Friday, April 20, 2018

Suspending disbelief

"Well I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned."

The Tawba Walk Art and Music Festival has come and gone, and with it, any flicker of desire I have left to do a live show ever again.

OK, so it was the wrong venue for beads, and I knew that, but I still hoped among the crowds at an Art Walk would be some number of creative types, beaders and jewelry makers even, who would have a clue what to do with my beads.

And there were. One or two.

Of course my good intentions to make up some wired pendants and earrings went out the window as the days leading up to the show passed by. Not that it would have mattered. I did put out about 10 beaded necklaces and sold none.

What I did sell was three beaded keys, two big-hole beads, one focal bead, and one set of four small beads that I strung up for my customer on a length of silk cord.

My improvised display, based on sharing my 10 foot space,
and also on the fact that we were butted up against the next tent.
I would have been in the black for the show, if you don't count the canopy tent we bought Friday because the one I borrowed was too big. Plus the weights for the tent legs.

Which weren't heavy enough, as it turned out, because the wind was gusting, and Neil was sweet enough to run over to Food Lion and buy 4 bags of cat litter to add ballast.

Neil helped me enormously to get things loaded and unloaded and broken down and reloaded. He even brought me a late afternoon latte, when I was starting to sink.

My new friend Kathy joined me for the day and offered some of her jewelry for sale. She probably made gas money. I was very happy to have the company.

It could have been worse. The wind was annoying for a while, but eventually died down to a breeze, which probably made the ambient temperature more pleasant. Traffic was steady enough, we had lots of lookers and some questions and conversations, and that helped pass the time.

The sun really made my silver glass beads sparkle.
So many people handled them that I washed them afterwards.
But the festival was more about the bands and the beer and the moonwalk and face painting and funnel cakes. And the food trucks. The art, allegedly juried, ranged from nice enough handmade to mass produced imports. As far as I could tell, none of the merchandise vendors did a booming business.

The bottom line is, it was a lot of work to prepare, pack, load up, set-up, sit around, make a few sales, load out, unload, put away. I would have had to make ten times as much money as I did to make it feel really worthwhile, although five times what I made would have felt like it wasn't a full fail.

Not to mention that we tore the canopy on the brand new tent because we were so clueless about how to set it up. Bad on us for not reading the directions or watching a YouTube demo. Neil worked on it with tape, needle and thread, and says it is repaired and probably better reinforced than it was to begin with.

Whether it will see any future use is debateable. But I never say never. Just probably not.

Oh well, done and dusted. Moving on.

The trunk show I juggled over the selfsame weekend was been predictably slow. I got conned by Facebook into running what I thought was a free sponsored ad. They offered me a $10 credit for a $10 one-day ad. I thought I read the fine print but this morning I woke up to a bill $1.65 "per event response" which as far as I can tell might mean that someone clicked on the link (but it's murky). That wouldn't be so terrible if it had generated any sales, but the only sales were to my regular customers.

It just wasn't my weekend. But I'm not going to focus on the negative. I've done enough of that. I'm taking that promised break, for a few days at least.

I do have one custom order to work on, but I asked for a week to 10 days to get it done.

My new glass came, and I have to admit that I am eager to have a little play with it.

The trees are greening out here, finally, and our back yard is starting to look like a park again. Neil's garden is sprouting, potato and radish plants are thriving, melon vines are appearing, tomato plants look happy and our little fig tree is showing tentative signs of life.

I just finished watched five seasons of A Place to Call Home, which is sort of an Australian Downton Abbey, centered around the Bligh family and their home, Ash Park, minus the servants. Well, there are servants of course, but for the most part they are shadowy figures in the background, except for Rose, who plays into some of the plot lines.

Admittedly it's a soap, with the family going from crisis to crisis, but it held my attention, and anything that makes my 50 minutes on the treadmill pass painlessly is well worth watching. I actually cried a few times, including the ending, which pretty much tied things up with a bow, unlike the cliffhanger endings of previous seasons. There is another season in the works, so I suppose we'll have a series of new intrigues, but I'm guessing that's a year out.

One of the story lines in season five that made me weepy was when handsome tall dark horse Mathew chose prim, proper, and twice-jilted Olivia over willowy, sexy, and hot-to-trot Anna. Olivia is the Edith of the series, the unlucky-in-love sister-in-law, while Anna is the Mary, the unconventional, loved-and-lost daughter of the house.

Olivia has a young son, and on reflection, I think that's the reason I was so moved when Matthew proposed to her. Her situation is like my daughter's situation, a single mom of a young child. It takes a special sort of man to embrace a woman with a child and all that comes with it, including an ex-husband.

