Game of Throes

It’s Monday morning in the Lakeside Area. I feel like I’ve been crying all night. It’s my allergies. It’s brutal here right now. If I knew how to dance, I’d be dancing for rain.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Rain Dances: Several Native American tribes have a ceremony related to rain, but possibly the most well known is the Hopi Snake Dance.

People generally assume that the Hopis dance so they will get rain for their crops, but the Hopis believe that they dance so everyone will get rain.

The next time you meet a Hopi, you should probably say, kwakwhay, which is Hopi for Thank you.

De nada.

* * * *

This will probably be my last lengthy post about anything related to the epic HBO series, Game of Thrones, and then I can retire. Again.

Yeah, the title is supposed to be a play on words. A throe is an intense or violent pain or struggle, especially accompanying birth, death, or great change.

Thanks. I thought it was pretty clever, too.

Historically, the imaginary civil war of the Seven Kingdoms in the fictional land of Westeros bears a striking similarity to the factual civil war in the real island of England known as the War of the Roses.

Two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster, symbolized by a red rose, and the House of York, whose symbol was a white rose, took up arms against each other and their respective supporters for control of the British throne.

The war lasted roughly 32 years, and by the time it ended all of the male heirs to the throne from both houses had been eliminated, opening the door for the House of Tudor to seize control.

Oops.

Earlier this year I became addicted to the show. Several weeks later, I got my lovely supermodel wife hooked. Along with the addictive storyline, the cinematography was seriously incredible. Great job, HBO.

Now, like unto all of the other fans all across the world, we’re wondering what we’re going to do with ourselves.

1480943720-couples-confused

HBO is probably planning a whole series of GoT themed shows. Why not? Production costs for each season are around $80 million dollars, give or take. That’s a lots of money.

But, they’ve made roughly $500 million dollars per season. Multiply by eight seasons…. Um, you do the math. They’ve started already production on some prequel shows. Probably some ancillary shows. Drogon is going to host a stand-up comedy show.

It’s going to be called Funny, or Fry.

Last night was the last show of the final season. As with almost every episode of GoT this season, the Interweb has exploded with fan reactions. A lots of people hated the ending. And they’re letting the rest of us know it. A petition is being circulated to remake the final season. More than a million people have already signed it.

Good luck with that, you sniffle-snaffle crybaby twats. I have one word for all you mamby-pamby motherfuckers:

tenor (1)

As far as endings go, I thought it was better than The Sopranos. And probably better than Seinfeld. I couldn’t say, I didn’t watch it. But I liked the last GoT show. Given the time restrictions, the producers did the best they could to wrap an incredibly complicated story up. You may not agree, but:

54u142

To all of you posers who think you can do a better job than the people who have created this series, let me tell you something.

You. Can’t. 

Personally, I don’t think the ending is the real issue here. The issue is that it’s

THE END

And now all y’all are gonna have to come to grips with that and move on, as much as that is going to suck, and I’m right there with you on that point. But all things must end, eventually. Even things that you never want to see come to a close.

* * * *

Game of Thrones premiered in April of 2011. For the people who climbed on bandwagon at the beginning, they’ve been caught up in the whirlwind of intrigue, drama, and bloodshed for almost a decade. I’ve only been doing this for a few months, but it feels like ten years.

That’s longer than all of the Kardashians have been married. Combined.

Those diehard original fans have marked the passage of time with the deaths of their favorite characters.

* * * *

Honey, do you know what tomorrow is?

Yeah, it’s the two year anniversary of the Red Wedding when Robb, Talisa and Catelyn Stark were killed to death by Walder Fuckin’ Frey.”

Honey! I’m serious!!

Um, what were you…thinking…it…is…

It’s our son’s birthday!!!

Oh. Yeah. That was going to be my second answer.

* * * *

The death toll in Game of Thrones has been staggering. Over 200 main and secondary characters have been killed to death as the series as progressed.

giphy.gif

There were less than a dozen characters whose fate hung in the balance last night. The only thing we didn’t know was who else was going to got dead.

I was positive Tyrion Lannister was going to be one of them.

Lannister. Lancaster. See what I mean?

