Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist

Yes, I know it's Thursday. But it's Z day, and I've been waiting all month for Z day so I could talk about this show. And I can tweak my personal blogging schedule for that.

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist originally showed its pilot in January, I believe. I recorded it, but I didn't watch it. The second episode aired in February, if memory serves. I recorded it, but I didn't watch it. In fact, I didn't watch it until I had five or six episodes on my DVR.

Why the hesitation? I wasn't too sure if I wanted to watch this. It's a musical, after all. The main character sees her friends, family, and coworkers break into song several times per episode. Would that work?

But then we got locked down, and I figured I might as well check it out.

The pilot got me. Zoey's father (played by Peter Gallagher) who is non-verbal, broke into song telling Zoey what he was feeling, and I was all in. I finished those first five or six episodes in a couple days.

I'm not a fan of awkward. It's a reason why I don't find most modern comedies funny. It's one of the reasons I wasn't sure I could go along with the breaking-into-song on this. But they make it work. Most of the time, no one is aware of Zoey's lapses into production numbers. (The times that it does happen were for story purposes. I wasn't a fan of those. But they were the exception, not the rule.)

I will warn you, if you don't like musicals (even using contemporary songs), stay away. There are at least three songs per episode. And Zoey does have a trans/gay neighbor of color who's purpose is to help her figure this all out, and that just smacks of, like, three or four of the best friend tropes. (They're a great character, and totally worth including, but I totally rolled my eyes at their inclusion.)

It's on NBC, so it shouldn't be too hard to stream. (Of the networks, I most love NBC's streaming options. They are by far the easiest.) The finale is coming soon, but this show is best binged, I think.

Anyway, the description, via NBC:
If there's a song in your heart, it will get in her head. Jane Levy stars in this high-concept drama as Zoey Clarke, a whip-smart computer coder forging her way in San Francisco. After an unusual event, Zoey, who always preferred podcasts over pop songs, suddenly starts to hear the innermost wants, thoughts and desires of the people around her - her family, co-workers and complete strangers - through popular songs. At first, she questions her own sanity, but after getting some guidance from her musically adept neighbor, Mo, and making a breakthrough with her ailing father, Zoey soon realizes this unwanted curse may just be an incredibly wonderful gift as she connects with the world like never before. 

 And the trailer:

Have you seen this? Do you hate musicals, so this doesn't even tempt you?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements. 😉

I'm not officially doing the A to Z Challenge this year, but I thought it would be fun to match posts to the letter of the day anyway.

What if someone (or something) was systematically deleting your internet presence? 

Monday, April 27, 2020

What I Knit

There are all sorts of ways to make bags with knitting. I chose to do something a bit different.

Step 1: Knit a long, rectangular piece of fabric.

Step 2: Edge the finished piece in crochet. (My favorite, the crab stitch.)

Step 3: Knit a small loop so the bag can hook on things, and attach.

What it looks like at this stage...

Step 4: Line it. (Really, this is optional. I didn't need to line it, but I just kind of wanted to.)

Step 5: Whip stitch up the bottom and side, leaving an opening at the top.

And there you have it, all ready to hang and hold drumsticks...

Ask me to make this at a different time, and I'd probably do something completely different. This was what I was in the mood to make right now.

What are you in the mood to do right now?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Unicorn Match

To change things up a bit (and because the Sporcle site is slow), I found a different kind of quiz today:

What Unicorn Matches Your Personality?

I can't say how accurate this thing is, as two of the questions were nonsense to me. (I had not heard of any of the books for "favorite", and I hadn't heard of any of the YouTubers, either.) But I'll take "Magical Unicorn", because why not? 

So, not serious at all. But I do want to know what kind of unicorn you are.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Self Made

Just like last week, I took a look at the letter for today to figure out what I was going to write about. And just like last week, I was a bit lost. I'm sure you've heard of Stumptown. And Supergirl. Those are the only two S shows I'm currently watching.

But then I took a look at a list of upcoming shows, and I found something on Netflix that sounded interesting, so I checked it out. And yep, I liked it enough to recommend it.

It's not so much a TV show as a limited series. Four episodes and you're done. And it's based on a true story. Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madame C.J. Walker is about the first African-American self-made millionaire. And she did it about 100 years ago.

