Archive for the ‘The Telly’ Category

I’ve watched a lot of TV. Let’s talk about it.

Friday, May 17th, 2019

Again, as I have mentioned before, I don’t actually watch seven hours of television a day. I am crafting during that time and I glance up from time to time to check what’s going on. Really good programs to watch but not watch are cartoons and true crime. It would be extremely concerning if the police are like, “What kind of programming is Jessica into?” Then they look through my recent cable choices and immediately decide that I’m the killer. Even if they’re investigating a neighborhood fiasco involving lawn maintenance. I’m still the killer. But there are a few special shows where I hunker down with a glass of water, get all comfy in my bed and pay full attention. We’re gonna discuss two of them. There might be some spoilers. Or not. Either way I’m covering my rump with this delightful animated gif.

1. Happy. Holeeeeee crap. I don’t know if I’ve talked about this show before. I don’t care. If I have, we’re going to talk about it again. It’s based on a graphic novel and it’s on the SyFy network and it’s on its second season. Brief synopsis: A former cop named Nick Sax who is basically indestructible befriends his daughter’s imaginary friend Happy who is a plump blue unicorn / pegasus hybrid with big ole buck teeth. I do not know what the standards are for cable TV but I think they’re all gone. The show drops f-bombs here there and everywhere and the violence is bananas. Really intense and dark and messy. In the pilot episode we meet Nick who is a disgraced cop who earns his living as a murder-for-hire hitman. The mob gets involved and then there’s that imaginary friend and demon password and Christmas! This show straight-up ruins Christmas. Every week I begin the episode with a quiet “Hoo boy” to myself. I really don’t want to give away too much because shock value is a huge part of the show but occasionally they’ll put in an Easter egg for the viewers. This season Nick (who is played by the glorious and dirrrrrrrty Christopher Meloni) goes to the OTB with Happy (who is voiced by my favorite comedian Patton Oswalt) where they have the horses’ names on the wall. I paused it to read the names. In honor of Patton who also voiced the lead in Ratatouille there was a horse named “Remy the Rat.” The best one was the one they made for Chris Meloni. You may remember his fine work on Law and Order: SVU so his horse was named “Especially Heinous,” it was a very thoughtful touch. Two points you should be aware of: There are many plot points made in Season 1 that are not even remotely answered by the end. Don’t worry, they’re almost all answered in Season 2. I recommend you watch Season 1 (you’ll be a bit confused), watch Season 2 (resolutions), then watch Season 1 again. I understand soooo much more. The second thing are the actors. They are all excellent but the actor who plays Sonny Shine is outstanding. He really comes into his own in Season 2. Every scene he’s in, I can’t take my eyes off of him. I hope he gets a million more roles so I can see him in stuff forever.

 

2. Game of Thrones. C’mon, you knew this was coming. It’s the last season, we have to get into it. It’s fine if you’ve never seen it, I’ll do my best to explain. The first item that needs to be discussed is how epically crappy this season is. It is boring. Really. The damn show has dragons and I’m bored. I found an image that explains how I feel.

One of the aspects of the show that is chapping the diehard fans is the destruction of character development, specifically Daenerys Targaryen, the pretty blonde lady with the eighty-twelve braids in her hair. People are absurdly enraged.

Okay, here’s the deal for you non-watchers: For seven seasons, DT (I’m not typing out her whole name) has been all about freeing the slaves and bringing peace and harmony. Don’t get me wrong, if someone crossed her DT would have them killed in some horrific manner, but if you followed her and swore loyalty to her you were all good. Now, in the last two episodes DT has gone completely crazy and everyone is very very angry about it. Here’s my point: Last season she had three dragons that she called her children (we found out in Season 1 that DT couldn’t have children with her womby-parts so she’s called the Mother of Dragons). She had a huuuuuuge army made up of Dothraki, The Unsullied and some other peeps that I can’t remember now. She was the last Targaryen alive so the throne was hers. In, like, a month-long period two of her dragons were killed AND her bestie was beheaded in front of her AND a big chunk of her army was killed by frosty zombies AND she learned the man she’s been banging is both her nephew AND higher up on the monarchy food chain and therefore would prevent her from getting the throne AND mental illness runs in her family. Absolutely nothing is going her way. With all this it is precisely no surprise at all they she loses her damn mind. It makes complete sense to me. I’m annoyed that the series is ending on a “meh” note (remember, boring) but I don’t think the plot and character structure is destroyed. Here’s an example of dullness – Cercei is one of the biggest baddies on the show, a truly garbage person. She has done the most atrocious acts and everyone was sooo excited for how she would die. It was going to be epic. Did you know how she died? The roof caved in and she was crushed. That’s it. We didn’t even see it. A giant didn’t eat her, the frosty zombies didn’t cut her up and make some festive art with her limbs, she wasn’t hung from a window so villagers could throw moldy apples and dragon poop at her, nothing.  Zzzzzzzzzz.