The only reason Tyrion didn’t get fried to a crackly crunch was at right around the halfway point of the show, he  manipulated Jon Snow into killing Daenerys Targaryen for him, and for the good of all mankind, before she had time to execute him. And, Lord knows how many other thousands of people after she had completed her descent into madness.

Nothing portrayed that fall more completely than her speech to her armies after they had destroyed Kings Landing. In a scene rife with demonic imagery and Nazi pep rallies of the Third Reich, Daenerys thanked her soldiers for helping her achieve her lofty goals by killing her enemies to death, then promised them they’d get to kill a lots more people when she went to war against the tyrants who were oppressing all of the miserable people of Westeros.

And her fanatic legions cheered!

There was only one, little, insignificant detail that was missing in her objective. None of the current heads of state in Westeros could even remotely be classified as tyrants.

Daenerys’ storyline had been one of the most compelling parts of the show. She was young, beautiful, and she was on a mission.

She was going to change the world! And, reclaim the Iron Throne. And she had accomplished some pretty amazing things along the way. Those deeds cannot be discounted, nor diminished. She broke the backs of the slave traders in Essos, giving millions of people a chance at a better life.

She helped save all of Westeros by joining forces with Jon Snow to battle the Night King and his zombie army. She didn’t kill him, or destroy his army, but it wasn’t from lack of effort on her part. When Daenerys was good, she was very good. She was arguably the most popular and charismatic character in the show.

Couples started naming their daughters Daenerys. And Khaleesi, one of her many titles. Then, a couple of weeks ago, she blew a gasket and slaughtered something like unto eight hundred thousand people because she had “a little squabble” with their queen.

It’s like the old saying goes, You safely land a million airplanes, and nobody says a word. But you have one, little mid-air collision, and it’s the only thing anyone wants to talk about.

From a psychiatric standpoint, the fact that Daenerys went crazy isn’t very surprising. The greatest risk factor in mental illness is heredity. The second greatest factor is drug and alcohol use, just in cases you were wondering.

Daenerys was seriously genetically flawed. There doesn’t appear to be an accurate count of how many of her ancestors were crazy, but evidently it was way more than one. Her father was definitely insane. And her brother, Viserys, didn’t appear to be all that stable either for that matter.

Daenerys was also an orphan. Her mother died giving birth to her, and her father had been killed to death before she was born. She most likely had abandonment issues, which is a huge factor in the development of Borderline Personality Disorder. One of the hallmark signs of BPD is a distorted self image. Additionally, when under a great deal of stress, people with BPD can experience stress-induced breaks with reality or psychotic episodes.

I rest my case.

Ask any psych nurse you happen to see what their least favorite patient in the world is, and they will all tell you this: Borderlines. Another thing psych nurses will tell you is they hate getting played. And the type of person most likely to play a psych nurse? Yep. Borderlines.

Tyrant, tyrant, tyrant! Targaryens! We hates it forever!!

That’s a paraphrase of Gollum after Bilbo Baggins — you know what. Never mind.

No one wanted see Daenerys fall from grace. Such things are never pretty. It’s hard to root for someone to succeed for seven years, then have to suddenly switch gears and start hoping someone has the guts to kill her before she goes through with her plan to rid the world of tyranny by establishing herself as the world’s only tyrant.

That seems to be the greatest source of unhappiness among the GoT faithful. The fact that they got played by a bunch of Borderline writers and producers, and the great avenging angel everyone had been rooting for turned out to be the devil in disguise.

Yeah, that part really does suck. I was hoping she would get killed — she had to be stopped from her mad intent — but it still broke my heart when it happened.

* * * *

Thank you, Jon Snow. You were Lea’s favorite eye candy guy. If I still lived in Minnesota, I would totally get one of those cloaks you wore. You sucked as a military commander. You loved two women, and they both would’ve killed you if they hadn’t been killed just before they were going to kill you.

You know, maybe you should consider taking up golf…

Even so, it’s never easy to lose someone you love, so what you did to your lover and queen must’ve hurt like unto two hells.

* * * *

The rest of the show was mostly wrapping up a lots of loose ends as neatly as possible. There was a trial. Tyrion was acquitted for the third time. And named Hand of the King, also for the third time. Jon Snow also survived, making House Stark the clear winner of the Great Game to claim the Iron Throne, which ironically, doesn’t exist anymore.

