I haven't posted in almost 20 days. I guess that would be a reflection on how boring and mundane my life has been. Outside of a few trips to the grocery store and my weekly C.U.N.T. get togethers with Scritch, I have been a homebody. That will change this weekend, but that's a future post. There's not even much going on in the garden. We've been eating lots of green beans. The tomatoes haven't been very prolific, but they have kept my salads full of flavorful goodness. My cukes were a failure, only producing one little chode. On the tree front, the few apples that the trees produced look pretty pathetic. I did manage to find one fig so far which was tasty, but not really bursting with flavor.
I have still been going for my daily walkies. It's actually quite nice hiking on the mesa just as the sun rises. Our heat wave was broken in a big way last week as temps went from the mid 90's to the mid 50's. We have been just above average as of late which is extremely pleasant. I have taken to moving the TV out onto the patio to watch football. In a bonus episode of "What the Bear is Watching," I have re-discovered "The Office" and have been re-watching the series from the beginning. I had forgotten how good it was and it takes me back to nicer times in my office when I could joke around with co-workers about the antics on the show. There was a classic incident when my boss was talking to my co-worker about his truck. He had bought some beast that he needed to haul horses. It was too long for his garage. He was describing his garage when he said, "I just needed another 8 inches." Without missing a beat I blurted out "That's what she said!" My co-worker cracked up and yelled out "Dude!" as he high-fived me. Our boss just stood there in confused silence. Ah. Good times.
I'm making this a 5-day weekend. I have a bunch of vacation time saved up, and they told us that there will be no extension to the use-or-lose date of Jan 3. This really sucks. With the pandemic no one wants to travel. You could have a staycation! Great! MORE time spent at home. So the leave bank just grew and grew. Added to that I got a performance award last year and chose more vacation over money. Who knew we'd all be stuck at home? An email came down from on high saying we needed to schedule our time off before the end of the year. So I did. I'll probably be taking most of November off. Hopefully I'll be able to do a roadtrip to Chicago and bring Mom out here for Thanksgiving. We shall see!
Another milestone as to how The Bear is spending his time during the pandemic when not outside. The weather has been pretty shitty temperaturewise, so I have not been wanting to venture outside except late in the evenings when it's more bearable (pun intended).
Last month I mentioned shows like "Picard" which we finished up and thoroughly enjoyed. I also had discovered "Money Heist," a Spanish show that was a flop at home but became an international sensation when Netflix bought it. I finished all 4 seasons and enjoyed it. It's not perfect, but it's entertaining. A little too much deux ex machina, silly romance, and miracle healing, but it kept me around for all 4 seasons (so far). So what else have I discovered?
"Hollywood" - Netflix - It's an alternative history to 1940's Hollywood where there is more racial equality, female empowerment, and tolerance to gays. It kept me interested for the entire season, but the blending of reality and fiction could have been done a little better. Rock Hudson is openly gay? "Gentleman's Agreement" loses the Oscar to a movie about a young black girl finding success with her white lover?!? It would have been nice if we had been THAT progressive, but it came across as trying too hard to incorporate a 2020 narrative into 1947. I also have a little more respect for Jim Parsons who plays a wonderfully sleazy producer always looking for cock.
"Perry Mason" - HBO - A new version of TV's classic lawyer set in 1930's LA. Nice and gritty that gives a good feel for the time and place. Watch out for Matthew Rhys who played Mason. He also just starred next to Tom Hanks in "Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."
"City of Angels" - Showtime - Another movie about "classic" LA?!? Also set in the 1930's. I had heard about this show since it stars Nathan Lane in a serious role as a tough detective. The main focus is on the Hispanic community and how they faced racism by the police in the pre-WWII era. The only downside so far has been the introduction or weird Mexican occultism. So demons of the dead pop up from time to time. It also takes place just before the war, so throw in some Nazis as well. At least it made me look up the Zoot Suit Riots that hit the city a few years later caused by tensions between the police and the Latino community.
