Thursday, June 22, 2017

Madame Butterfly

I rearranged my operas this season to accommodate E's trip to town.  As a consequence, the first one in my season was the Puccini classic, Madame Butterfly.

S accompanied me to the show.  I'm sorry to say that it was probably my least favorite of the three Madame Butterflys that I've seen; however, it's still a wonderful opera, so that isn't saying much.

Partially my frustration was related to a comment S pointed out in the program.  The director discussed how she wanted to make it a performance about women: "...Three very different women from varying socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, each striving for agency and a sense of self...."  But this was absolutely the most desperate, most helpless Cio-Cio-San that I have ever seen!  I guess if "being unable to survive without a man" = "agency", she succeeded.

It was also amusing in the commentary that she went into depth about Cio-Cio-San's family's fall from wealth and power and Suzuki's struggles as the voiceless witness.  Paraphrased: "Oh, and by the way, Kate Pinkerton can't vote."  Not exactly on par.

Nevertheless, it was still enjoyable for the music if nothing else.  Puccini is wonderful!  And I enjoyed the paper house set, which had movable walls that played well in the overhead lights.  At the end of the day, a mixed bag.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


As you know, I have been completely unable to get my act together as regards my sewing/crafting space in the basement. The same is not true for S, who created this awesome bike storage over the weekend!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What I Watched -- The Graduate

The Graduate is one of those films that lots of people reference, and often.  And so, even without having seen it, I knew the references.  I finally got around to seeing the actual movie.

It's interesting.  A little less risque than I anticipated (but it did come out in 1967, so for its time, it was probably quite something).

The cinematography was fascinating though.  It reminded me a lot of Garden State, a 2004 film starring Zach Braff (of Scrubs fame).  Both films had several scenes that were closeups of the lead actor's face, often with little or nothing at all happening thereon.  I'd have to watch them both back to back to solidify my theory, but when I was watching The Graduate, I just kept thinking of Garden State.

All in all, I found the movie a bit depressing.  I don't want to give away all the details of the ending, but I would have expected a bit more celebration.

Bottom line: as with many classics, it's worth seeing once, but probably not something I'm going to re-watch (except to revisit my theory).

Monday, June 5, 2017

Goals 2017 -- June Edition

I like having measurable goals.

What I really need, though, is something completely intangible: get some "life" back in my work-life balance.

How do I make that into something measurable?

1. Have a talk with my boss about it (not for the first time).
2. Plan my next vacation (S will probably do most of this, to be fair).
3. Cook at least two dinners a week at home (real food -- not mac 'n cheese or pizza rolls).
4. Finish at least one book (though two would be great).

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Goals 2017 - May Recap

I'm a little late with these next two posts.  Blame work (as usual).

My goal last month was to unpack, and I had to get it done because mom was coming over.  I almost did it. Whatever I didn't unpack is now in boxes in the basement, so I have to figure out the schedule to deal with them or just throw them away.

I guess if I don't miss them at all, that's good evidence that I don't need any of it!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

What I'm Reading Again -- The Cellist of Sarajevo

I first started reading The Cellist of Sarajevo many years ago, on a trip to North Carolina to visit mom and E.  I had run out of my own reading material, so borrowed this book.  I didn't get too far into it before getting home, and then got busy with life and never finished it.

I needed something small and portable that I could carry around with me recently, and I found it when I was moving recently, so I decided to take it along.

I had to start over because, despite leaving a bookmark in the book where I had left off, I had little recollection of the contents of the first 30 pages.  I have made it about that far again, and hopefully I will get further this time!

Monday, May 22, 2017

What I Watched -- Loving

Loving is the personal story behind the United States Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia, which put an end to the state's ban on interracial marriage.

The film stars Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton and Mildred and Richard Loving, two unassuming people in love who want nothing more than to be left alone.  I find it interesting that such an American story is conveyed to us through two actors who were born in Ethiopia and Australia, respectively.  Before I knew that, I assumed that the relative lack of dialogue in the film was intended to illustrate that they were quiet, private people; perhaps it also had to do with difficulties with accents.

One thing I really liked about it was that there was very little between the two lead actors about the fact that one was black and one was white.  That's obviously the central difficulty in the movie, but -- as one might expect in real life -- by the time Mildred and Richard get around to getting married, it's just not something they talk about any longer.  It's simply a part of life that they have grown so used to that they hardly seem to notice it, even though everyone else does.

Bottom line: two wonderful under-performances carry a simple but powerful story -- and it's a history lesson, to boot.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What I Watched -- Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea is not a happy movie.  If you've seen or heard anything about it, you probably know that already.

Casey Affleck, everyone's new favorite sad guy, plays Lee.  Lee's brother passed away suddenly, and the childless Lee is thrust into the role of father for his nephew.  It becomes apparent early on that Lee left his hometown under mysterious circumstances, and the interesting parts of the move relate to figuring out what those circumstances were.

The power scene is a confrontation between Lee and Randi (played by Michelle Williams).  Her role in the movie is small but pivotal, and the scene is a great reminder of how good of an actress she is.

One probably would not be surprised to learn that a movie set in Massachusetts about a down-on-his-luck and misunderstood leading man was produced by none other than my boyfriend, Matt Damon.

Bottom line: dark, sad, and well done.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Goals 2017 -- May Edition

I've moved most of my belongings (except the rugs and big furniture) to S's house.  Now I'm on to the next task-- sorting:
     - What to keep;
     - What to sell;
     - What to give away;
     - What to throw away.

For all the stuff I'm going to keep, I have to decide where it's going to fit.

And I have a deadline!  K is graduating, and my mom, who has never been to S's house, is going to come visit for a night.  We have a guest room (L's Library) ready to go, but it's hard to get there on account of the boxes stacked everywhere.

So, that's the May project -- unpacking.