Drogon melted it with dragonfire after Jon Snow stabbed Daenerys in the heart. I felt that knife blade in my chest when it happened. I think Lea cried. But I think she also decided how she wants to die. Being kissed by Kit Harrington…

* * * *

One of the burning Interweb questions is: Why didn’t the dragon kill Jon Snow after he killed the Mother of Dragons? I mean, he was standing right there! My guess is it’s  probably because the dragon read the script. But Jon is also a Targaryen, so maybe that’s why.

You know what? You’ll never know. Let it go.

* * * *

The fanatic legions of the Dragon Queen sailed back to Essos to do whatever it was that their hearts desired after their queen had been murdered. The Dothraki  probably went back to killing and butchering and raping and pillaging again. You know, all the things they enjoyed doing before they did all of those things as part of a higher purpose.

The Unsullied are probably going to take a much deserved beach vacation in Naath. I just hope they don’t wear Speedos.

* * * *

House Stark had the most surviving members of any of the great houses, four. I’ve lost count of how many of the former great houses don’t even exist anymore.

The Starks ended up with two kings and a queen. And the Westerosi version of Dora the Explorer. Safe travels, Arya. I hope you’re using Trivago®.

Bran Stark, the Broken, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Six Kingdoms, Three-Eyed Raven, and Protector of the Realm, became High King of whatever was left of Westeros. He was chosen to be King for several reasons, not the least of which was he was the only person that didn’t want the job.

It was the weirdest job interview, ever.

* * * *

You have an impressive resumé, Mr. Stark. Can you tell me why you want this job?

I…I don’t want the job. But I did travel a long way to come to this interview, just so I could tell you that. Apparently.

Great! You’re hired!

* * * *

Sansa Stark became the Queen of the Independent Kingdom of the North.

Stark. York. See? I told you.

Jon Snow was stripped of any and all titles he might have had, and was banished to Castle Black to serve out the rest of his days as a member of the Night’s Watch guarding The Wall. Again. But he gathered a group of Free Folk once he reached the castle, and headed up into the wild north where he will most likely become the King Beyond the Wall.

The Free Folk already consider him a god because he tried to save them from the Night King and the White Walkers, and was murdered for his efforts by several members of the Night’s Watch.

I told you it was complicated…

* * * *

And they all probably lived as happily as they could after losing so many people, places and things that had once been dear to them.

* * * *

THE END

The Bells

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ve probably noticed something. For a guy living in paradise with a supermodel wife, I tend to complain about a lots of stuff. Yeah, it’s weird, but there’s little doubt that I live the life of Riley.

Unless you’re a geezer like unto me and others in my generation, you might not have any idea what that phrase means. Basically, it means a carefree, peaceful, easy life. The phrase came into common usage around the time of World War I. And  it turns out that it probably refers to the life of a real person–Willy Reilly– who lived in Sligo, Ireland during the late 1800’s.

Yeah, who knew?

In hipster lingo this phrase most likely translates into Easy Peasy Mac and Cheesey. Possibly. I wouldn’t really know. I’m at the age where talking hip probably means you’re talking about your hip replacement.

In my defense, if I didn’t have anything to complain about, I probably wouldn’t have anything to write about. No one wants to hear about how much better your life is than theirs is all the time. And I don’t care how great your life is, mine beats yours every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Besides, complaining is a time honored pastime of retired people. It’s probably a force of habit. We did it all the time. We used to complain about our jobs, our annoying know-it-all bosses, and our fucking annoying idiot co-workers. So there’s that. Habits are hard to break.

Granted, I have less to complain about than probably anyone else I know, including my lovely supermodel wife. After all, she is married to me. I’ve stated that my sole purpose in life is to keep her happy. But I think my unstated purpose is to also drive her a little bit crazy from time to time.

There was that fan thing…

We don’t have air conditioning at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. We don’t really need it. But a couple of months ago Lea decided she wanted a fan for the bedroom because the hottest month of the year in the Lakeside Area is May. She thought if we waited until May to buy a fan, there wouldn’t be any fans for sale when we needed one. That’s kind of how things work down here.

