Eighteen

Hard to believe the oldest kid turned 18 this week.

It’s funny, in that in some ways everything changes due to the things you can do at 18. Yet nothing changes, still being in high school, having no legal ID, etc.

The kid in question is most interested in computer science, and plans to start with a 2 year degree locally in that for the sake of affordability and easier admission to college in France later. Assuming Europe isn’t engulfed in… tumult… by then. The Europe thing relates to an interest in languages. Senior year features French 2 and 3, Russian 2, and no math because the was no room for AP Stats after the languages. AP Stats went to Honors to fit the extra language. Then we had to fight with the school once AP Computer Science A was offered, to replace Stats with that. They treat it as mandatory to take a math, any math, in senior year as state colleges look for it, even if you took seniors-only AP Calculus in junior year and got A+ all four terms, then a 5 on the AP test (5 or 4 gets college credit).

She also refuses to take the SAT. Yet just this week got recognition for having the highest PSAT score in the school, one of only two students getting the recognition. The other is the valedictorian. They’re supposed to go to a school committee meeting next week to be recognized there.

It’s all about computer science, math, languages (the first one was self-taught German, and Germany was the original target for college in Europe), and specifically AI and Quantum Computing. Those last two were side classes loosely connected but not with the local school. Quantum was last year, sponsored by IBM, on weekends. AI turned out to be available, same idea, this year. The big interest is use of AI and quantum computing for natural language processing. When she was little we joked she’d invent FTL. Now it’s the Universal Translator.

There’s been some weirdness. Not having a license and no intention of getting one, there’s been no ID. SSDI for the kid going to a parent stops at 18 or after high school graduation, whichever comes second. You have to get evidence the kid is still in school, and they like having an account to deposit it into directly. To the kid, no longer the parent. The school has used something other than her birth name for six years, so it was exciting getting stuff from the school with the birth name. A checking account existed, but there were no checks. In a panic over deadlines and checks not making it in time (they did), Mom unit added a savings as an alternative. That triggered the Patriot Act, of all things! Which triggered the need for an ID. Then they seemed to be OK without it, so no appointment was made. Then they demanded it and even though it’d be too late, an appointment was made. Then changed to a bad RMV location due to a water line break in the local one. That came This Close, but the kid took pity on the Mom not wanting to go and they didn’t. Wasn’t needed anyway.

So now it’s easy to do a legal name change. We were going to do it and as 18 approached it was clear it’d be easier for the kid to be the petitioner. Just the one person and a notary. Who requires an ID! And now the soonest appointment is late October! As an RMV location nowhere near us! The bank accounts are in some kind of limbo, but maybe not as much now that the kid is 18 and “owns” them, but Mom’s name is still on them. The SSDI thing is all straight and as far as they know there is no account so they’re sending a check. The kid wanted to wait to get a job until no work permit from the school was required. That may or may not be possible without a government photo ID, since there’s SS card and birth certificate. But bonus if it could be after the name change. Which was the other reason for delaying an ID, so it could have the preferred name from the outset. So it’s ironic an ID is required to get the name change. Only because a notary is required to ask it! Even ones we know personally from my past work for law firms can’t help, even though they know who she is an when she was born.

Then there’s the job thing. Ideally there would have been one with lots of hours over the summer, as younger sister has in mind for her summer before senior year. An intense school and private study schedule leading to having more than half a year of college credits (AP plus a class during Covid) will make it interesting enough, and availability won’t be wide open on the weekends due to lab for the AI class. Still, there’s a store that at least 4 cousins worked at in the past, between here and school, easy walking distance. Bonus that people sort of know me so even if they weren’t hiring so effusively it might help. Bonus that it’s a reputable place to work. Apart from being retail, of course. So what do we want to do? Apply to a hole in the wall chain pharmacy 2 miles away so a friend can get a referral bonus. It’s a pretty much unwalkable, unsafe stretch, on top of the distance. It has a reputation as a horrible place to work. The pay may be better than the other option (and there are others – not like when I was a teen/newly minted adult and jobs weren’t a thing – but at least I could drive). Apparently there is a public transit option from the school to there, but rides home are going to be pretty much a given. Which counters the whole “adult now, make your own mistakes” thing.

That said, we couldn’t be prouder. And astounded at the passage of time.

Club Foot

There have been things that made me want to post. Wheel of Time show, for instance. I haven’t. It’s become not-a-habit, but I miss it of course. Writing is hard, or I’d have books published already, but this kind of writing is easy, except apparently the part where I have to try not to be reprehensible to people who matter to me.

So I was born with a club foot, and spent my first 14 months in casts. They had to be changed 1-2 times a week. Can you imagine? Apparently my father got his money’s worth, since the podiatrist was amazed at how it came out. Exceptional results. But he also said it’s “nothing short of a miracle” that I’ve been able to do the very physical job I’ve had more than 13 years. The foot is getting damaged every time I do what I do, even if while I am doing it there’s no pain. But I get ahead of myself. Seeing the podiatrist was a long time coming.

My right foot has bothered me excessively for some time. Not just in the longer term way I would drive home from work and then limp down the driveway, having been fine until I sat. That’s worse now, and more pointedly painful. Sometimes it hurts at work, but it’s more that working on it makes it respond worse after I stop. I tried a brace along the way, and that could make it worse. I tried different footwear and making sure the ones I wore weren’t too worn. That makes twice a year the minimum frequency for new shoes. I have to make sure the laces are tight at the top. I mitigated it some by getting mid-cut sneakers that are particularly sturdy. A brand that I’d never heard of that, I didn’t notice when I ordered, caters to diabetics. Not quite there yet, just flirting, enough to have made recent changes. I mitigated it a lot by getting new insoles by the famous brand, made for big heavy men to work on more comfortably.

Mitigating is all I can do, it turns out. It’s not one of those things there’s surgery for. Which, well, I don’t know how I feel about surgery that serious. Minor surgery on my neck to remove a cyst that refuses not to be infected? Sure, no problem. I can get custom orthotics if insurance covers it. Gotta remember to ask. I have the exact code and dx to give them when I ask. Footwear with a higher heel will help, less flat than things are normally made these days. And from my own experience, certain things at work are worse and require avoiding or extreme care. Box trucks, usually rentals, have much higher steps up and down from the dock and landing on the foot hard is bad. Standing in one place can be bad. Ironically, that was something I was doing on my otherwise easier days, doing QA work at a standing desk. Nothing is really going to solve doing athletic work for 6-8 hours a day, entirely on my feet, except no longer doing that kind of work.

From the club foot, the back of the foot is one giant bone spur. I have almost no range of motion. I can keep this as limber as possible through stretching, but it’s never going away. I also have osteoarthritis at the top of the foot. Normally if you have arthritis in a joint, you probably have it elsewhere, and I’d be surprised if I don’t. However, the nature and cause of this particular arthritis might mean that’s not the case. Which would be good, but I do live in this body. Not all of the pains are gout, which is well controlled, although now I’m at the highest dose of allopurinol, after years on the lowest dose.

I love my job. Usually. Complaining sometimes regularly notwithstanding. It’s something of a mystery why I’ve stayed in it. One super weird factor is because I can do it. The club foot contributed to my lack of athletic ability in my youth. For a while I could have my foot randomly twist out from under me and I’d go flying. That went away until recently, but it was never normal in function. My main problem was nerve damage from meningitis. Poor coordination sunk me. And even as recently as age 30 – OK, half a lifetime ago – when I had a job something like this, other people could move circles around me most of the time. At the time, it seems like a pretty fast, strenuous, physical job, but some of the people there wouldn’t know what hit them if they worked where I do now. I love that I am at least mostly capable of doing what they throw at me, and, as I always joke, that it keeps me in some kind of shape besides round.

My job will have to go. Not today. Maybe not even this year. But I’ll have to go back to a proverbial desk job. I’m not sure even some of the options where I work would be viable, though it might be worth finding out. I get a month of paid time off per year. That’s not going to happen at a new job! The insurance is good. They are large and stable. I generally love the people. I wouldn’t hesitate to hire most of them if they came looking for a job somewhere I had the say in that. The pay could be better, but as near as I can tell, it’s a good step up even to the more modest job upgrades.

Indeed, I was going to have to figure things out soon anyway. The kids are just over three years from all being out of high school. They’ll stop being factors in the government throwing refundable tax credits at us. They’ll drop off the wife’s disability. While at the same time being able to use any help we can offer for college. On some level, it’s bad that they are all college material. We have math/computer science/quantum computing, back to wanting to go to college in Germany because it’s free. Except living expenses, and having to show you have a nest egg of like $10k before being accepted. We have chemistry, most likely, following in the footsteps of the PhD cousin. Maybe geology. Almost as good in math but with less interest, though both compete on the math team against other schools. Basically some kind of science, all science rules. Then we have history, and teaching. Could do as well in math but may have had a teacher who instilled a hatred of it while we weren’t looking. A or A+ in everything without trying. But without the interest in the sciences and math that the other two have. We finagled the oldest into AP Calculus that’s for seniors-only, as a junior, which will probably lead to a change for others in the future. The oldest is also taking the AP Computer Science test without having taken the class, after getting 85 on the sample exam. We’re trying to get another AP CS class offered next year, after they left it off the schedule. Makes me feel deficient in the brain area. Heh.

I wouldn’t even have ended up in this job, or clung to it so tightly, with different circumstances. I went from doing IT mainly for lawyers to handling packages, with a “we’re not saying you’re too old but you’re too old” inability to get hired for a “real job” break, to slinging packages. Before that it was support for Microsoft. Last time I did any IT work that wasn’t a little web stuff, more writing marketing copy than technical, was 2014. That was a day or two of lead on a project with four of us upgrading software and migrating networks to bring together two companies that had merged. My oldest is far more current tech savvy than I am. Getting into something else? Not sure how that’ll happen. “Everyone is hiring” may apply more to different classes of jobs. If I was too old 14-15 years ago (and already a little behind because the only way to get my big client to upgrade was to leave them with someone who could sell them on it, so I’d been focused on old stuff, duct tape, and baling wire), now it’s absurd. I have basically 6 years and a month before I can retire without penalty. Another 3 before I can realistically think about it. Could be interesting…

Melissa Benoist

I touched on her in my Glee post, since she was in at least one of the first videos of Glee songs I discovered, and was known to me from watching a little Supergirl when it first aired. I’ve started watching that as my next series following Glee.

