Poldark, Final Season, Ep. 1

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It’s a bittersweet time with Poldark returning, but for the last year. What will 2020 bring from the BBC and PBS?

As I was viewing I was wondering if the storylines were based on the Winston Graham’s novels. I enjoyed the episode, but something seemed off. I was right. Deborah Horsfield explained that:

“we knew at the end of Season Four that we were not going to be able to finish all of the remaining five books, because the cast were only optioned for five series. So the options were to stop after Season Four, or to have a look at some of the events that might have taken place, some of which Winston Graham refers to in The Stranger from the Sea, and to cover a kind of similar time period that he would cover in each book, a period of about two years.”

So, we are getting a Horsfield story this year, which should be fine.

The episode began with a flashback to the American Revolutionary War when Ross is shot and a new character, his colonel and comrade Ned Despard finds him. We then move to Despard in jail giving his African American wife a note for Ross, his only hope. The governor of British Honduras, Despard is an abolitionist. He’s married his kitchen maid, Kitty. Kitty goes to England to get Ross’ help.

Geoffrey Charles has returned to Nappara and since his mother, Elizabeth has died has decided to quit school and enter the military academy. That takes money (seems there’s no GI Bill or ROTC yet). Ross takes him to see George, who sends his stepson packing. No surprise there unless you count Ross’ naivety. Who thought George would be generous.

Grief has driven George crazy. He’s isolated himself and left the Poldark estate. He’s seeing Elizabeth at the dinner table and hallucinating that the nursemaid is Elizabeth. While I’m glad to see Heida Reed back, I can’t buy her ghost. TV programs often have the ghost of a dead character and it rarely works for me.

All’s well with Demelza and Ross in terms of their marriage. When Kitty arrives asking Ross to accompany her to London to champion Ned’s cause Demelza knows she can’t stop him and I think admires his decision to stand up for what’s right. We’ll see a lot about abolition this season, which is set in 1800. The date emphasizes how long it took for slavery to end.

Another new character, Tess is the Norma Rae of the village. An out of work kitchen maid, Tess resents Demelza and tells her off. Tess is the spokeswoman for the unemployed miners who worked for George, but won’t accept his stingy lower wages. thus these poor folks are starving or close to it. Demelza promises to help and Tess replies with sarcasm. Not much later Demelza offers Tess a job, but the jaded maid snaps that she doesn’t want charity, forgetting that a job really isn’t charity.

It’s unclear whether Tess is involved soon after Ross leaves for London, a fire strikes late one night. Luckily, no one’s hurt and the fire’s put out, but Demelza (and the audience) wonder whether Tess is at all responsible. Tess should be watched. She’s hard to read.

Caroline is still mourning the death of her baby daughter and Morwenna recoils from Drake’s touch. Both women’s psychological states make sense, but I hope this season we seen them heal and move on. Both have exemplary husbands now and it’s nice to see their patience and love.

Two more new characters are Ralph Hanson, a merchant, and his daughter Cecily, who’s of marriageable age. Ralph is cut from a Warleggen cloth and I wouldn’t trade with him for all the tea in China. Cecily is a question mark. She’s shrewd and at first I thought trouble, but she shows up at the lecture against slavery so she may have some good in her. George’s uncle wants George to marry ASAP and clearly thinks Cecily would make a good match if only for her father’s money. Yet she bristles at such talk. A strong woman, Cecily is not about to do someone else’s bidding.

The premiere has set up some interesting themes and plot lines. I’m unsure about a story not based on the books, but I’ll be back this week and hope for the best.

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Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my wrist is now in brace. The doctor says the bones are healing well but it sure hurt when the splint came off in any time I take off my brace. It’s strange how weak my hand is. Surgery may still be an option but I really hope it isn’t.

Another librarian got fired, which makes 19 since December 2018, which is horrible for a staff of 43.

As for my salary talks, my manager would not consider a different title or salary for a full-time position which draws heavily upon my many years as an educator. The fact that job pays $9000 less then the Branch Coordinator job I applied for which they gave to someone whose just got the high school diploma is galling. Unless there’s a miracle revelation I’m going to quit. The workplace is toxic and stressful.

I gave up on the Korean award-winning film Burning. It was just too pessimistic and soulless. I greatly there were plenty of beautiful or sophisticated shots, but for me characters make all the difference.

I’m still having fun with my census work and we’re head of the game with 75% of the county finished as of last Wednesday.

This morning was my Great Books Book Club can we discussed Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I always enjoy the monthly talks with these group members. Before leaving the library I went upstairs to see the inside forest bath. One of the women at the book club reminded me about this installation. Basically, it was a little closet full of house plants of different sizes. I was curious about Forest bathing. What is that? Evidently it started in Japan and it’s the way to meditate or relax by taking a nature. If It’s often done in an actual forest where people very slowly move through nature absorbing all its calming, healing properties. I just looked over the little room and will have to return to take my first real “bath.”