Bonus show: The Good Place. I am so surprised by this show. It’s a network show so I assumed it would be pleasant and non-threatening and it was in the beginning. But shortly after it began it turns into a philosophical experiment where Emmanuel Kant and Soren Kierkegaard are regularly discussed. It’s totally worth it. I think it’s streaming on Netflix.

Addendum 5/21/19: Gosh, it feels good for professional writers to validate your comments.

Why I started chortling in the middle of 6th Avenue.

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

First a bus went by with this ad:

Immediately after a bus went by with this ad:

I don’t know why I found this so funny but I did so I’m sorry if you were startled by a purple-haired lady creepily chuckling to herself but there you are.

Character actors that I dig very, very hard.

Monday, October 8th, 2018

You know when you’re watching something and an actor shows up and you’re like “Heeeey! It’s that guy! Yeah!” Those are character / supporting actors and I have a few favorites. I occasionally will watch some supercrappy TV or movie simply because one of my favorites is in it. For example, The Leftovers on HBO. If you have depression avoid that show like the plague. My friend called it “grief porn” and it is a colossal bummer. BUT Ann Dowd is in it and therefore I watched one and a half seasons before I had to tap out. So let’s go through my list. I’m sure you have a list of your own. In no particular order:

1. Ann Dowd.

Since we mentioned her let’s start with her. God, I love her. The first time I really paid attention to her was in the first season of True Detective. She’s only in the last episode but whooo is she memorable. Then I started noticing her all over the place. Right now Ann Dowd is a major character on The Handmaid’s Tale and she is KILLING it on that show. Check out her IMDB and see some of her stuff, you won’t regret it.

2. Giancarlo Esposito 

One role. I’ve only seen him in one role. But it’s one of the best pieces of acting I’ve ever seen. Holy crap. Giancarlo’s performance on Breaking Bad was unreal. He plays Gus Fring and if you haven’t watched any of Breaking Bad find out when he starts onscreen and when he finishes and watch those episodes because it is worth it. I just looked at his IMDB page and I see he’s in two of the Maze Runner movies so I’ll now be watching the Maze Runner series of films. I must consume more Giancarlo.

3. Allison Janney

Allison was a slow, slow burn for me. I remember her from American Beauty and I thought she was great there even though she had maybe three lines. Then I saw her in Juno and I thought she was delightful there. Then I finally got around to seeing all of The West Wing and of course she was iconic there. Recently I saw I, Tonya and my goodness, her performance is so on point. It’s really easy for that specific character to become a total cartoon but Allison kept it vaguely grounded. Now I’m watching Mom which is a sitcom on CBS. I actively dislike comedies with laugh tracks (I can figure out where the funny is all by myself, thanks so much) but she’s on it, so I’m gritting my teeth and getting through it. The actor coming up next is also on the show so I’m holding on for that as well.

4. William Fichtner (pronounced Fikner, ignore the T)

Oh my God, I love him. I love him so much. I love how he moves his hands. I love his weird hatchet-esque profile. William has been in everything ever. I cannot remember the first place I saw him but he keeps popping up in TV, movies, apparently he does voiceover for video games, the man keeps busy. I was so psyched when I saw William in the opening of The Dark Knight. I am shocked – SHOCKED! – that the incredibly creepy look he gives when the bank is being brutally robbed is not a meme. It can be used for like eight or nine emotions. C’mon Internet, get it together.

