Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

TrueBlood

For so many reasons, we thank God for our son, and one of the most trivial – but most fun – is that he introduces us to series we love, like The Wire, like My Name is Earl, and like True Blood..

Sookie - Anna Paquin

Sookie - Anna Paquin

You would not think True Blood is the kind of HBO drama that would appeal to seriously grown-up people like AdventureMan and me. I mean honestly, vampires have “come out of the coffin” because blood has been synthesized, and they no longer need human victims. Sounds pretty far fetched, doesn’t it? And the main character, a lovely and a little spacy waitress named Sookie, has a bad habit of overhearing other people’s thoughts . . . and then, she saves a vampire’s life and they fall in love . . . It all sounds like something we would not find interesting, doesn’t it?

True Blood is totally addictive. We watched it with our son and his wife, the way we do with other series, two or three a night. When it came time we really really really needed to go to be, we all groaned, and looked forward to the next night. The writing is that good. The series is very funny, at times gruesome, and WARNING, the sex is energetic, in-your-face and frequent. The writers are good – even great. You find yourself repeating the lines – some of the lines are totally priceless.

There are so many great pieces of writing, small jokes, funny self-deprecating humor – but our all time, hands-down favorite is when one of the waitresses talks about a fight she had with her boyfriend and says “Fine! Men always say ‘fine!’ and walk away! If every fight is going to end in ‘fine!’ why do they even bother arguing in the first place?” We totally love that line.

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Part of the funkiness of the whole vampire-in-real-life scene is the setting, in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and all the Southern accents, Cajun characters – and vampires, etc. Bee-yill, (Bill), Sookie’s vampire heartthrob, is a Civil War veteran, who speaks to her Grandmother’s group, the Descendants of the Glorious Dead. I mean the writing is FUNNY! AdventureMan says it would be better to be a vampire in places like Seattle, where the weather is gloomy and dark, but he forgets that in summer, the sun doesn’t go down until 10 at night, so vampires might do all right in the winter, but the summers would, ahem, fry them.

The characters have some of that deep southern charm, they have known each other most of their lives, they talk about the people they come from. Sookie’s sex-addicted brother is twice accused of murder, and begins to believe (he is not too bright) that maybe he is the murderer. There is a lot of anti-Vampire rhetoric, while the Vampires are fighting for “equal rights.” We don’t really know what those rights are – the right to vote? to marry? to own property? Do the dead have equal rights to the living? Some interesting areas for thought . . .

The themes are adult, and – well, vampires are a dark subject. These episodes are not something you want to watch with children around. Nonetheless, there manages to be moments of utter hilarity, and the good manage to maintain their goodness, even in the face of evil. We love the writing. We can’t wait for the next season.

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Entertainment, Family Issues, Free Speech, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Health Issues, Law and Order | | 3 Comments

One Step Down

It was a real eye opener, being back in the USA. AdventureMan had an interesting observation, something he learned a long time ago in a sociology class. It has to do with dining in restaurants. When a guy eats his lunch out every day, he goes to one kind of place, and then when he takes his family out for a meal on Sunday, he goes one step up, takes them to a better restaurant than he would go to every day.

As we travelled in different parts of the United States, what we saw was just the opposite – one step down. People we know still have jobs, still make their house payments, still have the same income. The PERCEPTIONS however, are very different. People are nervous, maybe even a little worried about their jobs. They are not FEELING as prosperous as they felt last year, or the year before. They are spending less. They are going to eat out, but will eat out at that one-step-down restaurant, and not the higher priced restaurant.

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As we Christmas shopped, we saw HUGE differences. The Macy’s and the Dillard’s and the big delightfully fancy stores are like ghost towns, and for good reason. They have drastically cut back on their inventory. Where you had to fight your way through the crowded racks a couple years ago, there is a lot of space this year. I didn’t see anything very exciting in terms of fashions or shoes. The Targets and the Fred Meyers (a Pacific Northwest chain) were packed with shoppers, prices were cut, and products were flying off the shelves.

A newspaper article said that what people are buying are . . . appliances. Things people really use – toasters, mixers, etc. The big difference is, they are insisting on appliances in COLOR – carmine reds, blueberrys, greens – chartreuse seems to be big this year, for Christmas, for clothing, and for decorations. Even for Christmas cookies. Chartreuse and pink are this year’s Christmasy red and green. Total hoot. But when people start drawing back from spending, they buy practical things – in fanciful colors. I remember reading once that when times get tough, lipstick sales soar. Women will spend on something small to make themselves feel good, and lipstick does the trick.

The trip was a real eye opener. AdventureMan has sticker shock. I just laugh. I think Kuwait is expensive! AdventureMan doesn’t buy groceries. I remember one time we were together at the Co-op and he couldn’t believe what we were spending on milk – but what are you going to do? Not buy milk? I have always used powdered milk for baking, but with the Chinese thing, I even worry about powdered milk.

Are you going through sticker shock? Are your spending habits changing? Do you eat in restaurants, or are you eating more at home?

December 13, 2008 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Experiment, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Florida, Food, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Shopping, Social Issues | 5 Comments