bad TV, nostalgia, YouTube

Boredom makes me sink to truly horrifying depths…

Happy Saturday to you all. I’m sitting here, looking at grey, wintery skies, and noticing all the melting snow that has turned everything into a sloppy mess. I don’t mind a little snow. I enjoy watching it fall, and when it’s new and clean, and I don’t have to drive in it, it’s pretty to behold. But then when it melts, it turns the backyard into a big sewer. And again, it makes me not want to go out into the world.

Yesterday, I was hanging out at home all day, because I was waiting for packages to get to us. Most of them didn’t arrive until later in the evening. Because I was bored, I decided to go on YouTube. That’s where I ran into a horrifying memory from 1990. Someone had uploaded the entire six episodes of The Bradys.

Now, I am a superfan of the Bradys. I can be counted on to buy books written by the people who were on the show. I have seen all of the spinoffs, including the godawful “variety show” that aired in the late 70s. I’ve even watched the braless Bradys go bowling, for God’s sake!

Someone thought this was a good idea for a TV show?

But, I think that, by far, the WORST spinoff of The Brady Bunch was The Bradys. I think that incarnation, was supposed to turn the corny 70s era sitcom into a dramatic mix of Full House and Thirtysomething, was the most cringeworthy version of the Brady family that ever was. And I was so bored this week that I actually watched the whole thing. It took me a couple of days, because I couldn’t stand to watch it all in one sitting.

The Bradys came about in 1990 after a hugely successful television movie called A Very Brady Christmas aired in 1988. The TV movie, which featured every original cast member except Susan Olsen (Cindy), who was on her honeymoon in Jamaica at the time, got huge ratings. Olsen’s character was portrayed by Jennifer Runyon, a then very beautiful young actress who had been on Charles In Charge— featuring the cringey Scott Baio. Jennifer Runyon is, at this writing, 63 years old. Man, that makes me feel ancient!

When the decision was made to pitch The Bradys, everyone except Maureen McCormick came aboard. Her character, Marcia Brady Logan, was portrayed by Leah Ayres. Maureen McCormick was very wise to avoid this turkey… Even the variety show was better, because at least it had synchronized swimmers. The Bradys was just a very strange show, and I’m not sure anyone knew what they were supposed to be doing.

I mean, there were some dramatic moments in The Bradys. Bobby Brady, played by Mike Lookinland, becomes a racecar driver. He has an accident and loses the ability to walk without assistance. He wasn’t totally paralyzed, because we see him stand up on occasion. But his being in a wheelchair lends to a theme mallet that has patriarch Mike Brady (Robert Reed)– running for public office and installing a wheelchair ramp in their house. The house, by the way, had to be moved, because of a freeway being built near where the house used to be. And then, when Mike wins the election over the incumbent, Gene Dickinson– played by Herb Edelman, who famously played Stanley Zbornak on The Golden Girls— it turns out that moving the house had put Mike in a different district, nullifying his win… for about 30 seconds.

Greg Brady has become an obstetrician. He has a sleazy looking mustache that makes him look totally yucky. At one point during the very brief series, he mentions becoming an orthopedist, so he can help his brother, Bobby. But then, when he delivers a baby at Bobby’s wedding to Tracy (played by former MTV veejay, Martha Quinn), Greg suddenly realizes he was meant to bring babies into the world.

Jan Brady (Eve Plumb) and her nerdy husband, Phillip Covington III, have patched up their marital differences. Now, they want to have a baby. Jan’s and Phillip’s junk doesn’t work, so they have to adopt. They suddenly wind up with a little Korean girl named Patty who is very shy, but knows how to cook Korean soup. The whole thing is bizarre, even for the 90s. And then, somehow, midway through this tragic series, a laugh track materializes, to tell us when we should laugh.

This show had SIX episodes, and THREE different theme songs! The last one was, regrettably, sung by Florence Henderson, herself.

