Thursday, January 09, 2020

Minimalist’s effort...

I want to spend some of my time at home catching up on some minimising a.k.a. decluttering.  I started this at least a couple of years ago, but it’sa journey that never ends.  Post New Years and birthdays and prior to moving house are all good times to review one’s material possessions. As it happens, these first few weeks of 2020 sit right between my birthday, Christmas, and moving house. 

The other day I started by going through the ensuite cabinets. Talk about opening the gates of hell. You know, I was just thinking of buying a tube of Deep Heat the other week because I couldn’t find the one I’d previously bought. It seems I actually had TWO tubes of the stuff sitting in the cabinets, and they were both full, so obviously I lost the first one right after buying it and bought a second one I lost pretty much immediately as well. Decluttering saves money!

My minimising mojo is kind of low at the moment. In fact, I’m not good at getting dressed or off the couch these days. It’s not good when you go to the laundry and your family comes home and when they don’t see you on the couch they assume you must have gone for a nap. Also, I have to change up where I sit every few days so I don’t crush the cushions on the couch like Homer Simpson...

Anyway, back to decluttering... I’m about half way through my wardrobe - it’s not particularly large, I just keep finding other things to do which allow me to retreat to the couch. Tonight I downloaded an app which allows me to upload photos of my stuff - clothes, shoes, and accessories (though it could be anything), edit out the background and create look books. My aim is to create a capsule wardrobe as part of Minimising my clothes.

On the whole, there really isn’t much to do. After the walk in robe I plan to tackle the linen closet, dining room cabinets, and kitchen cupboards. That’s really all that needs doing - oh actually, the TV cabinet and fridge door, as well. You can see, though, there isn’t much. 

Dave wants to go through the garage with the help of the boys. I told him I want to get a small skip  - he looked at me as if I just said I wanted to sell one of the kids. Talk about opposites attracting. One wannabe hoarder and one wannabe minimalist, hopefully our kits will find some sort of middle road.

The plan is to move by the end of January. We applied for a place a couple of days ago, but since then we’ve seen a couple of other places we like better. I’m in a similar situation re: finding another job. I have an interview on Monday, but I also have two other applications coming up after the date of the interview. I could cancel the interview as the other jobs are full time and pay much better than the one I’m interviewing for - which is part time. My quandary is, do I risk turning down the opportunity to interview when I don’t have any other interviews set up? That would be stupid, right? And do we turn down the offer of a place without knowing if other offers for better places will come in?

I guess all this uncertainty further adds to my desire to declutter, but doesn’t account for my apathy.

We have an inspection this afternoon. Not necessarily a great place though. We have two other inspections on Saturday, both for great places. 

Who knows maybe everything will work out, I’ll keep you updated.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

The Blacklist backstory according to me... maybe.

Back when Red was a teenager, he and Katarina and Ilya were all under training with Katarina’s dad, Dom. They were all KGB trainees. 

Red (we don’t know his Russian name, so I’m just going to call him Red - as in under the bed), was a great student, probably Dom’s most promising. This is why Dom sent him to enter the US naval academy, and why Dom is so disappointed in him now. 

As a KGB agent, Red’s mission was to infiltrate the US military and rise through the ranks to gain access to top secret information. 

All was going well, Red graduated, got himself a nice all-American girl and had himself a nice all American daughter. At some point, and very possibly because of his daughter Jennifer, Red became a double agent against the USSR.

He was sent to Russia at one point - leaving Karla Reddington (later Naomi Hyland) and Jennifer in the US. While in Russia he reconnected withKatarina and they started an affair - or so he thought.

On finding out that Red had shifted allegiance to the US, Dom sent Katarina to turn him back to the KGB. Dom sent Katarina because he knew Red would trust Katarina - and probably already carried a flame for her.

Then, by mistake, Katarina becomes pregnant and has Masha (later Elizabeth). 

Red finds out that Katarina working with the Cabal - so, also being a double agent. Katarina, meanwhile has gathered information about the Cabal as security in case something goes wrong - the fulcrum - which she has hidden in Masha’s bunny rabbit toy.

Red becomes afraid for Masha’s safety and takes off with her to the US. Masha takes her favourite soft toy, of course, which unbeknownst to Red contains the fulcrum.

Katarina follows Red to get her daughter and her insurance policy against the Cabal back. Dom has also sent Ilya and other agents after Katarina and Red - possibly also to get the fulcrum, or possibly just to protect his grand daughter, or possibly for some other reason which will become clear as the show continues.

There is a fight, from the argument we hear when Lizzie’s memory is searched in the second episode about Luther Braxton, Red needs the fulcrum or he’s dead - he doesnt know he has it.