They really wasted her talent, especially in season 5. You could make a case for the focus being on the original cast as they pursued careers and angst post-McKinley. That case would include a relatively short, discrete run for the show, as happened. You could make an alternate case for there to have been less of that and more focus on the Glee club and the high school hijinks. The latter might not have worked with Sue’s continued appetite for destruction of Glee, and all things arts (perhaps the other political agenda of the show: importance of arts in schools).

At any rate, it struck me when I saw her in Glee that she didn’t look that much like the Melissa playing Supergirl. But then during the course of her time on Glee, you could see her completely disappear into a look. When she played a Spice Girl, for instance, she didn’t look at all like herself. There were some serious acting chops, and malleability of look, along with her amazing singing ability. It was almost a shame she went to something where that saw so much less (albeit some) use. Speaking of Flash, even though I saw him as Flash first, it is so hard now to see Barry Allen without seeing that smarmy asshole Sebastian from Glee. Unlike Melissa, he really doesn’t look different.

Lea Michelle may have a bad reputation, but she sure can sing. It wasn’t misplaced to bring Melissa in as “the new Rachel.” The topper is Melissa having done a great job playing Carole King on Broadway, home of Rachel.

Back to the look thing, it’s worth remembering that on Glee she was playing 16 years old or so, rather than early to mid twenties as Supergirl. Of course she seems different. But that’s helped by versatility.

She did get a great storyline with Jake, arguably an underused character, and one who could have returned even though Marley had good reason to go. This intertwined with a storyline with Ryder, and the competition between them. It’s a shame the latter actor ended up with her in real life and turned out to be… not ideal. Shades of Rachel and Finn being together in real life, until he self-destructed. Kitty got to be evil centered around her, and then reform. Speaking of underused people later, Kitty was one. Glad she did come back.

I’m still baffled by Melissa not returning for the finale. Just for that one bit, the dedication. Other commitments, sure, but that obstructive? The timing seems wrong for it to have been to avoid being in the same place as Blake Jenner.

Anyway, she is my favorite part of Glee, closely followed by most of Brittany, and then probably Quinn, who is arguably underrated as a singer and who got weirdly left out at times. It was her show, essentially, but I’ll never be that keen on most of Rachel.

I look forward to getting into Supergirl extensively. I don’t remember them well, but so far I am on episodes I watched when it was new.

Glee

I just today finished watching the entire series of Glee, which airs 2009-2015. I had poked it with a stick when it was new, because Jayma Mays was on it and we’d loved her brief appearance on Heroes. I didn’t think to comment about it as I watched, but I could write about my thoughts in encyclopedic length. This means I may or may not post many different times about it, as I did when obsessed with Melody.

How did I get sucked into it after all this time? As I discovered Melody existed by seeing music videos to certain favorite Bee Gees songs and parsing that they were from a movie, I started seeing YouTube videos of songs from Glee. Then there were clips, videos of stats about songs, etc. I had watched Supergirl briefly when it was new, and it was a Huge Big Deal that it starred Melissa (WHO??) Benoist. I believe the specific video that grabbed me was one with her in Glee, doing Tell Him with Heather Morris, as Marley and Brittany. I was aware of Cory Monteith’s death, I may have heard something about what happened with Mark Salling, and I knew Lea Michelle was notorious. I didn’t have any idea of Naya Rivera’s death in 2020 until I started seeing the Glee videos on YouTube and seeing it mentioned in comments.

One of the big things that struck me was the political agenda of the show. It was very much a product of its time, and is a fantastic example of politics being upstream of culture. Even agreeing with the main agenda, if it had been any more in your face, I’m not sure I’d still have liked the show. Universal gay marriage exists, and should exist, but the proponents were rather impatient. It should have seen a legislative approach, while the ultimate resolution was legislated by the Supreme Court. Of course, to me marriage isn’t even a government thing at all, ever, and is a contractual association between any two or more people old and mature enough to understand what they are undertaking. The only reason for it ever to involve the government is that traditional marriage does, and presents a shortcut to legal details that otherwise at best require a jumble of paperwork, and a shortcut to benefits bestowed by the government. Some of the latter is to incentivize the creation of new subjects citizens, which takes you back to the presumption of opposite sex, but hey. Social Security survivor benefits? Marriage. That kind of thing, poof, all made automatic. Since the world is as it is, not as it should be, then it makes sense to have legal same sex marriage.

The funny thing is I got the wife hooked on it and she has actually watched the entire thing twice in the time I watched it once. We both fell in love with Brittany. I can see why they picked her up as a regular due in part to audience reaction.

When I did poke the show when it first came out, I somehow saw enough snippets of it to have seen Acafellas, to have seen an instance of “that’s how Sue sees it,” and to wonder how in the world it was going to work having a kid in a wheelchair doing song and dance numbers.

I could write for hours on every detail, so I need to stop soon. Some of the music… Meh. Good job, not my thing, and that does include some (most?) showtunes and old stuff. I eventually figured out the beloved Defying Gravity must be a song from the newfangled musical based loosely on Wizard of Oz. That I call it newfangled tells you a lot about how I perceive it and when it came to be on my radar. I haven’t looked it up to confirm that, or to find out just how old this “new” musical is. I hated most mashups. Ugh! If they were much more intolerable, I might have abandoned watching. And yes Will Schuester, I am part of the America that hates when you rap. Breaking the fourth wall and being self-referential amused me, as did periodically trying to pretend there was any relationship between the school’s finances and the elaborate productions, and as did the whole “band as furniture” thing.

Season 5 was pretty awful, especially after episode 13. The Quarterback was handled nicely, and I cried less than I’d expected. I probably liked season 4 the best, although I wanted more at the school and less in New York. Season 6 got some mojo back, in no small part due to the incredible new kids and a more mature Kitty. Those guys got such short shrift, but the show would arguably have run longer had Cory not self-destructed, a process that was visible in his appearance late in his run.

I’ve bought some songs from the show. Two feature Marley and Jake. I’d never heard of one, and the other one is a favorite of mine, at least as good as the original, which I also got around to buying. The other is The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, which I liked better than the original, perhaps in part because of my age when it was a hit. Nothing else has grabbed me enough yet. Maybe some of the Christmas music later.

The other character we both particularly love is Burt. He is just the best.

Well, that’s about enough for now.

Fifty Years

I’ve been quiet here, even thinking about taking it down. I’ve moved on from my obsession with the film Melody that dominated this place for a while. However, it’s still a good movie, albeit imperfect and a freshman effort by the writer and producer, and with an odd non-ending. So I would be remiss if I failed to note the 50th anniversary of the first release date of Melody.

It was released in the US March 28, 1971, having been filmed spring and summer of 1970. I never realized that was the first release. It was just days before my 10th birthday, and coincided with when I had my first, confusing, crush. It was apparently released here as “To Love Somebody.” Seeing it at the time might well have changed my life completely, assuming I wasn’t just bored and wondering why I’d been dragged to it.  That was also a few months before my parents were officially divorced, and about 13 months after my father had left and they were separated.

Other major release dates were:
UK April 8, 1971
Japan June 26, 1971
Argentina September 30, 1971

In the last two and elsewhere around the world, it was released under Melody, the name God and Alan Parker intended. In the UK, it was released, even more bizarrely than the US change, as SWALK, for sealed with a loving kiss. That was the decision of the distributor.

Perhaps it was a case of lessons learned that helped lead to it keeping the correct name and presumably being more intelligently marketed in Japan and places like Argentina. Perhaps the timing also made a difference. The March and April dates, in modern times, would have been chosen to avoid being up against summer blockbuster release dates, but this predated that direction in movie marketing.

It’s a shame nobody arranged a modest 50th anniversary release, big enough to satisfy the fans who didn’t get a DVD somehow. They’d hear of it. Most others wouldn’t care. Perhaps some would discover it if it popped up places like Amazon. For that matter, it ought to be available as a never-goes-away streaming option on some of the usual suspect platforms. But I digress. I only discovered it from clips being used with the associated Bee Gees songs on YouTube. That was intriguing, since I had a relatively similar story in my head inspired by First of May.

Anyway, congratulation for fifty years of Melody happiness.

Sigh…

I have been considering just taking this site down entirely, as a place poisoned by a mistake and a place past its time. I never seem to have time to write anyway, but the negative associations don’t help. I can always do something entirely knew and not necessarily known. Apparently not on this hosting, though, since FTP no longer works on it and I haven’t been able to get it reliably fixed.

Anyway, you’ll know what happened.

Happy Birthday Tracy!

Tracy Hyde, title character in Melody, which was in the early weeks of filming fifty years ago when she turned 11, is 61 today.

This post started as a test post because when I came here, considering posting the birthday, I noticed no pics were showing in existing posts. I tested with the below from last year’s birthday post, made at a time I was obsessive about the film. I discovered that in using relative references to pictures, it was now requiring a leading / and no longer understood the img URL without one.

This is a test

Depressing

It seems like I get depressed when I stop writing. I haven’t written here in, well, you can see when the previous post was. I never even posted about the finale of Alone, which went basically as expected. I did get busier with work, but then less busy, pending the seasonal burst starting soon through December. But when I’m home I surf , sometimes not for long before running out of steam, and then I play Solitaire. The plan was to write, and to juice that up by writing, even if not here. This one still feels poisoned to me by the horrible post some people knew was about an old friend and too many people saw during the way too long it was up. No matter that I explained myself and expressed my remorse, since I’m capable of introspection enough to have learned myself better from the whole thing. I was going to write here less and elsewhere more, but that didn’t happen. Indeed, it was almost as if that triggered the stoppage.

I also haven’t recently watched that favorite movie of mine that I got obsessed about, and that seems to provoke me into being happy. I came to feel like I over-analyzed it, but doing so gave me a critical eye for movie making that I lacked before. I even came up with my own “what happened next” that is at least as logical as anything in the film as made. After all, what do you do after that? People go home and face the music at some point. I didn’t work out what happens to the staff at the school, but if I were them I’d probably pretend nothing ever happened. No kids get in trouble with the school. They carry on, with or without any wisdom about how bad they are as teachers and administrators gained from the whole thing. The car is hard to sweep aside, though. How do the two lovebirds get home with a minimum of trauma?

Anyway, I should write more. Even if none of it is here. Since I have no retirement plan and am semi-retired already, courtesy of the circa 2008 economy and excess loyalty to old partners and big client, all I can come up with for maybe having income that doesn’t make me sore is writing books. If I never make money from it, I’d still prefer to end my life having given it a shot. If I start now, I’m already rolling when I reach a point where I can’t work. At something physical, that is. If I was too old to be hired for non-physical tech work in my mid to late forties, sure as hell nobody will be hiring me in my sixties and even further out of date on what’s current.