"Star Trek: Discovery" - CBS All Access - We had heard good thing about this latest Star Trek franchise and we were not disappointed. We haven't finished S1 yet, but we're liking what we're seeing. Unlike "Picard" which seems a little too tied to canon, this show has a good original plot that fits into the timeline about the same time (maybe a little before) as Kirk and the gang. Good plot and character development so far.
"Umbrella Academy" - Netflix - Season 2 is out, and I have been enjoying it. I forgot how I originally described it last year but it was probably something like "X-Men Lite" (OK, I checked. I said the trailer looked like an "X=Men" ripoff). But it stands on its own. Good plot and continued character development keep me coming back for more. I think it's up there with "Stranger Things" in terms of good quality TV being produced for/by Netflix.
I just processed 8 cups of peaches which will hopefully be turned into 2 cobblers in the near future. I also made my favorite NM comfort food for breakfast; green chile/bacon waffles. I also had to declare war on an ant invasion. The little bastards are trying their best to infiltrate the kitchen.
"Squeezed a rotten peach in my fist and dreamed about you, woman"
I have started getting peaches from my tree. I looked back at last year's entry and saw that I posted on this date. So I guess the tree is right on time. For the most part I'm using last year's harvest method. I go outside about twice a day and pick up the ones that have fallen from the tree. So far I'm at about 20 with plenty more to come. This tree has definitely been the one and only bright spot with this year's harvest. Last year I ended up with bunches and it looks like this year will be the same. I still have a bag of frozen ones from last year which I never turned into a pie. As soon as it gets cooler, I will definitely undertake that task. I still might turn on the oven to make a nice cobbler.
Today marks another milestone. I now officially have 29 years in with the government. Full retirement is considered 56 years of age (plus a little extra) plus 30 years of service. One year from today I will have met that criteria. As I mentioned in a post from a couple of months ago, age is really the most important factor. Once you hit that age you can leave with as much service as you want. You're just dinged percentage points. But then you play the 1% game. "Well, if I stay one more year, I get another 1%! And if I stay another year, that's another 1%! And soon you're working your last few good years of life all for that almighty dollar that instead of spending on nice trips, you're now spending on adult diapers. So I hope to be out by the end of next year. If I end up with 29% of my salary or 30%, it won't make that much difference. Hopefully Mom will still be hanging on and I can give her a better time of it.
On Saturday Kitty's car needed an oil change, so she took her vehicle and I followed in mine. Rather than have her sit there for an hour, we could get some shopping done. One store had fillet Mignon on sale, so I thought I would try my paw at cooking one. They also had some good prices on fish. We then hit Costco since the car wasn't ready. I commented that things are getting back to normal with no line to get in and every register open to speed people through. Once again the shelves were fully stocked. I made it out spending less than $100. I cooked up the fillet for dinner with mixed results. Kitty loved the "blue rare" that I achieved, but I would have preferred just a little more done. My meat thermometer lied to me. But I did achieve a nice sear.
On Sunday Kitty got us tickets to the Botanic Gardens. We are members, but you have to get tickets for a specific time so that the crowd is spaced out (Far out, man!) It was nice to just walk around. My only complaint was a 2-year old running around with no mask and sneezing all over the place. For dinner I cooked up some pan-seared Ahi tuna with a wasabi glaze. Good stuff.
I had a nice long conversation with my Mom. She is 93 and still driving. I wish she wouldn't, but it's that last little bit of independence that she cherishes. The car had a problem while she was on a run to the bank and she was almost stranded. A good Samaritan helped her out and she managed to get home. I'm hoping it will be an expensive fix and that will be the end of her driving. Even the guy who gave her her driving test told her she was a menace on the road, but he passed her because she followed all of the rules to a "T". While she was bummed that she might lose the car, she was ecstatic that I will be visiting her in November. I have had enough of this quarantine shit and will pay her a visit. Scritch and I have been talking during our CUNT get-togethers that a lot of seniors are probably dying in nursing homes not from the virus but from loneliness and broken hearts. Is it better for them to die alone in bed or with their families? What is the greater risk? My Mom has a caregiver come once a week. There's risk there. Her brother and nephew visit her to help her out from time to time. There's risk there. Sometimes you just have to minimize risk as much as possible, but also still get on with life. Life itself is far from a zero-risk game. So since I have a ton of vacation time that I have to burn before the end of the year, I'll make a long trip to Chicago to either spend time with here there, or perhaps take her on a roadtrip here. Either way it will get her that human contact that she has been missing. I'm also happy to hear that, she herself, is actually thinking about hiring someone to spend more time with her. It's sub-optimal during these times, but it could be a short-term placeholder until my retirement in just over a year. More on that in a few days.
