A West Coast July

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I had the privilege of spending part of July in one of my favorite cities, San Francisco. I had forgotten that July is, paradoxically, one of coldest months of the year. A cold, grey mist seemed to permanently hover above the Bay when looking into the distance from the shores of Fisherman’s Wharf. The next day would be a completely different matter, as the city seemed to bloom with sunshine, bringing all kinds of people to bask on the green lawn of the Yerba Buena Arts compound right in the middle of downtown, hula hoops and all.

San Francisco is also one of the few places where I have seen public compost bins- if only every city had those!

All photos taken and copyrighted by Verena Radulovic.

All I Need to Know About Life I Learned from Orange is the New Black, Season 2

I recently finished viewing the sophomore season of Netflix’s prison dramedy Orange is the New Black. Said viewings occurred mostly during my toddler’s naptime, which–in case you’re wondering–makes for a disorienting afternoon born of incongruous situations: lesbian love scenes and prison sewage crises in front of me, a two-year-old’s babbling in the monitor beside me. Anyway. After watching all thirteen episodes, I sought to find a cohesive narrative among the season’s themes (and a reason to justify watching almost fourteen hours of TV instead of coming up with a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or…decorating our next son’s nursery). Instead, what I came up with was a list of life lessons taught to me by the ladies of Litchfield, who resemble much of life itself: funny, sad, violent, transexual–I mean, transforming, and real.

1) Bloom where you’re planted. And if that garden happens to look more like solitary confinement, or the SHU (special housing unit), than Eden, then pull from the memories you’ve stored up from those years of subscribing to Martha Stewart Living and set about making your new quarters as homey as possible. Artwork is always a great first step.

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Don’t Cry for Me Weeping Angels

As the next season of Doctor Who approaches and fans wonder about the still-mysterious Twelfth Doctor, it seemed fitting to look back on some of the best parts of the show and analyze the crap out of them. This week, we’re looking at the Weeping Angels. Oh and spoilers, sweetie!

When I first began watching Doctor Who, enthusiastic Whovians (are their any other kind?) warned me about the so-called Weeping Angels. I was told that after many episodes of irrational, extermination-obsessed Daleks, irrational, deletion-obsessed Cybermen, and irrational, creepy children saying “Are you my mummy?”  I would eventually watch the “scariest” of all the Doctor Who episodes. The Weeping Angels first appear in the episode “Blink,” and at first glance, or rather peek-through-covered-eyes, they are indeed terrifying. Inanimate statues that are really ugly monsters with sharp teeth that move when the target is not looking are absolutely frightening. I definitely screamed the first time I watched the episode because the suspense was unbearable.

Thank you wallarc.com!

Yet for all their terror, their form of killing is to send people back in time to live out their days in apparently wonderful and meaningful ways, while they could feed off that person’s time potential in the present. I can’t think of any character the angels touched who seemed to be worse off. Well, besides being separated from their loved ones in the present and dying in the past.

In some ways, the fact that the Weeping Angels appear in the new Doctor Who series is evidence of a particularly modern and Western conceit: that we are the masters of our own fate. Is the fear of these angels that they’re statues and you don’t know when they’ll strike (fair, although also irrational which I’ll get to later), or is that that they take away the illusion of control that we have over our lives? Continue reading

Best of TWR: Summer Time And the Readin’s Easy

It’s summer time and the livin’s easy. At least, it is this week. We’re going on a short vacation this weekend, but didn’t want to leave our wonderful Wheelhouse Review unattended. So here are some great posts that you may have missed. And if you read them already (thanks Mom), then please feel free to pass them on to those who haven’t.

See you next Monday!

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That Time I Was Abducted by Aliens: Part Deux

(For part one of this story click here)

It was becoming apparent to me that my friends had changed their plans. These were the pre-cell phone years. You got ditched a lot. Or at least I did.

I started to walk away, figuring I’d head home and watch Kung Fu instead of paying for cold air and entertainment from a movie theater. I was about to turn the corner around the building and thought I should wave goodbye to my new traveling acquaintances. As I turned, Holt was standing directly behind me, less than a foot away with his hand reached out toward me.

I made an odd, unflattering noise somewhere between a muffled scream and a loud burp. Holt immediately started apologizing for startling me. “Aye, sorry boot that, did’n mean to poot you oof. Just thought maybe you’d want to goo’n see the movie with us, aye? We’re seeing Indiana Joons and the Last Crusade.

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