Or I can just keep busy trying to protect fallow blogs from comment spammers. It’s gotten completely out of hand. It seems like some of the ones protected by Akismet got auto-updated (no idea why I left that turned on on any of them) into Akismet being out of date. When Akismet was updated to match, it didn’t seem to do the job any more. There’s no way in WordPress to tell it to turn off comments for every last previous post. Besides, I have seen comment spammers generate “comments” for posts that don’t allow comments. I killed the worst of it on one blog when I was getting several hundred a day from an IP address. Blocked it, then had to block an entire range because they just changed within the range which they used. I’d ignore it except every one generates an e-mail notification for approval.

Alone Endgame

If you haven’t seen the past few episodes of Alone, there will be spoilers, and there will be speculation about the outcome.

So, we had our second third medical pull in episode 10. I just hope those starting to accumulate won’t mean an ending like season 3. It’ll forever feel like Zachary Fowler has an asterisk next to his win, amazing as he is, because the second place contestant, Carleigh Fairchild (why can I remember their full names but have trouble remembering first names from this season?), was pulled before she could die of the effects of weight loss. Michelle being pulled previously made me cry. This one made me sad. Both were, on seeing what they looked like under their clothes, absolutely necessary.

I just looked at Wikipedia to get the names and I am confused. It says Nikki was there for 52 days and was medically evacuated after Michelle day 48 and Barry day 69. I do not remember seeing that. I remember being surprised that we were down to just Woniya among the women. Maybe one of those times I dozed off when watching Alone was for longer than I thought.

With an episode left – I was right that there’d be 11 – we have Jordan, Woniyah, and Nathan.

My money is on Jordan. It seems somehow wrong that the guy who bagged a moose shouldn’t win, even if he is having trouble getting enough fat and protecting his stash from critters. His net was impressive.

If he doesn’t win, I’m rooting for Woniyah and would be surprised if it’s not her if something happens to him. The women have rocked and it’d be cool for one to win. Not if it’s contrived, but based on skill and the inevitable degree of luck involved.

I’m impressed that Nathan has done so well without a ferro rod. Perhaps others will try it in the future, seeing how well it can work if they are skilled. His reliance on the gill net is going to bite him, and I’m not sure he has the mental edge of the other two. It’d be perfectly cool for him to win and show that it can be done with a departure from the norms. He has already proved a lot. Anyone who is there for 70 plus days is the cream of the crop. There have only been seven contestants or teams that have been there longer in one season or another than he has, out of all the ones there have been. Other seasons were 47 total, so that’s 40 from other seasons and at least 7 from this season he will have outlasted.

These guys who remain will all be 70 days or longer. The record for anyone is 87 days. They are getting close. While it’s gotten harder, it strikes me that food has been easier this season than some. We’ve seen our first trapping of land animals that were larger than mice, our first successful hunt, and reasonable fishing results. We’ve seen evidence of a great deal of berries, up until it got too wintry.

If Jordan can get fish and not lose all his remaining moose meat, he has a solid shot. Woniyah is doing well with traps. Well enough? Maybe. Nathan is in the most danger food-wise, and it may come down to who gets to a low BMI first. Or who has an accident or loses hope.

Update:
It was surprisingly hard to figure out what I’d missed or was forgetting. It was Michelle who tapped “voluntarily” for medical reasons. It was Nikki who was involuntarily evacuated due to weight loss. I’d mixed them up and thus thought I’d forgotten Nikki’s departure. It was Michelle’s I’d forgotten, yet I did see it the week it happened. The only way I was able to figure this out was by playing the recap by the only YouTuber I know of who is doing recap/commentary about Alone now. I was unable to flip through the episode. When I tried going to late in the episode, it let me opt for the interactive ad, which I’d never picked before. I wanted to get the ad over and be able to flip through, back and forth, without it barfing. When I realized I needed to go back in the episode, it gave me standard ads because I’d been bad and skipped around. Apparently it cannot, in fact, keep track of the fact you’ve done an interactive ad.

Casting Again

This has implicit spoilers, if you have never read The Wheel of Time series.

The casting has grown on me, especially Rand and Mat after seeing more of the actors. Rand looks a lot like the Michael Whelan depiction, rather than the bizarre DKS depictions on most of the covers. The big thing is he looks slightly out of place in The Two Rivers due to his reddish hair, grey-ish eyes and extreme height. As long as the Aiel are cast to look within the range of why Rand resembles an Aiel, it works. He is also able to look a bit younger than the initial picture made him look, so he can age beyond the two years the story takes.

Mat looks like Mat, especially in some of the other material beyond the initial picture I saw. He looks of The Two Rivers.

Perrin… I can live with, but the build isn’t as broad or muscular. I can see a somewhat Middle Eastern appearance being in the realm for the area.

Egwene is still the one I look at and say “that’s not Egwene.”

She and Nynaeve have deep local genes. Ignoring that because TV, they look beautiful and strong-willed. It would be worse if they’d been cast as blonde or ginger, since they most definitely aren’t.

Lan’s casting will be interesting to see, since he actually looks Asian. They could cast someone of Japanese or mixed heritage easily, or of heritage that includes Korean or Mongolian.

Anyway, you’re catering to an audience that hasn’t read the books several times, or at all, and won’t care if the casting is accurate in appearance or ethnicity (which of course is all shook up this far in our future after thousands of years and the Breaking). It would still be weird if they didn’t cast a dark black beauty as Tuon, or an older one of the same as Semirhage. It would be weird if they didn’t cast Elayne, Morgase, or, if they ever get shown, Tigraine and Ilyena, as blondes or reddish blondes. It would be weird if they didn’t cast Avienda as some shade of redhead.

All of this makes me wonder about Loial. Will he even look like an Ogier? Ogier are aliens, so there’s no need to make them look human except to save on makeup or special effects. Perhaps they’ll take some guy and slap bushy eyebrows and Spock ears on him as if he’s the token elf.

I haven’t seen what anyone else has to say about this, besides a family member who was upset that people were critical of the casting. This suggests to me that my reaction must be mild compared to some. I’m not sure Peter Dinklage is a good comparison to bad casting being good, though. To make the Imp look as he did in ASOIAF would probably have required CGI or other hoop jumping that would detract from the dragon budget. That show, is, however, a good example of how far you can diverge and still be entertaining. Characters removed. Characters that don’t exist. Characters completely different ages. My understanding is that Logain will have a much bigger/different role on the WoT show, so there’s an example already if that is accurate. Maybe they’ll remove Faile! Heh. No, she’s critical to Perrin’s arc, but a lot of that can be trimmed. Kind of like a book or so per season, so maybe 8 seasons for 14-15 books (depending whether they show us anything from New Spring as backstory), with books 8-10 being squeezed to bare essentials to play a big part in condensing it that much.

WoT Casting

I didn’t go look up the details, but I saw a little bit about some additional casting for the Wheel of Time series.

Not sure how I feel about it. I know you don’t have to follow the books exactly, but…

I’ll still watch it to see how badly they fuck it up story-wise, but I’m not holding my breath.

Alone Season 6 Episode 5 (Spoilers)

Naturally Alone skipped a week for Independence day in the US, so this is where we learned whether Justin actually nailed the moose when he fired the arrow at the end of episode 4. There was some waiting for the beast to expire, but yes. This is a huge first for Alone. Part of it’s location and what’s available and legal. Part of it’s skill.

We’re getting a fascinating look at carving up a moose with a multitool and then processing and safekeeping the meat to maximize what keeps and what doesn’t get swiped by critters.

Contrast this to the contestant who proudly brought no bow and arrows, being a student of the show and knowing it’s traditionally useless. I was struck by most of them bringing that this year due tot he change of venue and better availability of non-fish.

Impressive of the two women who got rabbits. I thought one of them had snare loops that looked too large, but I’ve never even tried snaring so what do I know. Also, the hare she got turned out to be pretty big.

Notably, nobody went home and nobody as yet got obviously sick from what they’ve eaten. I wondered when the cramp attack happened if that was connected to the large numbers of berries. Man I hate cramps! Normally I get them in my legs. Not often, luckily. However, I recently had them in my torso. WTF!? The worst time I had them in a calf it felt like the muscle turned inside-out and it felt wrong for months afterward.

The previews! It looks like we’re getting a repeat of the shelter fire, but maybe more so. Or the editors made it look worse than the first time. Seriously, it looked like she might have lost the whole shelter. I guess we’ll see next time. Also, given that they seem to go for 10-11 episodes, we’re halfway there. At about 23 days, we’ve lost three and seven remain, Guaranteed one or two go next time. Well, thinking abut it, if episode 10 is a double episode finale that starts with three remaining, we have 4 to lose before then, and 4 episodes to lose them in.

Barring unforeseen problems, moose dude looks like a winner. At least a  finalist.

Not so sure about wolverine hunter with the shelter I looked at skeptically before he planned to improve it but got diverted. I’m surprised more of them haven’t insulated to the hilt. I suppose if you keep a fire inside, not as much need. Long as it’s protective enough from wind and elements. It’s bad, though, when snow comes way into the shelter, up to your sleeping bag.

Good episode.

Alternate Timelines and Yesterday (Spoilers)

As I mentioned in another post, I loved the Yesterday movie. It left a lot of questions and speculations, if you care to ask or entertain them. I’ll try not to be entirely specific, but the spoiler warning is in case I drift into spoilage or you consider some of the roundabout chatter to spoil things even though it’s more about storytelling mechanics and such.

Alternate timelines are a science fiction staple. It is common to ask “what if thing didn’t happen” or “…happened this other way” and tell a story from there. However, you can find yourself in an alternate  reality and you know – if not instantly – things are different. However, you might not know the full suite of things that are different. You might not know the point of departure that led to those things. Finding out some of that can be part of a story. Leaving things open to conjecture can be fun, too.

In a story idea I started writing and didn’t finish but am still working on and improving in my head, the thing was not only a different timeline, but in the past relative to the timeline of the travelers. The mechanism was a portal of unknown origin. Things being different becomes a big part of the story, even as some things are familiar.

As I came up with things that would be different, in a local area to local people, I came up with a series of how could that be, and eventually I looked at what might be the point of departure. Even though that may never be known to the people involved, I wanted to know. But once I knew, it made me think of all the other things that could be different, which helped give me my theory of timeline inelasticity.