5. The entire supporting cast of The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is my #1 movie ever. I own it on DVD but if it;’s on TNT with commercials I still have to watch it. I know every line now. As you know if you’ve seen it it’s got a pretty big cast. So every time I see one of the side actors in a different show playing a different role I get very excited. Perfect example: There’s a character in Shawshank called Boggs. He is a rapey psychopath who speaks very quietly and makes your skin crawl. A stellar performance. Therefore imagine my delight when watching Turn: Washington’s Spies and there’s that guy playing a regular-degular guy. Hi actor Mark Rolston! I’m glad you’re not typecast as a gross manifestation of a prison nightmare!

6. The entire supporting cast of Orange is the New Black

I don’t feel like I have to explain this. The people on this show, my goodness. Hey, I watched several seasons of How To Get Away With Murder because Matt McCorry is on it. I HATE that show. It’s a soap opera that airs at night and it’s ridiculous. So many implausible murders and kidnapped babies! But Matt was in it so I watched it. If Crazy Eyes or Black Cindy or Chang are in a major motion picture you bet your sweet butt I would I would go to see it. The sheer talent on the show is immense.

 

Everything’s the WORST.

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

I watch a ton of Cartoon Network and Disney XD because those are excellent shows to have on in the background while you’re working on your laptop. They’re bright and fun and the plot’s not critical, they make great filler. Along with cartoons come commercials aimed at children, so a great many toy ads. Changing topics slightly: I understand the need for excrement in one’s life as a necessity but I cannot for the life of me understand the joy people find in turds – the poop emoji being a prime example. For some reason it really bothers me. Enter some of the toys I’ve seen commercials for recently, a.k.a. these atrocities that haunt my nightmares.

Flushin’ Frenzy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEtM1gwCkP8

Don’t Step In It:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjztIsqVI2Q

Doggie Doo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPQrTKoP8Zo

Poopeez:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6aUvDsTMRU

I can’t. I seriously can’t. I’m going to go back to watching women-killing-their-husbands reenactment shows where the commercials are mainly for Life Alert and debt consolidation. It’s too much.

 

Addendum: Poopsie Slime Surprise! Sparkly unicorn poop, for girls! That is a very catchy jingle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1p1nR6Fivk

The Handmaid’s Tale (Spoiler: it’s not a bedtime story. Don’t read it to your kids.)

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

Since it was my birthday last week and I am officially enmeshed in my forties I have decided to complain about the weather. Is it getting muggier or is my tolerance for The Mugg getting lower? Let me tell you what walking to and from work in NYC was like recently: You know when you went to the water park and you wore normal clothes, not a bathing suit, and you got on the water floom thing and then for the rest of the day your damp underwear tried to crawl into your butt? That’s what it was like, but all over. And the smells! So vibrant! So rich! At one point I thought everyone in Manhattan had thrown up in unison because that’s what it smelled like. I long for eternal autumn.

Okay, now that’s done, The Handmaid’s Tale. Whooooo. Not a fun show. Beautiful and evocative and pertinent, but not fun. I was concerned about Season 2 because the book that the series is based on ends with Season 1 so Season 2 is not based on anything. It could have gone horribly wrong. It did not. I mean, it did (it’s about a dystopian society where most people are infertile and the earth is poisoned) but in all the right ways. One of the things I love about the show is how the director and cinematographer pulled from Flemish and Dutch art of the 1600s, predominantly Vermeer. I studied that period of art so I saw the references right quick. I was delighted. Here are shots from the show:

Here are some paintings by Vermeer:

And here are some additional paintings from the same time period as Vermeer:

 

Blatant ripoff that I 100% support.

ADDENDUM: What makes this show so good is there’s a distinct lead character. However, there are a variety of secondary characters that I would like to learn more about. If they killed off the lead and then followed one of the other people I would be okay with that because the showrunners have set up a richness that can be plumbed in many directions. I vote they go Game of Thrones, kill of the lead (sorry Elizabeth Moss, you’re awesome) and then tell someone else’s story.