Peter has become a womanizer who can’t seem to settle on a girlfriend and get married. But he’s somehow brilliant at running campaigns and is super dynamic and responsible. Then, for some reason, the women decide to open a catering business, which Greg and Peter work at as waiters after throwing punches at each other.

Cindy Brady is a disc jockey, even though she had a terrible lisp for years, and she doesn’t exactly have the most exciting delivery on the radio. In 1990, Susan Olsen was still very cute, but I wouldn’t necessarily peg her as an announcer. Maybe she should have been a veterinarian or something… or perhaps a car mechanic? I dunno. Either of those jobs seems more plausible for her character than highly successful disc jockey who is being courted for a television show.

I’m surprised this crap ever made it on TV. Even by 90s standards, it was pretty horrible. I mean, yes, a lot of us were big fans of the original sitcom. And a lot of us wanted to see the Bradys again, which is why the TV movies were so popular. But the spinoffs– and there were three of them– were each badly conceived, poorly acted, and embarrassingly executed. The problems were all solved within the hour timeframe, and lacked continuity. I mean, they made Marcia a drunk, for God’s sake! That’s not a problem that just goes away!

I don’t think people wanted to see the Bradys dealing with modern problems, either. The original show was lightweight, clean, and innocent. The Bradys put tire tracks in the pure driven snow of that show… and just like my backyard, it turned into a soup sandwich shitshow in short order.

Still, even though I was cringing the whole time, and I have a new book to read, I continued to watch that monstrosity. It brought me back to the winter of 1990, when I was 17 years old, and about to graduate from high school. It wasn’t the happiest time of my life, but I do remember feeling kind of hopeful about the future, as I prepared to go to college. The show also reminded me of how ugly fashions were back then. Lots of bright colors, vests, and faux features. I mean, they were almost as ugly as the 70s…

I think the best actress on the show was Jaclyn Bernstein, who also had a guest spot on The Golden Girls. She played Marcia’s and Wally’s implausibly dark haired daughter, Jessica. Jaclyn Bernstein has good comic timing and delivers her lines convincingly. I thought she was even better than Jonathan Weiss (otherwise known as Jonathan Taylor Thomas), who went on to be a pretty successful kid actor.

Eh, well… I guess I can justify watching that dross, since it did result in today’s blog post. Otherwise, I might be writing about the recent deaths of Rosalynn Carter, Henry Kissinger, and Sandra Day O’Connor, and wishing certain other foul mouthed politicians were on that list, instead. Writing about The Bradys keeps me out of trouble. 😉

Hopefully, tomorrow will inspire a blog post with more substance. I’ll try to remember to watch The Golden Girls next time I get bored. At least that show never stops being funny for the right reasons.

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bad TV, celebrities, humor, obits, Reality TV

A fond farewell to Jerry Springer, a man after my own heart…

The featured photo is a screenshot of our television in 2012, when I was watching an episode of Jerry Springer in North Carolina.

Yesterday, after I wrote yet another heartfelt post that I suspect most people won’t bother to read in its entirety, I went off to do what I usually do on Thursdays. I walked Noyzi, then did the dreaded vacuuming, noticing that right on schedule, the ants have invaded the kitchen. This happens every spring and goes on for a few weeks. I vacuumed up the ones I could see, figuring they’ll be happy in the grey bin, where there’s lots of trash.

Then, after after I vacuumed, I turned on the robot mower and broke out the weed trimmer, giving the backyard a nice sprucing up. We’ve recently had a lot of rain, so the grass grows quickly. Our new rain barrel is collecting rain that will be handy in the summer, when it stops raining so much and everything shrivels up.

After I did my chores, I took a shower, ate some lunch, and promptly bit my tongue. Ouch! Then I started watching videos by H.G. Tudor, and got a bit lost in a new game I downloaded… Such is the life of an Overeducated Housewife. It wasn’t until later, when I called up one of my banks to complain about their inability to send me texts, that I noticed that famed TV host Jerry Springer had died yesterday in his home. He was 79 years old.