Walmart had a veritable mountain of fans available in March. All I had to do was buy one fan that would help keep the bedroom cool at night. There was nothing all that complicated about my mission. I knew which fan Lea would buy if she had done the smart thing and gone to the store herself. I even put her fan in my shopping cart. 

And then I saw it.

An industrial strength, turbo-charged fan with a hemi engine. And that’s the fan I bought. It’s a thing of beauty as far as fans go. It has three speeds: Gale Force Wind, Category 2 Hurricane, and Blown Away. I had a feeling I had made a mistake when I was assembling it. It kind of sounded like unto a jet airplane taxiing down the runway when I turned on. 

Yep. Lea hated it.

Well, it wasn’t a total loss. I moved it out to the North Wing of the patio. From there, it directs a reasonably manageable stream of air toward the South Wing of the patio. Lea spends a lots of time out there. I thought it would help cool the patio down in the heat of the afternoon. The best result has been that Lea doesn’t hate it out there.

I bought a second fan for the bedroom, the one I had originally planned on buying, and it works perfectly. I really should pay more attention to that little voice in my head that tells me when I’m about to do something stupid…

* * * *

If you’re a Game of Thrones aficionado, you’ll understand the title of this post. If you’re not, go away. You have no business being here.

Speaking only for myself, I think HBO made a huge mistake when they filmed only six episodes for the final season. There’s just too much stuff to try to distill down that quickly.

It’s like trying to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and everyone’s birthdays over one weekend. It can be done, but it’s probably not pretty.

* * * *

“Here. Open this gift.”

“What holiday is it?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even care. Look at the wrapping paper.”

“But this isn’t for me. It has someone else’s name on it!”

“Oh well, now it’s yours. Shut up and open your goddamn present, or I’ll cut you open from belly button to brisket.”

* * * *

The Bells is the title of Episode 5 of the final season. It was the climactic battle in the war for the Iron Throne, the seat of power in Westeros that everyone with a claim to has staked their lives on.

When you play the game of thrones, you win, or you die. There is no middle ground.

Truer words were never spoken. The series has gone from dozens of main characters to a handful. Maybe less. Almost everyone, both good and bad, have been killed to death. Some of them more than once.

There’s one episode left, roughly eighty minutes of opportunity for the producers to kill off two or three of the remaining characters who have somehow avoided getting beheaded, stabbed, shot, executed, poisoned, assassinated, or burned to a crisp until now.

And there was plenty of that in the last episode.

There was only one small, tiny, insignificant detail. It wasn’t supposed to work out that way. It was a given that some people would have to got dead. Queen Daenerys Targaryen had assembled all of her remaining armies outside of King’s Landing, the seat of ultimate power in Westeros, to battle the armies of her remaining enemies, Queen Cercei Lannister and King Euron Greyjoy.

The Good Guys would storm the city. The Bad Guys would see that they had no hope of victory. They would surrender, lay down their arms, and ring the bells. And a whole lots of bloodshed could be avoided. That was the plan.

Queen Daenerys had always said that she wanted to change the world, to actually make it a better place. She wanted to end slavery, oppression, and tyranny. It’s the reason why everyone fell in love with her. That was her fucking mission statement!

But then a funny thing happened on her way to the top. She was betrayed multiple times, most recently by Cercei Lannister, the lying-ass bitch currently sitting on the Iron Throne. Cercei promised to send her armies north to fight against the Night King and his horde of zombie warriors.

She didn’t.

Ser Jorah Mormont, trusted counselor and body guard to Good Queen Daenerys, was indirectly killed to death by Evil Queen Cercei’s treachery when he fell during the Battle of Winterfell. To add insult to injury, Evil Queen Cercei publicly executed Good Queen Daenerys’ other trusted advisor, the sweet and beautiful Missandei of Naath. That happened right after Evil Queen Cercei and Even More Eviler King Euron killed Daenerys’ second dragon to death.

As if that wasn’t enough, Dani threatened to kill one of her few remaining advisors if he fucked up one more time. Then she had another of her advisors executed because he really fucked up one more time. And then her boyfriend told her that he loved her, but he couldn’t have sex with her anymore. Probably because he’s her nephew.

