Cathy bought me these because of my love of jaffa cakes and because they have "Jon" in the name.
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Monday, June 21, 2021
Sunday, June 20, 2021
Cathy scored us some preview tickets for a film called In The Heights last week, which marked our first trip to the cinema since the beginning of March 2020. That 15 months gap has probably been the longest stretch between going to a movie theatre in absolutely ages.
We got into the cinema and Cathy suddenly asked me if I knew how long the film lasted for. I looked it up, and said "Well, it says here it's two hours and twenty three minutes long... and it's a musical!" We looked at each other in mild, apprehensive horror. Neither of us particularly like musicals. Oh, well, it was a free preview, and how bad could it be?
It turned out it wasn't bad at all. It was excellent. Mild spoilers follow.
The film is set in Washington Heights in New York City, a predominantly Hispanic immigrant neighbourhood. It's written by Lin Manuel Miranda, who wrote Hamilton, which everyone raves about but I have yet to watch.
The story really pulls at some big themes, especially the tension between loving your community and simultaneously wanting to escape it to something better, with associated feelings of disloyalty and guilt for daring to dream of somewhere better.
The character have a mix of dreams. Characters dream of setting up their own businesses, returning to Peurto Rico to open a bar on a beach, or even just gaining American citizenship because they are 'undocumented'. A father is willing to sell his business, built up over years, to pay for his daughter's tuition at university. His dream is that she will eclipse him, and there is a powerful moment when he tells her that she is better than him because of her hope for the future.
Mixed in with this, are themes around gentrification and the changes being made to poor neighbourhoods in the name of progress. That really resonated with me as my neighbourhood changes and big plans are put through by the council that will displace people and nibble away at parkland. But the story makes the point that areas always change as people flow through them and this is part of the life-cycle of any community.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed the music. There are some fantastic song and dance sequences and the mainly young cast all carry it off with depth and feeling. A few recognised Hispanic actors appear, including Jimmy Smits. The only one that jarred was seeing Stephanie Beatriz as a nail stylist with big hair, because I'm used to seeing her as the scary Roza in Brooklyn NineNine. After the initial shock though, she was very good and it's nice to see actors playing completely different roles.
Overall then, I not only survived a two hour and twenty three minute musical, but I would happily watch it again. Because of covid restrictions the auditorium was only about a quarter full. We had to leave gaps between rows which meant nobody kicking the back of our seats, and nobody with big hair sitting directly ahead of us. I could get used to that kind of cinema experience!
Wednesday, June 09, 2021
Last weekend it was the second community creative event called the Grangetown Zoo organised by the Grangetown Art Trail. The 2020 lockdown version was a lot of fun, and so we decided to take part again. Cathy made these amazing rhinos to sit in our window, and added an explanatory panel about rhinos as well.
There were a lot of art activities happening in Grange Gardens and particularly in the new Pavilion. Unfortunately, we weren't able to catch those. However, we saw some very colourful snails in the Pavilion windows.
Thursday, June 03, 2021
A few years after it got rebooted, Blood Bowl has had a revamp. I didn't know that had happened, until I took advantages of the pandemic restrictions slowly lifting, to have a nose around one of my favourite shops, Firestorm Games. There on a display were the new Blood Bowl items. I asked how much the Starter Set would cost, and discovered it was discounted.
So, um, yeah...
I appreciate you might have questions. I have the starter set released in 2016. Did I really need this new one? Well, it came with the new Second Season rulebook, which costs over £25 on its own. It also came with two new teams, a Star Player for each team, a "Big Guy" for each team, and two referees. Plus all the dice and kit you need to play the game. It felt like good value, if I was going to get the rulebook anyway.
The first thing I saw when I opened the box was a pile of plastic sprues. Lovely, lovely plastic sprues, pregnant with possibilities. The clipping, the building, the glueing, the painting!
Tuesday, June 01, 2021
Yes, it's my monthly review of the month just gone, which serves as a both an online journal and an announcement that I'm still alive. The pandemic seems to have abated somewhat and places are opening up. However, attending a football match is still off-limits in Wales (unless your team plays in the English system) so I wasn't able to go to Barry Town's final game of the season - the post-season play-off for a Europa League qualifying place.
This actually marked the first time where I really disagreed with the restrictions. 150 people were allowed in the Barry Town clubhouse to watch the game live on TV, but none of them were allowed to go outside and stand on the terraces to watch the game. I have been supportive of the rules restricting movement throughout the pandemic, but this just felt arbitrary and stupid.
But anyway, that's enough about what I didn't do in May. What about the things I did do? Well, the month kicked off with an election. Here we are outside our local gorsaf bleidleisio, having voted.
|No children were harmed in the displaying
of these skillz
The second time we went up, we actually stayed the night. It was the weekend when it would have been my dad's birthday on the Sunday. It was nice to be with mum and the rest of the family for most of that day. We also had a little walk out to a nearby pool, where we saw a gazillion tadpoles.