I know a lot of people joked about Jerry and his bizarre daytime television show, which started off a lot more conventional before it turned into daily theater of the absurd. There was a brief period in my life when I would, on occasion, watch Jerry’s show in the afternoons. They offered a break from the mundane. But I decided I liked him when I saw him host America’s Got Talent years ago… I think it was in the summer of 2007. Below is a direct quote from me, written on Facebook in 2012.

❤ Jerry Springer.

See how he treats Mary? This is exactly what I mean… He was so kind to Mary, and showed genuine concern for her. It was a side of him that I found very endearing.

It was on that show that I saw a very likable side to Jerry Springer. Then later, I watched his show, and realized that he was kind of the straight man, officiating among a cast of bizarre characters who never failed to make me laugh. There was something about Jerry that struck me as kind… and he would often inject humor or reality into the weird. He didn’t take himself too seriously, and would openly tell people that if they were on his show, they might want to re-examine their life choices.

There’s something to be said for Jerry’s honesty and self-awareness. He was a good sport.

From March 2011… is watching Jerry Springer. I forgot how funny this show is.

Jerry Springer was a bit like Charro. People didn’t take him seriously because of his entertainment style. He was laughing all the way to the bank, though, and he genuinely made people smile and laugh. Yes, one could argue that his show “made fun” of people who might be regarded by some as “freaks and weirdos”, but if you watched that show for more than ten minutes, you realized that the vast majority of people who were on it were totally in on the jokes.

From 2013… Watching Jerry Springer being interviewed by Rosie O’Donnell. I must say I have an odd appreciation for Jerry.

As you can see from my Facebook quotes, Jerry got me through some times. Our brief sojourn in North Carolina could be pretty dull for me, since we lived in the middle of nowhere. It got to the point during that time period when I would look forward to 4:00PM, when the grinding, electric guitars that started Jerry’s show would crank up, and Jerry would introduce the surreal topic of the day. Then, there would be a cast of people who looked like they were doing community theater… or maybe acting out Rocky Horror Picture Show, or something.

And from November 2011… I forgot how funny Jerry Springer is.

It’s been a long time since I last saw Jerry on TV, but I did read that even though he’d been ill, he was hosting a radio show in Cincinnati. It featured folk and Americana music. As is true for almost everybody, there was a lot more to Jerry Springer than met the eye. I never got to see his show, Judge Jerry, but I’ll bet he was awesome on it.

Um… it’s “ho”, not “hoe”. A hoe is a garden tool.
I used to fantasize about going to a taping of Jerry Springer’s show… LOL!

I’d much rather watch this shit on TV than read some of the comments on news articles. At least this shit makes me laugh instead of making me want to cry.

Oh my… American TV is really… something. I give props to Jerry for keeping a straight face.

Watching these old clips have made me laugh and smile again. It’s not often that I have genuine affection for TV hosts or politicians. I truly think Jerry was one of the good guys.

I must point out that the uploader gave this video an offensive name using the so-called “r word”. The actual episode was called “Burned By Love”.
Hamburger Helper… for the woman I love.”

Anyway, I know it was bound to happen sometime, because death happens to all of us. And not everyone can live as long as Harry Belafonte did. Jerry had a pretty good run, though… I will miss him, and always appreciate the many laughs he sent my way. May he rest in peace.

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bad TV, movies, narcissists, true crime

I just watched Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer…

About fifteen years ago, when Bill and I were still living in my native state of Virginia, I read a true crime book by Kathryn Casey. The title of the book was She Wanted it All: A True Story of Sex, Murder, and a Texas Millionaire. At the time that I read the book, Bill was serving a deployment in Iraq. As worried as I was about him, I was also freaked out about his ex wife, who had done some extreme things in the previous year to mess up Bill’s relationship with his daughters. In so many ways, Celeste Beard Johnson’s story reminded me of Ex, only there wasn’t a murder involved.