Here's a blurb, via Wikipedia:
Self Made is a fictionalized depiction of "the untold and highly irreverent story of black hair care pioneer and mogul Madam C. J. Walker and how she overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and some trifling family to become America’s first Black, self-made female millionaire.

 It's got a great cast, and the characters brush up against some famous historical figures. Take a look:

There are a few movie-style flourishes. She daydreams in musical production numbers. And it's told with modern sensibilities in mind. But it's still worth the time.

How many of you have Netflix? Have you seen this?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements. 😉

I'm not officially doing the A to Z Challenge this year, but I thought it would be fun to match posts to the letter of the day anyway.

What if you woke up to find that while you slept, your town had been destroyed? (For the purposes of this question, your home was unharmed, and your family is safe.)

Believe it or not, I wrote this as well as all the "what if?" posts for this month on March 6th. I had no idea what the world would be like when they went live. But I'm letting them post anyway...

Monday, April 20, 2020

Quarantine Knitting

Technically, I'm not in quarantine, but since we really don't know what to call this thing we're doing, I'll go with the term that fits the letter of the day.

As for my knitting, I haven't been doing a heck of a lot. I never found my phone this fascinating before. I still don't, really. But I do find myself stopping and just scrolling at odd times. Instead of knitting.

My current project is a birthday present for eldest nephew. His birthday was December 26th...

I sent him a card for the day, and I asked him what he wants. He said a bag for his drumsticks.

I had been kicking around various ideas for months (while finishing up the Christmas knitting), but ultimately I landed on something I've done before.

Perhaps the stitch pattern looks familiar. That's because I used it once before...

I'm basically doing this thing again, albeit with a couple minor modifications.

I'd say I'll be done with this next week considering how much knitting time I have, but I'm not really knitting as much as I could be, so no promises.

Friday, April 17, 2020

"O" Vocabulary

I'm not officially doing the A to Z Challenge this month, but it's just as easy to fit my posts to the letter of the day, so why not?

In an effort to find something not as US-centric as I have been, I found a vocabulary quiz for today:

"O" Vocabulary (Medium) Quiz

A few things to remember: 
  • There are "prev" and "next" buttons. Skip around, especially if you're not sure. 
  • This is a matching quiz, so you won't have to come up with the terms on your own.
  • A few of these words are tricky with similar looking words. Read your choices carefully. (*side eyes orca and okra*)
  • Yes, it's timed. 6 minutes. Take your time with the first half. The second half goes much more quickly (as half your choices are now eliminated). 
  • Let the page load fully before starting quiz. It will eliminate headaches as you do the quiz.
Good luck.

Thursday, April 16, 2020


On Tuesday, March 31st, I dropped off a package at the post office.

This is not a noteworthy occurrence, generally. I have an Etsy shop (Zizi Rho Designs). I make the occasional sale. I wore gloves, and I put it in the package slot, so I didn't even have to interact with anyone.

I like to "stalk" my packages. Once a day, I check the tracking to see where it's gotten to. By the next day, it has generally left the local distribution center and it's on its way to its destination.

But not this package.

For a week, every day the package showed a "not received by us" on the website.

I wasn't too worried. This happens sometimes. Some packages are nowhere in the system until they've been delivered. So, I kept waiting for the delivery.

After a week, I contacted the buyer to see if it had arrived, just in case the system never logged it. Nope.

What to do? I wondered if perhaps the package got jammed somehow in the slot at the post office. Could I call them?

The only phone number was a 1-800 number, so I wouldn't be calling the specific location. Might as well, right?

Of course they were experiencing higher than normal volume (I wonder if those lines are ever experiencing normal volume), but they would call me back when it was my turn. So, I chose that option and went on with my day.

An hour and fifteen minutes later, I looked at my phone. There was a notification...

And that's when I remembered.

On iPhones, there's a thing called "Silence Unknown Callers". If turned on, the phone will only ring if the call is coming from a number in my contacts. Otherwise, it'll immediately go into voicemail.

When I made my call to the post office, I had completely forgotten that I had that turned on.

So, I tried to call back, but I got the usual computer menu. But it was my turn! While I was calling, I got two more calls, the second one saying that they had tried, and now they weren't going to try any more. Considering at that point they had called me four times, that was totally reasonable.

