Homeland and Another Four Things (Which Makes Five)

Showtime's action drama about a CIA agent who suspects that a hero POW returning from Iraq is actually a turned al-Qaeda agent has received a few comparisons to 24. It's true that it shares that show's theme of ratcheted suspense as one agent battles bureacracy, hidden agendas, and incompetent allies in an attempt to save the nation. 

But while 24 had a breakneck pace of betrayals and broken alliances and constantly shifting plot points, Homeland steadily steers its way more measuredly, yet grippingly toward a single plot resolution. The cast of characters is relatively small, which puts a huge amount of responsibility on both the writing and the acting to make the oversize plot credible. Agent Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, is a brilliant agent with a big secret: she's also bipolar. Her portrayal also diverges from 24's Jack Bauer hero in the sense that while his is a decisive, calm, collected figure who somehow manages to always make the right decision amidst chaos, her character is a maelstrom of gut-level brilliance, reckless decision-making, and heartwrenching heart-on-sleeve emotions. She is a hero, but not always a likeable one, or a rational one, or an inspirational one. She is pathetic and ferocious; an amalgamation of fascinating contradictions that makes her as interesting a character as some of the best villains.

It's so good. And now we're going to knock off the last episode of Season 1...after the children are asleep.

To sleep, children!

She comes up to him where he is reading a Shel Silverstein book on the couch:

Can I have a kiss, Johanni?


Hey! Why not?

He closes eyes tight

- I'm sleeping. Because I'm sleeping.

Things that are very important to Johannes right now:

A. His pink blanket.
B. His pencil. 

Not just any pencil, but a pencil he designates as his Pencil du Jour. It might be a heavy pencil (what an adult would consider an average length #2). Or it might be a baby pencil (any pencil that is smaller than a heavy pencil). Sometimes, there are several pencils. He may be fastened to that particular pencil, or collection of pencils, for one day, or it might be several days. At some point, he will decide to arbitrarily replace it with another different-sized, or different-coloured pencil, but there is no making that decision for him. He will decide, no one else. There will be a clatter during the night, which means that his pencil has fallen from his crib, and that it must be retrieved so that he can once again sleep soundly...with it clutched in his chubby fist, pink blankie pulled up to his chin.

His blanket and his pencils are important to him. They must not be separated, which can lead to trouble when he inevitably sets his pencil down to do something like PLAY, and then forgets where he set it, and then becomes frustrated at us for not being able to find it immediately.

I guess we're glad he's not into pocketknives yet.

On Sunday recent, Becca, Mags & I went on a date to the Northwest Children's Theater to see their adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic tale of cannibalistic villains and the girl who defeats them. We bought licorice beforehand, then settled into a fourth row seat to enjoy the adventures of Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant as they dreamt up a way to defeat the awful children-eating giants. Along the way, they eat disgusting snozzcucumbers, practice spirited whizzlepopping in the Queen's face, and converse in the BFG's beautifully mangled wordplay. The performances were lively and the sets nicely designed, though the heads of the giant costumes were a little confusing to me, in the sense that you could still see the actual actor's heads, which took me out of the "the world" a bit.

We had a glorious time, and hope to attend upcoming performances of Seussology, Peter Pan, and Cinderella there.

We went in the rain, in the windy rain. It is the farm of the Little People, the people from that TLC show about little people in Hillsboro, Oregon. I have never seen it. But we have gone to their pumpkin patch three years running, so we trekked over again last weekend.

The rain flung its darts against us with fury, but some of us smiled and some of us grumbled and Becca and I raced to the top of a hay pyramid and stood victorious in the rain, watching as our grumbly children watched from the safety of cover and shook their heads at their crazy parents.

My parents accompanied us and we went through a tiny scary house that had different rooms with pumpkins dressed as people and ghosts, and Johannes was both mesmerized and terrified; the former emotion carried weight, so we went through again and again and again.

As we left, the last ones in the parking lot, a regal, pretty figure walked slowly past us. Our eyes caught, she stopped and chatted. Amy Roloff, the diminutive mom of the clan. We talked briefly of her plans to add a James and the Giant Peach themed attraction next October, and we said goodbye and waved.

Then slowly drove out through the Hillsboro country roads, admiring the melange of colors and setting suns and letting Joseph Arthur quietly soundtrack the evening.


Leave a comment if you feel like it...and thanks for stopping by. Have a magical and delightful day!"

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