I reviewed Kathryn Casey’s book on Epinions.com, noting that the story of Celeste Beard Johnson reminded me a lot of my husband’s ex wife, and the drama she was visiting on us at the time. I got nightmares after reading that book. You can find my review here; when Epinions.com died, I managed to save some of my old reviews and have put them on my blog.

Last week, I noticed that a lot of people were reading my review of She Wanted It All. I am Facebook friends with Kathryn Casey, and she had posted about how Celeste’s daughters, Jennifer and Kristina, had done an interview for 20/20. I wasn’t able to watch the show because I live in Germany, and I wasn’t home when it aired, anyway. Maybe I’ll see if I can find it on YouTube or iTunes.

Anyway, when I noticed I was getting a bunch of hits on that old book review from the spring of 2007, I did some Internet sleuthing and discovered that last year, Lifetime put out a made for TV movie about Celeste’s story. The movie, Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer (2021), stars Julie Benz, whom I knew from Desperate Housewives. Julie Benz and I are about the same age, but she’s still very attractive. I liked her in other things I’ve seen her in, so I downloaded the movie and watched it yesterday.

One thing it’s important to remember, of course, is that a made for TV movie is really a movie that’s based on a true story. It also requires condensing a story so that it fits in a short timeframe. Celeste Beard’s story is a hell of a lot more complicated than the way it was portrayed in the made for TV movie. I think Julie Benz was a good choice to play Celeste, but the story is a bit watered down, as it would be. What’s especially sad about it, though, is that Lifetime’s treatment of this story is actually kind of campy. That’s too bad, because I think there are a lot of women like Celeste in the world… toxic, money grifting, narcissistic assholes who are not much better than vampires.

The official trailer for the movie… At this writing, someone has also uploaded the whole thing, so you don’t have to pay iTunes to see it.

At the beginning of the movie, Celeste (Benz) is shown flirting with an older man at an Austin, Texas country club, serving him vodka tonics. The lonely old man, Steven Beard, is a wealthy Austin area television mogul. He’s loaded with money, but since his wife died, he has no one to share his good fortune with. Celeste zeroes in on him, putting on the charm, batting her eyes, and quickly convincing him to fall in love with her and let her and her two daughters, Jennifer and Kristina, move in with him. The movie doesn’t explain this, but Jennifer and Kristina are twins, and products of Celeste’s first marriage to Craig Bratcher. She alienated the girls from their father, and they even wound up in foster care a few times, when she couldn’t foist them off on family. Bratcher eventually committed suicide, as Celeste drained her subsequent husbands of money and other resources. When she married Beard, Celeste insisted that he adopt her daughters, although in the film, it looks as if adopting them was Steven’s idea.

She would marry twice more before making Steven Beard her fourth husband. At the beginning of their relationship, Beard was very kind and generous, and he was patient and understanding when Celeste would spend his money recklessly. When he finally got fed up with her crazy spending habits, Beard brought up the “D” word. Celeste responded by threatening suicide, which led to her being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. There, she met Tracey Tarlton, who was an openly lesbian woman with anger issues and a history of depression. She and Celeste became buddies, and later, had a relationship.

Tracey Tarlton is played by Justine Warrington, who gives the character an almost comic treatment. She confesses to Celeste that she got in trouble for hitting an ex lover’s husband with her truck. When Celeste asks her if she really did that, Tracey says, with a conspiratorial giggle, “No… but I thought about it.” It was at that point that I realized how tasteless this adaptation of Beard’s story really is. Lifetime turned it into a salacious tale, seeming to miss that a man who had friends and family members who loved him was killed for Celeste’s selfish agenda.