Yeah, by the time I added the phone number to my contacts list, it was too late. Deep sigh.

Did I want to wait on the phone for another hour and fifteen minutes for another try? After poking around the website, I found where I could report missing mail. So, I did that.

Likely, that's all the person on the phone would have done, anyway. It's not likely that they would have called that post office to have them look in their collection bins.

That particular post office has done this to me before, that is not scanning the package in. It still made it to its final destination in a timely manner.

But the customer informed me that she's had issues with package delivery in the past. So, this might just be a perfect storm of issues.

I hope the package turns up. I don't want to have to reknit it...

I wrote this post last week. On Saturday, the 11th, the package arrived. Whew. Turns out I'm out of the colorway of the yarn that the customer ordered, and I couldn't find it online anywhere. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Motherland: Fort Salem

When I was looking at this week's letters, I wondered what TV show I could talk about. I don't think Manifest is really "under the radar", and there weren't any other TV shows I was watching that would fit the letter. Would I have to give up the letter of the day? It's not like I'm really doing A to Z anyway...

Then I noticed that there was a show I've been recording that I hadn't started yet.

I read about Motherland: Fort Salem someplace. It's an alternative universe show, where witches fight in the military. A witch army? I'm in.

I recorded the first three shows, but I hadn't watched any of them. So, I started with the pilot...

And I started wondering about what else I could write about for today.

The pilot was a mess. There were too many things going on in not enough time. It introduced the three main characters plus a couple important supporting characters plus the big bad, and it tried to give them all equal weight. I wasn't impressed.

But I had two more episodes recorded. It could get better?

It did. The pacing was much better, and we're getting a better idea of the world. It's not a favorite, but it could develop into one. At the very least, it's something different, and it's different in a good way.

It's broadcast on Freeform, which is probably in your cable package. Or you can stream it from their website (which this sentence links to).

A description (via Freeform's website):
Set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution by cutting a deal with the government to fight for the country, Motherland: Fort Salem follows three young women from training to deployment, as they fight terrorist threats with supernatural tactics. 

...and the trailer:

Has anyone else seen this?

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Leader Void

At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements. 😉

I'm not officially doing the A to Z Challenge this year, but I thought it would be fun to match posts to the letter of the day anyway.

What if the sudden death of your boss put you in charge? 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Knitting a Mask

In L.A. County, we are now asked to wear masks or some sort of face covering when we go out. Since I have to go to the grocery store on occasion, I had to come up with something.

I wasn't going to knit a mask. It seemed like a silly idea. Fabric is porous; knitted fabric is even more so.

But I could line it with fabric...

Once I got that idea, I went on an internet search. Surely I couldn't be the only one with that idea.

And I wasn't. There were several patterns out there, but nothing quite like what I wanted. What did I want? I don't know, nor did I know.

I broke it down into what I thought it should be shaped like. I found a stitch pattern. I started knitting the stitch pattern, but it annoyed me. So, I ripped it out and started over. A bit of this and that, and I had something vaguely mask-shaped.

There were issues. The top and bottom curled. It would do the job...

...but I knew I could do better. So, I started over.

My second attempt took a bit longer. I used the moss stitch, something simple, but more interesting to knit than stockinette. I crocheted an edging. I used I-cord for the ears rather than a flat crochet.

Better. It lies flat, but it's more of a parallelogram than a rectangle. But I needed to go to the grocery store, so it'd be good enough.

Next I lined it...

And that's what I wore to the grocery store.

It's not cute. I can do better. But at least I have something I can wear outside when I need to get food.

I should break down and buy a fabric mask. I probably will. But until then, this will do.

Friday, April 10, 2020

"I" Movies

I'm not officially doing the A to Z Challenge, but if I can fit my post to the letter of the day, why not?

I don't know why, but some letters are easier to think of as first letters than others. That's what makes this quiz so hard, I think. Or maybe these movies just aren't ones I saw. Anyway, today's quiz... '

"I" Movies by Picture Quiz

You're given 25 pictures, and you need to identify from which movie they're from. The other clue you have is each movie's title starts with the letter "I". 