So it was a very different Daenerys that we saw Sunday night. She was more than a little emotionally unbalanced as she went into what she called The Last War. She climbed onto the back of her one remaining dragon.

And. It. Was. On.

I’ve had mixed emotions over just about every episode this season, but this one was probably the worst for me. And just about every other fan on the planet.

Daenerys single-dragonedly destroyed an entire fleet of ships and most of the sailors aboard them. She destroyed the main gates of the King’s Landing, killing most of the army defending those gates, then barbecued all of the defenders on the walls and ramparts. So much for the pivotal role the highly vaunted Golden Company would play in this story. That was probably the most disappointing part of this episode.

Once the gates had been breached, the rest of the city’s defenders surrendered. The bells started ringing…

And, Daenerys didn’t care. She and her dragon systematically destroyed the city block by block, then she destroyed the castle. Neither did most of her invading armies. They slaughtered everyone they saw. Soldier, civilian, man, woman and child.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent people died in the process.

There is some good news in this. For once, Jon Snow didn’t need to be rescued during a battle he commanded. And some very non-innocent people finally got killed to death. Euron Greyjoy, Qyburn, and The Mountain all got the deaths they needed. Cersei probably got dead, too, but maybe not. Lea thinks she somehow survived having ten tons of brick fall on her, so we’ll see. But her death was certainly not the death she deserved.

But now the big question is this: Did Daenerys simply vent a considerable amount of repressed anger and rage at her enemies when she went combustible, or did she go one step beyond batshit crazy when she ignited an entire city on the back of her fire-breathing dragon?

The producers have certainly been pushing her character in that direction, which is really disappointing. How can you trust someone who says, Trust me. I won’t kick you in balls. And then kicks you in the balls. Really hard.

If that’s the case, someone will have to kill Evil Queen Daenerys to death to ensure that she doesn’t become the one thing she started out meaning to destroy. And she would potentially be worse than any of the tyrants she threw down when she was struggling to reach the pinnacle of power. A psychobitch with PMS, and the last living dragon. And someone will probably have to kill that goddamn dragon, too.

Eighty minutes. It’s not a terribly long time. How much can happen? In this case, next Sunday night, everything is on the line. A lots of right things have to happen, and they seemingly have to happen in rapid succession. The producers only have one chance to get it right. So, you know, no pressure.

And they all lived happily ever after…

Yeah, definitely not going to happen.

Some of them lived, and it wasn’t the most ludicrous ending we’ve ever seen.

Speaking only for myself, and eighteen million other people, that seems to be the best we can hope for right now…

GoT Real?

Hey there, sports fans!

The NFL Draft was held last week. The Minnesota Vikings drafted a lots of offensive players, especially linemen. Hopefully, that works out for them. It’s hard to win many football games if you have a porous offensive line. There are sixteen games in the regular season. I think the Vikings will be fortunate to win half of them.

I might end up being a Detroit Lions fan before the year is over…

As a guy, I tend to mark the passing of the year by sporting events. The Super Bowl. March Madness. The Masters. The Triple Crown. After that, it’s just waiting for football to start. So, if I’m already this pessimistic about my team’s chances of success, well, that’s something I’m going to have to work on. At least until they start playing and prove that they suck.

* * * *

I went golfing last Sunday with the intention of shooting my best round ever. That lasted two holes. After that, I could settle down and hope I didn’t shoot my worst round ever. But I regrouped on the back nine.

That’s another thing I’m going to have to work on…

* * * *

I’ve had a few people question my theory about Guys versus Men. I think I can best explain it this way. Bryan Baeumler has a couple of home renovation shows on HGTV. Disaster DIY and Leave it to Bryan.

In the first show, a home owner started a reno project by demolishing a room or two, then realized that they had no idea how to put it all back together, and the house sat unfinished for months, sometimes years. Those are guys.

In the second show, home owners want to renovate their house, but they hire a professional to do it for them because they know they don’t have the skills to do it themselves. Those are men.

If you’re still confused after this, there’s nothing more I can do to help you.

* * * *

The final season of Game of Thrones has reached its halfway point, and it has not disappointed. Seventeen and a half million people tuned in to watch the season premiere, a record for HBO. Two weeks later, that record was shattered when almost eighteen million viewers sat glued to their seats to watch The Long Night, the epic battle of Winterfell.

Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and the Armies of the Living faced off against the Night King, the White Walkers, and the Army of the Dead.

Everything I know about planning a battle I learned as a dental x-ray technician when I was in the Army. I think Jon Snow went to the same school of combat that I did. Prior to last Sunday, Jon had commanded two major battles. The Battle of the Bastards, and the expedition beyond the Wall to capture a wight.

* * * *

I always thought the idea to capture a zombie warrior was stupid. Until Danerys said that it was something you had to see in order to believe it. That was definitely true.

Jon Snow: “The real enemy isn’t the person sitting on the Iron Throne. It’s the Night King.”

Pretty Much Everyone Else: “And who is that, exactly?”

Jon Snow: “Remember the Snow Miser? He’s like that, except he can resurrect the dead, and he’s really good at the javelin.”

Sno

The Hound: “Shit. This guy is a fucking cunt, too.”

Pretty Much Everyone Else: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

However, once he captured a zombie warrior, Jon was able to convince his Queen/girlfriend/aunt that the threat was real, and everyone stopped wondering if he had stopped taking his Haldol.

* * * *

Back to Jon’s battles. He lost them both. I pointed this out to my wife, and she told me to shut up. She has kind of a celebrity crush on Kit Harrington.

Jon Snow was saved both times by outside interventions. The knights of the Vale rode in to save his ass at the Battle of the Bastards. Daenerys and her dragons flew in to save his ass beyond the Wall. And he was going down for the third time when Jon’s half-sister/niece saved everyone’s ass by killing the Night King, which killed his entire zombie army. And an undead dragon.

All I can say is there better be two women that are Knights of the Seven Kingdoms after this. And whose idea was it to shelter all of the women and children down in the crypts? 

Jon Snow: “We’re fighting against a magical king who can reanimate the dead as warriors in his army!”

Somebody: “Okay. We’ll send all of the women and children down into the crypts during the battle to keep them safe.”

Somebody Else: “What’s down there?”

Sansa Stark: “Nothing much. It’s a cemetery…”

Pretty Much Everyone Else: “Brilliant!”

* * * *

Sadly, several of our favorite characters didn’t survive the Battle of Winterfell, most notably Ser Jorah Momont and his cousin, Lady Lyanna Mormont.

Ser Jorah was an honorable man who did some very dishonorable things, and was trying like hell to redeem himself. He kind of reminds me of me. Except he was tall. And handsome. And a great warrior.

Lyanna Mormont was ten years old. She was maybe four feet tall, but that kid was made of Valyrian steel. She definitely made the most of her brief screen appearances. Westeros will be a lesser place without her presence.

Anyone who knows me wouldn’t be surprised that I’m a huge GoT fan. Anyone who knows my lovely supermodel wife would be very surprised to find out that she is. But she has even been researching the series on the Interweb and listening to all of kooky theories about what happens next.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this is as good as it gets.

* * * *

One of the struggles of being retired is finding something interesting to watch on TV, especially during the day. There is seriously nothing worth watching 99% of the time. I rarely actually watch TV, even though I rarely turn it off when I’m awake. I’ve discovered that I need the noise to keep me from going crazier.

A couple of weeks ago I started watching The Good Witch, mostly out of sheer desperation. For one thing, it’s on the Hallmark Channel, so I’ve probably seen most of their Christmas movies. Another thing, it stars Catherine Bell. And I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen all of her Christmas movies. And there’s one more thing, I’ve kind of developed a celebrity crush on the fair Catherine.

For those of you who don’t know what this means, a celebrity crush is someone famous that you find immensely desirable/attractive/sexy and, if given the chance, would be more than happy to sleep with, or more accurately, have a lots of sex with.

As a result, I decided to do some research on my celebrity crush, you know, just in cases Catherine Bell decides she can’t live without me. And I was crushed. It seems my celebrity crush has been cheating on me. With her girlfriend. Yeah, my secret sweetheart doesn’t even like guys.

