Kenosha Transit electric streetcar along 54th St. at 2nd Ave.
Kenosha Transit electric streetcar along 54th St. at 2nd Ave. on August 22, 2023.

Another Week: Number 35

by | August 27, 2023

Neither of us has been getting enough exercise this summer, but I particularly wanted Amy to get some steps in, so we did a slow mile at Sanders Park on Monday and another on Kenosha’s lakefront on Tuesday. It was good to be out of the cancer Habitrail and loose in the bird calls and sun and lake breeze and bird for a little bit.

Wednesday was 99 degrees and humid, so we stayed inside after that day’s chemotherapy run.

This whole year has been a real rollercoaster of white-knuckled fear, followed by flashes of normality and glimmers of hope, followed by more fear.

Thursday was misery. Amy was either agonizing in her recliner, sleeping on the sofa, or scrambling for a vomit bag. We purchased our second 50-pack of those this week.

On Friday, I finally gave in to her requests to buzz her thinning hair off. Then she got a scan in Oak Creek and gave two of her sisters an introductory tour of Ikea — adding plenty more steps.


My Old School (2022)

This peculiar documentary has been beckoning to us from Hulu since late last year.

One of the things that makes it peculiar is that its main subject — “Brandon Lee,” not to be confused with the late actor and son of Bruce Lee — although providing an audio interview, did not want to appear onscreen, so he is portrayed in this film by actor Alan Cumming, who lipsyncs his interview.

And then the story itself is quite peculiar. It involves Lee’s stint as a student in 1994 at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school northwest of Glasgow, Scotland.

While the escapade recounted here was outrageous, it was also small and personal at the same time. People can be puzzling, and no lives seem to have been ruined by Lee’s choices.

My Old School is an interesting study of deception and perception. Not being able to scrutinize Lee is fairly frustrating, but Cumming does as good a job as anyone could of substituting for him.


Windy City Rehab: Alison’s Dream Home

Since rebranding as Max, the former HBO Max has incorporated lots of home makeover content from its wider Warner Bros. Discovery galaxy. Amy is drawn to architecture and interior design, so some of these shows have been appealing.

This three-part miniseries, though, from Alison Victoria (a.k.a. Alison Victoria Gramenos), was kind of a dud.

To start with, the property, in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, is a 6,250-square-foot former warehouse built in 1927. Real estate experts always stress “location, location, location.” She’s next door to a check-cashing place and around the corner from a Binny’s Beverage Depot. For better or worse, the space has no views to its surroundings, so it’s pretty much like living and working in a huge furniture showcase store.

Then there’s Alison Victoria, whose tastes and personality are somewhat coarse as well. Apparently, her past production partners and city permitting problems are behind her, but she still has some rough edges when dealing with others. She stresses over and over again that she covets ostentatious elements that no one else has, and her style is a dissonance of pieces that she considers “Parisian.”

After all the demolition and deadline tensions, her dream working/living space as revealed in the third and final episode is … unique, I guess. It’s a lot of competing stuff under one roof with no windows.


Reservation Dogs: Season 3

Every now and then there’s a series that we avoid watching because we don’t want it to end. Reservation Dogs is one of these. It’s in its third season — which will be its last — and we are savoring each half-hour episode on Hulu like a slice of dessert.

The series is centered on a group of teenagers living on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma and also includes their family and friends, neighborhood characters, local law enforcement, and an occasional guide from the spirit world. The characters juggle their circumstances, aspirations, and traditions.

Reservation Dogs is noted in the press for its cast and crew, which are almost entirely Native. What really makes it exceptional, though, is how natural and relatable it feels to humans anywhere. Its stories unfold in a somewhat absurd and crappy world which is not only a source of humor and pain, but sometimes of great beauty and profound depth.

This show is a masterpiece. Everyone is great. Amy especially enjoys Paulina Alexis as Willie Jack


Full Circle

Steven Soderbergh directed this six-episode miniseries which includes a number of well-known stars — Claire Danes, Timothy Olyphant, Dennis Quaid, Jim Gaffigan — so I added it to “My Stuff” (formerly “My List”) on Max (formerly HBO Max), and we watched it over the past couple of weeks. It was released over three weeks in July.

Full Circle concerns a kidnapping-and-murder plot in Manhattan at the direction of a Guyanese crime boss (the wonderfully eccentric CCH Pounder) on the advice of a Guyanese mystic, in order to settle a score with the family of a TV food celebrity (Quaid). From there, it starts to get complicated.

This was a fairly engaging story, and Jim Gaffigan was decent in his dramatic role. 

The unripe Max channel on Roku, however, has a definite shittiness to it. For one thing, it does not always keep track of which content you have already watched. Sometimes it wants to continue something you have already seen. Other times, it completely loses your place if you pause playback for even a minute or two.

In the case of Full Circle, after we watched the third episode, the Max channel on our Roku TV next served up episode five. Watching along, we were slightly lost — but my wife, a tomboy detective in her childhood, managed to piece the plot together despite her incapacitating headaches and chemotherapy treatments. When we finally discovered the glitch and went back to view the fourth installment, Amy’s conjectures proved perfectly accurate.



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