Celeste talks Tracey into killing Steven Beard. She convinces her that he’s an abusive man who will leave her destitute and alone if they get a divorce. Tracey got it into her head that if Steven Beard was out of the way, she and Celeste could be together and live happily ever after. But after Steven died, Celeste took up with her fifth husband. That was when the real life Tracey spoke up. The movie makes it appear that the girls had talked her into confessing what really happened. Celeste had signed a prenuptial agreement that would have given her $500,000 in the case of divorce. But if Steven died, she’d get half of his fortune, as the other half would go to Steven’s daughter from his first marriage, a woman named Becky (Patricia Harras) who was older than Celeste. In real life, Celeste was 38 years younger than Steven Beard. Julie Benz is clearly older than the real life Celeste was when this was happening in the early 90s. The actors portrayed Celeste and Steven were too close in age.

One thing I noticed was the detective– Detective Rolands– who seems to pronounce the name so that it sounds like “Rawlins”, which made me think that’s a common name for cops and detectives on TV. Every time he referred to himself by name and flashed a snarky look at Celeste, I was reminded of cheesy 70s and 80s era cop shows.

I didn’t think the acting in this movie was particularly good, either. I remember thinking Julie Benz was so beautiful when she was on Desperate Housewives. I thought she was a good actress, too. In this film, she was all gushy and unconvincing. I came away with the idea that she did this movie strictly for the money. It’s not that I really expected a whole lot better from Lifetime TV. Most of the newest movies I’ve seen made by them are pretty terrible on every level, from the quality of acting, to the veracity of the stories presented, to the way certain things are presented, like crime investigations. They bear little resemblance to the truth and aren’t plausible. Some of it probably has to do with the budget and needing attractive people to star. I’m also sure some people like vapid, shallow, forgettable movies rather than detailed stories.

There was a time when they made movies that were of decent quality, but the ones I’ve seen recently have been disappointing. I saw one they made with Judd Nelson in it. I like Judd Nelson as an actor– I grew up in the 80s, after all. But that movie, Girl in the Basement (2021), which was loosely based on the Josef Fritzl story, was also very campy, salacious, and poorly acted. And both of these movies, made for Lifetime TV, barely scratched the surface of the complexity of the stories. In better hands, this could have been a very compelling movie. I would hope it would have been handled with more respect, too. Lifetime treats it almost like it should be a funny story. There’s nothing funny about what Celeste Beard did to Steven Beard, his daughter, or her daughters, who– thankfully– are much better people than she is.

When I reviewed Kathryn Casey’s book, She Wanted it All, my husband was very estranged from his daughters. As time passed, one of his daughters reconnected and has shown us that, like Jennifer and Kristina Beard, she’s a much better caliber of person than her mother is. Sadly, like Jennifer and Kristina, my husband’s daughters were basically turned into servants, serving their mother’s narcissism and need to take everything from everyone close to her. But when I first read about Celeste Beard, I literally had nightmares, because she reminded me so much of Ex. This movie is laughable and silly… just as Ex has become to me… even if she’s still not a laughing matter to her poor daughter, who still takes her seriously, because she’s still her mother, even if she is a lying, narcissistic twit.

I feel like this true crime story should have been treated with a lot more seriousness and respect. If you are truly interested in this story, I would definitely recommend taking the time to read Kathryn Casey’s book. It’s very comprehensive and well-written, and you’ll get the real story, rather than this appalling bullshit that attempts to turn a tragedy into a comedy show. It’s really not funny, and shouldn’t have been turned into a campy Lifetime TV story.

Celeste Beard is currently serving a life sentence, although she will be eligible for parole in 2042. Tracey Tarleton was released from prison in 2011 and has completed her parole. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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bad TV, Netflix

Tiny Pretty Things is cringeworthy viewing…

Once again, I’m going to avoid some of the serious topics bouncing around in my head today. The news is chock full of potentially explosive things to write about– everything from the fact that Mitch McConnell and Vladimir Putin finally recognized Joe Biden as our next president to a haunting story I read about a middle aged adoptee from Romania, born during Ceausescu’s reign of terror. And, of course, COVID-19 is a topic for every day, too… but I’m sick of writing about that, and much of what I would write is stuff I’ve already written.

