Musings & Thoughts for Monday, June 14, 2021, or: Of Rainy June Days & Closely-Watched Packages

Photo by Lachlan Ross on Pexels.com

Hey, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Monday, June 14, 2021. Currently, the temperature is 74˚F (24˚C) under rainy conditions. With humidity at 66% and the wind blowing at 8 MPH (9 KM/H)  from the west-southwest, the feels-like temperature is 73˚F (24˚C). Today is going to be a wet Monday; we can expect scattered rain showers and a high of 86˚F (30˚C). Tonight, scattered rain showers will continue, and the low will be 74˚F (24˚C). Presently, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is 38 or Good.

Rainy Days and Mondays

I took this snapshot from my former home’s front door after a wicked thunderstorm in June of 2015.

It’s been raining on and off with varying degrees of intensity since yesterday. Sometimes, like right now, we have lots of gray clouds around and a quiet-but-steady drizzle. Every once in a while, a thunderstorm will make its presence known with the “flashbulb” effect of lightning strikes flooding through the closed blinds/curtains (I have both) and the distinctive rumbling sound of thunder. Sometimes the thunder is just a distant low-frequency, bass-tinged “Boo-oo-om.”  If the lightning bolts hit closer, though, the strobe light effect is brighter, and the thunder has an edgier, more threatening ‘Cra-AAA—ACK BOOM” sound.

Luckily, the storms have not been severe in my neck of the woods, but I still keep an eye on my computer’s Weather app; it has a Doppler radar display that shows where the rain and thunder cells are and in which direction they are going, and I can use it to determine if I have to unplug my electronics and use my laptop on battery-only mode. Or, if that is not an option because of our house’s bandwidth issues, I can pick a book to read until the storms have cleared out.

Photo by Arina Krasnikova on Pexels.com

Perhaps not surprisingly, rainy, stormy summer days tend to dampen my mood a lot as I grow older. I’ve never been the “Ooh! Cool, thunderstorms!” type like my older half-sister Vicky or the Caregiver. I am not as terrified of thunderstorms – especially severe ones – as I was a child. But as an adult who vividly remembers the loss of a television set (in 1974) and a computer (2004) to errant lightning strikes, I have a healthy respect for the power of nature. So – even though some of my online acquaintances think I’m odd for this – I avoid using electronics during a thunderstorm lest they, too, get fried.

Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

Of course, I don’t like that, so I tend to get antsy and snarky until the storms move far away enough for me to plug stuff back in and turn my PC back on.

Bad summer weather also triggers memories – mostly unpleasant ones – of my mother’s last few years, which she spent in a semi-perpetual state of confinement in a hospital-style bed in what used to be our townhouse’s guest room on the ground floor.

Not only did it get gloomily dark in Mom’s sickroom during a severe storm of long duration (some thunderstorms tended to linger overhead due to either the size of the storm cell or the windspeed), but we had to unplug her TV and Blu-ray player, and we had to turn off the air conditioner as well. (We had an oscillating fan that we plugged in and turned on to keep the room cool enough for Mom.)

When Mom’s dementia was in its early stages and the symptoms were barely noticeable, she usually understood why I had to take such precautions and took them in stride. She even sided with me whenever Vicky – my older half-sister – protested the almost ritualistic unplugging of TVs (I, of course, unplugged my set, too!) and chided me mercilessly for my precautions.

Later on, starting in the summer of 2012 (the third summer of Mom’s Via Crucis), the symptoms of her dementia were far worse. She’d get disoriented, anxious, and overly aggressive when the skies darkened. And as if that weren’t enough, she’d get petulant if anyone unplugged the TV or turned off the air conditioner during a thunderstorm.

Mom and me at the last Christmas party we attended (in 2009) at our neighbor Elena Guasch’s townhouse before she got sick. Photo by Baldomero Guasch.

 I miss my mother. I miss her a lot, and sometimes I feel her absence so keenly that it feels like I am back in the late summer of 2015.

But I don’t miss all of the arguments with Vicky over having to unplug televisions during lightning storms or seeing my mother go from a fiercely independent head of household with a sunny, confident demeanor to a highly dependent, immobile, and constantly depressed/confused invalid. I still have nightmares about her last summer with us – and I think I always will.

Closely-Watched Packages: The Saga Continues

Meanwhile, in other news….

Well, if it gets so stormy later that I can’t watch TV or use this computer, I can at least read my copy of The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History, by Alexander Mikaberidze. I used a huge chunk of my Shop with Points rewards on Amazon to pay for it, but it was worth it.

According to the entry on Wikipedia, Alexander Mikaberidze was born on January 27, 1978 in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. Of Georgian ancestry, Mikaberidze learned about Napoleon as a boy growing up in the Soviet Union, His keen interest in Napoleon and his impact on world history led Mikaberidze to emigrate to the U.S. 21 years ago. Here, he attended Florida State University, graduating with a Ph.D. in history in 2003 from the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at FSU.

I haven’t spent too much time reading The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History. It arrived late in the afternoon yesterday, and due to the thunderstorms I couldn’t find a comfortable place in which to read. (The Caregiver is not much of a reader, so she doesn’t have lamps in the house that are perfectly placed for reading.) I did leaf through the book, and it looks interesting.

I know a few things about military history, but much of that knowledge is about World War II, Vietnam, the first Persian Gulf War, and, to a lesser degree, the Civil War, World War I,  and Korea. I don’t know much about the Napoleonic Wars, though; ordering The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History is a first step to learn more about that important period of world history.

I also started watching Apocalypse Now: The Final Cut in 4K UHD. I like what I have seen so far; Coppola’s psychological war epic drama has never looked as visually striking as it does in the remastered ultra-high definition home media version, and its retelling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is just as viscerally powerful as it was 42 years ago.

I really should start watching it before 6 PM, though. The 2019 Final Cut edition has a runtime of 183 minutes, and I have started watching it (last night as well as the night-before-last) after 8 PM. And after I consume a Seagram’s Escape (which is a kind of flavored malt liquor with the taste of a tropical cocktail and the kick of a beer). This is not a good combination if I am going to watch anything longer than a TV sitcom episode, and I have fallen asleep – on both occasions – well before Martin Sheen’s Captain Willard encounters Marlon Brando’s Col. Kurtz. The horror. The horror….

As for the closely watched package with Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection on 4K UHD, the only thing I can say is that it is still scheduled to arrive between June 19 and June 23. I have not received an email from Amazon telling me that my order has shipped, so there’s no hope that the five disc box set will be here before the 19th (Saturday).

Oh, well. First World problem, right?

Well, I see that it’s now past noon – slow typist, Your Humble Correspondent is – and I do need to go take a shower, get dressed, and get on with the rest of my day. So, Dear Reader, I now take my leave of you and wish you well. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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