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The Little Review
Making No Compromises With the Public Taste
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Wednesday, 16th August 2017 02:11 am - Greetings from San Luis Obispo
Apart from a walk on the beach in the morning during which we saw dolphins and another in the evening during which we saw cormorants, most of our Tuesday was taken up with Noelle's wedding -- a beautiful ceremony and reception at See Canyon Fruit Ranch in the mountains outside San Luis Obispo with fantastic vegan food by Paul's brother Dave, bittersweet because Noelle's mother died nearly three years ago, but really lovely to see Noelle accompanied down the aisle by her mother's father and by Dave, and so exciting to meet her now-husband Tommy's extended family.

It was also really nice to see Maddy and hear how well she's been doing since she moved back to California. We sat with Alice and her mom, and ate an insane amount (Noelle wanted comfort foods so there was macaroni and "cheese" plus vegan spicy chick'n, French toast, mashed potatoes, an ice (non)cream truck, and a red velvet wedding cake. The isolated ranch had wild turkeys and a rooster wandering around and a stream running through that smelled like the mineral hot springs for which the area is known. When eventually we closed the place down, we said goodbye to various relatives and friends before coming back to Pismo Beach to enjoy the sunset!

Wedding DayCollapse )
Tuesday, 15th August 2017 02:11 am - Greetings from Morro Bay
I had a perfectly awesome Monday. We woke up and walked down to the shore, where we saw whales breaching and dolphins leaping in the waves at Pismo Beach. Then we had breakfast and drove to Morro Bay, where we took a Sub-Sea Tours boat ride to Morro Rock past sea lions, sea otters, pelicans, cormorants, and the fish seen through the underwater glass sides of the boat. I even got to steer!

We had a picnic by the beach, watching sea otters while ground squirrels watched us, before driving into San Luis Obispo, where we visited the mission church (older than the U.S.) before meeting Alice and her mom at the Madonna Inn to take goofy photos of the extremely tasteful decor. We also got truffles to eat after dinner. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped for some toiletries.

Then we returned for a walk on the beach, where we only saw one whale tail but there were literally thousands of seabirds circling out where the sea mammals were. There was also a playful sea otter in the shallow waves finding clams and eating them. We walked beneath the pier and up the street to Thai Talay for dinner, having discovered that they made vegetarian curries! Tomorrow, Noelle's wedding!

Beach DayCollapse )
Monday, 14th August 2017 01:38 am - Greetings from Santa Barbara
Glorious day on the west coast started with breakfast at the hotel in Camarillo and a morning ride to Santa Barbara, during which we saw dolphins leaping in the waves and pelicans diving over the Pacific. We met up with kittylitter1 and her husband at the Santa Barbara Zoo, where we saw many of our favorite animals including elephants, lions, leopards, and of course penguins, plus we took a train ride around the zoo and nearby bird sanctuary before going out to lunch at Paradise Cafe.

Then we drove through the San Marcos Pass to Pismo Beach, passing through severe wildfire damage from last month and stopping at a couple of amazing vistas. We picked up some food before checking in to our hotel, from which we walked to the boardwalk and down onto the sand. The water is quite chilly but we could see whales spouting far out past where the waves were breaking and there were lots of sand crabs! We ate sandwiches for dinner at the hotel after walking through the tourist shops:

Santa Barbara and Pismo BeachCollapse )
Sunday, 13th August 2017 01:51 am - Greetings from Camarillo
We are all in California for our niece Noelle's wedding! We had a somewhat turbulent but okay flight; lunch was delayed because of the shaking and I left my Kindle at home on the table, but I was sitting next to a woman from Syria who works for the Defense Department and we had an interesting discussion of world politics when not distracted by the three-year-old girl in the row in front of us who had a lot to tell us.

We met Daniel at LAX, though his luggage somehow did not get on the plane with him so it is being delivered to our hotel at 2 a.m. Meanwhile we met Uncle Mickey, Lesley, and Garrett at a Mexican restaurant near the Ventura County Fair where they treated us to a really lovely dinner! Now we're in a hotel watching the series finale of Orphan Black (except Adam, who went to bed early), and tomorrow we're seeing a college friend for the first time since college!