Instead, I’m going to write about Netflix’s latest “YA” series, Tiny Pretty Things, which was made available for streaming on Monday. Now, I’ve been a Netflix subscriber for years. I started when I was in graduate school, at Bill’s prompting, when the service involved renting DVDs that were sent in the mail. I quit for a few years when we had cable TV, then enrolled again when we moved back to Germany. I quit again for awhile, when I couldn’t get around the VPN filters and all of the content in Germany was in German. Then, when 13 Reasons Why came out, I resumed my membership. I hated 13 Reasons Why, by the way. I thought it was vastly overhyped and never bothered to watch the second or subsequent seasons.

If a ballerina falls in the forest when no one is near, does she make a sound? Oh brother… (that’s not what she actually says, but it’s kind of close and just as stupid…)

However, even though I have Netflix, I don’t watch it as much as I should. I often go months without logging in to watch anything. I have yet to see a single episode of Orange is the New Black or Stranger Things. I have seen The Crown, but I just now watched all four seasons of it in a massive binge. I frequently get reminders from Netflix to log in and use my membership. This week, I was lured by an ad for Tiny Pretty Things, a drama supposedly aimed at teenagers about very dysfunctional teens studying at The Archer School of Ballet, a “prestigious” ballet school in Chicago.

The first episode made me groan. The writing was very cheesy and melodramatic, with lots of hackneyed expressions that were intended to be clever, but came across as dumb. The storyline was ridiculous. Talented dancer, Neveah Stroyer (played by Kylie Jefferson), from Englewood, California is plucked from obscurity to learn how to dance for the big leagues. Her mom is in prison for killing a man who “hit her baby”, Neveah’s older brother, who is now in a wheelchair.

Lauren Holly, who is 57 and looks like she’s had work done, or at least a few collagen injections, is a ballet madame called Monique Dubois who is running the school. She comes off as snooty, fake, and kind of cruel. The kids are multicultural and there’s a veritable rainbow of boys and girls (who are actually all in their 20s) of all shades and sexual orientations. Many of the “actors” are actually dancers in real life, and they are much better at dancing than delivering their lines. I think Kylie Jefferson is a pretty decent actress, and she’s also a legit dancer, but most of the rest of them are not very convincing in their roles. They don’t look like they are the teens they’re supposed to be, and they aren’t good actors.

What really gets me, though, besides the ridiculous storyline involving a dancer who was pushed off a fourth story building and survives, languishing on life support to be the narrator (a la Mary Alice Young in Desperate Housewives), are the huge number of sex scenes, copious nude scenes, drug references, and, yes, I’m just gonna say it– the language. Everything I’ve read about Tiny Pretty Things indicates that it’s intended for a YA audience. That means it’s for teens, and teens encompass an age group ranging from 13 to 18. In most cases, there’s a huge difference in the maturity level of a 13 year old and an 18 year old. And yet we’re supposed to be okay with kids watching a very dark and macabre series about a ballet company planning a dance about Jack the Ripper? Meanwhile, there’s also a cop with a French braid sniffing around, trying to figure out who pushed Cassie Shore, the ballerina narrator who is actually in a coma, from the roof.

I don’t have children, but when I was growing up, my parents let me watch almost anything I wanted to watch. Every once in awhile, my dad would attempt to stop me from watching something he found inappropriate, but most of the time, I watched anything and everything that interested me. Consequently, I saw a whole lot of stuff that I wouldn’t want a child of mine seeing. I don’t know how different the world is for kids today… I can only imagine that it’s very different now. Still, it does seem a bit much for 8th graders to be watching a nude gay sex scene and listening to talk of blow jobs. When I was 13, I didn’t even know what “getting laid” meant, let alone what a blow job is.