Why graphic design is so, so very important.

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

I was watching the Rose Bowl the other day (not because I wanted to but because my employee is from Georgia and I was trying to be supportive) and I noticed something interesting. Did anyone look at the playoff semifinal logo? Anyone?

Because to me it looked like something else, something commonly expressed using parentheses in that way.

The best part is in researching “parentheses vaginas” I found this link. I am not alone in this thinking.

http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/college-football-playoff-logo-chosen

Please, if you’re designing an important logo or chart or website or presentation of any kind, I beg of you, consult your nearest designer to avoid catastrophes like this:

The television gods have blessed us with a bountiful year.

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

As a hardcore crafter I am perpetually on a quest for television to “watch” while I’m making whatever I’m making and it seems like I have quite a vast choice. There are both new series and series that slipped past me that I can binge and stuff into my brainhole while I create masterpieces (like Christmas stockings for my new niece and nephew, they’re extremely festive) (the stockings are festive, not the niecephew, they’re newborns and they don’t really do much). Here’s my reviews of my latest consumptions:

Mindhunter. I LOVE police procedurals and Forensic Files and documentaries on the criminally insane (I do a stellar Robert Durst impression, btw) so when I found out there was a sorta-kinda-based on a true story about how the Behavioral Science Unit was developed at the FBI, I jumped right on. Added bonus for me: The lead is played by Jonathan Groff who I have a soft spot for since I saw him in Spring Awakening. It starts slow but it picks up around episode 3. As with all sorta-kinda-based on a true stories, the good parts are all there word-for-word and the boring bits (because life is chock-full of boring bits, it’s all insurance paperwork and dentist appointments as far as the eye can see) have been jazzed up to keep you invested. For example, in real life the lead was married but on the show he’s dating and figuring out who he is and all that. And everyone is absurdly attractive. I was unaware that the FBI is filled with models and the occasional character actor for “realism.” One aspect of the series that I liked were the many conversations about what makes a man (it’s pretty much always a man, sorry dudes) a serial killer? There’s a line in the first episode which summarizes the focus.

Serial killers don’t have the same motivations as killers who are angry at a specific person, or feel slighted by a specific person, or want money from a specific person. They kill for the joy of killing or to fulfill a need deep inside, but we know now that there are some clear markers so we can occasionally apprehend them early. We know that they are almost always men. And as children they often hurt animals. And started fires. And were bullied and abused. More than half wet their beds until the age of twelve. Mindhunter is about the beginning of interviewing incarcerated serial killers to accrue this data and develop profiles. The best part of the show is the interviews with the serial killers. They are taken directly from videos and tapes and whoever the casting director is deserves an Emmy. The actors playing the serial killers are spot-on. For example, Ed Kemper. Ed Kemper, in case you didn’t know, was a GIANT man who was treated like dirt and demeaned by his mother every day for his entire life. So he killed her (okay), then he decapitated her (less okay) and had sex with her head (I’m out). He killed a bunch of other women which is why he’s classified as a serial killer but the matricide is the really special one. The actor totally nails Ed and every scene he’s in is riveting.

I found a video explaining all the characters and their real-life counterparts for further clarification. But I recommend just watching the series because it’s a good chewy series. Chewy shows mean that you mull it over later and do further research and ask questions. It’ makes you think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNevnWxnFrs

 

The Americans. Even though I lived through it I have no recollection of the Cold War in the 1980s. The show is about two people, a man and a woman, who are U.S.S.R. spies that have integrated themselves into suburban Washington D.C. life in order to gather information to send back to Mother Russia. Aside from being badasses, the two characters have to figure out why they’re fighting and lying and coercing and whether they find themselves embracing Western culture against their will. In addition, they have two teenage children that are starting to suspect that something is off. And their neighbor is an FBI agent. This is a tough show to pull off because the main characters are in costume to hide their identity frequently and they have to have backstories to the every person they’re leading and it could get so confusing very quickly but it doesn’t. I also like that the creators trusted their audience to not be total idiots and let the Russian conversations be in Russian with subtitles (as opposed to English with a Russian accent or something stupid like that). Fun Fact: I thought that the trope in movies where people meet on park benches and exchange state secrets was a Hollywood trope but apparently that is real thing that actually happened and is happening! I could be adjacent to the planning of a coup while feeding ducks! Who knew? There’s one more season left to air and I’d like to see how they wrap it up. Or not. However they choose to end it.