We decided to do some shopping today. Things must be almost fully back to normal since the store was having great sales on staple items that were hard to find a few months ago. Case in point...pasta. They had digital coupons for pretty much all pasta brands. It was going for ridiculously cheap prices like $0.79/bag for American Beauty. They also had sauce on sale for $1.79. So you could feed your fambly for under $3. Need protein? Chicken thighs were $0.79/lb. Our biggest "splurge" was a 3 lb salmon fillet for $20. Our cart was as full as it has been since this mess started. We're definitely ready for another surge in cases, but our nanny governor is doing a good job in keeping us safe. If you look at a map of the country, New Mexico is usually doing fairly well compared to our neighbors to the east and west. The number I always check is hospitalizations, and ours has been in the 150-170 range fairly consistently. So let's hope we have turned a corner and we can get back to normalcy. The gov has said not this month, but hopefully soon.
Another media milepost post.
"BNA" - This has been going around the furry circles as of late. It has kicked off a whole debate on which anime is better, this one or "Beastars?" Each has a different furry theme. "BNA" has anthros living in a world with humans. "Beastars" has an all-anthro universe like "Zootopia." I think I'm liking "Beastars" a little bit more, but the more that the plot evolves in "BNA," the more I'm liking it.
"A Whisker Away" - While looking for "BNA" (since I thought it was WHOLE New Animal instead of BRAND New Animal) I just typed in "furry" into the Netflix search. Up popped this anime movie. The plot looked intriguing since it involved a girl transforming into a cat in order to get the love of a boy she likes. It's loaded with teenage angst and, in typical anime style, there's lots of "Hey! Let's just make shit up!" But it's also very nice to look at and overall very cute.
"Hamilton" - We still have tickets to see it next year if we're allowed to go, but Disney+ has put up a version filmed live a few years ago. Let's see what all the buzz is about! Both Kitty and my takeaways were, "It ain't all that." There may be a couple of kinda recognizable songs, but overall it was just OK. And I will make the very un-woke comment that having actors-of-color play our founding fathers is no better than Mickey Rooney playing a Chinaman or Jeff Chandler playing an Indian. It doesn't really add to the story. If they get more inner city kids thinking about history. OK. But it doesn't really add anything. Call me when they have George Clooney playing Martin Luther King.
"Picard" - Kitty went out and subscribed to CBS All Access since she kept hearing from her sci fi friends that this show (and the new Star Trek) was so good. The buzz was right. It's a very interesting plot like the original. I cringe a little at the tropes that keep getting rehashed, but overall it's fresh and quite bingeworthy.
"Money Heist" - I kept seeing this recommended on Netflix, but I was turned off by the title which seemed really lame. Well, I thought that as well about "Peaky Blinders," and I ended up loving that show. So I gave it a shot. It's a Spanish series and the title is someone's brilliant idea to Americanize it. The Spanish name is "House of Paper" since the heist takes place at the mint in Madrid. It's pretty standard "Ocean's 11" stuff where every detail is planned out and it works until it doesn't. But it's interesting enough to keep me watching.
"Monty Python's Flying Circus" - Yes! I finally watched all 45 episodes in chronological order. I had never done that before. It's much more interesting to see how the show evolved over time. I hadn't even realized that John Cleese wasn't even in the final Season 4 since he had a dispute with BBC over content and censorship. You can see the show starting to go downhill and they even decided to pull the plug halfway through the season. And I now notice the fursuits a little more closely like those found in "The Mouse Problem," the Pantomime Horse, the Pantomime Goose, and the lion in the "Scott of the Antarctic" skit.
We're also almost done with "Travelers" and I'm sure we'll be getting addicted to something else in the near future.