(October 15 – 21)

This week was dominated by the Elderbeast’s birthday (his 12th) which seemed to be another one of those things that was on the horizon forever, and then suddenly … happened. His main present from me this year, on his request, was ‘dinner at a fancy restaurant’. Since he also wanted Peking duck, it made sense to go to the nice Chinese restaurant down the road from us. And it was very, very nice indeed. So nice, in fact, that everyone kept saying how nice it was, in case we each forgot how nice a time we were having and how delicious all of the food was.

One of the best parts was that I got to pay—which might be one of the first times I’ve ever paid for a big, expensive family meal. It felt really good to be able to treat everyone to a good meal and a great evening. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I’d recently been handed a little over $500 back on my tax return.

The celebrations continued on Saturday when, as further evidence of my sheer awesomeness as a parent, I allowed the Elderbeast to have some friends round for a birthday sleepover. Naturally, I was a little nervous about this but—spoiler alert—I have to say they were all excellent and any fears I might have had ended up being completely unfounded.

What was more of a surprise was the Kinderbeast spending half of the day in hospital! He complained of a pain in his groin in the early afternoon, so I took and look and let’s just say that things didn’t look they way they should. Unfortunately we were mere hours away from people arriving; luckily, the Kinderbeast’s mother was able to take him to a local walk-in surgery.

And then the saga began. From the surgery, they were sent to the nearest Emergency Department. From there, they were sent to the children’s hospital in the city. We then had some fun talk about possible surgery, until they ended up walking that back and sent him home at about 9pm with a prescription.

It was a time!

Watching

I spent all week meaning to get started on Netflix’s The Haunting Of Hill House, but somehow that didn’t happen.

I did, of course, watch the second episode of Doctor Who. I’m still very much loving this latest reimagining, and I genuinely can’t get over how gorgeous the show looks now. It always looked good, but they’ve managed to take this new season to the next level. The plot was, once again, perhaps a little thin, but was more than compensated by the compelling characterisation and performances of all players.

Oh, and the new opening titles are just superb—they’re just too short!

To keep me entertained on Saturday night, while the children played, I decided to watch the 1975 movie of Tommy. I’ve been listening to the album a fair bit lately, and remembered the movie vaguely from my childhood. It’s a blast. Not, perhaps, a great movie, but one that’s not ashamed to be what it is, and it does good service to the music.

Sunday night’s ‘Netflix hidden gem’ viewing was Advantageous, a light science fiction drama about a mother struggling with being sidelined in an increasingly age-conscious society. I don’t really want to say too much more about it, but it’s surprisingly sad and moving.

Reading

It, the audiobook, continues to be a little plodding. I’m at the same point, more or less, where I last abandoned the novel. And I’m not surprised, to be honest. As my reading discipline gets worse, I really need stories to get to the point, or for the plot to move forward fairly regularly. It is not a book like that. In fact, on reflection, it has so little plot that I’m impressed they managed to make such a good film out of it.

This is not me saying that it’s a bad book. It’s not; it’s a tremendous book, perhaps King’s defining work. However, it does run down numerous side alleys—it’s a book, you could say, that takes the pretty route at very chance. There’s barely a character whose entire life story isn’t spelled out in marvellous detail; there are flashbacks within flashbacks; there’s a wealth of content that brings almost nothing to the story, does add to the richness of the tale. As I think I’ve already said, no one rambles better than Stephen King, but there is a lot of rambling in It.

Outside of that, it’s still an absolute pleasure to listen to Steven Weber’s narration. Even the slow stuff is marvellous: I just seem to be at a point where I’ve been stuck in the same scene for about four days.

In far more glorious news, I finished my book—The Boy On The Bridge. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and I can say without hesitation that if you’re someone who enjoyed The Girl With All The Gifts, then you’ll also enjoy this one.

As mentioned last week, I also started (and finished) reading the graphic novel of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep. This one was a real treat, and I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s one of the densest graphic novel adaptations I’ve read, by which I mean it really feels as though every page of Philip K Dick’s source novel has been brought onto the page.

I’ve read the original novel several times, and, perhaps inevitably, always viewed it as a prototype version of Blade Runner. This is the first time I’ve read it as a story in its own right and been able to see exactly how rich and fully-formed the world that Dick creates really is. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more adaptations like this.