bill – it’s kind of a knock-off of Modern Family. Great cast, I must say. I find the two doofus men characters (Dan Bakkedahl’s clueless and somewhat creepy doctor husband, and James Brolin’s clueless and almost moronic paterfamilias) frustrating and annoying – but C finds Colin Hanks’s wife annoying and I think her dry wit is the best thing in the show.
- We finished our Harry Potter rewatch. As we got to the end of the series, we were watching the movies we hadn’t seen a dozen times, so a lot was surprising again. I think the movies are great for what they are (yes, Eric, we know, you want the books refilmed as miniseries so they can breathe). And I’m so grateful that the three kids lasted all the way through the series – well, everyone did, pretty much except for Richard Harris.
I had an interesting suspicion – I’ll bet they’re already planning movies of The Cursed Child (which takes place twenty years or so after the main events of HP) and by waiting until the stage show has run its course, can time it so they can make it with the original three leads (I mean Radcliffe, Grint and Watson), who would be the right age. Wouldn’t that be cool?
- Artemis Fowl. Awful. The books are so much fun and they completely missed the mark. I’ve started rereading the first book to just remind myself of how fun it is.
- The Children Act: Emma Thompson plays a workaholic judge who gets involved with a case where a Christian Scientist young man (not quite of age) and his parents are refusing a tranfusion-based treatment that could save his life. Not a great movie, but Emma Thompson is always wonderful.
- The Tourist, a ten-year old spy caper with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. It’s fun to watch, but doesn’t make a ton of sense. Jolie looks like an ad for plastic surgery. Depp has this ridiculous hairstyle that his character (a math teacher from Wisconsin) never would have had. But it mostly takes place in Venice and the scenery is gorgeous and of course I want to go back, like yesterday. Our 2005 trip, which started and ended in Venice, was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken.
- I’m almost done with Sarah Waters’s The Paying Guests. It’s not great. It’s also unrelentingly sad, and none of the characters are at all likable. When Sarah Waters is great, she’s really great, so I’m happy to read all her stuff, but this isn’t one of her best.
- I’m finishing up my Valdemar reread with the Owl books. They’re not great, but they do have good parts and I remember that the way the trilogy wraps up makes it all worth it.
- Other books in progress: Motherless Brooklyn (I saw the movie), Uncommon Types (a book of short stories by Tom Hanks!), Real Men Knit (a straight romance novel).
- In the m/m world, I read almost all of Elle Keaton’s “Accidental Roots” series, which is guys finding each other in the middle of some ongoing crime stuff. A technique that a lot of these authors use is to, in the first book(s), to include interesting-enough subsidiary characters that they can then be spun off into their own books. An amusing side effect is that pretty much everyone you meet is gay, heh. I don’t have a problem with this, if it works, which it mostly does.
I also read the Lilywhite Boys sequence by KJ Charles, which is kind of an addendum to her Sins of the City series – another case of ‘every character gets his own book, and pops up in all the others’. Great fun, done very well (FWIW, the last Lilywhite book is actually about a m/f couple, which is fine, because great writing. I have no objection to heterosexuality, in moderation.)
More as it develops. We enjoyed the Democratic convention very much, by the way. The role call was excellent, and how lovely that Gabby Giffords, as part of her therapy, picked up the French horn again as an adult. And boy, do we miss the Obamas.