And there’s another thing. Catherine Bell is tall, like, 5′ 10″ tall. She’s a fucking Amazon Princess compared to me. If she ever tried to hug me, my face would end up

3993876

Yep. Right about there…

Given the fact that I’m a very happily married guy, and I’d hate to lose my lovely supermodel wife to a celebrity lesbian, I’m going to hold off inviting Catherine down here to visit.

Though that hug looks like it might be a lots of fun…

The Glamorous Life

It’s been a quiet week here in the Lakeside Area. Most of the weeks are quiet here. It’s kind of a bucolic place. That’s probably why so many people decide to retire here. However, it is Mexico. And it comes to celebrating just about anything, the locals don’t take a backseat to anyone.

Holy Week, Semana Santa, is coming up. Ajijic hosts a passion play every year. I hear it’s very good. You could check it out if you’re interested. Just in cases you don’t know what a passion play is, it’s a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering, death, and resurrection. It’s a very Catholic tradition. Mexico is a very Catholic country.

During Holy Week, the Lakeside Area is going to be packed with tapatios, pilgrims, and tourists, which is why I’ll be at home. There’ll be the passion play, and bands playing at the bars and los eventos, and the eruption of cohetes will fill the air.

Tapatío, in general terms, is a colloquial Mexican term for someone from Guadalajara. In more specific Lakeside terms, it’s someone from Guadalajara who comes down here to escape from the Big City for the weekend.

We used to do something similar when lived in the States. When we lived in Minneapolis, we’d go up to the North Shore. It’s still my favorite place on Earth. When we lived in Phoenix, we’d go up into the mountains to Prescott or Payson.

Urban living certainly has its advantages. Jobs. Entertainment. Shopping malls. Fine dining. Paved roads. It also has it disadvantages. Air pollution. Traffic jams. Crime. Mostly, all of the other fucking people that also live there. The population of Guadalajara is around seven million people. If you lived there, you’d want to get the hell out of there, too.

* * * *

We go to Guadalajara every couple of months to shop at Costco. Or the high end malls. It’s an adventure every time, mostly because of the traffic. Guadalajara was a little town that became a huge city with little to no civic planning. If you live there, you’ll eventually learn your way around. If you don’t, you hire a driver, or you have to depend on GPS to get from Point A to Point B. You are not going to just drive around and hope you find what you’re looking for.

We’ve lived in big cities before. We’re not daunted by traffic. And we have a system. Lea drives and I navigate. I’m a better navigator than she is. And Lea loves to drive. She’d probably love it more if she still had her sportscar. But the roads here make a vehicle like that impractical. And you can’t load a lots of stuff into a 370z.

370Z-Hero-image-1600-x-700

Our current vehicle is a Buick Encore. I’ll probably keep it for a couple more years, then get an Audi Q3. I’ll have to get rid of my American plated car and buy a Mexican plated car at that time. The Audi Q3 isn’t a sportscar, but it’ll still be a lots fun for Lea to drive. And it has a great stereo system, which is the only thing I care about when it comes to cars.

2016-audi-q3-premium-plus-suv-angular-front

I actually bought a car once because of the stereo. I didn’t even take it for a test drive. I played with the radio for a couple of minutes without ever leaving the sales lot. I told the salesman to write it up, I’d take it.

“Don’t you want to take it for a test drive?” he asked, a bit dumbfounded.

“No. I want to drive it to work. Today. My shift starts at 3:00. You have two hours. You better get busy or you’re going to miss a sale.”

* * * *

I still have no idea what I’m going to write about. Maybe this will end up being a general update on our glamorous retirement lives…

We haven’t had to deal with any major issues at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa lately. Jaime says he’s still looking for a replacement faucet for the kitchen, but the longer this goes on the more I think he’s decided he’s decided he can live with our temporary faucet, too.

It’s not a big deal. We love it here. The most annoying thing about living here revolves around our satellite TV service and the download speed for our Interweb service.

As I’ve said before, we don’t actually watch a lots of TV, but we almost always have the TV on for background noise. Silence might be golden to some people, but it drives me crazy. After thirty years as a psych nurse, I’m accustomed to noise. The absence of noise disturbs me greatly.

Wow. I can’t believe I just said that. I don’t think I had realized how much I hate silence until now.