Well, Yesterday is nothing less than a story of crossed timelines as entered unceremoniously by the star of the film, but never explained. It would hardly surprise those who haven’t seen the movie yet to know that no Beatles isn’t the only thing we learn is different. The nature of things that are different sets the expectation of how far back the point of departure goes. In the case of the movie, possibly farther back than the one I came up with for my story fuel. Possibly hundreds of years. At least to the 1800s. It doesn’t explore to any real degree the knock on effects of the Beatles themselves having been eliminated as a cultural and social influence. It’s highly focused on being the story it is, and there might be a lesson in that.

That it’s an alternate timeline begs some questions. How did Jack get there? Presumably the other timeline exists. Did that Jack die and his consciousness and memories went to this Jack? Does that Jack remember no Beatles and find himself surprised to be in a timeline with them? How related to all this was the global power flicker?

If they are playing it as not an alternate timeline, but one that was miraculously altered, it’s not just a memory wipe of sorts. There are physical effects. Jack’s Beatles albums are simply absent from his collection. One would expect anything like memorabilia, toys, posters, anything inspired by them to be gone. That’s easy and even mandatory in an alternate timeline that is physically different. I just can’t see it being the same timeline and same people. Easier the other way, for a given person to transfer over and replace the existing analogue, or for the consciousness of the two to swap between otherwise extremely close timelines.

From there, thinking about a different timeline, you can think about how any given life might have been different. You could go crazy doing that. Fun!

Yesterday Is Wonderful

I went to see Yesterday, well, yesterday (barely) and loved it. I am, of course, a sucker for romantic comedies. That’s what Yesterday is, at heart.

I don’t want to give anything away, so I will only spoil the part you may have wondered about the nature of and therefore aspects of the resolution of the story. The trailer made me think “and then he woke up from his coma and knew to tell Ellie he loved her.” Too trite, I thought, which makes it science fiction. It’s not too trite. This helps add some fascinating, amusing, and even tear-provoking details, and even a bit of suspense. Not that there’s no dream sequences at all, but that’s not what makes the plot possible.

It made me want to listen to the Beatles. More than normal.

Finally, it’s not giving anything away to surmise that the name Ellie was inspired by Eleanor Rigby, and to note that I was surprised it was well after the movie before I realized it.

Moose? Alone Season 6 Episode 4 (Spoilers)

I’m asleep when Alone airs, so I watch it sometime the next morning, after work. I completely forgot yesterday until I saw in Gmail a notice of a new video from Ray. The part of the blurb I saw before I realized that I’d forgotten Alone and could be spoiled was suggestive of what ended up happening.

I was happy that the consequences of the fire were minimal and the cliffhanger was just for excitement. Bad enough, since she had to do a lot of work on her shelter, and try to make it less likely to catch again.

The difference in apparent food sources between the sites is dramatic. I suppose it always was, but in this case there’s wild game as well as fish. What’s missing compared to the Vancouver seasons is food from the sea other than fish, and the variety you might find. Mussels, crabs, limpets, seaweed. What’s there compared to other places seems to be volume of edibles like berries. It’s the first time bringing bow and arrows has been useful. There was another grouse. We’ve seen multiple squirrels. Rabbits. Muskrat, for what that was worth. Always mice. For most of them, it seems to be a matter of getting that kind of food or starving. I would think that if one of your ten items were going to be rations, you’d want the rations to be a fat and protein rich item you could use to supplement things like blueberries during the stretch when there’s no meat or fish.

Based on the title, I was expecting someone to bag a moose. Maybe they did, but it’s part of a cliffhanger where one is leaking blood and may or may not be found and harvested.

These people are great shots! Shooting a squirrel from way up in a tree you’re not even that close to? Amazing.

The arrow in the leg looked pretty bad but also looks likely not to be a showstopper. It’s possible it hobbles her due to depth or infection. It’s also possible we hear little or nothing further about it.

Poor Ray. Falling in when jumping to that rock. Finally trying to expand his hunting area, only to be too winded to go far. He’s our first tap that’s not due to overt injury or illness. Just “I can’t do this.” It wasn’t working out well for him, and it was getting to him, though he was understandably torn. He reminds me somewhat of Mike Lowe, if not as creative. Kind of sad that he had a decent shelter, then perfected it, then left.

I notice this year the environment has dictated a relatively narrow style of shelter that relied heavily on large quantities of natural materials for insulation. None of this basic tarp shelter stuff. That’s an element and a starting point, guaranteeing waterproofness and speeding the process, but in the end you might never know there’s a tarp in all that.

I was expecting a moose. I want a moose! Heh. Based on the snippets the show of scenes through the season, there will be one. Just may not be that one.

Alone Season 6 Episode 3

Gotta love when they do cliffhangers. Nobody tapped, but it’s obvious next week someone will. But will it be due to the shelter fire in progress when the show ended? Will it be due to the arrow in a leg shown in the preview for episode 4? Will it be something else?

Poor Ray. I love Ray! I totally understand the thing with the squirrel.

I’ve concluded there’s a shocking amount of luck involved, which can completely cancel out skill.

The one skilled at fishing can’t catch anything. So far, not even with a fishing platform allowing lines to go out farther from shore. The one who took the risk of bringing a gill net instead of a ferro rod is getting giant fish in his net. I had assumed this would prove to be a poor location for a gill net. Go figure. Not that I know much about fishing.

It seemed completely disgusting to lick the milk from the doe rabbit. Besides that, though, what a nice haul with snares. Maybe because of all the surrounding burned out areas. If wildlife has found a haven in the green island where that site is, that would explain the ease of snaring four big rabbits.

I’m not sure I’d do well at something where eating organs, heads, even entrails, is what you do to maximize food intake.

Same with fish eggs. The idea of roe has always disgusted me. Raw eggs right out of the trout? Hell no! If I thought I really needed the food, I’d have thrown them in stew. At least let them cook, and blend in with the fish proper. I wasn’t too surprised that he got sick. Apparently the fish had died long enough before he retrieved it that bacteria had a chance to set in. It had to happen either to him or to lick milk off raw rabbit guy.

Smart with the birch sap. That’s decent flow for the time of year. A shame she couldn’t rig up a tap and collection system and either simply drink it, or render it down toward syrup or sugar. Add that to your tea of fir needles or blueberry leaves.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see the outcome of the fire. I suspect it’s one of those things, where they play it up. And while not great to have the shelter damaged substantially or even lost, as long as she doesn’t lose her tools and such, and can hold out for the night of being cold, it might not be a showstopper.

Starring Gandalf?

The news is that Rosamund Pike has been cast as Moiraine for the Wheel of Time series. First casting decision and apparently touted as the star, also with producer credit.

She looks close enough to the part, even if her hair is a bit light in its natural color. She’s about the right actual age, to within a couple years, and manages to look younger than she is. Ambiguous.

The thing is, calling her the star would be like casting Gandalf and calling him the star in a Lord of the Rings series. She’s an important character who is as responsible as anyone for saving the world, but she also spends a large chunk of the two years real time of the events of the main 14 books dead, out of action. Gandalf. If you take the one prequel book, or inflate things to show more of the 20 years of her life that led to the events of the main series, or somehow eliminate the time she spends dead, then it fits better. But she still doesn’t get a lot of proverbial screen time compared to other star characters. Not in the longer run.

Given that they are blurbing the series completely inaccurately versus what the actual storyline is, it’s less surprising. My hopeful take on the blurb is misdirection, trying not to give away too much, preferring to obfuscate for those who didn’t read the series but might be interested in such a fantasy show.

If I had expected them to cast one person first, it would have been Rand. However, for viewers who aren’t readers, that means nothing or, worse, gives away that he’s the messiah. You let it become apparent that Jon Snow is that important later, even with a finished series.

The Cutting Edge

Watched The Cutting Edge on Amazon Prime last night. It’s the umpteenth time I’ve seen it, but it had been a while. Between me and the wife, Three copies of it came into the marriage. She grew up partially in Minnesota. We, and her family, sometimes quote it as if it were The Princess Bride or something.

Naturally I like it because it’s a romantic comedy, albeit more dramatic than some. However, I have always loved figure skating. My father loved it and I grew up with that. Everyone but me ice skated, to some degree, on the bogs. They used my physical problems and the presumption I’d be unable to do it as a reason not to spend the excessive money skates for me would have cost. It was roller skating that my father competed in, in roller dancing pairs. He also played ice hockey, which did a number on his knee.

Throw figure skating and romance together and it’s all over. Funny thing is, I remember hearing about the film when it was in production and being intrigued but skeptical. I never went to see it, catching it years later on video.

I still love it, but I don’t find Moira Kelly as attractive as I once did. Rachelle Ottley is still pretty awesome, though. I remain surprised that D.B. Sweeney didn’t have a bigger career.

If any girl had behaved toward me the way Kate did to Doug initially, it would have been all over. Sadly, that became my mental image of girls at an early enough age to stick. They also didn’t have to be that way all the time. Once was enough. It’s like reputation. Once destroys it. Building it takes Every Single Time without that Once. I try to be understanding of root causes when I see that now, but it’s not so easy when you’re younger.

Heck, I can think of an example offhand, even though she’s nobody I ever found attractive. She would have helped establish the broader negative impression. My 4th grade crush, in what could have been a Melody-like scenario, had a single friend in town. That friend’s father went on the destroy my woods and build on the land around us. To my crush, that girl was awesome. I saw her as a bitch who hated me, notably around 6th grade. I find it hard ever to think of her any other way, and was shocked when she saw me at an event in another town a couple years later and greeted me with enthusiastic friendliness. When I think of writing a Melody-like story based on my youth, someone analogous to her would probably be a character and I find it hard to picture her as helpful and sympathetic. And yet sleeping over her house was how my crush got some time out of the home environment with her town drunk father.

I digress. I really love The Cutting Edge. I’m liable to watch it a dozen more times before I expire. Granted, I’ve already watched Melody more, and Moonrise Kingdom twice if you don’t count the large portion of it I’d seen via clips. It may have been considered cheesy, but to me it’s a classic.

Muskrat Vengeance

Season 6, Episode 2 of Alone. This will be spoilers, probably, even if I am vague.

The title of the episode is “Tainted,” which sets it up that something associated with that will play a role. Clever editors that they are, they create the question of which thing it might be. We already wondered from last week about the mushrooms tainted with mouse turds. Clever, putting traps in that area, knowing it’s a popular rodent hangout.

One of them cuts her hand, pretty deeply. This might normally want a stitch or three, but in the end appeared to be coming along fine. It could yet be an issue.

