Friday Watch/Listen/Read (Oct 22, 2021)

Erika Writes:

Daylight hours are noticeably fewer here in Orlando, lately anyway. The cooler, longer nights mean frogs on my windows sometimes, which excites the cats (especially Big Cat who would probably be the worst hunter around if he had to actually catch something, because his excitement is audible.) It also means more hours for quiet pursuits. I’d love to pick up my knitting needles, but my hands haven’t been feeling up to it lately. I did invest in some new, ergonomic crochet hooks, but I’ve yet to try them out. And just like in June, when I wrote some really intense pieces about things like reflections on forty years of HIV and the fifth anniversary of the Pulse Massacre here in Orlando, October is another month of truly intense writing…my first piece this month was about the ways children can be unintentionally silenced by adults and the second was about the power of the words I choose as a rape survivor. Stay tuned for what’s coming next week, right? All that intense writing means that I really need to find solace in other spaces in my life, and that often means in my media.

I’ve had reasons to revisit Howard Gardiner and multiple intelligences, which I first learned about as an undergrad. It didn’t seem like a widely known theory when I first encountered it years ago, but it truly excited me and it’s nice to see the ideas embraced by so many people now. It finally made sense how I could struggle so much with some things like math and excel at others. I also liked the way it included the idea that intelligence is not necessarily academic–that kinesthetic skills, interpersonal skills and other things are their own unique kinds of intelligence, too. I’m also glad to see that there are some new editions of the books, which I may add to my never ending wish list. We’ll see–if my missing library card turns up, I think I’ll see what the public library has first and discover what, if anything, has been updated. I’ve also been eyeballs-deep in articles about andragogy, which autocomplete wants to fill in as “androgyny,” as do my brain and fingers when they’re on autopilot. I use the latter word much more frequently, but the former is the sometimes very important (and distinct from pedagogy) art and science of how adults learn.

It hasn’t been all work though. I opened up Leah Raeder’s Black Iris this week, which has been sitting around for a long time. I’ve heard some people express that the protagonist has some similarities to Amazing Amy in Gone Girl, although I’m not far enough into the book to determine the accuracy of that claim yet. This isn’t the usual genre I reach for, but we all need a little adventure once in a while. I’ve also been reading Amanda Lovelace’s The Princess Saves Herself in This One. The Instagrammable poetry thing is a modern take on William Carlos Williams and the prescription pad, I guess. There are some poems and poets whose work I really love in this style, but it’s just not something I seem to write. I will have to figure out how to make my style work on Instagram eventually–for now I look for nice photos and pull favorite quotes, but with so few followers, I don’t think it does much for promotion. 

One of the highlights this week has to be Zachary Zane’s most recent Boyslut entry “Language Has Failed to Describe the Complexities of Sexuality. I’ve also pulled out a copy of Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, which I was first given by a friend as a graduation/leaving for college gift when I was 18. (I gave her a copy of The Little Prince. It’s been about thirty years since I’ve seen her, and this is one of the memories that stands out–the intensity of adolescent friendships, the desperation to cling to the space between childhood and adulthood, knowing you still need time to be the one, while outwardly voicing the desire to be the other. We felt so grown up exchanging those books, and we had so much to learn.)

It’s not just books that have taken me on a nostalgia trip this week either. I listened this morning to Crash Test Dummies “Afternoons and Coffeespoons” after pulling it up on YouTube to post as a comment to someone’s Facebook post.

Tears for Fears released a new song recently, ahead of their new album and I finally had time to listen to that. Not my favorite, but I’m still looking forward to new music from them.

I’ve talked about my love for the Brandeburg Concertos and in particular the Netherlands Bach Society’s performances of them. Last week they posted a new video of Brandenburg Concerto 2 in F Major, along with a video of group members talking about playing the piece. I’d listened to the piece, but had not had a chance to watch the discussion yet. I’m so glad I did. Here’s the video; I especially enjoyed the part at about 6 minutes in when Shunsuke Sato, the director and violinist breaks down the different layers of instrumentation.

As for what I’m watching? It’s Friday, so there will be a new episode of The Great British Baking Show of course. Adam has been encouraging me to watch Taare Zameen Par (the English title is “Like Stars on Earth” I think,) and that might be tonight’s selection. This week I also watched Soleil Moon-Frye’s documentary Kid 90, full of her videos about growing up in the 90s. It looked and sounded familiar. It’s been a lot of repeats of favorites this week though-Schitt’s Creek, Hannah Gadsby, all of the comforting stuff. YouTube has been offering a lot of videos about life in Alaska, and the podcast Understanding Train Station.

Adam Writes:

I guess it’s not particularly surprising I’ve been on a bit of a Bollywood kick lately. Last night I saw Thappad (“The Slap”) starring Taapsee Pannu as a woman whose husband slaps her and she realizes as if by epiphany, that she no longer loves him and is no longer content in the relationship. Tonight I watched “Pink,” another movie starring Taapsee Pannu, this one about a scion of privilege who sexually assaults a woman; she defends herself by taking a bottle up the backside of his head and so he sues her for attempted murder. They’re both really good. The next movie I see is going to be a comedy, though.

It’s interesting that I haven’t seen a Bollywood movie for a while. This was something Anuja and I liked to do together, and that I found too painful to do during our separation. Watching the movie is easy; but researching, picking a good one, pairing it with the appropriate snack… I never got a taste for the broad-bold-bright school of movies (Kabhi Kushi Kahbi Gam, et al.) but I’ll still watch those and find pleasure in them. I like the issue-films, a lot–English Vinglish, Dor, Lunchbox… 

I also find i have an ear for the old English ballads lately. Here are some of my favorites:

All of the foregoing makes sense. I’m watching Indian movies and listening to British music. So here’s something out of left field. The other night I was flipping through my eReader and I found Vladimir Nabokov’s book-length tribute to Nikolai Gogol. What was this doing on my Kobo? Who cares? I started reading it and instantly remembered how much i love reading Nabokov’s prose when he gets exercised about a topic. He’s kind of the Seinfeld of literary criticism–leaves no stone unturned; leaves you asking: why didn’t I think of that? Except that with Nabokov, the answer is frequently: because you don’t speak Russian.

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