It’s been relatively quiet on the blog this month, but it’s been anything but quiet behind the screen. What a month! A lot of drama, and surprisingly…. a lot of positive resolution to that drama. Some things are still in motion, but they’re in the process of being tied off even now.
The desktop computer drama has come to a standstill. The plan is still to roll it back from Windows 10 and dual boot it with Windows 7 and Linux Ubuntu. I’ve had so much in the hopper this month, I’ve just backburnered this completely. It’ll happen when it happens.
The completely unnecessary drama with Amazon Music was dragged out and was seemingly never going to end compounded by substandard customer service and… well, all that back there. But then I managed to make contact with one of their Leadership Team who took matters into his own hands where others of that same team simply wrote me off. The end result — and it is an ending — is that my music has been completely restored, notes and reference numbers have been added to my customer file explaining the situation and what to do about it should this ever happen again, and there is no expiration date on any of it. I tried for reparations for my time and energy, but apparently there’s “no way to quantify” such things. I disagree, of course, but it’s like arguing with a wall. This matter is officially closed, and I can now move on with my life.
My house was broken into this month. The thieves kicked in the fence, kicked in the backdoor, and when the alarm sounded, they had just enough time to attempt and fail to take the TV. When they couldn’t, they punched it and ran. Since then, I’ve received the insurance check to cover the damages all around and installed video cameras. Ironically, while I was out of town for Memorial Day weekend, the security company was hacked by Russians. Seriously, I can’t make that up. But we live in a digital world, so I was able to remotely reset the router and change passwords. I was “off the air” all of 12 hours, and since I got no alarm, I’m calling it a win.
I said I didn’t have money to travel for the holiday weekend, and I was going to stay put. So why did I leave the house? Car repairs. Last Friday morning, I hit some really bad roads thanks to the near constant construction here in the Metroplex. Long story short, I tore out the right side suspension, knocked the front axle half an inch in either direction, and limped the car down to my parents’ house with the wheel at a 45 degree angle so we could assess the damage and attempt a repair. I fully expected to be driving a rental for a few days. Turns out, the damage was far more severe, and I’m driving a much newer car. It’s been very well maintained, and it’s far more reliable. Also… anti-lock brakes. You don’t know how much these things matter until you drive a car that doesn’t have them. So, I’m a little more in debt, but I’m much happier.
Both the car and the house have new insurance attached to them too, more affordable than before, which will help out considerably as I continue to juggle bills and chip away at debt. All in all, things could have been a lot worse. I’m grateful for what I can only describe as a cosmic safety net.
In the midst of everything, I came forward to a number of my closest friends and my kid sister, revealing my long-kept secret that I am transgender. Nerve-wracking doesn’t even begin to describe the experience, but once it was over, I’ve found a new sense of liberation that I’ve never even imagined before. And I have to say, I have some amazing friends. Truly amazing. I’m not completely out on my side of the screen, and I never will be. Too many insurmountable factors prevent me from doing this without sacrificing my safety. Here on the blog where I need not fear for my personal safety, I outed myself, and the response was… not what I expected. Some of whom I’ve forged friendships with have come forward in strong support, which again… amazing friends. I could not be more grateful. While the response otherwise was tepid or almost non-existent at best, the post is gaining traction, and I can honestly say I lost no followers and gained no trolls. At least, not yet. I actually gained a few new followers, though I have no idea which posts might have inspired them to do so. In any case… welcome, new followers!
I did have one person pipe up within seconds of me posting (how in the hell did she find it that quickly?), claiming how inspirational the post was and looking for a follow, which I did… and unfollowed shortly once the stars in my eyes settled and realized that’s all it was about. I truly despise it when people think they need to play games in the name of social media leverage. These things do happen, I get it. It just bugs me that I didn’t think to call her out on how she couldn’t possibly have read the post or even have known the content of it in three seconds. I’m usually a lot smarter about these situations, but extenuating circumstances here where emotions were running high. Whatever. In any case, I’m letting it go now. Bigger fish to fry.