In the first episode, it seemed like food wasn’t a big deal. But maybe it’s just that the gill net was a far better idea than it sounded. Now we see people already not eating because lack of fish in particular.

But wait! Here’s a trout, finally. Look at those parasites. Hey, I’ll cook it thoroughly. Will the fish cause a problem by being tainted? Or will the cut be tainted?

Now Donny gets a muskrat. Of all things! This bring back memories of my childhood, and a muskrat we played with by cranberry bogs in a neighboring town. It lived at the edge of the reservoir. I was pretty young and don’t remember much besides it was cute. We entertained ourselves while my mother worked.

Poor thing, through the head. So he butchers it and goes over the things to do and look for so it’s not tainted. Scent glands begone! Check the innards, no spots on the liver. To me it goes without saying to cook it well, and it looked like it was cooked just short of charred.

Two hours later… The pain! Man, it looked horrible. Well, poor guy never recovered and did the right thing. It did answer a question I’d always had: What if you’re on medication? He was too sick to take the meds he’s on as a result of his heart attack a year earlier. While some of that stuff may sometimes be questionable, and an overreaction if you haven’t had a heart attack and they just suspect you could, better to be safe, especially in that severe of a case. What makes me wonder about just what the “taint” was is he complained about all his joints hurting, after a while. I haven’t tried researching yet, and haven’t watched any YouTube folks who might have done so.

I thought the fishing raft with the found barrel was clever. Not so much when I interpreted “raft” as something she’d ride on and was saying “don’t fall in, not here.” But the idea of it holding lines and drifting out deep enough to maybe catch something, then be pulled in, that’s great.

And None On The Wife’s Side

If the eldest’s DNA results are any indication. We had no American come back on my mother’s, even though we “know” there’s Wampanoag. We had none come back on mine, seemingly ruling out that as an unknown but sometimes suspected element on my father’s side.

Now my daughter’s results are in, and fascinating within the realm of the expected. Despite even more muted suspicions on her side, if these results are indicative, no Indian on my wife’s side either.

45% England, Wales and Northwestern Europe
29% Ireland and Scotland
16% Germanic Europe
6% Norway
4% Sweden

While my mother showed a trace of Germanic, I showed none. My father-in-law is of Mennonite ancestry, mainly via Switzerland. If anything, Germanic could have been higher.

My wife had a Swedish great grandmother who lived on the Norway side of the border before coming to the US. This is about as expected for Scandinavian.

My wife has ancestry from Country Cork, specifically, so the kid has a great share of what amounts to Celtic DNA than I do, between mine that’s heavy on the Scottish and hers that’s heavy on the Irish. In fact, the breakdown actually suggests that Irish and Germanic may be my wife’s biggest components.

In the kid, English et al are diluted from my 74% down to 45%. At a crude computation, it implies that the wife might be 16% on that count.

It would be interesting to see what my wife actually registered on a test, and the same for my father.

Really… NO Little Indians

I got my Ancestry DNA results. My mother’s shows no American, seemingly eliminating the Wampanoag ancestor we know is there. Mine shows no American, seemingly eliminating the possibility of a not entirely surprising or unsuspected but by no means definite surprise on my father’s side.

Mine is even vaguer than hers, and I’m not even quite sure just what it suggests about my father’s side beyond that he is even more English than my mother and less Celtic than my mother. The traces of Germanic and Scandinavian hers showed disappeared in mine, which is margin of error stuff. Mine shows a few percent French, on the other hand, but the wider area covered by “French” includes most of Spain, the northern half of Italy, part of Portugal, Switzerland, and some other small countries. Frankly (ha!), I’d have expected that more on my mother’s side.

Anyway, Wales and Northwestern Europe, 23% Ireland and Scotland, and 3% French. My mother, by comparison, was 55% and 36% on the first two where we overlap, plus 6% Germanic Europe and 3% Norway.

My uncle is in there and I found you can see what components your matches include, if not the percentages. His is the same elements as hers except no Norway. That’s the way these things end up varying. So it’s not as simple as to figure my father’s would show 5% French because I must have gotten that from him. If it were that simple, extrapolating from me on the main ones… My father would be 10% Ireland and Scotland, and… I can’t have figured that right, because the math doesn’t work. No, it does, if French isn’t a factor. He’s be 88% England, Wales and Western Europe. I know my mother’s side is far more Scottish than his, but I’d be surprised if his broke down tot hat little. Sadly, I can’t imagine getting him to do the test, even if I buy it for him.

I haven’t gotten the results for the offspring, mailed the same day, and that should also be interesting.

My conclusion is that the DNA tests are remarkably vague and are a marketing tool to get people to subscribe to extremely expensive other services. The prices I see there are completely haywire budget busters.

Nearly Married Bobby Browning

I picked out “Nearly Married” to watch on Prime Video. Turns out it was released in 2016 as Where Are You, Bobby Browning? The new title is certainly appropriate, arguably more so.

It was so funny! It poked fun at the Lord of the Rings, renfair, and to some degree Wiccan crowds along the way. I didn’t check Rotten Tomatoes, but looks like it’s pretty low rated at IMDB.

In some ways, it covered the romantic comedy tropes, and those associated with just past teen years ages, neatly. In some ways, it veered in different directions, especially toward the end where it earned the revised title.

The big takeaway for me: Where has Cassi Thomson been all my life? She is the most adorably beautiful woman I think I’ve seen in a romantic comedy since perhaps Meg Ryan at the height of her powers. She just lights up a room with a look and a smile.

I was super impressed, in a different way, with Olivia Grace Hunter as Victoria, the strange girl who watered plants with antifreeze and dryly asked inappropriate things like the way people preferred to die.

Matt Dallas was good as Bobby Browning, and the chemistry between him and Cassi was great.

I loved Burtie, played by Segun Oduolowu, in a young version of the wise old black man role combined with the observant and sometimes unintentionally funny foreigner role.

I’d like to think that if I’d had a Maddie, I’d have recognized and done something about it, especially if her feelings were that apparent. I’d also like to think she and I would have found ourselves even if we were together early. There’s a planet core of truth to the proposition that being set free can give strength. Then again, I never found strength in never being “encumbered” that way. If anything, it was a distraction from finding myself, thinking I needed to find her and worse, not knowing how or daring to try whether I knew how or not. But I digress.

I’d say I cringed at times, but I always cringe at times. I feel too much as if am the character and am in the embarrassing or traumatic or emotional situation. I feel things too much.

Overall, it was fun and delightful, and I could watch Cassi, at least playing Maddie, all day. Samantha Cope as Blake is a bonus.

I meant to say also that I kept trying to figure out who Maddie reminded me of! It was driving me crazy. I’m not sure if it’s someone I have known, or an actress, or what. She reminded me a little of someone I worked with in 1993, but I don’t think that’s the exact or only match that was tickling at my brain.

It’s Only Make Believe

This song came on my playlist and triggered my posting it as one of those songs I can’t resist singing along with when it plays. Funny thing is, the song right before it was a Carpenters song that already had me thinking about posting , but on the topic of Carpenters more generally. Maybe later.

Alone Season 6 Episode 1 (Spoilers!)

I’m not going to try particularly not to spoil this. Read on at your own peril.

So the new season of Alone is in a new location, in the Arctic, around Great Slave Lake in Canada. Cold is more of an issue than in the past. Large game is more available than it has been in the past. Large predators are at least as much of an issue, and there’s overlap between game and predators, especially if you count “predator” as anything big any potentially aggressive or incautious enough to harm you.

I was wondering whether the contestant who harvested mushrooms that had extensive mouse turds would get sick, or whether instead the first contestant ever not to bring a ferro rod would get sick when he couldn’t initially boil water. If so, we didn’t see it this episode, which took us to day 5.

The first tap was on day 4. An otherwise excellent contestant fell and broke his leg. Ouch. That was, as I recall, Tim. I am bad at learning their names and remembering them after the episode is over, until they’ve become a weekly fixture.

I was dismayed by the guy not bringing a ferro rod. We have seen friction fire done on Alone, by a great contestant who lost his ferro rod. He actually had less trouble than this guy who planned for using a bow drill. I can’t be too critical, having never tried it myself. It depends heavily on the types of wood and having practiced. He’ll have to work at keeping the fire going or easily rekindled from embers.

The ferro rod was a trade-off for bringing a gill net. That struck me as a strange thing to bring, so it was fitting that he was shown harvesting a gigantic trout with it. What about when the water freezes? If it freezes enough to be an issue before they’re done.

I was amazed by the contestant who took out a squirrel with an arrow through the head.

I guess we’ll see what’s next. I enjoy watching, but just as glad it’s not me in that environment. I’d like to see some better shelter building than has been evident so far.

Tammy

I knew the song Tammy by Debbie Reynolds existed and was pretty, though I’m not sure I’d ever heard the whole thing. A few years back, I stumbled across the song on YouTube, and the movie it came from, Tammy and the Bachelor.

I watched the movie and thought it was adorable, if a bit cheesy. But hey, it dates to the fifties, from when Tammy was a top song. This certainly explains why my awareness of it was from hearing my mother sing just the “Tammy, Tammy. Tammy’s in love” part of it and little or nothing else.

Now it’s a song I like to hear periodically, and I can’t help but sing along.

Since I always knew Debbie Reynolds as an older woman, at least relative to me, it was insightful to see how appealing Princess Leia’s mom was long before her daughter became the better known of the two to most people. It’s also super strange to see Leslie Nielsen so young, as a handsome romantic lead. Surely that can’t be the same guy…

Remembering D-Day

Well, not remembering, since it was 17 years before history began for me personally. However, it is on my mind. It is astonishing, what a feat the whole thing was, and what was accomplished.

It’s an odd thing. It might have been possible to sit back and do nothing but defend the UK and other places that had either not been taken or been freed already, while the Soviet Union inexorably kicked Nazi butt. It’s arguable that we didn’t defeat Germany so much as they did, although the United States and Great Britain helped make it easier.

However, whatever they defeated, they weren’t giving up. That was the big imperative for getting on with it then and racing to Germany. It might have been better for millions of people had we started sooner on that phase. Then again, we might not have been ready, planning might not have been sufficient, it might have been a disaster. Stirling only knows how it might have turned out then.

The Russian people, and any Soviet subjects who fought with them, were big damn heroes in that they were instrumental in defeating the Nazis. They don’t get enough credit. At the same time, the evil empire they had no choice but to be fighting for was fire fighting fire. The Normandy invasion was in part, however little touted, about a firebreak.