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I fractured my wrist on Thursday. I was at my brother’s house and he has two dogs and one more he was taking care of. At one point, I took a step backwards not knowing there was a dog behind me so I fell over the dog. I put my hand out to break my fall. Immediately my hand puffed up. My brother got me some ice and took me home. I figured it was just sprained because it felt like a sprained ankle. I couldn’t move my fingers so it seems I hadn’t broken anything.

Later my sister-in-law came over with the splint my nephew had used. By Saturday my hand was still pretty swollen and black and blue so I went to a nearby bone and joint specialist that has an immediate care unit. Out I came with my arm in a splint. Needless to say it’s tough to get dressed, open a jar, or do most household tasks. I am testing out the dictation mode for my word processor and getting in the swing of that.

An added complication is that the library underpaid me for eight months. They discover the error and deposited all the money I was due into my account last week. Because it’s hard to get a full-time library job in these parts, I’ve been working part-time and qualify for Medicaid. However the big deposit disqualify me from that form of aid. So I had to pay out-of-pocket. An extra ouch. I am hoping that the library will take at least partial responsibility but that’s doubtful. If it weren’t for their error, getting the healthcare would be no problem.

Also at work the library got into the local news with two stories on the front page concerning the high turnover rate and the directors’ performance. Our turnover rate exceeds that of McDonald’s.

Just this year out of 43 employees 16 have left. I had lunch with some of my colleagues and what they told me about the harassment they’d witnessed in endured was frightful. The problems are worse than what has been stated in the two articles below. More on that another time. The library board take some action and responsibility.

Annex - Hayworth, Rita (Cover Girl)_NRFPT_02

If we were having coffee, I just tell you I thoroughly enjoyed Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl. In contrast, I’ve given up on Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le Fou, a crazy nonlinear French abstract New Wave puzzling Bonnie and Clyde.

 

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I regret overloading my schedule. I now have two part time jobs and I’m trying to give as much time to the new second one in case something goes awry with job #1. The director at job #1 has fired several dedicated employees and forced a few out by making them miserable. Also, I’m having fun with my second job for the U.S. Census so I rather like the work and people involved.

On Friday night at almost midnight my mother had to go to the hospital as she had a painful tightness in her chest. When you’re in your 80s (or probably even in your 50s), that is scary. Luckily, her stress test had normal results and there’s no heart problem. What a relief! I will mention that on Saturday I had been assigned to work for the Census. I had all the training materials in my car so I had to go to our workplace. My supervisor was very understanding and got someone over to take over the training.

I watched Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Funeral this week. It’s got lots of bawdy humor so it’s a guilty pleasure, but I did laugh out loud and needed to this week.

My father bought a new car. He’s been mulling that over for two years. His old car was faithful, but just not performing well lately. Well, the car he’s gotten is very sleek and high tech. The problem is we don’t know how to get all the features to work. Often the voice activated features respond with unintended results. For example, when dad asked the car to turn on the radio, it turned on the heat.

My University of the People courses are winding down. Next week is finals week. The required College Success Course has been a waste of time. I’ve written that I don’t think they should assume all students need an 8 week course on note-taking and how to cite. I had to write a 500 word response on what I learned and what skills I’ll apply this week, one of several essays that are hard to write because none of the content is new. I had to be honest and said that I hadn’t learned anything new so we’ll see what sort of grade that gets me. It galls me to waste time. I could have used that time to job hunt or do my own writing. Time is more precious than money right now for me.

My computer class is fun and challenging. I’ve definitely learned in this course, but I miss having a teacher’s response to a question. There’s no live sessions and the teacher seems to sign on just once or twice a week so when you’re puzzling over what to do and want to ask, “Why does this work, but that doesn’t?” you’re not getting an answer. That can happen with a live teacher in a classroom, when the teacher isn’t a good teacher. Nonetheless it’s always frustrating.

I’d write a bit more, but I’ve got to get to my computer homework. Anyone good with Python? I wouldn’t mind a tutor.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d have brought my umbrella because it’s continuing to rain a lot, but I’m still fine with it.

I’d say that I’ve just started two classes with University of the People (http://uofthepeople.edu ) towards an associate certificate in Computer Science. One’s on learning Python and the other’s a general College Success class, which I think I don’t need as I’ve completed three college degrees already and one was online, but oh well. Today I’ve slated my Python homework and I hope it goes well. I do like that University of the People is founded and led by educators with sterling credentials from top schools like NYU or Columbia. Also, it’s a tuition free school so while you pay for taking a final, the costs are minimal. I hope this experience is fruitful.

bank-dick-1

W.C. Fields in The Bank Dick

I enjoyed the W.C. Fields film The Bank Dick, which could not be made today, but it was both silly and smart. It’s nice comic relief.