http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/the-americans

 

Orphan Black. This one has been on my must-watch for a long time but it was always like, ehhhhhhhh, I’ll watch something else. I finally buckled down and now I’m in the beginning of season 3. The basic plot is there are a number of clones of the same woman, somewhere around eleven of them, and they’re only just learning about each others’ existences and the fact that they were made in a lab and the fact that the lab still wants to study them. It delves into the idea of property because these “sisters” believe they belong to themselves but the lab believes they are lab property because the sequencing of their genome was patented. Actually, here’s the first paragraph from the Wikipedia:

Orphan Black is a Canadian science fiction thriller television series created by screenwriter Graeme Manson and director John Fawcett, starring Tatiana Maslany as several identical people who are clones. The series focuses on Sarah Manning, a woman who assumes the identity of one of her fellow clones, Elizabeth Childs, after witnessing Childs’ suicide. The series raises issues about the moral and ethical implications of human cloning, and its effect on issues of personal identity.

Tatiana Maslany is one of the best actresses because she created distinct mannerisms and personalities for all these different women who are often onscreen at the same time. The series has ended and I cannot wait to see what she works on next.

Those are all her. It’s amazing what Tatiana does. And the plot is very engaging. You don’t know who to trust, a group of people are trying to kill all the clones because they are an abomination unto the Lord, the government is involved, it’s a whole thing. That does not mean the series is without levity. One of my favorite moments is when Vic, a reformed drug dealer in rehab, gets a spiked drink and passes out face-first on a table filled with children’s crafting supplies. He hits that table HARD. Note how there are no feathers flying in the air and as soon as he hits the ground feathers flutter down all around as if they were released from the ceiling at a Katy Perry concert. I could watch this on a loop for a good half-hour.

http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/orphan-black

TV. I’ve been watching it.

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

We’ll start with the most recent and work backwards.

1. Legion on FX. Anyone else watching Legion? I started because British McHotSauce from Downton Abbey was the lead and I’ve always liked his weird risky acting choices and piercing blue eyes. Dan Stevens. I met him once. Stabbed him in one of his pretty eyes with my antler. Photographic proof at bottom of entry:

http://design-newyork.com/blog/2012/12/19/santacon-2012/

I want to like the show, I really do, but it’s a bit too trippy. I realize it’s about a man called David Haller who has been told his whole life he’s schizophrenic when it turns out he’s got superpowers like telekinesis so the show-people want to make it resemble the chaos that mental illness can wreak. HOWEVER, enough is enough. On top of David being crazy-wait-not-crazy-just-magical other people are trying to go through his memories and you know how the inside of your head looks like your grandma’s garage, with crap and thoughts and bits of dreams piled up all over the place? We the viewer are trekking through many minutes of that. It’s only up to episode 3 so I’m hoping in the next few episodes we stop with the demons chasing characters down hallways that lead to nowhere and the epilepsy-inducing strobe effects. On a positive note, the atypical relationship David has with his girlfriend is charming and interesting to see developing.

legion-sweepstakes

2. The Crown on Netflix. It’s the story of the early years of the Queen of England. While I am fully aware that like with every docu-style series everyone on the show is way more attractive with better teeth and above-par conversation skills it was still cool to see a relatively non-fiction retelling of the beginning of Elizabeth the Two’s reign. I think any time a little girl says, “When I grow up I want to be a princess!” we should show them this. “Yes, Bryleigh, being a princess may sound appealing but actually it ends up being not fun at all. There’s lots and lots of paperwork, like a big box a day with your name etched into the box so you can’t give it to someone else to do. And you can’t behead your enemies anymore, in fact you might even have to make small talk with them at parties and tamp down your hatred for the sake of international relations.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LukyMYp2noo

Anyway, back to the show. I learned a series of things I previously had no idea about. First of all in the beginning we see surgery being performed on Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. I assumed kings of empires in the 20th century had their surgeries in hospitals but no, they have them in ballrooms.

ballroom-surgery

Do you see those chandeliers? How awesome are those? I can’t tell if it’s perspective but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were all twenty feet tall because why the hell not. I want all my surgeries in ballrooms from now on. Stained glass windows optional.

