Derik Badman's Journal

2020-12-30 07:58

I turned 44 yesterday, after spending the whole year thinking I was still 42. I look in the mirror and see the grey in my hair and beard, but I still don't feel middle aged. I was a responsible, calm kid pretty early on, and I think I never really had to change that much as I got older. And not having kids certainly helps one still feel younger.

It was an uneventful day, mostly playing video games (Cyberpunk 2077 on which more another time), eating (falafel, tempeh reubens, chocolate cream cheese cupcakes), and watching things (rewatched Late Autumn, and more episodes as we rewatch Deadwood and Gilmore Girls).

As always I enjoyed rewatching an Ozu film. Late Autumn is a delightful blend of drama and comedy (though a very low key mode of each). There are always visual elements that jump out at me with each rewatch, as it can be easy to get wrapped up in following the narrative (and reading the subtitles) and miss the compositions of the frame or the interesting cuts between shots and scenes. This one has a great early example where Ozu makes use of the reflection of light off gently moving water. He never shows the water, just the light wavering on the wall, first at the temple where annual funeral rites (that might not be the right word, they are honoring the anniversary of the protagonist's husband's death) then to a restaurant where the various lead characters are meeting afterwards, across a few cuts.

Rewatching Deadwood has also been well worth the time. No matter how many times I watch it (this must be at least a 4th viewing through the series, if not a 5th), there is also something I forgot or didn't notice. This time I feel like I'm noticing the humor a lot more, as it jostles with the violence and muck.

I finished reading/skimming the Steven Moore Novel book, more skimming than not, but still interested in getting the sequel that covers 1600-1800. A bunch of old novels added to my reading lists, that I will later revisit and pare down for ones I really do want to spend the time on (a lot of them seem to be very very long). I think I've given up in the Ruskin book, as my to read pile is very large and I'm just not enthused about that one.

Started Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin, which tells the story of the eponymous character who seems to be the woman Aeneas marries when he gets to Italy in the Aenead. It's not a work I'm well read on, I know I started reading the Virgil long ago, but never got far, somehow I never took to the Latin classics like I did the Greek ones. Le Guin's telling takes an interesting tact of having Lavinia actually converse with the spirit of who I assume is Virgil (referred to as "the poet"), who having written the Aenead and then talking to Lavinia realizes how he gave her short shrift in his work (apparently she never even speaks in his epic).