There are some rather gory dream sequences and, at this point, I’ve also seen a closeup of a pretty necrotic looking injured foot that I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing. Aside from that, one of the choreographers is very pervy and sleazy. Watching him makes me think of Larry Nassar.

I suppose it’s a good thing that the cast is so inclusive of people who aren’t white or straight. I do enjoy watching the dancing, too, much of which is beautifully done. But all watching this show has shown me so far is that you don’t have to be a rich white kid to be shown as really fucked up and on TV. It also makes me think that if I’d ever had children, I would not want them to be involved in ballet, even though my sister was involved in ballet when she was growing up and this adaptation probably doesn’t even venture close to representing the norm.

I didn’t think I would get past the first episode, it made me sigh so hard. But I did end up watching several more episodes, mainly because I had nothing better to do yesterday. I’ll probably finish this season, but if it gets renewed, I probably won’t bother with any subsequent ones. Besides the gratuitous sex scenes, the acting is pretty cringeworthy, and the storyline is both very cliched and rather implausible. I’d rather watch 80s era episodes of Fame, which included plenty of cheesy acting and dance numbers, but at least it was somewhat clean.

Tiny Pretty Things is based on a YA novel, which has just got to be better than the show is. It’s just got to. It appears that the authors, Sona Charaiprota and Dhonielle Clayton, have made it into a book series that got popular, hence Netflix’s decision to turn it into a series one can stream. It appears that, as usual, the books are better than the on screen interpretation. I might one day be persuaded to read one of the books, just to see how far the streaming series has sunk.

I have a lot of tolerance for bad TV, but this series is really pretty awful, and it makes me roll my eyes a lot. As an adult, the sex scenes don’t trouble me too much, but I don’t think they’re particularly appropriate for young teens. I might have had less of an issue with that, though, if the quality of the show was better and the sex scenes didn’t feel like they were added to flesh out a thin and ridiculous premise. And the acting and writing both suck enough that I wouldn’t recommend Tiny Pretty Things to almost anyone else, either, at least not if they’re looking for something that is legitimately high quality. On the other hand, if you want to watch something cringeworthy, Tiny Pretty Things might be just the ticket. I think I’d like to watch it with my friend Joann, who has a real knack for critiquing bad TV in a hilarious way.

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music, musings, silliness

The dark days of winter…

I decided to take a “mental health day” yesterday. It was cold and rainy, and I just didn’t feel like doing much of anything. I spent a few minutes fiddling with my guitar, but didn’t do any lessons.

I watched two mindless made for TV movies from the 1990s– Saved By The Bell Hawaiian Style and Saved By The Bell Wedding in Vegas. I had seen both films before and didn’t really like either of them, but since I’ve been hearing so much about the Saved By The Bell reboot on Peacock, I decided I should have the complete set from the original series. I never actually watched that show when it was current, as I was a bit old for it during its original run. I got hooked on it in college, thanks to some of my male friends who thought Tiffani Thiessen was “hot”. I can’t watch Peacock unless I use a VPN, but I’m sure it will eventually be made available. What can I say? I like lowbrow television shows.

One thing I noticed as I watched both crappy movies is that most sitcoms probably shouldn’t be turned into movies. The Saved By The Bell movies were especially bad. When you’re watching a show that is filmed on a soundstage and has a laugh track, it’s easy to suspend disbelief and just go along with the goofy shit. Dustin Diamond’s “Screech” dorkiness was especially irritating when presented on location. His schtick really needs a laugh track because he’s not actually very funny. Without it, he just looks asinine, and not in a funny way. But then, I suppose that would be true for almost everyone on that show.

I also didn’t feel much like writing yesterday. There was nothing on my mind that was earth shattering enough to sit down and write. I thought that if I started writing something, it would be more of the same shit I’ve been writing for the past year. So I took a day off, and tried to wade through my latest book project, John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened. I used to be able to breeze through books with ease, but it’s not so easy now that I’m older, especially when I’m not enjoying the reading material.

