Hey there, reader(s). Sorry to leave you with kind of a downer of a post back on 1/21. I hadn't intended to go on blogging hiatus -- it just happened. Mostly for good reasons, the first of which is that I seem to have gotten myself back in the habit of using my treadmill in the mornings, which means I have to -- have to -- get to bed earlier than I had been, and that cuts into blogging time until I work it into the day some other way.
I have absolutely no excuse not to exercise regularly. When Mr. Sandy finished our basement, he built me a little room specifically for the treadmill and yoga mat. I painted it a nice light purple that I love, and I have a TV and DVD player set up in there, and it's perfect. But as much as I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that even my paltry workouts bring, that's not enough motivation to do them. I have yet to experience these legendary endorphin releases that exercise fans say make them feel so great. What motivates me is the satisfaction of it being my routine to put my own health first in the day. I like to be up before I have to explain to anyone what I'm doing or how long I'm going to be and that I won't hear them if they try to talk to me from another room (another awesome thing about my exercise room is that it's well-insulated. I put the TV volume pretty loud to hear it over the 'mill, and it doesn't bother anyone else in the house). I like to be done with the exercise chore -- maybe someday it won't feel like a chore, but I'm a long way from there yet -- before facing the rest of the day.
Also, exercise time is TV series time. That's how I got started with The Sopranos a while back. I never had HBO, so the show was already long over by the time I started watching it on DVD, but I was totally hooked, from the first episode's very first note of opening music. So hooked that one evening, unable to wait another 10 hours to see what happened in the episode I'd started that morning, I brought the DVD up from the exercise room to finish watching it. Mr. Sandy walked past, and then he was hooked, and from then on we watched The Sopranos together ("wanna watch someone get whacked?" we'd say). Which was good fun, but I still needed something to watch from the treadmill. So this resurgence of morning exercise has meant looking for a new series to get hooked on, and to guard jealously against Mr. Sandy getting hooked on as well.
I started with The Wire. While I appreciated the excellent writing and some charismatic performances, after three episodes I was thoroughly bored with the Baltimore drug/crime scene, and there didn't appear to be any other facets to the show. One of the reasons Sopranos was soooo goooood is that it was a dense, dense drama, covering all kinds of ground at once. The Wire was a yawn by comparison.
Then I tried True Blood, which has an intriguing premise (with the invention of synthetic blood, vampires come out to live openly among us), but -- and this is an odd criticism, coming from me -- it's kind of gross, actually. I don't like the opening with all the crazy religious fanatic imagery, and the baby in Ku Klux Klan garb, and the insects, or whateverthehell. Bon Temps, LA looks like sweaty backwoods hell on Earth. And though we're supposed to like them, I find something unappealing about the gap-toothed, telepathic Sookie Stackhouse (really?) and her pasty vampire Bill. The other characters, particularly Sookie's piggish, dumb-as-dirt brother, aren't going to carry it for me either. Oh, and the sex? As much as I'm a big fan of male nudity and not put off by explicitness, the vibe of this show is hella creepy for 6:00 AM. I'm only a few episodes into it, and I gather things get more interesting later as more people get killed and the characters' supernatural traits come more into play. So maybe I'm not done with it, but for now I'm not loving True Blood.
However! I think I have hit paydirt with Deadwood, the HBO series about the South Dakota town of that name during the peak of the gold rush. It's set in 1876, before the Dakota territory was formally annexed to the United States, so there's no law there and everything's crazy. Timothy Olyphant plays Seth Bullock, a former marshal come with his partner to open a hardware business catering to prospecters. Keith Carradine is Wild Bill Hickock, and you can't take your eyes off him. Ian McShane is chilling as Al Swearengen, who owns the saloon and most everything and everyone else in town. Evil dude. The supporting characters -- my favorite is Calamity Jane -- have depth and interest as well. The whole thing is well-written, beautifully set, crude, tense, and compelling, and Mr. Sandy is not going to get a glimpse of it.
So now I'm off to bed again. I go up at 10:00, read till 10:30, then I'm up at 6:00 to see who's being fed to Mr. Wu's Deadwood pigs.
Life is good.