• Television

    Outlander episode 505

    Cold open: 1960s Claire in a mostly-empty Catholic church. Book-readers and those attuned to the episode title might surmise that she’s there for the perpetual adoration of the blessed sacrament, though the show doesn’t say that here. My husband thinks Claire’s wig is from “Jackie O: the mature collection.” Claire stands alone in front of the altar and her voiceover takes us to her “present” in 1770s North Carolina. “Eureka!” she’s found penicillin under the microscope. She teaches Marsali to say “eureka” and heaven help me, all I can think of is Kelly Bundy. (“Topeka!”) I love this opening song with the choir. Haven’t skipped it yet. Title card is…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 504

    No cold open this time. Title card is a man’s hand with a fancy ruffled cuff, playing with a coin. Stephen Bonnet. Roger & Co. ride into Brownsville. Roger and Fergus approach the Trading Post on foot. Fergus notices the barrel of a gun sticking out the window. They stop. Roger introduces himself. Man inside the house does not address Roger, but yells instead to Isaiah Morton (“Morton, you bastard!”) He then shoots at Morton, knocking him off his horse. Pandemonium. Gunshots from the house, militia scattering, men trying to find fighting positions. “Do you think they’re Regulators?” John Quincy Myers asks. “Well, not unless Morton’s secretly a corrupt tax…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 503

    Cold open: Claire watering her moldy bread. She adopts the Socratic method to avoid Marsali’s questions about how she got this idea in the first place. All this food is under glass, but I seem to remember that in the book she wanted the food open to the air to catch mold spores on the wind. I admit this is prettier than that would be. The title card after the music is out of focus — is Marsali practicing stitching on a bird or piece of meat, perhaps? Jamie returns home after his adventures with Rationalizing Lieutenant. Looks like Claire is sleeping in her surgery or in the kitchen of…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 502

    Cold open: mob burning someone in effigy, then dragging officials out to the street and tar and feathering them. Murtagh is overseeing the tar & feathering. Right off the bat, this is a brutal episode. “Go to it, lads,” he says, but they’ve already poured burning tar on them, what else? Opening credits: I like the choir, though my husband says it’s harder to make fun of the song this way, so perhaps that’s a small down side. (He likes to sing, “Sing me a song of a lass who is wrong . .”) I think the image of the clasping hands is new this time. Title card of Claire…

  • Television

    Outlander episode 501

    Here’s how we’re going to do this: I will assume that if you’re reading this, you’ve watched the show. The post is based on notes I took while watching, so events should be mostly in the order they aired. Some scenes are going to get more attention than others. I am not trying to be a television critic. I am an Outlander fan who wants to comment on the show and how it compares to the book (when that’s important to me). For the most part, I no longer read what Diana Gabaldon says about the books or show. Sometimes I watch the Starz behind-the-scenes extras, sometimes I don’t. I’m…

  • Books,  Television,  Writing

    And Now for Something Completely Different

    Season 5 of the TV series Outlander started last weekend. I’m crazy about the show and a long-time reader of the books on which it is based. My husband watches it with me — he likes the show and is good-natured about my outbursts during viewing (we have to pause it a lot and occasionally rewind). Most of my friends gave up on the show in season 3, but even when more of them were watching it, no one was interested in engaging with me in endless recaps, book comparisons, and general prattle. (Surprising, I know.) I have filled the gap with Outlander-related podcasts. Podcasts allow me to listen while…

  • Life,  Parenting

    February in the dark

    Two weeks ago my husband and I got into a shouting match. Thanks to Fitbit, I know that my resting heart rate has been up ever since. We’re over it by now, but still uneasy. The actual argument (as far as words hurled) was secondary to our underlying pain and frustration, which might be explained in calmer terms like this: I’m tired of having a hole where our kitchen used to be; everything takes 18 extra steps and there’s not a square foot of available space anywhere in this house. Being a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, the demands are relentless, and I’m afraid I’m bad at…

  • Music,  Parenting

    When your reggae-loving husband is a stay-at-home dad

    Corey was trying to explain to me his current domestic rut. “You know that song, ‘Smoke Two Joints’? ‘I smoke two joints in the morning, I smoke two joints at night . . .’” Concerned I wouldn’t recognize the song in spite of the fact that his musical selections have created the soundtrack to our lives for the past 22 years, he added, “It’s on the Mallrats soundtrack.” I smiled. “I know the song.” “‘I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints, and then I smoke two more.’” He paused. “He smokes a lot of joints in that song. Anyway, that’s how I feel about my Groundhog Day existence…

  • Dreams,  Life

    Meeting Crystal

    I didn’t speak at the open mic at your memorial. What would I have done besides stand there and cry? Your wife and family were there; their grief has precedence. She spoke without introducing herself. She was passionate and I recognized her from photos rotating through the slideshow all night. When she left the stage, I crossed the room to meet her. “Are you Crystal?” “Yes.” You’d described her to me in detail. My name received no flicker of recognition. Your wife asked why I hadn’t brought my family. I couldn’t face the effort required to have them dress up and drive to Seattle. But also, I needed this moment…

  • Current Affairs,  Life

    A rant for the end of September

    I am not going to black out my social media and stay offline for a day “to show what the world might be like without women.” First of all, whether or not I’m on social media on any given day is dependent on my mood and my stress level and is of no consequence to anyone else. Much more importantly, the last thing America needs right now is for its women to go away and hope men miss us. If anything, we need to be taking up more space, not less. I’ve spent most of my life wishing I took up less space. Tall, solidly-built, loud, and outspoken were not…