Somehow a fire starts. Red pulls Lizzie from the fire, but is burned himself. Katarina and Ilya try to save their old friend and/or lover, but have to flee when the polices etc. arrive. They believe Red is dead.

Katarina takes Lizzie back to the motel where Mr Kaplan is, and then flees to Cape May. The KGB follow her to Cape May, so she fakes her own death. Later she contacts Ilya, who believes she is also dead, like Red is. They travel to Russia to warn Dom that the KGB will track him down because he will be labelled a traitor like Katarina.

Ilya, Dom and Katarina fight off the KGB when they turn up at Dom’s.

After, in the hotel, Ilya and Katarina formulate a plan for Ilya to become Red. Katarina sends her parents off to the US where they separate and Katarina’s mother remarried, but her father retreats to the forest.

Katarina takes Ilya to Dr Kohl, who says he can’t help them because he is already giving someone else Red’s identity (that someone being Red of course, who is having cosmetic surgery for expensive burns).

Katarina visits her parents one last time to tell them about the post office box, and then disappears.

Dom and Ilya track Katarina down to Belgrade, and make an attempt on her life to protect Lizzie. The attempt fails. Dom wants Ilya to contact Red at that point and tell him, but Ilya wants nothing to do with Red - probably because he believes Red is an imposter.

Later Red contacts him and explains that he is the real Red who survived his burns. He gets Ilya to try and track down Katarina because he believes she has the fulcrum, though she has told him Lizzie knows where it is. Katarina has also had Lizzie’s memory of the night of the fire wiped.

And so, Red end up going to Sam to connect with Mr Kaplan, who he trusts to help him keep an eye on Lizzie. And later, to get closer to Lizzie for several reasons, including the fulcrum and his ailing health...

And that where the series picks up the thread.


Okay, but now, here are some things I’m having trouble with...

Why does Lizzie have dirty blonde curly hair in her retrieved memory of the night of the fire in ‘Luther Braxton conclusion’? 

Why does the Lizzie at motel room in ‘Requiem’ and in Lizzie’s flashback when shooting the Attorney General in ‘Tom Connelly’ have a straight dark brown bob just when she shoots her father but light brown curly hair when she runs off down the hall?

Lizzie’s changing hair - baby Lizzie with straight hair, toddler Lizzie with a straight bob, Mr Kaplan’s memory of Lizzie with a brown bob, Lizzie’s retrieved memory of herself with light, curly hair. Lizzie’s flashback of herself shooting her father with a brown bob, but running away with light, curly hair. Lizzie standing at the beach with half sister Jennifer who has light curly hair. 

Why does Mr Kaplan pull Lizzie up from lying on the motel floor by her wrists when the scar on her wrist as an adult suggests the burn is quite serious?

Does the continuity person need a slap up the back of the head? Or are the writers playing with our heads? Or is it just lazy filming - they  made the effort to film Lizzie looking at the gun in her hands as a (rather older looking four year old), but then couldn’t be bother to film the girl with the dark brown hair running down the hall?

Could it be that the shooter was actually Jennifer, and that both Jennifer (aged 6-7 and Lizzie aged 4) were in the closet hiding from the fighting adults - wearing matching nighties? Maybe Jennifer was on a sleepover visitation with her dad? Keep in mind the house that burned down was not the house Red lived in with Karla and Jennifer - it was the house the Reddingtons stayed at during summer holidays.

Lizzie believes she has light curly hair while hiding in the closet, but that girl tell her that Masha ‘is you’. When Lizzie shoots Tom Connelly, he flashback is of herself with straight brown hair, and then a girl with light curly hair, dressed in the same nightie, running away.

The conversation between Katarina and Fitch, if Reddington revealed the existence of the Cabal, then they would frame him - that was December 7,  he supposedly disappeared December 24. In between Red fled Russia and went to the US. So, when was the fire and where did Red keep Lizzie in the meantime. Did he take her home to Karla and Jennifer? Was Jennifer’s memory also messed with? Was she led to believe he left later than he did? Was she at the holiday house with her dad and her new half sister, and then taken home by rescue services, traumatised, after the fire and given completely different memories about the circumstances of her father’s disappearance?

Whatever the story, it isn’t likely Lizzie’s hair has chameleon-like super powers.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020


Happy New Year.

I will start today’s post by admitting I’m at a very low ebb today. I’m feeling very teary. I’m sure it’s hormonal and it will pass. So I’m just going to get on with things.

I sense this year’s theme will, in fact, be all about getting on with it. This year we’ll be moving house, and I’ll be changing work. Either I’ll become a lady of [impoverished] leisure or I’ll be moving into a new job. One thing is for certain, I will not be doing my current job come the beginning of May, and hopefully sooner. I have an interview on the 13th, and will be submitting applications for two new positions which have just become available.

This year, my intention on other fronts is to take all I learned about various practices in the past decade and put it all into practice. Particularly the following:

  1. Minimalism - I’ve already created a fairly minimalistic space. Put it this way, I was lamenting the mess in the house a few weeks ago and Erik said, ‘This is not messy!  Mum, this house couldn’t ever get messy, there isn’t enough stuff to mess up.’ I took that as a compliment, but still tidied up. To continue with the minimal approach, I intend to stop         buying things I don’t need. By ‘need’, I mean things I can do without. For example, I don’t need any more clothes or handbags or shoes or makeup. In fact, I already have too many of those things - which I intend to minimise further. I will use what I have and further minimise the things I just don’t use.
  2. Facial energy profiling - I’ve studied the Carol Tuttle method of energy profiling based on facial features and I’ll continue to apply that to my wardrobe because it sits well with me.
  3. Konmarie method of organising - I have used this fairly consistently since learning the method a couple of years ago, but just lately - probably with stress and apathy - have let it slide. It works so well with my minimalist approach though and I feel much better when I apply it.
  4. Keto - This one is probably the challenging one for me. The others are fairly natural - okay, not curbing the shopping, that will always be challenging. I definitely better when I keep my blood sugars on an even keel - and wheat and dairy together seems to cause me inflammation, anyway.

There are probably other things, but those are the easiest to categorise. I’m going to approach it all gently. I’m at the brink of burn out at the moment. I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself, I just know that doing the things I’ve mentioned always make me feel better.

So, I guess those are my intentions for 2020.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

‘And what do you say?’

I’ve been thinking, why is it that all the various digital assistants we use these days don’t demand common courtesy?

Stay with me, here. Whenever you say, ‘Hey Siri’, or ‘OK Google’ or ‘Hey Alexa’, or which ever system you are using, you follow that up with a question or a command, no please or thank you. Why are users not compelled to be courteous? The programmers and code writers for these technologies have it within their power to make it so that users need to say please and thank you - or at least please.

I realised this a while ago when teaching some of my older clients how to use Google Home. Whenever they asked GH a question or gave it a command they ended their sentences with please. It sounded odd to me and I found myself telling them, ‘You don’t have to say “please”, you know.’

One lady, who will turn 100 next year, said to me that just because she was talking to a machine, she shouldn’t abandon the niceties her parents taught her.

If you have used Google assistant or Siri, you’ll know that if you say ‘Thanks’ or ‘Thank you’, the assistants will respond in kind. Google says among other things, ‘I aim to please.’ It’s silly, but that actually makes me smile every time, because being treated respectfully feels good.

There’s no such things as too much courtesy. 

I do wonder... you may well have seen this coming... that as we use technology more and more to access information, do everyday tasks, or to entertain us, are we training ourselves out of being courteous?

Are our children (there it is, you knew it was coming), being passively taught that please and thank you are not necessary or valuable? Alexa, Google, and Siri are not going to prompt, ‘and what do you say?’ when our kids as for something and aren’t polite about it. Surely, this is something that would be easy to fix?

Also, one of the ladies in my class pointed out, ‘Hay (hey) is for horses and cows!’

Monday, December 16, 2019

Don’t lose sight of the Forest for the trees - Red is sick...

The mid-season episode for The Blacklist has aired and so begins the looooong wait for the series to resume at the end of March.

I’ve been reading over reviews and recaps of season 7, episode 10. There are all sorts of observations and theories flying around. Some are just daft. One writer, for example, rants about Red continuing to put up with Liz’s fickle loyalties. That commentator just doesn’t seem to understand the essence of the show. Red can’t walk away from Liz. The whole point of the show is his inability to walk away from her, even when she almost had him killed by lethal injection because she had a stranger report his whereabouts to the police and resulting in him being jailed.

He can’t walk away. He put himself in real danger when he surrendered to the FBI just to get closer to her.

Then there are the reviewers who continue to say ‘The Big Question’ of the show is ‘Who is this person?’ Who is pretending to be Raymond Reddington?

That isn’t the question of the show. When he handed himself in, no one was asking,‘Is this really Reddington?’ That question didn’t even become a thing until the 4th season. The question of whether or not Red was Liz’s father was asked for a couple of seasons, but isn’t the original question either. The big question - the enduring question - across all seasons has been ‘Why has Red come into Liz’s life now?’

Commentators seem to be ignoring the question.

As I’ve said before, I believe - as Red has said himself - a point had been reached in Liz’s life where the threats to her wellbeing were closing in. Why though were they closing in now, after all these years? I believe it is because Red is sick. I believe the blacklist Red has assembled is a to-do list that will serve to protect Liz after he no longer can.

This theory was supported at the beginning of the 7th season when it was revealed, that efforts to cure Red’s condition - which has not been reveal - seem to have ultimately failed.

I theorised a couple of posts ago that Red’s illness is memory related - as mirrored in the storyline about Samar Navabi developing vascular dementia. Navabi is targeted for assassination by the Masad because one day her memory loss would make it impossible for her to keep the Masad secrets she made an oath to keep.

Likewise, I theorised all the games and puzzles Red is shown to be playing with Dembe or on his own are to stave off some form of memory loss.

Anyway, back to season 7, episode 10.

There is a scene, where Red is in the car with Dembe and Park.

Red: I've always lived my life very much in the moment.
But what does one do when the moment is filled with anxiety and dread? 

Agent Park: I assume that was a rhetorical question.

RedAgent Park, how long have you been here? 

Agent Park: Uh, the whole time.

Red: Dembe, has Harold texted you any new information on Gregory Flynn? 

Dembe: No.

Agent Park: Who? 

RedAre we giving you a lift somewhere? 

Agent ParkD-Did you say Gregory Flynn? 

RedYes. If we can find him, we can find my friend.

Agent Park: And Agent Keen.

Red: Possibly.

Agent Park: Definitely. He lives in her building.
After the protective detail went missing, I canvassed the neighbors. One of them was Gregory Flynn. He lives across the hall from her.

Red: Dembe, pull over. Agent Park, you are a treasure. I hope you don't mind, but, please, get out.

Agent Park: Wait. What? Are you serious? 

Red: There's another rhetorical question

Red seems confused about when Park joined him and Dembe and why she is there with them. These lines are not performed in his self-assured, teasing manner, but as genuine wide eyed wonder. 

This scene is stand alone. It is important. He is musing to himself in a private moment, reflecting on his life. As Park assumes, he isn’t asking anyone a question. He isn’t even aware anyone is sitting on the seat beside him. Reddington is always aware, always alert. This is uncharacteristic of him.

C’mon people, take notice.

On a different note Bokenkamp has been recorded saying the second half of season 7 sees Red more relaxed than in the first half because he believes Katarina to be dead. I look forward to things lightening up a bit. Red off kilter, losing his temper, being on the back foot, working with a cloud over his head and time nipping at his heels has aged him. Hopefully, he’ll regain some of his confidence and sunny disposition - at least for a little while.5

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Oh my, I'm on a roll today! Redderina theory issue...

I've been fascinated by the theory that Katarina had a sex change to become Reddington.

The 'fact' Katarina enters present day Blacklist in season seven might convince many that Reddington can't be Katarina after a sex change op. Theories are already developing that the Katarina of season seven isn't the real Katarina...

Imagination that, Reddington is Katarina and Katarina is... God only knows. Reddington? Ilya? I look forward to seeing that theory unfold.

There is something I haven't been able to find on the net. While fans have been comparing Reddington's eye color and hair colour with the Reddington on the wanted poster, and Katrina's young eye and hair colour with the older Katarina, we all know eye color and hair colour can be changed. Lenses and hair dye are great for this. Sex can be changed as well, of course.

What about height? Can height be changed in adulthood? Well, maybe to make someone shorter, but to make someone taller? In 12 months?

You see Katarina would need to gain 3-4 inches (7.5 to 10cm) to become Reddington - that would stretch belief.

Reddington is 5'10 (178cm), and Katrina's height is variably 5'5" (168cm) at 30 played by Lotte Verbeek and 5'7" (170cm) at 60 play by Laila Robins.

How does Katarina grow like this? Growth hormones don't work on adults because growth plates close in girls around 13-15 years of age and in boy at 15-17 years. 

'Slpain me that one.

Does Reddington have dementia?..

I have noticed Reddington plays a lot of games in the fifth season. Puzzles, strategy games, word games. There are also a couple of references to his death for several minutes in Marrakech.

This mirrors Samar's situation after drowning and being revived in the sixth season. Due to her temporary death, parts of her brain died causing vascular dementia.

Progressive memory loss might explain Reddington's determination to tick the people off his blacklist. He wants to protect Lizzy before he forgets those who threaten her.  Of course, being able to spend time with her before he no longer recognises her is a bonus.

Minimalist’s effort...