But I digress. It’s a shame we are on the verge of losing the last people with direct memories of this particular history. To die is to forget. To forget is to risk repeating mistakes. The least we can do is to continue remembering second-hand, and to honor the memory of those who did what needed to be done in those increasingly long ago days.

You Gotta Have Art

On this day in the Melody universe, Friday, June 5, 1970, nothing we saw on screen happened. Or the cafeteria scene happened, and nothing happened the previous day. This isn’t an exact science, unless you are Alan Parker and have a clear memory of the intent, despite almost 50 years having passed.

However, there was a painting scene reportedly filmed but left out. I’d like to think that that happened on the otherwise empty day. They were in art class, and Daniel was noted to be really good at painting. Presumably someone already knew that, with respect to the intro part of the film when he wanted to try painting something new and had a girly magazine a boy at school had given him so he’d no what a nude looked like.  However, we could take that to be from his prior school. Or he could have gotten it at this school but mostly he’d kept a low profile in whatever brief time he’d been there before the school holiday in late May.

Besides what I’ve seen about it, there’s one picture floating around, of Ornshaw with a paintbrush, looking crazed. It’s not high resolution and isn’t easy to tell from the background, but I’ve concluded it’s at school. My initial perception was that he’d visited Daniel’s house and it was in Daniel’s room. Could also be that. I’ll post the picture here.

 
Picture of Ornshaw with paintbrush, presumably in deleted scene in art class from Melody movie.

Desperado

This is an easy one for favorite song by a band. In this case, The Eagles, who I consider a bit overrated. Heresy! Not that I don’t enjoy some of their music, but I just don’t think they are All That.

That said, this is probably the single most “my song” song that there is, in terms of relating to it and feeling that it describes me.

Funny thing is, I adored the Linda Ronstadt version long before I knew it was a cover of an original by the Eagles, or heard that version. Weird, huh? Appropriate, though, for her to be covering songs by her old backup band members who eclipsed her in fame. So there is no way I could ever dislike her version, but I came to prefer the Eagles.

My Friend Maureen Normally Sits There

If my timeline for the fictional events of Melody is accurate, then on this date in 1970 Daniel asked to sit with Melody in the school cafeteria. Melody didn’t say no, but told him “I don’t know, my friend Maureen normally sits there.” Maureen, right behind him, is amused and sits. The whole places laughs and Ornshaw rescues Daniel and guides him to the table with the gang of boys. Melody looks Daniel’s way, shades of Daniel having looked at her in assembly. Ornshaw sees her and makes a face. She cutely responds in kind.

Nothing happens the next day. Or this is the next day, and nothing happens on this date instead. It’s unclear. I suspect that the missing day involved the art scene I have heard that they filmed and didn’t use. There’s never a reference to Daniel’s painting talent at school or among the other kids, except from Ornshaw at field day, but supposedly it was known due to the unused scene.

No Little Indians

My mother got an Ancestry DNA test for Christmas and never activated it and sent it in. A few weeks ago, I activated it for her and helped her with getting the sample sent in. Overnight the results came in. I’d used one of my e-mails, so I saw it right away.

Subsequent to getting hers done, my phone heard me talking about it and caused Facebook on my computer to advertise a Mother’s Day special to me for an unprecedented low price for the tests. We’re talking just over half the norm.

My oldest had wanted to do one and suggested I do one, which was funny because I had been thinking of it. I’d been leaning toward using a different service that might have better results, but Ancestry does strike me as good in terms of numbers of people who’ve used it, if you want to pursue genetic matches.

I ordered two, since it was so cheap, and ours went in not two weeks after my mother’s went in. I figured it’d be fascinating in that I could extrapolate my father from my results versus my mother’s, and could extrapolate my wife’s from my results versus my daughter’s. Now, these aren’t in yet. That’s be super exciting.

My mother’s results are basically what I would expect, with one exception. All my life, we have “known” that one of the multiple Seth Howlands in her lineage, circa 3-5 generations back from her, pissed off his family by marrying a Wampanoag.

The results? 55% England, Wales and Northwestern Europe, 36% Ireland and Scotland, 6% Germanic Europe, and – a mild surprise but easy to account for via British Isles if nothing else – 3% Norway.

Wait, what? No North American? No. And while it’s possible through the foibles of DNA inheritance, it can be there in a small amount in the family tree but not show up, it tends to indicate that the Wampanoag story is just that: a story.

If mine has North American in it, on the other hand, it would give credence to the rumored and speculated by not “known” presence of Native North American in my father’s father’s side, whether through his mother or his father. There have been even more dubious suggestions of African in the mix, explaining my grandfather’s nose and hair. Doubtful, but that would be a cool thing to show up.

I was a little disappointed with the vagueness of the areas represented by the ethnicity regions. Each of those regions has smaller areas, but there is nothing distinct enough to tie her to any of them. They are flagged as going back at least 500-1000 years, I believe was how it described the solid rather than open circles that appeared for each.

I was not surprised, and as such less disappointed than I might have been, about the Indian thing. It’s hardly a surprise.

He’s Quite a Nice Boy, Really

If my timeline of dates for events in the fictional Melody universe in 1970 is accurate, then on this date there was a school assembly. Whatever else happened, the headmaster led them in singing the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy and Daniel stared across the hall at Melody. Ornshaw noticed and started a whisper brigade to let Melody know, so she turned to look once it got to Muriel and she said “Melody, someone’s looking at you” and something else indistinguishable that probably indicates who or where.

Later that day, there are what appear to be music tryouts. Are they for the next year? Maybe. Seems kind of late in the school year. Stacey is on the tuba, providing some subtle humor. Daniel walks into the music room with his cello. Melody and Rhoda are waiting. When Stacey is done, Rhoda gets called in, apparently for vocals. Melody is uncomfortable and uncertain. Daniel is thrilled and uncertain. For something to do, she practices on the recorder. Daniel turns it into a duet, which makes her happy and him happier. Finally Ms. Fairfax comes out and uses the excuse of sending Daniel with a note to Mr. Dicks to shut them up so they don’t drown out Rhoda’s tryout. Fairfax clearly has some idea what’s going on already. I like her. The fact that there’s a subtle indication she’s maybe having a thing with the headmaster makes her even more human.

Daniel suffers the dinner party, which we know was planned for the Wednesday following the day the main characters were introduced, so it has to be Wednesday. Melody eats watching TV with her mother and grandmother. They had fun creating a completely inane fake movie scene to show on the TV. When asked if she’d picked up her pink dress from the cleaners – the one she will wear to the upcoming dance – she shows her humorous, smart ass side to divert them away from her failure to do so and push their panic buttons with a wild tale. As she’s being sent to her room, she tells her granny that the boy in the tale, clearly inspired by Daniel, is “quite a nice boy, really.” At that point we know she’s reciprocating and getting reeled in.

Love at First Sight

I just realized that if my revised schedule for Melody is correct, this is the date on which Daniel sees Melody in ballet class and falls in love. Later he follows her, Muriel, Peggy and Rhoda to the cemetery where Muriel demonstrates kissing on a Mick Jagger poster. I didn’t post the revised schedule, but referenced it at the end of my new timeline post, after I realized my timeline overlapped a school vacation week in 1970 in England.

Mine

It’s not gone. It’s mine.

I had meant to look up the lyrics to First of May for a while, and just remembered. I traditionally heard it as “… kissed your cheek and you were mine.” Since Melody, I have seen or heard it primarily interpreted as “… kissed your cheek and you were gone.”

It’s mine, not gone. Subject to lyrics sites not always being accurate.

Mine makes much more sense. This is a wonderful moment, the moment she is… gone? No! The moment she’s his! Someone may come between them later, but that day, when he kisses her cheek, it cements that their young relationship is love.

Gone would have made excluding a kiss a good decision.

Mine would have made including a kiss a good decision.

They didn’t include the kiss, which I will never understand. They took pictures, both directions, on the set and then for publicity and such later. They got an almost accidental kiss at the seaside.

Of course, what if they hadn’t been interrupted before the wedding finished? (“Man and wife! Say man and wife!”) Would Ornshaw have said kiss the bride and would they have kissed properly? It was written that way, both for the sake of the story and because maybe the team didn’t want to go there. It was fine in 2005 in Little Manhattan, and still innocent and chaste in a way that Moonrise Kingdom wasn’t, but in Melody they were going for almost complete innocence.

Anyway, that was all. It’s “mine.” Gone, gone.

Summer With Monika

I haven’t watched this movie. I have seen it mentioned in connection with either Melody or Moonrise Kingdom, as an influence. I have watched bits of it, skipping through, online with subtitles in English. I am not sure I care whether I see it. I have read the description of the whole thing, but I’d forgotten it enough to be really struck by the ending when I was unwatching it yesterday.

They aren’t kids, as in other films, but are 19 and 17. She’s no kid, at 17, but she’s certainly a free spirited wild child, near as I can tell.

The bits where they camp out along the water are probably the Moonrise Kingdom connection.

What struck me hard about it was her leaving him and the baby girl at the end. She reminds me so much of the wife, though she never physically left. She, in the terminology I like to use when the woman seduces the man incautiously or intentionally to this end, knocks him up. Actually, this happened to my brother, with the ages reversed. He never got a chance to finish growing up normally, which he needed to do. Or I suppose in a way he grew up too fast, just not completely or normally.

When things weren’t peachy – they were life as it really is – she got angry and showed her crazy side. Not that she hadn’t already, in more fun ways, that summer. She felt stuck in the house while he got to leave. To work to try to support and make things better for them! This is all quite familiar. And to be fair, it’s not easy to be stuck at home with the domestic duties. It’s easy to perceive the one going to work as having it made. It might be tempting, against all logic and self-interest, to try to divert or sabotage that.

It’s possible to leave without leaving. In a surprisingly similar scenario, that’s what happened here. Together, not together. Friends raising kids well, while she strives to have something secure that comes after. No matter how shaky that gets and how much she tries to leave the afterward scenario, it’s like an addiction.

Meanwhile, I see a financial crisis looming in 4 years or so, if not sooner, breaking our stable arrangement. I’m quietly trying to make myself a different future to thwart that. I’ve seen it coming for years. As far as I can tell, she just realized it yesterday. Except the guy who represents security in the future has been a factor too long and she’s held on too hard not to have realized it, so I assume she just mentioned but was long aware of it. Conscious or not, I take it to be her main motivation besides more fun and less drudge. He represents more fun and always did.

