I haven’t done a surly Thursday in a long time but here we are, it’s Thursday, and I’m surly, so I guess I’m allowed to rant and rave for a little while, right? Right.
Things that are bothering me to an unreasonable degree at the moment include:
The series finale of The Newsroom
Here’s the thing. I never watched The West Wing. My first exposure to Aaron Sorkin was via that Facebook movie. I know he’s incredibly polarizing, and I can see why, because The Newsroom can be summed up as “Aaron Sorkin has unflattering opinions about American cable news networks, and he would like to beat you over the head with them”. That said, I thought the first season had merit, and the second season was even better. I was looking forward to watching them hit their stride in season three.
Well, we watched it this week… the third and final season had only six episodes. Four were good. One was uncomfortable and made me really, really dislike a character I had previously loved, but hey, it was Sorkin making a point, so whatever.
The finale was so bad it stained backwards through the entire show like when you spill a cup of tea on your sister’s diary and somehow there is tea on every goddamn page. It had treacly sentiment. It had a surprise pregnancy. It had a Jeff Bridges musical number (yes, it fucking did, please don’t ask). It didn’t have Reese Lansing, a key character in the season three “we’re going to lose the network” subplot, which may have been because of Chris Messina’s busy schedule but it felt very obvious that he wasn’t there.
I will never again be able to think of this show without seeing Jeff Bridges standing up at Sam Waterston’s funeral, looking exactly like his character from Dumb & Dumber, because he’s poleaxed that he’s going to be a father. It wasn’t sweet. It was idiotic. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU, NEWSROOM CAST.
The smell of preschoolers
Charlie has a mild intolerance to kiwi fruit, in that every time he eats it he has explosive toxic acidic poo for about 24 hours. His mom keeps forgetting this and so about every three weeks, I suddenly have on my hands an adorable little shit-grenade who will go off at the drop of a hat, and I have to remind her – again – that he can’t digest kiwi fruit. We are currently at the tail end of another kiwi-poop cycle, so he smells just delightful. The other preschoolers aren’t much better. I don’t know if it’s an expensive time of year, or if the parents have just given up, but the lunches they are bringing lately are frankly depressing. Today Daisy had a peanut butter sandwich, a yogurt tube, a Fruit Roll-Up, and a chocolate-dipped granola bar. Her nap area had a green fug around it by the time I woke her up. They are all getting lots of sugar and no fresh produce, except for what I give them at snack time, and it’s horrifying. Yuck. When Ron and Arthur came home today they both commented on the smell in the house, because it’s not warm enough to open the windows today. Do you know how embarrassing it is to realize that your house smells like literal shit, all day long, because you have three little garbage-guts in your house farting and pooping up a storm for nine hours?
Spring has arrived in Halifax, albeit a late, cold spring, and so it’s pothole season! This year the potholes are worse than ever before. Michael has now hit potholes hard enough to damage rims twice. I slalom carefully in and out around every shadow and irregular spot on the road, trying damn hard not to hit any myself. You can put in a claim to the city for damage caused by potholes, so the first time I did. I went through all the hoops. I got a call at home on a Saturday afternoon, and I don’t know who makes these calls, because I swear this is what he said: “you’ll be sitting on your deck with your feet up drinking a beer before you hear a decision on your claim. Seriously it’s going to take at least twelve weeks and the answer will almost certainly be no.”
Thanks for that, apparently-disgruntled city employee.
Regular readers will know that I have gone to Blissdom Canada for the past two years. I enjoy it so much that I spend hundreds of dollars I don’t have, take a day off work for which I don’t get paid (thus also inconveniencing three other families who need to find backup childcare), cough up $100+ for cab fare to & from Pearson to the hotel in Mississauga because the free courtesy shuttles only run on the day before the conference proper begins, and conquer my fears of flying, meeting new people, group work, and dancing in public so that I can go.
I met two of my very best friends at Blissdom, and it’s because of the many conversations we had at the conference that we recently started collaborating on a new blog, Throwing It Back. I was kind of hoping to go back this fall; even though I don’t really have the money this year, I thought just maybe I could make it work.
But then! The Blissdom folks announced they’ve changed the venue, moving the whole thing to a resort two hours north of Toronto. If you are coming from out of town and can’t get flights that mesh with their courtesy shuttle schedule, this leaves you completely up the creek when it comes to getting from the airport to the hotel. I can’t imagine any taxi that would take you. You can rent a car, but you need to rent it for the whole weekend only to drive it for four hours. (Do that math, friends! It’s not good math.) It’s goddamned inconvenient, is what it is, and when a few of us (politely, respectfully) explained that this new venue would make it impossible for us to attend, did we get sympathy? An acknowledgement that this change presents a problem for anyone outside of Toronto? A commitment to perhaps investigate running additional shuttles on the opening day of the conference? Anything that would have reassured us that our concerns were heard?
Instead we got bland PR reassurances from the Blissdom Twitterbot, and outright bullshit platitudes from other Blissdom attendees. I think my least favourite was “if you really want to be there, you’ll make it happen! Don’t start complaining, start making arrangements!” as if I just need to read The Secret, do what it says, and magically all of the logistical problems will repair themselves. Oh, and a leprechaun will show up with a big bag of money.
Honestly it feels like they are trying to exclude anyone who doesn’t blog for a living (although they always said that was not a prerequisite for attending or indeed for being a part of the community).
There is a real trend in parts of the wider internet world to call any & all dissension “bullying” or “hating”. People, we are not Taylor Swift. Yes, haters gonna hate, but in a supportive community there should be room for criticism and disagreement. The fact that there isn’t makes me sad.
And finally, Harry is doing his best to train for next month’s track & field meet, as well as a youth 4K run. The snow only just melted enough that we can safely be on the road, so last night I gave in to his pleading and went for a short run with him.
Well, really, he went for a run, and I went for a wheeze and stagger, dragging my lazy 85lb dog behind me as a hostage to fortune. I sort of waddle-jogged, and then ran a little, and then walked, and then stopped to pick up dog poo, and heaved and gasped and choked my way along as Harry sprinted on ahead like a damn gazelle or something.
It was frankly mortifying what terrible shape I’m in, but we went a kilometer, and I’m going again tonight… that being said, running sucks, my lungs felt like they were straight-up on fire, and I will never understand runners if I live to be a hundred (which I won’t, because I’m out of shape, see “I hate running”, above).
There. Whew. Next time, a return to happy thoughts. Promise.