We have Shaw Direct for our satellite TV. Shaw is a Canadian company. We had next to no problems with them at our last house. Here, our satellite feed seems to be somewhat sketchy at times. Again, not a huge deal. I’ve become very skilled at rebooting our PVR box.

If there’s one thing that seems to drive all ex-pats crazy, it’s a slow Interweb connection. Hey, we’re spoiled. We didn’t have this issue before we moved here. There aren’t a lots of options when it comes to this suddenly vital service. Basically, you can go with Telmex® or Telecable®. Compared to speed-of-light fiber optic cable, they both suck. And neither of them seem to care.

Telmex® is essentially the Mexican version of the American communications giant, AT&T, before it was broken up into a bunch of smaller companies. Telmex® is a telecommunication monster down here. It owns eighty percent of the telephone lines in the country.

We had Telmex® service at our last house. I guess it was okay most of the time, though we consistently had issues whenever we wanted to stream movies through our KODI box.

We have Telecable® at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. I wasn’t enamored with our service when we first moved in. So I tried calling the office, and that’s when I discovered there isn’t an office phone. You actually can’t call the office unless you have the cellphone number of one of the service reps, and I doubt they give their numbers out to anyone.

On their website Telecable® lists two levels of service available in the Lakeside Area: 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps. So I went down to the office to talk to one of their service representatives about upgrading my package. That’s when I met Carmen and Marisol. And I wasn’t quite so pissed off anymore. Okay, they’re young, and beautiful. And they have really big eyes. And nice smiles.

Carmen said yes, I could upgrade my package, except for one small detail. They only offer 5 Mbps in the Lakeside Area. I’d have to live in Guadalajara to qualify for the 10 Mbps service.

There is a fiber optic cable company that is getting started in Lakeside. ILOX started running lines in specific areas late last year. I have no idea when there service will be available here. Maybe I’ll wander into their office one of these days, except I doubt their service reps will be as attractive as Carmen and Marisol…

Given the limitations of available Interweb service, and the sudden sketchiness of our satellite service, we talked to one of our friends, Donald Stordahl. Donald has a streaming TV service here in the Lakeside Area. We rented one of his boxes for a month, and then I remembered I already had two streaming devices, and they were already paid for. I hooked them up and gave Donald his box back.

And everything was great until I blew up my Amazon Firestick. I had tried to download the latest update, and after that it wouldn’t work. I have no idea what went wrong, I only knew that I felt like I accidentally hit that red LAUNCH button, and there was nothing I could do to stop the missiles.

Seeing how I couldn’t repair my Firestick, I decided to buy another one, you know, eventually. But then Donald bought a used Firestick and asked me if I wanted it, seeing how I had just destroyed mine. He seems to be a pretty savvy businessman, from my perspective.

My previous Firestick had been jailbroken. The one I bought from Donald wasn’t, so I channeled my inner Millennial, and went online to learn how to do stuff.

There are a lots of online tutorials about tweaking your Firestick. I didn’t have much confidence in my ability to do this, given that I’d just destroyed my last Firestick by trying to update it. But all you have to do is follow the step-by-step instructions, and I’ll be damned, it worked!

I’ll tell ya what, I was pretty goddamn proud of myself for a couple of days there. I successfully downloaded and installed the most recent KODI app, and the Mobdro app. Then I got my lovely supermodel wife addicted to Game of Thrones, and the rest is history.

* * * *

The final season of Game of Thrones airs this Sunday. Like every other fan, Lea and I have been speculating about who’s going to win the Great Game and sit on the Iron Throne. I don’t care who it is, just as long as it isn’t Cercei Lannister. She needs to got dead, soon.

Will the Golden Company help her maintain her grip on the reins of power, or will they break a contract for the first time ever and go fight against the Night King and his army from Hell? And how many of my favorite characters are going to get killed to death…

How are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen going to defeat an army of animated dead warriors, White Walkers, and a zombie dragon? And what will they do when they discover that they’re related? Will Jon freak out when he finds out he’s been having sex with his aunt?

Who will kill The Mountain? What the hell is a Three-eyed Raven, and what sort of spooky superpowers does Bran Stark really have?

The good news is we’ll all find out soon. Unfortunately, that’s also the bad news.