Derik Badman's Journal

2021-08-07 15:30

Updating my Mac last week basically broke it so I've spent a lot of the past week getting it back into usable shape. I didn't really lose any data, but I had to put all the data back in places where it would belong and work. Lots of reinstalling and copying and resetting parameters and preferences and such. Not all bad, as I'm sure things will run a little smoother without all the years of accumulated secondary files for old apps and old OS versions and the like. Still it ended up being a big drag on my week.

Made a bunch of pickles last Saturday and more today using a mix of things I picked last week and ones we got in our CSA box. They turned out surprisingly well, so much so that I went through a whole pint of mixed jalapeno/cucumber pickles in less than a week, putting them on just about everything I ate. I tried making pickles years back and was really unsatisfied with the results and gave up, but this time around I feel so much more successful. And the recipe (not real canning, more of a quick pickle) is so easy I feel like I'll try some more attempts and variations.

As I was looking in the Criterion Channel earlier I realized I never wrote about Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) a really beautiful over-the-top drama I watched a few weeks ago. Ava Gardner's character falls in love with James Mason's flying Dutchman, a seemingly immortal sailor cursed to sail the seas alone until a women will agree to die for him. It starts out grounded enough and then slowly moves into melodrama and fantasy in a way that is completely ridiculous but still great to watch (kind of like some Sirk movies). Jack Cardiff the same cinematographer who worked on Black Narcissus is likely to credit with the beautiful colors. I wish I had written about it sooner, as I'm sure I had something more to say about it, alas.

I finished up Soseki's Sanshiro which I quite enjoyed. It's like a coming of age novel in early 20th century Tokyo without the actually coming of age part. The eponymous protagonist arrives in Tokyo for university and gets involved with a few other characters. Throughout he is mostly passive, too nervous to speak out, rarely saying what he means when he does talk, easily just going along with what people say. He doesn't get the girl(s), he doesn't really seem to learn much... it's a strange one in that respect, yet, I found it quite enjoyable to read. So much of what is going on around the character seems to happen outside of his ken, so one is always trying to ascertain what the other character actually think, feel, or want, right alongside the character.

This week I've been watching the "Ranown Cycle," a series of 6 westerns that just showed up on Criterion. They were all directed in the late 1950's by Budd Boetticher and star Randolph Scott (most are also written by Burt Kennedy). They are not a series in the sense that they are sequels of each other, just that the people involved were mostly the same and they seem to have a certain amount of thematic similarities. I've watched 4 of them already, they all seem to be in the no nonsense lean 70 minute range and pretty much forego side plots or extraneous action. Scott is always a tough, proud sort of loner who is either out for revenge (2 of them so far) or gets himself embroiled in a situation where he is trying both to save his own life and that of someone else (the other 2). They have a nice mix of settings and side characters and the antagonists tends to be slightly complicated and ambivalent. I'm really enjoying them, definitely adding to me "westerns I like" list.

Got together with a bunch of the guys for another game day (I think I never mentioned the last one, where we played a combo of Gaslands and Blitz Bowl). We had 6 people playing Gaslands which basically took us all day. Ian made a board with road and some hills and obstacles. The whole post-apocalyptic car wars things is not my most favorite (I did have Car Wars when I was a teen, though I think we only played once), but it was fun to play a big miniature game again. The other guys have been getting a lot more into the modelling/modding aspect of it, and I have somehow managed to not buy anything related to this game at all.

It all really reminds me of when we were kids and had this big green wooden board that Pop made for my brothers. We had all these model buildings and stuff for Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars that we used to play with on it. I must have been pretty young at the time cause I only barely remember that, but later when I got into miniature games, my friends and I started using that board to play on in my parent's garage (mostly Warhammer 40k, though we did try out a wide variety of other games). I never was a crafty sort, so our scenery was always pretty basic or impromptu. I did get Pop to help cut a few pieces for hills. I kind of wish I had gotten him to help me do a little more, I probably could have learned some more from him. But I think like many other things, I have to accept that doing that sort of crafty building of stuff is just not something I am going to spend time at and really enjoy long term.

Though, at times, I feel like I've come to same conclusion about just about everything else I try. Some activities last more than other, but so many I end up giving up on. Though quite a few I end up coming back to... and then sometimes giving up on again. RPGs are on of the few I gave up on and then came back to and have stuck with. I gave up on making music, though I do sometimes have a hankering to play again. I gave up on miniature games, then a few years back tried to get into them again (and bought a bunch of things and spent time building and painting stuff) and then gave up and now here we are again playing, but without me going back to the craft side (last time around there was more of the craft side and less of the playing which is maybe why it didn't last long). Fiction, comics... I guess they are a more consistent coming and going as I have the whim or the dedication or the confidence. Thinking about doing some more writing on the fantasy stories I was working on last year.

I don't know. I keep thinking about this stuff and getting nowhere.