Tag Archives: Upstairs Downstairs

Keekee got a good report and busy weekend is coming up

Greetings, readers. I got the call from the vet this morning and my kitty cat Keekee, who is almost 10 years old, got a glowing report. All tests came back negative. This made me extremely happy. The grand total of the bill did not make me happy; it was over $300. My accountant agreed that pets are worth it. He has a cat and he understands. I won’t need to do this again for at least 6 months. Now that Keekee is what they call a senior cat, she is supposed to have semi-annual check-ups.

Now for the busy weekend news. I have six chapters of Four’s a Crowd, Darren’s novel from my play, to read over and edit. I’m going to dive into this project beginning tomorrow morning. I am going to ask Rebecca for the flash drive she has, with the rest of the chapters, so that I can put them on my computer and print them off at the library at my leisure. Most of Saturday will be taken up with this project. The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon, and as a fan I must watch that play-off game.

Although this TV feature has been around for a while, I am just beginning to get acquainted with my cable provider’s on-demand service. Most movies and specials are pay-to-view, but I can find a few shows that are free to watch. On my budget, free is the right price. If I can find Reba or Downton Abbey, I will partake of some of those episodes in the evenings. I wish I could find Upstairs, Downstairs but no such luck.

Next week will be our first full work week in a while. You may expect at least two blog entries, possibly more.

Until Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Parallels

Greetings, readers. Have you ever felt like your favorite TV character? The last two evenings I sure have. And what transpired in those two evenings of viewing made me quite depressed.

I was watching the original Upstairs, Downstairs and parts of my life through the eyes of James Bellamy.

I concentrated on this character, since he reminded me of myself. He is the son of a rich family who wanted for nothing and was taught to do what was expected of him. He gallantly serves his country in World War One to preserve the British Empire. Not that he agrees with it all, but it is his duty and he must do his duty. I thought to myself, that is me. James is a character who apparently went to the best schools and in the eyes of his parents was going to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a successful political figure. I think my parents wanted me to finish college and perhaps go into teaching like my father did.

But for me the biggest eye-opening moment was when James, who had really botched his life more or less, struck it rich in America but lost it all in the stock market crash of ’29, along with the money of one of the servants. It happened in the next to last episode of the series, “All the KIng’s Horses”. There was a marvelous final scene between James and his father Richard, as his father tries to make a final appeal to get his son to shape up. In the next scene, you see James in his bedroom, packing, destroying letters as well as writing a mysterious note to someone. He tells Hudson, the butler, that he is going to the countryside for a while and says goodbye without batting an eyelash. By nightfall the constables are at the door with the grim news of the suicide of their son. He couldn’t take the failure anymore. If any one single episode sums up my life it is that episode.

Now, I’m not saying my life has been a total flop, mind you. I have had more than my share of fun and good fortune. Yet it seems as though, since my parents have died, I have been muddling through life, just barely making my way. I have been complimented by people on how well they think I’m doing. I smile and say thank you, but the constant reminder of who I was then and who I am now will nag at me until my dying day.

As I have told people, my friends here at Addison Court apartments, I do suffer from depression and have thought about suicide, though not seriously, on more than one occasion. There is still something in me, however, that refuses to give up. I feel that it is time, perhaps, at the beginning of the year, to seek counseling. Perhaps a professional can help me make sense of things that have happened in the last fifteen or so years.

On a lighter side of this topic, thinking back over my youth, the parallel theme seems to hold true. No matter what my favorite show was at any given time, I could find bits and pieces of any character and say, boy, that character is just like me. In the 70s I associated with Alan Alda’s character Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H. Just like James Bellamy, that character was a person who did what was expected of him but did not want to be there; who hated his situation.

This raises a big question. Has there every really been a me? Have I really defined myself? Or are we all just bits and pieces of TV characters, parallels of people we have seen in films or read about in books? I’m quite certain that there are folks that have known from a very early age precisely what they wanted in life and went out and got it. I am not one of those folks. Looking back on it, I have always struggled with identity, with self-esteem and self-worth. There are a few things that I can tell you for certain: I am a generous fellow, to a fault in fact, I am an old-fashioned man and proud of it, I enjoy being friendly, and have loved my animals throughout my life, especially my kitty cat KeeKee.

