Happy New Year’s Eve 2023

Figured I’d put in a last minute post on New Year’s Eve. In 2023, I think that I’ll remember: the orange skies of early June 2023, the “trying to return to in-person social activities because the pandemic is over”; the deluge of Sept 30, 2023; and the first time that I didn’t get to finish 50k words for NaNoWriMo 2023, after all these years of NaNoWriMo.

There was “returning to see movies in a theater” – but I still didn’t do a personal “Barbie”-“Oppenheimer” combination. Seriously, though – Barbie was a curiously interesting movie, even if questions of existentialism and the meaning of being a woman or a Ken weren’t answered totally to my satisfaction. Oh, and of course – “Everything Everywhere All At Once” made it all the way at the Oscars, winning all the way!

Don’t forget the writers and actors strikes, and how the summer made us think about the labor movement. What any of this means in the long run – who knows? I’m curious to see what will happen to the shows that I’ve liked – “Will Trent,” for instance, on ABC. I got behind (again) on “Ghosts” on CBS, and I have yet to try out the original BBC version of “Ghosts.”

I binged through “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” Season 1, because Paramount Plus made it free for viewing (see here about that: https://gizmodo.com/star-trek-strange-new-worlds-season-1-streaming-free-1850496540), in prep for Season 2. Great stuff from Season 1, and I heard great things about Season 2 from “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.”

I also watched the two seasons of “Dark Winds” on AMC. I liked how they portrayed the Navajo world of the late 1960s/early 1970s, and Navajo noir was fascinating. I did keep in mind that the series adapted from the Tony Hillerman book series, but with even more contributions from indigenous peoples, than the last TV adaptation that had been on PBS (but still produced by Robert Redford, who got George RR Martin on board this time). Adaptations can be illuminating for characters and stories; I just wished that “Dark Winds” had more episodes for fleshing out ideas and characters.

More than ever, I’m not sure about the streaming landscape. Short seasons are vastly different than the old 22 to 26 episode seasons that the old broadcast networks did, and sometimes still does.

We’ll see if I get to post on the books read in 2023…

Anyway, here’s hoping that 2024 will be better. All best wishes and see you on the other side. Keep at it, everyone! – ssw15

Merry Christmas 2023! Happy Holidays, or at least don’t be so dazed…

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

In these trying times – trying as ever, what with all the armed conflicts, partisan politics, mass shootings, human pettiness, and whatever craziness of climate change and the COVID virus, which is now part of the illnesses out there: try to find some light in all the darkness of the world.

I tried to be in the right mood for Winter Solstice of 2023, but I didn’t even timely send my Winter Solstice greetings to friends.

A friend of mine sent me a link to a YouTube video (see below) about how people in Hong Kong celebrate Winter Solstice, and I was all: wow, I didn’t even know what “Winter Solstice observation” was called in Cantonese, and I realized that I’m so under-educated about this. It didn’t help that I didn’t/don’t care for glutinous rice balls (what we’d eat for Winter Solstice observation), so my adherence to Chinese traditions hasn’t been very good at all…

(https://youtu.be/NlGZoDZY7CE?feature=shared, or see below:)

But, trying to get into a Christmas spirit? Well, on my part, it’s the usual complicated feelings of not being Christian, of questioning organized religion, and of wondering about anything and everything.

But, a binge of Christmas music might help? Maybe? I tried listening to a lot of Pentatonix (their YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/@PTXofficial/featured), since I’m a sucker for a cappella…

Or check out this past PBS NewsHour Christmas 2021 presentation of US members singing Feliz Navidad; I like it for being so cheerful and hopeful: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/u-s-service-members-perform-feliz-navidad.

An old picture from Christmas Eve 2011; from my Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY, Christmas Eve 2011 photographs. This not as gaudy as the Christmas decorations one may find in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY.

Anyway, best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and to all a good night. Let’s see if I’ll get to do one more blog post before the end of the year. But, be safe and enjoy the rest of 2023. — ssw15