There were three things that I learned that blew my mind. One, there was a smog crisis in London in the 1950s where TWELVE THOUSAND people died. Not all immediately, about four thousand people died in the five days that the air was unbreathable, but the effects continued on for years and about twelve thousand people’s demises can be traced back to the smog. How… how have I never known about this? Why was this not taught to me in school in Social Studies as opposed to the gross national product of Belgium which has been of no use whatsoever in my life? (I don’t remember what it was. I assume it’s beer.)

Second, I had no idea that the next-in-line to the throne was not educated. I mean, there are shots of Elizabeth being homeschooled and learning about the Constitution of England but that’s kinda the length and breadth of what she’s taught. Later in the series Elizabeth bemoans the fact that she’s expected to speak to world leaders and she doesn’t know anything. She secretly hires a private tutor. I don’t know why but I assumed that she would be well-read and knowledgeable but it seems like they kept her ignant so they could keep control over her.

Third, okay, Philip, the Queen’s husband, he knew who he was marrying, right? Like, he knew she was going to be queen and the stuff the royal family did for the last bazillion years that hadn’t changed ever? Then why is one of the tropes of the series Philip being butthurt about being the second in the family? He knew he would have to bow to her. He knew he would have to walk two paces behind. I don’t understand where Philip gets off being all “oh no mah fragile masculinity be ouchy” when he clearly could see the future. Very few of us can anticipate what’s coming. He could. I don’t know if that’s true or amped up for the show but if it is true then dude, seriously. Maaaaaaybe don’t marry the future Queen of England, maybe? Yeah.

The main thing I liked about the series was the transition from Elizabeth being a person with thoughts and feelings to a masthead for a nation with no personal identity. There’s supposed to be a second season, I’m psyched to see her further development

 

Addendum: Dammit, Legion. I saw the fourth episode and not only were there tons of flashbacks and general craziness, now there’s a guy in an oldey-timey diving suit walking through a field of glowing grass and living in a hollowed-out ice cube. You keep this up you gonna lose me.

Addendum to the addendum: I finished watching the season. You lost me.

Iceland, Part 6.

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Sorry, the earth caught on fire and I had to go deal with that for a little while. I’ll post about that shortly. In the meantime, moss! SO MUCH MOSS, GUYS.

But first, not moss.

Look at this panoramic pic I took of a corner of the gigantor glacier that takes up a fifth of Iceland.

glacier2 glacier3

And while there are like four trees total in Iceland, that does not mean they are completely bereft of plants. Look at the beautiful colors of this random ground cover.

ground-cover1

We stayed at a sheep farm for two nights. It was wonderful as long as you’re okay with the intense smell of sheep poop. I’m fine with it so it didn’t bother me.

sheep-farm1 sheep-farm7

Right out our front door was an enormous field and then the glacier. Helluva view, I tell ya.

sheep-farm8 sheep-farm9

Our first night there I could not wait to meet the sheep so I snuck out by myself and went to the barn area. I was using a flashlight and totally forgot that retinas reflect back so I was startled by a barn full of demon sheepies.

sheep-farm2

DEMON SHEEPIES!!!

sheep-farm3

Not really. They were pretty chill. Small and stocky and rather disinterested in me and my delight at meeting them. Except for one, the alpha male. He was sitting on a cube of hay directly in front of me and was not behind any blockade of any kind.

sheep-farm4

All was going well until he decided he had had enough of my company and stood up in a threatening way and I realized he could bolt directly at me if he wanted to and I was like heeeeeeey would you look at the time I gotta go.

sheep-farm5

Big fan of the two broads on the left. We chatted briefly before I made my hasty exit. Well, I chatted and they looked at me. Still counts.