I’m sure that in a few days things will once again seem brighter to me. I must be thankful for what I have and who I am, and not worry about who I could have been. If I don’t, my yet to be found therapist will have even more work to do.

On Friday, a new top ten list will be added and soon a From Rebecca will be added. Until Friday, have a good day, take care, and happy reading.

It is a hodgepodge day

Greetings, readers. I have a few things to talk about today. First up is the government shutdown. I know I don’t go for political opinions much, but I just have to put my two cents in on this topic. As far as I know, things like banks and the post office are still up and running. Hopefully they are deemed too important to be without. When I stop to think that we actually have a government that thinks it is perfectly okay to come to a screeching halt, leaving millions of people temporarily unemployed, not to mention leaving the Americans they serve high and dry, I wonder how these people slept at night. Do they have any sense of obligation and morals? Rebecca just told me that the FDA is all but shut down and I can only hope that there is some measure in place which will prevent dangerous drugs and unsafe food from being purchased.

On to another topic. I am still completely hung up on Madden25 football. I’m still tinkering with what they call sliders. When my running back gains nearly 3,200 yards in a season, I know it is way too easy. Somehow I will need to made an adjustment. But so far it is without a doubt the best sports simulation I’ve ever played. I know I said that about MLB13 baseball last March, but of course that’s the point, isn’t it? That every year these games and sports simulations just get better and more realistic. After I was done with Madden football last night, I turned on my Netflix streaming and to my happy amazement one of my favorite shows is back. It is Masterpiece Theater Classic’s Upstairs, Downstairs. I think I shall start at the beginning and watch one a night until I’ve seen them all.

On a personal note, the writer who doesn’t read very much actually found an author he loves. His name is Garry Disher, from Australia. I’m currently reading book one in the Hal Challis series, called The Dragon Man. I often found it ironic that I was a non-reader who wanted other people to read his writing. Well, if I can find a few more authors like Mr. Disher, I might become a reader after all.

Lastly, tomorrow is a big ouchy day for me. I’m having dental surgery, which is going to include the cutting of some gum tissue, to expose more of a damaged tooth so it can be worked on by another dentist. I was given a prescription for a rather powerful pain-killer and I’m not too happy about that. As I have told many of my friends, I am, “quite allergic to pain.” That is what is on my agenda tomorrow. I might ask Rebecca to come into the office at least for a little while, and if she wanted to put up a From Rebecca blog post, she will be more than welcome to do so.

So until soonest, hopefully I can speak normally on Friday without pain to dictate to Rebecca, take care, have a good couple of days, and happy reading.

Quality television

Greetings, readers. It is so good to be back after a week or more off. I was suffering from head pain which made concentrating on my writing next to impossible. I did however ask Rebecca, my trusty writing assistant and editor, to make an entry last week. I read it and it was quite interesting. That particular post got many views. I am what you call a bar watcher. No, that’s not watching the corner pub waiting for time to go get a beer, but rather the statistics page here on WordPress. I think the most views we’ve ever had on one day was 53 views on March 14th.

Now, on to the topic at hand. I am an avid Netflix watcher. Sometimes on disc but mostly through streaming video on TV. I have found a delightful series, called Upstairs, Downstairs. It ran as part of the Masterpiece Theatre on PBS from 1971 through 1975. If you want to see British acting at its finest other than Shakespeare, I urge you to check it out. It is well worth your time. Characters come and go a little too quickly for my liking but other than that, top-notch.

The premise of the show is the epic tale of a wealthy family and their servants in England spanning the years between 1903 and 1930. Each hour-long episode not only deals with a specific character, as most shows do, but a specific time period. In Britain it appears as though TV seasons are only 13 episodes long, half of what ours are. To me an odd thing is the mixture of color and black and white episodes in the first season. I’ve never seen that in any show before. I have seen shows get a complete first season in black and white before switching to color, especially in the 1960s, i.e Lost in Space and Gilligan’s Island.

To my happy surprise, Netflix will soon be adding seasons 2 – 5 on streaming video. Today I priced the complete box set available at Best Buy.com and let’s just say it is on my Christmas wish list. If any of you take my advice and watch this show, I am certain that you will like it. Until soon, take care and happy reading.