Ventura Highway in the SunshineCollapse )
Saturday, 12th August 2017 12:04 am - Poem for Saturday and Last of the Glass
Morgan's CurseCollapse )

Tomorrow morning we are leaving Rose in charge of our house and cats and going to see our L.A. relatives -- first my uncle and his family, then Paul's brother's family at our niece's wedding, then my cousins and their children. And Daniel is meeting us there so we have him the whole week!

So today involved a lot of laundry and packing, trips to the food store for cat food and Walgreens for sunblock, plus getting my hair cut and colored. We half-watched preseason football after dinner and now we're trying to figure out which devices to bring on the plane to watch movies on United's app.

Here is one last set of photos from the Chihuly exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens. Go see the glass before it moves elsewhere!

Glass GardensCollapse )
Friday, 11th August 2017 12:18 am - Poem for Friday and Hibiscus
Having Misidentified A Wild-FlowerCollapse )

Rush job because I was trying to get files organized and it took a lot longer than I expected, plus I was distracted by people on the Les Mis Discord server. Not much news today anyway besides Adam presenting research at his internship: laundry, article, cats, bunnies (including a new-to-me bunny in front of my former junior high school), one Machamp and two Zapdos raids within a mile and a half of my house (1+ 1- on catching the Zapdos but I have three now and that's good enough for me).

My father came over in the afternoon because his printer was broken and he needed to borrow mine, and we had dinner with Adam and my parents plus watched the beginning of the Washington-Baltimore preseason football game which the Ravens ultimately won, though they also pre-empted part two of The Story of Diana on ABC and delayed Weekend Update on NBC, since each team takes over one channel! Here are some hibiscus to brighten your summer:

Thursday, 10th August 2017 12:45 pm - On 'Discovery'
Since so many Star Trek-connected people are posting today about why we should all give 'Discovery' a chance (to such an extent that I'm wondering whether CBS offered them free access or something to inspire so much sudden loyalty), here are my feelings about the new show.

I don't care that it's a prequel. I have no strong feelings about whether or to what extent 'Enterprise' should remain canon. I don't care that the main character is rumored to be an unknown relative of a pre-existing character from the Star Trek universe. I don't care if the uniforms and tech don't look the same as the original series. I'm fine if canon is not entirely consistent, considering that canon was not entirely consistent even between TOS and TNG. I don't mind that the captain won't be the focus of the show, though the casting does make me wonder whether the captain will also be the main villain, which in this case would be all right with me. I adore Jason Isaacs. I like everyone on the cast with whose work I am familiar and have no reason to object to the casting of those with whom I'm not, since I didn't know who most of the TNG cast were when that show started to air. Were this show airing on CBS, I would be willing to give it the same chance to impress me that I gave all three reboot movies (which did not impress me at all).

I care that the new show will be airing in the U.S. on CBS All Access. This is the sole, overwhelming factor in my choice not to watch the new show. Sure, I could get it the way many people reading this will be getting it, via bootlegs from Canada or Europe, and it's even possible that I could get a friend desperate enough for a new Trek series to invite me over so I could watch legally with her. Or I could pay for it. But here's the difference between this show and all the shows that came before it: No one asked us up front to subsidize the franchise so that its network shareholders could make money. That was a happy result of the original Star Trek's success, and it was certainly a goal of its creators, but none of us as was told that we must contribute cash as well as interest to keep the show on the air.

'Discovery' isn't even like being asked to pay for a film at the box office, where we have the choice to see it opening weekend or to wait, to read reviews, to seek out spoilers if we care enough that a beloved character is rumored to die or a beloved storyline is rumored to have been reworked. With films, we make a one-time choice about whether each is something we'd like to spend our entertainment dollars to see. 'Discovery' is on a subscription service mostly carrying reruns and shows in which I have no interest. It was created specifically to make that subscription service viable, since it must compete with HBO, Showtime, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, the new service that Disney is planning (which presumably will encompass their MCU as well), and the good old fashioned broadcast networks like the WB which is currently providing more female-powered superhero shows than I have time to watch. I get a lot more entertainment for my dollar subscribing to any of the aforementioned pay services and/or putting up with commercials.