sheep-farm6

So, the moss. As you already know, Iceland is made out of lava and some of that lava is in chunks, like this:

moss-fields20

Very jagged. Well, this feathery moss (it’s really a lichen but everyone calls it moss so we’ll go with that) found that it clung really well to these chunks and covered them completely so now the chunks look squishy and soft and round. These moss fields go on for miles and miles. It’s all you can see in any direct. With the mist it makes it extra-otherworldly. I adored it. Team Iceland Moss 4 Eva.

moss-fields1 moss-fields2 moss-fields3 moss-fields4 moss-fields5 moss-fields6 moss-fields7 moss-fields8 moss-fields9 moss-fields10 moss-fields11 moss-fields12 moss-fields13 moss-fields14 moss-fields15 moss-fields16 moss-fields17 moss-fields18 moss-fields19

Remember when I said I was going to share about twenty pictures of moss and everyone was thought no way? Look at all that there moss, y’all. I culled it down too. There was a solid hundred pics. Seriously, I really liked the moss. Has anyone watched The OA on Netflix? There’s a shot of the lead character visiting heaven or purgatory of some other plane of existence and they used the moss fields for that shot. I was so psyched to see it in the show, I might have yelled, “Oh, hello Iceland moss!” alone in my apartment when that came up on the screen.

the_oe_iceland_location

Apparently you can make an awful-sounding soup from the moss where you have to add a massive amount of sugar to make it palatable but hey, you got to get your chlorophyll from somewhere and there isn’t a lot of choices. (I almost wrote “chloroform.” Glad I caught that.)

moss-soup

Let’s finish talking about the countryside while we’re here and then in the next post we can move onto Reykjavik. In the first place we stayed, a massive village of about fifty inhabitants, we went out for a walk in the morning by the seaside. Note, it is before 11:00am so the sun is not out yet.

socks2

And while we were walking by the sea a sweet small friendly cat D christened Socks decided to join us. I loved Socks.

socks3 socks4 socks5

He let me pick him up and sing to him! He wasn’t enthused but he tolerated it. Great cat. I wanted to stuff him in my luggage and take him with me but I was outvoted. Boo.

socks1

Since almost all of Iceland runs on geothermal energy we also visited a power plant. I recommend going. It’s only about an hour outside of Reykjavik. Easy to get to.

geothermal-powerplant2

We took the tour and the lady was very informative. Here’s what she basically said: There is insanely hot poisonous water that they pump up from under the surface. A pipe filled with clean water is put in a bigger pipe filled with this hot demon water and that heats up the clean water. The giant pipes go to Reykjavik and only lose two degrees on the journey so the water is still crazy hot when it gets there.

geothermal-powerplant1

The poisonous death water is put back into the earth so there’s no collapse and it reheats and the circle begins anew.

geothermal-powerplant5 geothermal-powerplant6

The hot water is also used to power massive turbines which in turn make electricity. It’s a pretty self-sufficient facility. There are 40 employees on weekdays and two on weekends. Two.

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The turbines come from Mitsubishi and the company thanked Iceland for buying their products with two very beautiful authentic Japanese crafts.

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This was my favorite chart on the wall explaining the lava under the city.

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They also had a display of all the indigenous rocks. I loved that the most to the surprise of nobody.

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Alright, onto the city.

Iceland, Part 5.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

I was so super-excited to go to swim between two tectonic plates. Remember? Remember that? How could I have known how depressingly south it would go for me?

Before delving into that sadness, let’s look at some other things.

“Coconut” is “Kokosnoot” in Norwegian. I vote we all move there solely based on this.

kokosnoot

Can anyone identify this meat? I’m guessing reindeer but I have no idea, really.

meat

The city closest to the basalt columns was Vik. I should have posted a picture of Vik earlier but I’m doing it now.

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You’ll note the church on the hill. Just about every single church in Iceland looked like that. Plain white building, one steeple, red roof. Here’s someone else’s picture showing a) how freakin’ small the town of Vik is, and b) how close it is to the beach with the amazing structures and the homicidal ocean.

http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get2/I0000aGd276FisUA/fit=1000×750/Vik-church-beach-Iceland-1975.jpg

And look! The volcano that ruined air travel back in 2010! Notice the big divot in the top.