Not a lot of books were read this month, but the handful I did get through were powerful for the most part and well worth it all around. To recap, I reviewed Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, Kingsley Amis’ first and only 007 novel, Colonel Sun, William Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff, and Gloria Steinem’s essay collection Moving Beyond Words. And while we’ve had a week off and will do so again this week, the Sherlock Holmes buddy read continues.
The Tolkien buddy read… I can’t tell you how much I’m chomping at the bit to dive headfirst into Unfinished Tales. As things start to settle down and the smoke clears, this is becoming a greater reality that I’ll be able to properly return to Middle-Earth in the very near future. Deepest apologies to those of you who are patiently waiting on this. I know how you feel. I really do. Please bear with me just a little while longer…
My TV and movie viewing continues to drop. I enjoyed Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War for what it was, but I think I’m getting superhero burnout, and I have way too many questions that fundamentally undermine Thanos’ effectiveness as a villain. Still, I’m pretty impressed Marvel pulled it all together as planned. That’s a feat in itself. But that’s not the Bantha in the room I need to discuss. There is one movie that needs a shoutout right now. Solo: A Star Wars Story. OMG, they nailed it! I really need to do a proper review for this, and I even need to talk a bluestreak on John Powell’s incredibly rich score consisting of both new material and adapted themes from John Williams. Suffice it to say, my first reaction for this was one of overwhelmingly grateful surprise. I told friends that it’s not Rogue One good, but it’s so much fun. I may need to reassess that. If you don’t count that incredible Vader finale sequence from Rogue One, Solo is a better film on the whole, which is still hard for me to say because I do so love Rogue One. It’s… complicated to describe why I feel as I do. There’s both a simplicity of the early years and a callback to the original Brian Daley novels, and there’s an integration in the saga so complete that the more you know about the lore of Star Wars, the more geekery there is to be had. It hit all the right buttons and felt like an apology for The Last Jedi from start to finish. It culminates with a cameo reveal near the end of the film that while I won’t spoil it here, I’m still trying to figure out how they kept that a secret. I still get chills thinking about the implications. Faith rewarded, fandom renewed. People are disparaging the low box office returns, and I’m trying to explain to people… it’s no indication of the film’s quality. It’s a response to the split reviews over The Last Jedi. As many people who enjoyed that, just as many felt burned. Now Lucasfilm is having to prove themselves again. I think this one will continue to be a slow burner, but word of mouth will ensure higher sales on home video. I’m confident in that. Anyway, as I say, I really need to do a proper review for this one.
I got plenty of new music this month, and I really need to get back into reviewing some albums just on account. I picked up some early jazz albums from John Williams (!), Loreena McKennitt’s newest album, Lost Souls, the aforementioned Powell score for Solo, and Alan Silvestri’s scores for Ready Player One and Avengers: Infinity War. At long last, I now have the complete score album to Michael Kamen’s The Iron Giant. I also got a couple of compilation albums (one sci-fi, one westerns) from The City of Prague Philharmonic, who continue to impress me with their arrangements and performances of music I already know so well. I love hearing what they bring to the table on such things. I acquired another recording of Beethoven’s nine symphonies and complete string quartets, so I’ve been revisiting the maestro quite a bit lately. I’m now the happy owner of Resphigi’s complete orchestral works. And I tracked down another album from my newest Early Music discovery, Wolgemut.
Other than that, life moves on. Things are returning ever slowly to an even keel, which is fine by me. As dramatic as things were this month, I could really use a vacation. Perception defines reality, and it’s most definitely not the same world for me now as it was when this month began. I’ve really missed blogging about the things I love. I’m trying to build some traction. There is light at the end of this tunnel, and I’ve verified that for once it’s not the headlamp of an oncoming train. I feel lighter, a lot less stressed, and far more positive about the future than at any point in my life. It’s wonderful.