But I digress. I see Summer With Monika as pretty sad and depressing. Not the proverbial Hollywood ending. Not the ending where anything could happen and it could be happy as it gets. Not the ending that’s half happy in one regard and might still be happy in another. Not the ending that heals a whole community and is happy for the main pair. Not even the ending where maybe in a few years, when they’re not 13 any more, they can be together.

A Little Romance (1979)

I have not seen the whole movie. I have watched trailers, and I watched bits of it on an online site where the sound didn’t work but there were unsynchronized captions. So I basically know the story, have seen the climax and ending and other bits.

Until I read a description and parsed that the kids in it were 13, I thought they were older teens. I took Diane Lane to be about 16, as Lauren. Thelonious Bernard looks like he could be younger, as Daniel, but I still wouldn’t have placed him at 13.

I might have seen this , or part of it, sometime in the past. It seemed a bit familiar.

It follows some of the same kinds of hijinks in a Melody or a Moonrise Kingdom. It’s not that they want to get married Right Now, near as I could discern, but they want and expect to be in love forever. They run off from France to Venice to kiss under the Bridge of Sighs. Legend says this will make your love last forever. She is American, but has been living in France for three years while her mother works on some film production. Suddenly it’s over and there’s a wrap party and a forthcoming move to Houston. The post-film would be a pen pals phase and whether they see each other again is left to your imagination.

Unlike the younger kids in the other films, they look like it’d be perfectly reasonable for them to have a physical relationship that goes beyond lots of kissing. Unless I missed that part, they don’t. There’s a funny part where a friend gets them into the projection booth of a pornographic theater, after they get kicked out of a regular theater for being unable to prove she’s old enough to see the film. She looks, covers her eyes in disgust, looks again, then leaves and he goes after her when he sees she’s missing. He wisely observes that what’s in that film is something fake, not love.

I don’t have a strong enough urge to see the whole thing to sit through the bad online version or buy a physical copy for a lot of money and/or used. I may be thinking of a different movie, but one of the ones I looked into in the past day or so would have been $30.

Anyway, Diane Lane was beautiful in this, her first film, and reminded me of Jodie Foster. She had acted since she was little, so was not new to acting. It was just her first film (or TV) role and as such is the first thing listed in IMDB. That means she was more experienced with acting than Tracy Hyde , who was also not absolutely inexperienced in the sense she’d been a model and stage trained. She had some acting knowledge, knew how to take direction, and how to present herself. Thus she came across seasoned in Melody.

It might be interesting to see it all if I ever get the chance, but I got enough of a taste for comparison.

Little Manhattan (2005)

What a wonderful movie! I discovered this via a forum where Melody was being discussed and other movies came up. It looked like it would be so good that I took a chance and bought it. It doesn’t hurt that Bradley Whitford features as the father of 10 almost 11 year old Gabe, as I am a big fan. Though I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen Whitford play anything other than Josh Lyman, just with different character names and scenarios. Perhaps a bit like William Shatner is always William Shatner, whatever the role.

If you like Melody or Moonrise Kingdom, you will like this. It has kind of a mixed happy ending, pretty much as you expect to get right from the start. If I’d had a Rosemary, I’d have not been 42 when I got married.

The kids were absolutely delightful and well cast. Josh Hutcherson went on to become big. Charlotte Ray Rosenberg, introduced in her first role shades of Tracy Hyde in Melody, was perfect, stunning, and has spent a lot of time doing other things before really continuing an acting career. They were 11 when filming Little Manhattan, and she was his first kiss courtesy of the movie kiss.

The dynamic is different from that of Melody, but wandering free around London and Manhattan aren’t so different. It’s summer, so no classmates for most of the film, unless you count karate class, which is the catalyst. Instead of the ballet class, he falls in love with her when he tags along while she goes dress shopping to be a flower girl at her aunt’s upcoming wedding. In some ways they seem older than the kids in Melody, by being modern. In others, they seem younger, which they are, in screen age. I haven’t tried to figure out when the movie filmed, but these things are typically the preceding year or so before the release year. They were both born in 1992, so turned 13 in the year it released. The fun fact about the first kiss said they were 11 when that happened. By comparison, Tracy and Mark were just 11 and almost 12 during the filming of Melody. The kids in Melody were verging on turning 12. The kids in this one were just 11 and verging on turning 11. Essentially a school year younger than the kids in Melody. Just out of 5th grade for the summer as opposed to being close to getting out of 6th grade for the summer.

There are a lot of differences between this and the other movies. It’s about first love, sort of a coming of age and the realization girls don’t have cooties, whatever those are. It’s also a look at the relationships or would-be relationships of others around them, and at how kids see things, how adults see things, and how adults might just be kids who got older without actually “knowing it all.”

I feel like I shouldn’t say too much because spoilers, and yet it’s been out for 14 years. Just because I never heard of it doesn’t mean it’s new enough for the need of spoiler warnings to apply.

The fantasy elements are funny and sometimes touching.

The film uses the same flash forward thing Moonrise Kingdom does to suck you in with the goldfish right up front. When it gets there in practice and there’s like 20% of the film left, it’s clear that was just a flash forward to a critical point.

It’s nice to see adults take the “love life” of kids that young seriously, and not in an alarmed sort of way. Granted, they neither tried to get married nor ran away together. Her parents effectively taking them on a cool date was awesome. Even more so when, on top of the hand holding opportunity, they actively provided the chance at the first kiss.

I’ve been to New York City – Manhattan – exactly once in my life, for an afternoon. I’ve never been a city person, and in a way I don’t relate to it at all. On the other hand, it’s America’s city, maybe the world’s city, and it was a cool place to visit. This almost makes me want to watch one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail, again. It’s been… at least several years. I’m not even sure I ever got that on DVD. It may have been VHS.

Oh! One cool thing I wanted to mention is the song. They used a cover of Love Grows, which is a natural with a romance featuring a girl named Rosemary. Looks like it’s by someone I’ve never heard of named Freedy Johnston. No offense, and it’s actually pretty good, but the original is one of my all time favorite songs and I still prefer Love Grows by Edison Lighthouse. It almost made me wish I’d loved a girl named Rosemary so the song would fit. There was a Rosemary on elementary school. Nice girl and all, but not someone I’d ever picture as more than my buddy. No idea what ever happened to her. I’ve actually asked people who shared her surname if they were related over the years. There’s also a Rosemary I am acquainted with online, dating back to 2003 through blogging.

One more thing. Watching the trailer after seeing the movie… The trailer is the movie, basically. Extreme Reader’s Digest version, but it’s basically there. You won’t see them go all the way across NYC to look at an apartment his father could potentially move to, or come all the way back, 67 blocks, on a scooter, to find the cops had been engaged because his mother realized he was missing. But it’s the high points, near enough. Really you should watch it all if you can and if you like this sort of thing.

Harmony

Another entry in my sporadic series of favorite song by an artist. This time Elton John came to mind. Not surprising, considering it’s impossible to escape promotion of his fantasy biopic, Rocketman, opening this weekend. I have mixed but mostly positive feelings toward Elton John. He was big in my formative years, and I like many of his songs. I was surprised when my kids got excited when Crocodile Rock played. I always loved that one, naturally. It may have been his first that I was aware of, but I don’t recall.

I can say one thing, though: I utterly loathe Bennie and the Jets. I never liked it. During a certain age range, though, for maybe 3-4 years, I would listen to the the top whatever number of song countdown for the year, done as a New Year’s thing on one of the Boston stations. The year that I waited and waited to see what was number one, only to have it be Bennie and the Jets, I was infuriated. Subsequently hearing him talk about his vision for the song gave me more sympathy, and I find I’ve mellowed toward it when I see it referenced in the Rocketman trailers or clips, but I will never choose to play the song and sit still for it if I don’t have to. In the context of seeing that movie, sure. It’s part of the story. And I’d like to see the movie, though I am lousy at dragging myself to the theater, even if I have the money and time. I never saw Shazam! Wanted to very much, as did my son. It might still be in a theater close enough, but at this point we may as well wait for video. Ditto for Aquaman, except affording it just then was a stretch. Heck, I never actually saw Bohemian Rhapsody in the theater. My brother gifted me the DVD.

Otherwise, I like Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and always liked the reference to Wizard of Oz. The wife loathes The Wizard of Oz, so she might not appreciate that the same way. I always loved Your Song. Tiny Dancer, even before it was associated with Kate Hudson. Looking at a list of Elton songs, I realized I had forgotten one that is arguably tied for favorite with Harmony. Oops! This is why I can’t ever do a “my one most favorite song by…” for, say, The Beatles. Philadelphia Freedom. Love it! I will always associate it with the part of my life circa the American bicentennial year of 1976. I may have to embed that, as something of a tie. Levon was good, long before I ever knew who Levon Helm was.  Fascinating lyrics. Levon wears his war wound like a crown… It’s just brilliant. I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues evokes a time during my college years , circa 1983 or 1984, and someone I worked with at a convenience store chain who was notable for turning out to be an unlikely thief. She skimmed enough money to buy herself a car. I, on the other hand, was notable for never having a drawer off by a penny in three and a half years there, and being hopelessly shocked that someone would use any of the possible methods to steal from the company or customers there. Rocketman is a great song because it’s a science fiction song, and I always have a soft spot for those.

Melody Timeline Revisited

It’s a stupid time to have started this because I am late getting to bed for a 1:30 AM alarm, but I ended up working it out, subject to uncertainty. I set out to create actual dates in 1970 that would likely correspond to the events in Melody.

And most of the way through the post I realized a critical mistake that changed things either by an entire week, by accepting that “a week” in the dialogue could be approximate (the way “that’s twice as old as I am now” is approximate when related to “in their twenties,” given that it can mean any age from ten to fourteen is being doubled), and/or eliminates the spring bank holiday I had included as a factor. It also returns to ambiguity as to whether the assembly and music room are on the same day. The critical mistake is that the day on which the music room happens is a Wednesday. It just is. We know that because it is the day of the dinner party with Betty and George at the Latimer’s, planned for the Wednesday following the initial day of the film, which I still take to be a Saturday.

So I saved the post as draft and went back to the drawing board.

Originally I noted there are two anchors. One is the requirement that it be exactly a week from the day he falls in love with her to the day of the cemetery scene. That’s in the dialogue, for better or worse. In real life, what we’d have seen would have been highlights over a longer period and he’d have already loved her for, say, a month or two. At least they didn’t mismatch the events in the movie to that detail of the script! It’d be weird if they’d gone through an obvious month of time and the dialogue said a week. As noted above, it may be necessary to take the week as an “about a week” approximation for this to make any sense. On the other hand, that does give the core of the movie a fairly definitive timespan. Ambiguity happens before and after the stretch of time from love at first sight to them being together. The single least ambiguous other timing is the day of reckoning after the seaside taking place the next school day.