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Alright, let’s tell the sad tale of how Jessica almost drowned in a truly sad manner. I was beyond psyched to go to where the plates came together. The video looked so enticing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd1mv-wH5Pc

We arrived pretty early in the day and met up with the truck in the parking lot that had our dry suits. What’s a dry suit, you ask? It’s a suit designed for swimming in cold water. First, you strip down to your long underwear. Then you put on a pair of overalls made from sleeping bag material, so it’s puffy and warm. Everything was fine for me until the next step. You put on the dry suit. The dry suit is made out of a pretty rigid thicc-as-hell waterproof buoyant material so it is profoundly difficult to move your arms and legs. It’s also very heavy, so it’s like wearing a restrictive suit of armor. Mine was a tad too small so I could not exhale fully. In addition to being heavy and movement-resistant, there are TIGHT rubber gasket-like things around the wrists and neck to prevent water from leaking into the suit. The wrist ones were fine but the neck one made it hard to breathe. Like, to inhale. On top of that, mine was apparently a little too loose so the guy in charge put a RUBBER BELT around my neck to make it TIGHTER. I’m not making any of this up.

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At this point I’m beginning to panic very slightly and I think rightfully so because it was hard to breathe between the NECK BELT and the slightly-too-small suit. I had to consciously think about my breathing. We had to toddle over to the metal staircase into the water and it took me forever because I would immediately become out of breath. They put masks on us and flippers and we got into the water. The element most people were worried about was their exposed faces freezing from the 35-degree water but it was no problem, your face went numb after about thirty seconds. I floated pleasantly face down in the water and then I realized I was lagging behind the rest of the group so I attempted to catch up. This is the moment that changed everything. My snorkel got some water in it but because the suit was so rigid and buoyant I couldn’t flip myself upright to empty my snorkel and the guide said don’t touch the rock walls because they were covered with algae and touching them would dislodge the algae and cloud up the view. So I’m gurgling and trying to thrash (but I can’t) and I can’t take deep breaths and the neck belt is strangling me and that was my experience for the twenty minutes. I missed looking at everything because I was trying not to die. I finally had to be towed to shore by our guide because I was too pathetic to continue. If you’re wondering what I looked like this is a very accurate representation. I am the crocodile in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsRKYN8TeUg

And these are other pictures from the experience. I vaguely remember seeing this as the blackness took over my vision.

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The scenery was absolutely stunning. I loved how the rock still showed the folds of the lava.

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However, the whole day was not disappointment for me. I got to go to a indoor tomato farm! That was super cool. We went there for lunch.

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The menu is very limited and contains only tomato products but everything we had was absolutely delicious. Since electricity is pretty much free due to the volcano juice they can run those crazy grow lights twenty hours a day. This particular tomato farm supplies 18% of Iceland’s tomato needs.

Each table had a basil plant (also grown there) with a wee pair of scissors and a vessel of cold water that had two cherry tomatoes in the bottom.

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To start I got the “Mary Christmas” (all the drinks had the word Mary in them, based off of the Bloody Mary) which was a very sweet breed of tomato mixed with wine and mulling spices and served warm. It tasted almost exactly like spiced cider with a little alcohol. It was delicious and wintery.

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Then we all got the never-ending soup bowl with bread which was a brilliant decision because YUM.

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And I insisted on getting all three desserts because they all had tomato in them and I needed to understand how they worked. And they were all served in flower pots! There was apple and tomato cobbler with corresponding whipped cream pot, ice cream with candied green tomato and two kinds of tomato syrup, and cheesecake with green tomato jam.

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I took this picture of the ice cream so you could see the candied green tomato embedded in there.

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It all tasted wonderful. Tomato is very versatile.

After I had gorged on all the tomato wonderfulness I walked around the facility. Since tomatoes are not native to Iceland, these are from the Netherlands. And in order to pollinate the plants there are imported Dutch bumblebees! They live in filing boxes with their queen.

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It was so nice to see how to make food without putting too much stress on the earth. And this was the definition of farm to table. The tables were in the farm. I highly recommend the Iceland Tomato Experience.