Of course, it's a lot easier when you can just send the child off with one of the servants for his bath and supper.

Neil and I have been watching the remake of Lost in Space, a series that we both watched as kids, although my memories of the original are much hazier than Neil's. Neil keeps pointing out all the scientific anomalies and errors, and I keep saying, the whole premise is a fairy tale. If you are going to watch it, you might as well suspend disbelief and just go with the fantasy. I think Neil has watched too much Star Trek and all this futuristic space travel is a little too real for him.

So far, the show reminds me more of Lost, which I loved, than of a science fiction starfleet type of story. Neil agrees with the comparison, and I remind him that we accepted mythical elements in Lost, like the smoke monster, time travel, and a doomsday button. Heck, they even deployed a hydrogen bomb at close range and lived to tell, mostly.

Other shows we have been enjoying, or in some cases simply watching, of late have been Detectorists (loved it), The Indian Doctor (silly but not bad enough to not finish), Doctor Foster (binge-worthy and provoked some interesting discussions about fidelity), Girlfriends (I started this alone because I didn't think Neil would like it, but he watched some of it anyway).

We're hooked on Unforgotten, two episodes in, on Masterpiece, so we can't binge it. We're sporadically plugging away at Season 9 of Murdoch Mysteries, which are just well done enough to keep me going in small doses. We gave up on Brokenwood, too silly for me although Neil enjoyed it. There is a subgenre of crime drama that is more comedic than credible. Shows like Midsomer Murders, Death in Paradise, and Agatha Raisin fall into this category. I can't stay interested. I like my crime drama dark. Speaking of which, I liked Dark, as well as Bordertown, The Frozen Dead, The Five, and Rebecka Martinsson.

We had to get a free trial subscription to Brit Box to watch Season 8 of Vera. Here's a pet peeve. It's just wrong to have the first seven seasons on Amazon Prime or Acorn and then plop the newest season on yet another subscription service. I'd be willing to pay something like $6.99 (the monthly subscription fee) just to watch the latest episodes but I resent having to subscribe. And now they've done the same for Season 4 of Shetland. With my free trial used, I'm not sure whether or not I will subscribe for a month.

Another pet peeve - series than span both Netflix and Amazon. We watched three seasons of Doctor Blake on Netflix but if we want to watch Season 4, we have to pay for it on Amazon. Or, we can wait and see if Netflix adds it at some point. That happened with Season 2 of Broadchurch. I paid to watch it on Amazon and then Netflix added it.

OK, so I have a whole kennel of pet peeves around streaming service policies. There's still plenty of free content and I certainly get my money's worth, considering that other than PBS, nothing on commercial TV interests me particularly. I do currently have an addiction to Jeopardy, but only because I can record it and speed through the commercials.

Two dramas I particularly enjoyed just lately both starred Benedict Cumberbatch. The Child in Time, on Masterpiece, far exceeded expectations. Neil resists stories of children gone missing, but this story didn't dwell so much on the disappearance. It was almost more of a time travel story,or perhaps more of a parallel universe story. I just got the book, because the story so piqued my curiosity and I read that the book delves more deeply into those elements. I'll probably watch it again after I finish the book.

With Neil gone for a week-end long softball tournament, I looked for something to watch that I'm not saving to watch with him. I landed on The Imitation Game, the story of
cryptanalyst Alan Turing, who worked on breaking the Enigma code at Bletchley during World War II. I'm endlessly fascinated by Bletchley stories and found the movie engrossing. I'm sometimes so out of mainstream culture that I completely missed its theatrical release in 2014 and all of its award nominations.

I was disappointed to read about all the creative license taken with the characters and situations. The gist of the story is true, but so many of the details, especially those depicting Turing as socially clueless and friendless, and his supervisors as caricatured lunatics, were utterly movie machine manipulations. You can read the long list of historical inaccuracies on Wikipedia. But see the movie first. I still recommend it as fiction loosely tethered to history.

I stole that last analogy from former FBI Director James Comey who, in his new book, characterizes President Donald Trump as "untethered to truth".

Man, I can hardly wait for that movie.

Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can't go on
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me this song
Oh I hope you run into them, you who've been travelling so long

Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul
Well I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned

Well they lay down beside me, I made my confession to them
They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem
If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn
They will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem

When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon
Don't turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon
And you won't make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night
We weren't lovers like that and besides it would still be all right
We weren't lovers like that and besides it would still be all right.

(Leonard Cohen, © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC)