Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I fried my brain

I flew back on a 5 1/2 hour Red-eye so, since I can't sleep on an airplane, I watched TV.  JetBlue offers programs via Direct TV; all you need is earphones...which I had since I wanted to watch "Syriana" on my laptop (so I did that on the trip out and it's a damn good movie told in a non-linear style that takes its time making full sense).  But coming back I had no movie so wound up watching old episodes of "Three's Company" and "The Nanny."  And I think my brain went into shock.

"Three's Company" was insipid but it's from the 70's and the clothes are crazy enough to keep it camp and remind us of how men used to have dicks on TV (one character who's a nookie-hound was wearing tight pants that showed his package to full effect).  Needless to add, women will always have tits on TV.  It was also interesting to see the attitudes about gay men that were acceptable (and made fun of)...all of it pre-AIDS.  It's almost like watching "I Love Lucy" without the brilliant comedy timing or writing...or Lucy.

But then that segued into four episodes of "The Nanny" and I seriously think I am scarred for life.  But I could not look away.  It's like I was watching a slow-motion train wreck.  Fran Drescher wasn't all that bad (except for her extremely nasal laugh), but the setup was so insipid and the storylines so over the top, it's like a melodrama play from the 1870's but without enough camp to make it fun.  Just bad writing and acting and directing.  And this was a top-rated show?  Which I was fortunate enough not to watch until now?  And ran for six years?  Sometimes my oblivious nature is a blessing.

Of course, I also went to Fort Vancouver before going to the airport so used that to anchor myself to reality.  It's across the Columbia River from Portland and is one of those frontier forts with tree trunks set upright and with pointed tops to make the perimeter walls, all leading up to a guard lookout.  It's set up like a little community with some people in period clothes doing work with the tools of the time -- 1850's.   I got there on "no fee" day so just wandered around as it rained, off and on.

Many of the buildings within the compound were restored to nearly original condition, though they were way too neat looking.  I don't think their walls would have been as smooth as these were, and of course horses would have been quartered in there, as well, leaving areas of no grass and lots of fertilizer.  Still, the whole thing reminded me of "Drums Along the Mohawk", an old Henry Fonda movie from 1939, and I enjoyed it.  Once my camera's recharged, I'll put up photos...if they came out.

I'm having trouble getting the hang of this new cheap-assed camera.  Half the time, it's out of focus and dark.  I've got more than a dozen different settings available as well as a switch on the side to let it know if I'm shooting close-ups or doing landscapes, and I have to get the combination just right to get a decent shot.  I can't find a steady setting that really allows for everything (the Auto setting doesn't do a damned thing that I can tell), so I fiddle with it, a lot.

Gads, I'm starting to fade, already.  I got home just before 9am and got to bed about 10:30 and slept till nearly 3pm.  That's after being up for 24 hours.  I gotta get back into shape.

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