Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Not-Holiday Holiday

I pretty much had a not-holiday holiday weekend that still somehow felt like a holiday. I did a lot of work, but I broke with my routine, and sometimes changing routines is enough to get the benefits of a break. The main thing I did was stay mostly offline. I took the laptop downstairs Friday afternoon to work while sitting on the sofa and didn't take it back upstairs until Monday morning. That had a cumulative effect on productivity -- if I wasn't sending e-mails or making blog or message board posts, then I didn't need to check to see if anyone had responded and it became easier and easier to just stay offline.

Not that I was working constantly. Since I'm still in the process of rethinking what I'd already written, it helped to work in spurts. I'd re-read a scene, figure out what was wrong and rewrite it, then re-read the next scene. Then I'd go do something else for a while, during which time I'd think of what I needed to fix in the next scene, as well as something else I needed to fix in the previous scene. Then I'd go back and re-fix the previous scene, fix the next scene and re-read the following scene. And so forth.

Some viewing stuff from the break times:
I finally watched the first episode of The #1 Ladies' Detective Agency (it's more than an hour and a half, so I never seemed to manage to fit it into my schedule) and am totally in love. Now I have to watch the rest of the series in the next couple of weeks before it disappears from OnDemand. I liked the gentle pace and the various quirky but very human characters. I also want to go to Botswana and drink tea with Precious. I think I'll take a look at the books, but this is one case where I'm not sure that the books can do what the TV series does, since on TV we get the scenery and the music. I don't know enough about Africa for my imagination to give me the kind of imagery they have in the series.

My PBS station is weird in so many ways. One of those is that for wide-screen presentations, they seem to feel compelled to blow it out to full-screen and eliminate the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen -- which cuts off the sides of the screen, even if you have a wide-screen TV. The other weird thing they do is show Live at Lincoln Center on tape delay, so it shows up at random times on Sunday afternoons. This time around, the ballet of Romeo and Juliet. Even though I take ballet classes, I have to admit that I've never been a huge fan of ballet. I like really good dancing when it shows up in other places. The movie White Nights is one of my favorites because it mixes ballet with an international thriller plot. But I'm too big a fan of words to enjoy something that spends hours with no talking. This ballet, though, I really got into. I think the ballet classes have made me appreciate watching it more because I know exactly how hard it is to do those things, and I can keep my brain occupied by figuring out which steps they're doing and remembering all the names of the steps. This production did something wild and crazy and cast very young dancers as Romeo and Juliet, which gave it a real sense of authenticity (and Romeo was quite the cutie -- even cuter when they showed rehearsal footage at intermission and he was doing all that stuff while wearing sweats, and he seemed like just a normal kid when he wasn't dancing). Plus, they had real fencing! They brought in weapons masters to choreograph the fight scenes and just did those straight without throwing in too much dance, so it wasn't the usual ballet "fight" where they leap and prance around while waving swords. These fights actually looked ugly and fierce (plus, based on the rehearsal footage, these guys were having a blast with the fighting).

However, I'm still not sure about being able to go to an actual ballet and not get bored. With this, I was inspired to put on my slippers and do a little exercise while I watched, and they tend to frown on that in the theater.

Now, though, I must go get my hair done before it drives me insane. And then back to work.

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