Same as it ever was

My mother: “Your music is much too loud.”
My father: “You are a leadfoot.”

Decades later:
My youngest child: “Your music is too loud.” “You drive really *fast.”

*I drive the speed of the traffic around me when the children are in the car. It’s only when I have a car to myself that I feed my need for speed.

Knoxville’s 2019 Primary

I live in the county. If I walk my neighborhood, which I won’t during mosquito season, I would weave in and out of the city. Someday, developers will intervene and my tiny, working class neighborhood will be gobbled up by the city. Until then, I vote only for county offices. There are six candidates on the ballot for City Mayor. If you’ve paid attention to Knoxville politics for more than five minutes, you know that only three of those candidates will be considered by the group of people who actually vote in this town. It would take non-voters showing up at the polls for the other candidates to have a real chance. If something that riles people up like Recode were on the ballot, more people would vote. It isn’t, so they won’t.

Of those three recognizable candidates, one consistently has body language that says they believe the race is theirs to win. Another has done the most door knocking and they’ve proven it with heavy social media promotion. The third is oddly calm and confident in their name recognition being enough. All three are going to have very different budgets. How the Mayor distributes funds will set the tone for the communities where you live, work and play. Ignore their personalities. Pay attention to what they have said.

At the Mayoral candidate forum that I attended, an audience member asked about cybersecurity of the City. None of the candidates work in IT, so they all politely talked about other things or said the city needs a good IT person. Any candidate whose campaign website is solely a facebook page has already failed the cybersecurity question. Local R and D parties need to make sure their candidates have websites owned by the campaign or the party.

All six candidates are enthusiastic about Knoxville and I hope that the ones who aren’t elected Mayor will show up on future ballots for other races. I don’t feel the same about the City Council candidates. Some of those people do not belong in public service.

Crying in the popcorn bucket

As the lights dimmed in our completely full auditorium on opening night, the audience applauded. The instant the applause faded, sniffles could be heard. There was a palpable tension as everyone waited to see the conclusion of twenty something movies and a couple of TV shows.

At an emotional point on the screen, I wiped the tears threatening to escape for the umpteenth time just as another woman in the audience came completely unglued. She sobbed and wailed so loudly that I knew the rest of the audience was going to join her. I nudged my husband.

“You have to kill her or I’m going to start ugly crying.”

The man condescendingly patted my hand and kept staring at the screen. He didn’t even ask if anyone in the audience had chloroform.

The wailing woman eventually went silent, so I’m guessing someone else killed her. Maybe she went to the lobby to find a cold cloth for her head. All I know is my husband wouldn’t kill her for me. I guess the magic is gone. We might as well buy twin beds for our room.

Now I need to figure out who will save me from the threat of mass weeping during Rise of Skywalker.

*Posted elsewhere during blog hiatus

I do it wrong – part two

I don’t care if I pronounce character names correctly in my head. Sometimes I’m guessing correctly. If I think Myfanwy looks like Tiffany with an M, that’s what I’ll think when I read it. All the characters have a X or a Q randomly stuck in a series of letters? I’m making a guess and sticking to it the entire series. I do actually feel guilty when the story takes place in Scotland or Ireland and I know the names are based on something real, but if it’s attached to a mythological species, the pretend character can just as easily be a JoAnne.

Those maps that were the biggest expense in your book production? I acknowledge their existence and move on. I’m sorry you had to deal with an artist who expresses feelings instead of repressing them into ulcers like a regular person. That map is still not getting my attention. I’m sure it took two barking dog conference calls to decide if the coastline should be straight or pocked with inlets. Other readers will buy the poster sized map to make up for my indifference. It’s almost certainly connected to my absence of a sense of direction. I can’t even navigate subways. “I couldn’t figure out how to get to the other side of the platform and now I’m on Wall Street.” I’m far more interested in the actual journey via ley lines/dragon back/enchanted car/horse who hates shifters, than the route they took.

What I do love is a basic family tree. I will wade into fan forums for a simply drawn explanation of how the characters are related. Is there a Lorax for family trees?

I do it wrong

Websites collect data from users under the guise of improving the site based on user needs. It’s also to sell things to users, advertisers and the bottom feeders who buy existing data sets of user contact info. It is what it is. For data sets to be useful, assumptions are made about how a site is used. I’m the anomaly who throws off data by not using things as they were intended to be used. I do it wrong.

Goodreads is supposed to be a user created database of book reviews. Theoretically, it should help readers find new books to read. I use it as a master list of books I’ve read and a search list of books I’m hunting at the local used books store. Once I find a book on my ‘want to read’ list, I remove it from my Goodreads list. The data then thinks I’m not interested in that book even though it’s sitting on my IRL bookshelf. Or nightstand. Or car console. Pre-ordered books aren’t on any of my Goodreads lists either.

Shamefully, that’s not the worst way I disturb the stats that booksellers and authors pull from Goodreads. When I give my one to five star review of books I’ve read, I star based solely on how much I enjoyed reading the book. I don’t rate originality of plot, depth of characters or even the quality of the writing style. My stars are completely subjective pleasure indicators. I’m sorry, authors. Maybe if I’d been in a better headspace when I was reading your book it could have been different.

Let’s not even discuss the fact that I don’t add anything I’ve read on the free Kindle Unlimited trial to my Goodreads list of books I’ve read. Maybe I would feel differently about those e-books if I was shopping electronic versions of paper books, but nothing I’ve read on KU so far actually feels like a book. Fun to read? Yes. Book? Nope. Doing it wrong? Yes. Making it work for me? Definitely.

The Rook

When I read The Rook, it made my skin crawl. The book is creepy and fascinating while the sequel book is chaotic and satisfying. After the first trailer for the TV adaptation, I knew they were going to make it action-adventure. I’m still going to watch every last minute of it.

Sometimes, adaptations are very true to the original. Other times, the source is used a framework with the details changed to make relevant sociopolitical points. Much of the time, it feels like the TV production or movie were based on a five minute sales pitch of the book. I’m okay with all of these.

Never ask either of my older sons about LOTR movies. They will chew your ear off with complaints about book differences, especially omissions. I failed to teach them to embrace the joy of seeing something they love in one media adapted for other forms of entertainment.

Yes, I even love the trainwreck adaptations, like the Generation X nostalgia book that was sourced for a young adult movie crutched with endless narration. Most book inspired movies and television programs fall somewhere near that. They’re neither the same as the book nor original enough to be judged without the book. Once in a blue moon, a book is adapted for screen so beautifully that it is both a love letter to the book and something uniquely its own. That kind of perfection makes up for all the directors and editors who don’t read books.