But it's not just about me. Les Moonves has gone on the record repeatedly, not about how CBS wanted to put a new Star Trek show on the new CBS All Access channel because a pay-to-view model would allow them to make a better show without worrying about running up costs, but because Trekkies are a reliable cash cow and CBS shareholders will be thrilled with how much money we infuse into the franchise. I have two objections to this. One is the aforementioned, being asked to pay for a product with no recent track record of quality, all the while being treated not as a discerning customer but as a mindless consumer.

The other reason is more elusive. As anyone who knows me knows, Star Trek has been a big part of my life, instrumental in connecting me with some of the most important people in my life. For some of those people, Star Trek was a lifeline to a bigger world than the one in which they grew up -- it made them realize that they could become successful and valued in scientific or leadership or military jobs even though they rarely saw people like themselves doing those jobs. Many of those people would never have seen Star Trek at all if they or their families had had to pay for every episode. I certainly would not have fallen in love with it over a period of years as my father watched reruns. Putting this kind of a price tag on Star Trek doesn't make it more valuable; it diminishes the franchise and its potential impact enormously. It takes it away from belonging to its own utopian future in which ideas are freely shared and puts it solidly in an upper-middle-class marketplace.

I expect 'Discovery' to fail because I don't have any sense that the people currently working on the show really understand what Star Trek is. Oh, they're great at special effects and snappy dialogue and characters who tick off a lot of diversity checkboxes, so I'm sure the show will be at least as entertaining as the WB's DC TV universe and a lot better than some of Marvel's small screen offerings. But special effects and snappy dialogue are not what made Star Trek stay relevant to generation after generation of viewers. It had a big, generous, aspirational spirit that simply can't exist while it's nickel and diming its viewers.
Thursday, 10th August 2017 12:01 am - Poem for Thursday and Chihuly in the Garden
Ducks' DittyCollapse )

Adam worked late so many days that he didn't need to arrive until mid-morning on Wednesday, so I drove him there, then did chores and worked on an article until late afternoon, when I was summoned to assist in a Bethesda Tyranitar raid after winning a Lugia raid with a new group of people on the far side of Rockville (well worth it since we won and I caught them both). The neighbor who is house- and cat-sitting for us next week had arrived when I got back and we played with cats together for an hour.

Shutterfly had free magnets, so I made a few of those as gifts. After dinner, we all started watching the Carolina Panthers-Houston Texans preseason football game, then switched to The Story of Diana, though we realized midway through that we were going to miss the second part which is pre-empted here for the Ravens-Redskins preseason game tomorrow. Here are some more photos of the Chihuly exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens because so many people seem to like Chihuly glass!

Glass GardensCollapse )
Wednesday, 9th August 2017 12:19 am - Poem for Wednesday and Weekend Brookside
Darling CoffeeCollapse )

Alice had an appointment in Bethesda in the morning and asked whether I'd mind watching her son, so while she was busy, he and I went to three Zapdos raids and wound up meeting her at the mall, where he required McDonalds French fries and Alice and I ended up grabbing Indian food. In other news, I am officially a failure at Pokemon Sorry!

It was late afternoon by the time Alice left, so I spent the rest of the day catching up on chores and making it up to the cats for having been pesked for so long. Adam worked late, so we had ravioli for dinner in front of the television while watching the Nationals game and the final episode of Still Star-Crossed, which is still terrible but weirdly fun!

Summery BrooksideCollapse )
Tuesday, 8th August 2017 12:08 am - Poem for Tuesday, Viceroy's House, Brandywine Zoo
In The SummerCollapse )

dementordelta came over on Monday in terrible rain that made her drive here miserable, but we had a really good day when she got here -- lunch at Cava, the final episodes of Robin of Sherwood, and a preview screener from a British friend of Viceroy's House (which has some historical problems but is well acted and makes an attempt to be fair to all sides in explaining the partition of India).

Then, because we were in the mood for another early 20th century British period piece and hadn't watched it in a year, we put on The King's Speech. Oh shut up, not a single moment of that movie ever gets old. After Delta had to go home, I had dinner with my family and we all caught up on Will. Here are photos from the Brandywine Zoo which we visited with Delta in August three years ago, including their Aldabra tortoise Maximus:

Critter CamCollapse )
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