Well, it was fun while it lasted—another Spring Break is in the books. I enjoyed this brief respite, the eye in the middle of the storm that is the Spring Semester. The next couple of weeks will be a flurry of activity for yours portly, followed by the long, graceful descent into summer vacation.
Like last year, I’ll be recapping the short stories I recommended this past week, and offer up a short ranking of them. The list will be shorter by two this year, as I dedicated last Monday to a movie review and did not reblog an earlier short story review Thursday.
“Spring Break Short Story Recommendations 2021, Part III: “Out of the Deep” – This tale was an excessively wordy, psychological ghost story. It admirably confuses the reader with its unreliable narrator and the weird visions of its protagonist, Jimmy (who is fairly unlikable), but part of the confusion comes from the authors overwrought writing. Still, if you can wade through the dense swamp of the prose, it’s an interesting little tale.
“Recommendation” is perhaps a strong word for this story, which is, at times, excessively wordy and confusing—and that’s coming from me!
“Ghost story” is also, perhaps, a bit of a misnomer, though there does appear to be at least one—and possibly three—apparitions in the story, although that’s never made entirely clear.
It’s the wordiness and lack of clarity, though, that paradoxically make the story interesting. Walter de la Mare was a poet, and brings something of poetry’s attention to the consonance of words. At least, I’d like to think that’s what he is going for here; he clearly enjoys playing with language, almost the way a punster does. It makes for tedious reading at times, but does have the effect of keeping the reader guessing as to what is really happening.
But I digress. The real “ghosts” are the ones haunting the protagonist, Jimmy, a listless young man who has taken possession of his late uncle’s rambling London townhouse. Jimmy apparently has no occupation, and lives by selling off the sumptuous possessions his aunt and uncle left behind. Jimmy is also something of an eccentric insomniac, who finds it difficult to sleep unless bathed in candlelight (at least once in the story he sells some household items so he can purchase candles).Read More »
I’ve been watching a lot of flicks lately, and there was one excellent movie I wanted to review—but I’ve forgotten what it was called! I suppose it wasn’t that memorable after all.
Instead, this post will review 2018’s Still, a movie that is difficult to review without giving away the “twist” ending. That might explain why there aren’t many reviews of it online. Like many obscure films with limited audiences, Still is on Hulu, which is proving itself a depository of hidden gems.
It’s no secret—I do not like meetings. It’s somewhat humorous, then, that I ran for an office that pretty much requires me to attend at least one meeting a month. But at least in a Town Council meeting we cover relevant information necessary to the functioning of the town, and occasionally discuss or debate useful topics pertaining to the interests of our residents.
But in professional settings, I typically find anything longer than an occasional half-hour meeting to be a tedious waste of time. I can never shake the sensation that most meetings are opportunities for Karens and busybodies to peacock, fanning their feathers to signal their virtue.
This piece, which is actually one of my favorites I’ve ever written, details that we waste 11.8 hours a week in meetings—over 25% of our workweek. I wonder if remote working has increased or decreased the amount of time spent in meetings; my hope is that it is the latter. At least with Zoom meetings, you can always switch off your camera and do something productive while the social justice commissars in your human resources department drone on about their latest fad.
Hogg is so clueless that he failed to register the trademark “Good Pillow,” the ultimate name of the company; a clever individual from North Carolina snagged it the day after the Newsweek piece was published on 10 February 2021.