Bolton is a bit impressed with himself and I don’t find his writing that compelling. Consequently, although I’ve been reading for a couple of weeks, I’m only about 20% in… and I’m doing a lot of skimming. I confess that I’m also pretty tired of Donald Trump as a whole, and this may be the last book I read about him and his presidency for awhile. I am determined to finish it, though, because I don’t like to quit books I’ve started reading, even if they’re not good. I’ve only done that a few times in my life, and I often feel a tinge of regret whenever I do. Or, at least I’ve only done that with books I’ve had to read voluntarily… books for school are another matter. 😉

This morning, I had higher hopes for productivity, but I slept a bit later than usual. I am usually up at 5:30am, thanks to Bill, who is a chronic early bird and always wakes me up. Today, I slept until 6:20, which felt really late to me. I got up and cleaned the bathrooms, then had coffee and an egg. Since my mouse needed to recharge, I decided to change the strings on my Fender acoustic guitar. It’s probably been a couple of months since I last changed them, so they were definitely due. I play almost every day, though not for long periods of time.

Anyway, I managed to change string #6. String #5 ended up breaking just when it was at about the right pitch. I have extra strings for all of the other strings except #5. So I put that guitar aside and ordered two packs of new steel strings. Then I played with my classical guitar with nylon strings, which I don’t mess with as often. I need to change the strings on that guitar, too, but like I said, I rarely play it, and changing the strings is a pain in the ass.

After a few minutes spent fumbling with my classical guitar, I took the dogs for a walk. There was a guy out there with a leaf blower, which was freaking out Noyzi, so we went a different route. It was uneventful and the dogs were glad to get their stroll, since they didn’t get one yesterday.

Bill is teleworking this morning, but has to go into the office this afternoon. I decided the dogs would get their walk early so I would be home to collect all of the packages I’m expecting today, to include another guitar that I bought myself for Christmas. It’s a very expensive one, and I probably shouldn’t be fooling with it yet, but I couldn’t resist. And since we can’t travel, I had money to defray the big credit card charge. So I ordered myself a Fender Acoustasonic, only I didn’t go for the basic one… I bought one made with exotic wood, which supposedly is pretty hardcore and not expected to appeal to people like me.

I think the pandemic is getting to me, but what the hell. You only live once, and I’m probably at the right age for a mid life crisis. The acoustasonic can be played with or without an amp– it can be used as an electric instrument or an acoustic one. It’s basically an electric guitar with a hollow inside, although if you want to play for others, it’s probably best to plug it in. Today’s featured photo is of the guitar I ordered.

Bill is getting me an amp for Christmas. He will probably buy a new electric guitar for himself before too long. Last night, he showed me the one he wanted. It costs less than half of the one I just bought. Then he showed me one that was half of the price of the one he wants, which he says would be better for him because he’s not a good player yet. I laughed and told him he should just get the guitar he wants, as long as he can afford it. He’s 56 years old and has spent many years being deprived of the good things… and like I said, I am in support of indulging the good old fashioned mid life crisis, just as long as it doesn’t involve any sexually transmitted infections. I figure he could buy the cheaper guitar, but chances are good that he’d rather have the one he’s got his eye on and will eventually pull the trigger anyway. I did advise him to wait a bit, though, because he’s not been able to practice as much as I do and should probably gain a little bit more basic skill. But yeah– what matters most is wanting to play, and if a 1500 euro guitar speaks to him, who am I to disagree that he should have it?

I’m hoping the new guitar will give me something to focus on besides the news, particularly politics and COVID-19. I definitely need more practice in any case.

I’m also expecting about twelve bottles of wine to show up today. So it should be a fun afternoon, even if the morning got off on a bad note. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll be ready to write something more compelling than this.

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