My sister came in town from Utah with her husband. Usually, her visits are brief and this one was, but she made a point of spending time with my parents rather than running around the city to see many different friends. I know they were delighted to spend time with her.

I went to another jewelry making class at the library. We made steampunk necklaces out of small Altoid tins that were torched, sanded and painted. The teacher had a wide array of gears, clock hands, old books, beads, inks and paints to add to the tins. It was fun to experiment.

We had another loss at the library. This one was pretty shocking. The manager of the branch library was fired. The director has been hounding her for every little infraction and had taken away her duties such as purchasing and programming so the writing was on the wall. It seems quite unfair and now all the full timers fear for their jobs. I think 12 people have left since December and I’ve learned that in the fall before I came more were let go. It’s just so unnecessary because the people I’m aware of were dedicated, skilled workers. Many are highly experienced and at a stage of their work life when its hard to find comparable positions.  Patrons have asked about the staff changes and we’re forbidden to give much information. It’s hard to tap dance when someone asks for so and so about a program they were planning or ongoing request. Of course, people want to know what happened and we can’t tell them anything. It’s silly because people will figure it out.

Did she quit? So suddenly I just saw her Monday.

No.

Is she sick?

No.

What happened?

We can’t say.

One of the “problems” it’s believed is that the branch gets higher reviews for customer service than the main library.

I’m delighting in the Hillsdale College online Aristotle’s Ethics course. I’m a bit behind, but just loved Unit 4 about Character. The professor is so clear and approachable, while being an expert. I highly recommend this free course.

The Great Good Thing

klavanAndrew Klavan’s memoir, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ is a great read. Klavan goes back to his youth growing up in the suburbs of Long Island with a mom who was atheist and a father who was culturally, but not religiously Jewish. He chronicles his rocky relationship with his father and his love of writing and reading stories. It’s easy to see that Klavan was a storyteller from his earliest days. What’s more it’s shown in the writing. The Great Good Thing is masterfully written. Now an accomplished novelist and screenwriter, Klavan knows how to make every word and every metaphor count. He’s a delight to read.

This memoir isn’t preachy or saccharine. Instead, Klavan shares how he slowly came to be baptizes after dealing with the demons and mistakes of his early life. He doesn’t portray himself as a saint. He isn’t proud of his rebellion at school. He doesn’t sugarcoat his struggles with depression or anger. He trenchantly describes how anti-semitism plagued him and for years was a barrier to Christianity for him.  Instead he gives us a smart, open look at one very intelligent guy’s slow turning to faith. While doing so he offers a road map to deeper understanding of theology and scripture.

Because Klavan’s writing so good, so intelligent, I’ve ordered one of his novels to read next. (By “next” I mean after I’ve finished the eight books I’ve already started.)

Shoplifters

Winner of the 2018 Palm d’Or at Cannes, Shoplifters was at the top of my to-watch list. It’s now out on DVD and I got it from the library after a short wait.

Set in Tokyo, Shoplifters takes us into the hovel where a motley crew makes up a family. Early on it’s quite foggy how this grandma, mother, father, teenage girl and boy related. They live hand to mouth off of the grandma’s small retirement allotment, the mother’s wages at a commercial laundry, and by shoplifting. The teenage girl works at a kind of sex shop, but it seems she can keep all her earnings.

The “dad” teaches the boy to shoplift and during one of their sprees, they discover a young girl of 4 or 5 who’s neglected and abused. They coax her to come home with them because they feel sorry for her. This quiet girl, whom they name Lin, comes to feel at home with this rag tag family, that doesn’t follow society’s rules.

They are a likable bunch even though they take advantage of each other quite a lot. They keep secrets from each other and

The way the film delves into poverty I was reminded of Kurosawa’s and Renoir’s The Lower Depths. You know that the characters’ behavior is the main reason they’re stuck in poverty. Since the Shoplifters features children, it pulls the heartstrings more than Kurosawa and Renoir’s films.

I found Shoplifters charming, but also depressing in parts. Yes, there were moments that highlighted everyone’s generosity and kindness. Their quirks were endearing. I thought the sex club that the teenager worked in to be disturbing, particularly the first scene there. Later we learn more about the grandmother’s role in the girl’s life and her plight of prostitution, though not entirely revealed to the grandmother is even more disturbing.

While I didn’t want an unrealistically happy ending what we got was too abrupt and I wanted to know more about what happened to the teenager.

All in all, despite good acting, I was disappointed by Shoplifters as the story’s rather bleak and it left too many bows untied.