Tuesday, July 19, 2016

She Blinded Me With Science

I awoke late to a beautiful, sunny day. Started out this morning with some Good Eats while I ate breakfast. Blueberries are currently in season, and they're one of my favorite fruits. Alton shows how they make excellent baked goods and syrups for drinks in "Kinda Blue."

Headed out around quarter of noon for today's errand run. First stop was the Oaklyn Library. They were surprisingly busy for a nice day, with several people on the computers, chatting about the Republican Convention talk on CNN. I got fed up with listening to it (and the gossip about it) and left after twenty minutes.

I had other things to do today, anyway. Good thing it was a gorgeous day for a ride up to Haddonfield. It was hot and humid, but not nearly as much as it has been, and the cool wind felt wonderful. I took the long way past the junior high school and down Crystal Lake Road, into Haddonfield's back roads. There was a little bit of traffic on the main highways, but it wasn't really that bad.

I came out next to the Bistro at Haddonfield, which is where I ended up having lunch. Since it was almost 1 by that point, they were very busy. I was too hot for anything but a salad. I tried the Bistro Waldorf. This turned out to be apple chunks in a thick sour cream dressing with Romaine lettuce in raspberry vinaigrette, Craisins, mandarin oranges, and candied walnuts, and a big scoop of chicken salad on top. Not bad. I wish the apples had been mixed in, instead of covered in sour cream, but otherwise, it was pretty tasty.

Explored Inkwood Books, a small bookstore a few blocks away, after I ate. They were surprisingly busy. I guess a lot of people were still on their lunch hour. I looked, but I didn't see anything I wanted.

Got into counseling right on time...which was a moot point. Mrs. Stahl was 10 minutes late. When we got in, we talked about my writing, the trouble at work, my vacation with Lauren next month, and how I so badly want to get out, but don't know how or where I'd go if I did. I've done the same boring, thankless job for 20 years. It's only part time, but it's all I can get. The health insurance is the only reason I'm still there.

I wish I knew how to be myself. I spent a lot of my childhood being driven to this child psychologist and that doctor, in the hope that someone, anyone could figure out why I wasn't getting along with my peers and doing what they did and why I needed to eat so much and gained weight so rapidly. Neither my parents nor the teachers nor the psychologists meant any harm, but it was confusing and frustrating as an 8-year-old. I internalized that nothing I did was ever good enough for anyone, that what I was wasn't good enough, and that being quiet, shy, and weird were the worst possible things anyone could be. It's not that easy to let go of that internalization.

I thought about it as I headed down Haddon Avenue after I left. Though it wasn't as hot, it was still pretty warm, probably in the mid-80's. I needed a treat at Primo's Water Ice. The line was long when I arrived, but it went fast. I got a medium cup of Peach Cheesecake. It was a bit disappointing. It tasted a lot more like cheesecake than it did like peach, and there were no real peach pieces. At least it was nice and cooling.

Went straight home after that via Newton Lake Park. It was a glorious day for a ride in the park. I saw lots of kids out fishing and sunbathing as I went by. Dodged lots of walkers and other bikers, too. The park is at the height of its summer greenery now. The grass is still a little brown, but the trees are vibrant. The water sparkled on the bottle-green lake.

When I got home, I wrote for a little while. I didn't get much further than having Leia hack her way out of the carnivorous sea flowers. I get so easy distracted when I'm writing. I'll look up photos or something for inspiration...and then I'm done for hours.

After I got off, I ate leftovers for dinner while watching Ex Machina. This British sci-fi-thriller takes us to the very modern home of the eccentric owner of a popular internet search engine (Oscar Issac). He's invited Caleb, one of his computer workers (Denhall Gleeson) for a week to test out his newest creation - Ava, a robot that looks, walks, talks, and thinks like a real woman (Alicia Vikander). Ava insists that her creator isn't telling the whole truth about his creations or the blackouts the place is constantly having. Caleb finds himself falling for the beguiling female droid, but looks can be deceiving, and his boss isn't the only one telling lies...

Wow, was this one weird. In some ways, it reminded me a bit of a less showy Blade Runner - a normal guy falls for a robot while dealing with a creep. And, like Blade Runner, it was really far too dark for my taste, including a rather frightening downer ending. Nice performances, though, especially from Vikander as the electronic human who may not be as innocent as she seems.

If you're more into the darker side of sci-fi than I am, this is a tense little tale of robotics run amok that is well worth seeing.

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