From the day of the cemetery scene to the seaside, any number of days might have passed. There is support for this implied by Mr. Perkins speaking as if Daniel has visited them multiple times, not just the one time for tea. That could be sloppy wording, as people do, but it does seem rather sudden, making the relationship official one day and blowing off school for an all day date to the seaside the next day. On the other other hand, having spent a lot of intervening time together might have made their conversation less awkward at the seaside. But that could be a script writing foible.

From the day of reckoning to the wedding day could have been multiple days, though it seems likely it wasn’t. I read between the lines that Ornshaw and Daniel came up with it during school, after the morning fight, and it was what Daniel was talking so vehemently about while comforting her in the rain after school.

The other anchor, which is only approximate, is my tying of the hymn sung at the school assembly to Trinity Sunday. I did this in my old religion post. For other aspects of the timeline, of course, I referred back to my timeline post.

Trinity Sunday was May 24, 1970. Filming was in 1970, so we can take that to be the year it’s set, with us viewing the events almost a year later.

I took as a given that the first day of the film was a Saturday. No school. I take as a given that we see no events on Sundays. I took as a given that the school dance was a Saturday.

I added into the mix the fact that the 1970 spring bank holiday was May 25. However, as noted above, if that was a day off school and was taken into account in the script’s dealing with timing – if it did deal with timing particularly – then the dinner party can’t be on a Wednesday. While there’s no guarantee the choice of hymn or the assembly itself had any connection to Trinity Sunday, I love that theory and I think the story is set that late in the spring. I take “first of May” to be a red herring, something that just happens to be in the song lyrics. For what it’s worth, May 1, was a Friday. If they tied it to that date, it would either have been the day he fell in love, or the cemetery scene day. We never are told that he’s new to the school, and he acts like he’s new but it’s not the first day he’s been there. However, the Saturday in the BB seems to be his first, or one of his first, in that organization. He’s a new recruit. It’s something new his mother “thrust on him.” He’s completely new to the hijinks the boys get up to after school.

I forgot where I left off revising this last night, but I am going to start here with going through the rest and adding or modifying. I’m going to take the approach, to get the Wednesday matched, of ignoring the bank holiday.

For simplicity, I am going to place all the events end to end over 14 days. However, there are spots before and after the mandatory week when there could have been breaks, except that the day after the seaside trip had to be one day later or, if a weekend fell between, three days later. Here’s the most straightforward calendar, start to finish:

Saturday, May 23:
Characters introduced. Family and class elements set up. Kids shown as kids but heading out of childhood.

Sunday, May 24: Nothing shown. Trinity Sunday

Monday, May 25:
Introduction to the school and broader cast of kids. Makes clear Daniel is new kid there. Daniel and Ornshaw have adventure to Trafalgar Square, become close.

Tuesday, May 26:
Due to Ornshaw’s mischief, Daniel sees Melody in dance class and falls in love at first sight. After school follows her and friends, gets caught. From there it’s “a week” to the cemetery scene.

Wednesday, May 27:
School assembly where Ornshaw makes sure Melody knows Daniel is looking at her. Singing Holy, Holy, Holy hymn gives the tie to week of Trinity Sunday. Could have been any time near it. Went with this because it fit. Later that day is the music room scene. Timing of that is implicit. That was the last sentence I wrote before I realized the dinner party was a Wednesday and I didn’t have this on a Wednesday. It was on Thursday the 28th before I changed things. I was also having second thoughts about the music room and assembly being the same day. They appear to be, but there’s also no reason to believe they aren’t different days. This is the day she has clearly decided she likes him, too.

Thursday, May 28:
Lunch scene.

Friday, May 29:
Apparently nothing this day.

Saturday, May 30:
Monthly school dance. I’ve ruled out it being on a school day. They are dressed for the dance, not for school. School gets out at or just before 3:30. Tea is around 5:00. Melody is home from the dance, messing with makeup for a while, then it’s time for tea.

Sunday, May 31:
Nothing shown.

Monday, June 1:
Athletics Day (Field Day where I’m from). I always take this to be the whole day, close enough, and the segue to kids flooding into school being the next morning.

Tuesday, June 2:
Well, this is actually a week exactly if we eliminate the bank holiday as a factor. I’d like to think the assembly was closer to Trinity Sunday than I have it, but oh well. Maybe assembly is a regular thing. Maybe the choice of hymn is a red herring.

June 2 is the big day, the famous cemetery scene. Daniel and Ornshaw didn’t do the homework and face punishment. Odd, if you consider that they had the weekend and the extra day of no academics represented by field day. Maybe it’s a script foible. Maybe it’s something else to take into account when deciding what happens when.

Wednesday, June 3:
Seaside, if they planned it right away rather than after they had been an item for a while. We have minor evidence they were an item for a while before this, in the form of Mr. Perkins sounding as if her bringing Daniel home was a regular thing, not a one time thing.

Thursday, June 4:
Day of being in trouble for skipping school. This is the day after the seaside, no matter how long after June 2 it actually happened.

Friday, June 5:
Day of revolt and wedding. Assuming they planned this on the day of reckoning and executed it the next day, which isn’t mandatory but is also quite possible.

This could be inaccurate in terms of when it falls on the calendar, apart from it being mid to late spring for sure. How long is “a trifle”? By ditching school to go to the seaside, Daniel and Melody “moved the summer holidays up a trifle” per the headmaster. That suggests summer isn’t too far away. In England, that’s apparently not until July, so that makes me think it’s more like June than May when they skip school. Further, the weather is fine for being at the beach. It can’t be too early in the season. It’s possible I have set it early compared to when it really was meant to be. This is like doing math with multiple variables and never being able to get a definite answer. The whole thing could move in either direction a week or two. And again with it not necessarily being consecutive days, except that about if not exactly a week pass from Daniel falling in love to the day he chooses her over Ornshaw. The dinner party has to fall on a Wednesday and with it the music room scene. It’s possible the music room and assembly are on different days. The intro has to be on a weekend day. Saturday is the overwhelming favorite for that. The first day we see the school is probably the next school day following the intro, so likely a Monday, or Tuesday if there were a Monday holiday. Trinity Sunday may be my most tenuous inclusion. Monthly dance seems like it should be the weekend, probably Saturday. Without Peggy and Ornshaw fighting, that might have been the day Daniel and Melody walked and talked and went home for tea. There could be gaps after the cemetery scene day, but the seaside day and reckoning day would be back to back school days. And I’d still love to know what their parents knew of that and when, and how they reacted.

I just wanted to finish this off, finally, before going to bed. I’ll review it and hope it doesn’t fall apart before my eyes.

Update on May 31, 2019:
I’m looking at stuff about school scheduling, holidays/vacations, and such in England in 1970 or thereabouts and it could change everything. For instance, the log from a specific school for the year 1970 puts Easter holiday 3/26/70 – 4/12/70, and then puts half-term holiday from 5/22/70 to blank, but the next date for which anything is listed as happening for school is 6/4/70. I’m finding the entries hard to read because the month and day are reversed from the order most people place them in in the US. Another thing I read says some of the holidays like that are only 4 day weekends, while others are two weeks. Summer holiday was then 7/24 – 9/7. That half term holiday would incorporate the date of the bank holiday that I found vexing. It would be unsurprising if the events of Melody all took place after the final half term holiday of the school year, putting it entirely in June. I need to read about it more and work that into perhaps an updated update.

Update 2:
The holiday would have taken place the last week of May, and June 1 would have been the first day back at school. If what we see on the first day of the film is still Saturday, it falls near the end of a week off and of course the kids would be bored by then. The kids would have been especially wild on arrival back at school. I’ll redo the whole thing with an eye to this, but basically the first date above would become May 30, and the last date above would become June 12. Whether Trinity Sunday was a factor would be mooted by distance, but the school wouldn’t have had a chance to observe it during the week off. It might have been interesting for the story to incorporate the week off, but that would have embellished too much and kept it from getting to the point efficiently. I might have liked more fleshing out, but it didn’t need much more.

Alone Season 6

I just watched the handful of contestant profile videos History Channel has up for Alone season 6, which starts June 6. The big thing that struck me was axes. So far, every one of them chose to bring an axe as well as a saw. This is smart because of the prospective need to chop through ice, apart from their other uses. They also brought super cold weather sleeping bags, mostly rated for -40 F.

Two of them brought multitools, which we have seen in other seasons to be a more useful option than they might initially have sounded. At least one of those is customized. It seems like everyone has a bow and arrows of some kind, as this is apparently the friendliest environment the show has been in for hunting. Wire for trapping, too. With the cold environment, food will be more of an issue. The rations a couple of them selected appeared to be something like jerky, as opposed to trail mix, beans or such.

One of the good things the show did along the way was eliminate the de facto need for a tarp to be one of the options, so really each person got nine items. They simply provide a tarp, which you have to stop and think about because that’s not part of these profile videos and would be vital. The more natural debris (or snow) is also part of shelter here, the better, for insulation, but a tarp speeds things up and guarantees a more waterproof and wind resistant shelter up front.

They all seem to be bringing wire for snares/traps, again with the bigger emphasis on hunting. One of them either had no fishing gear or I spaced out when she covered that.

One had a frying pan. Not sure that’s the best idea, even if it holds more. The lid on the standard 2 quart pots the others showed off can be useful. One of them had a lid you could also use as a small frying pan, as well as a dish.

One of them is hardcore enough that she considered not bringing a ferro rod, just using her fire drill instead, but she went with the surer thing. Good choice. It astounds me how easy it is to light a fire with a ferro rod. I’ve had one going at least as quickly as I could have with a match. Even without using magnesium scrapings.

I’m no expert, so it’s a bit funny for me to watch and critique. Take it with some grains of salt. It’s very much armchair, and it’s all too easy to say what you’d do when you’re not in the situation. I have never hunted. I haven’t fished since I was a kid and found it frustrating even though I did catch little sunfish two or three times. Actually, I fished by the Powderpoint Bridge when I was a teenager, with one of my high school classes. No license required for fishing in the ocean. Nobody caught anything.

Every year I wonder how they can possibly get me excited about the show again. Over the years it has seemed more and more a hunger contest. I hope this year is different.