A few tips: 
  • Wait until the site completely loads. On my computer this quiz was incredibly slow.
  • There is no order to this. Type in titles as you think of them, and they'll match to the picture. Skip around as much as you like.
  • If you're sure of a title but it doesn't immediately "take" it, check your spelling.
  • Spelling counts, capitalization doesn't. 
I got a pitiful 10 out of 25. I bet you do better than I did. Good luck.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Hello, Neighbor

This shelter-in-place thing is getting to me. While I do normally spend a lot of time at home, I don't normally spend all my time at home. Occasionally, I do need to get out of the house.

So, the other day when my roommate Luisa invited me along on one of her walks, I jumped at the chance.

It was just a walk around the block on a Saturday. But it helped. It helped a lot.

That first walk was a Saturday. And we weren't the only ones with the idea. The neighborhood has lots of families, so there were groups also out for a walk or a bike ride. Yes, we did keep our distance.

We were amazed at how many people were out and about. They're in the same boat, so of course they needed to get out, too.

Since that first Saturday, we've pretty much been going on daily walks. They don't last quite an hour. It helps me to feel like I'm not too cooped up.

Chalk art has become a thing. And while the neighbors haven't gone nuts with the decorating, one house has had a bit of fun with the situation...

You can click on the image to make it bigger. The minion on the right is holding "hand sanitizer" and is popping out of a tissue box. The minion in the middle is saying "Corona! Run!!!"

Sadly, there's no actual hand sanitizer in the bottle. Not that I checked or anything...

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Good Fight

As I started thinking ahead to my posts for this week, I counted to see what letter fell on Wednesday. (Even though I'm not officially doing the A to Z Challenge, I'm still writing to the letter of the day.)

G? That made today's post topic obvious.

I have lamented the fact that The Good Wife's spin off, The Good Fight, was only going to be broadcast on CBS All Access, CBS's paid streaming service. I have made many blog comments to this effect. I knew that one day I'd bite the bullet and sign up.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I heard that CBS was doing an extra long free trial. Instead of the usual week, they were opening it up for a month. (Only until something like April 23rd, so if you're thinking about doing the same, check to see if there's a deadline. The coupon code was ALL.)

I signed up that night and immediately started this show. I finished season 3 Monday night. But while in the midst of season 2 (sometime last week), I heard that season 4 is starting soon. How soon? Tomorrow (April 9th). Talk about timing...

So, because I suck at writing synopses, the show is about (via Google):
The CBS All Access series picks up one year after the events in the final episode of "The Good Wife." After a financial scam destroys the reputation of young lawyer Maia Rindell and wipes out her mentor and godmother Diane Lockhart's savings, the two are forced out of Lockhart & Lee and join forces with Lucca Quinn at one of Chicago's pre-eminent law firms. At Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad, Diane finds familiar faces, including Colin Morrello, who is a rising star in the state's attorney's office, and Marissa Gold. Though starting at the bottom, Diane and Maia are determined to rebuild their careers and lives at the new firm.

Or, if you prefer trailers:

(That's the trailer for the first season. You can find trailers for all the seasons here.)

It's a great show. Very dramatic. The stakes are always high. And the supporting characters...

If you ever saw The Good Wife, you'll remember how some guest stars would recur. Like, they're lawyers, so occasionally they're in court. Several of the judges are familiar faces. And they return episodes and seasons later, and they're playing the same judge. This leads to some good jokes, especially if you're paying attention.

It's a great show. If you haven't had a chance to see it, you should check it out. It is the only reason I'm doing CBS All Access. (And I'm a sci-fi fan and I do want to see Picard.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements. 😉

I'm not officially doing the A to Z Challenge this year, but I thought it would be fun to match posts to the letter of the day anyway.

What if your opponent had to forfeit the championship game? Would you be disappointed? 

We can call this a "ripped from the headlines" question. This actually happened at a school I sub at before it closed. So, at least they have this championship to keep with them through this lockdown time.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Easy Cord Cover

Now that I've finished up my Christmas knitting (for 2019), I find myself at loose ends. I mean, I have projects that I could be working on, but I haven't felt like doing much of anything.

So, I started covering my cords.

I wrote about this a while ago. When I got a new phone, I covered the power cord, and more importantly, the earbuds' cord with an I-cord. The power cord is just for pretty. The earbuds' cord tangles easily, so covering the cord actually helps.

Back in December, I upgraded my phone. So, I had new bare cords. But I was busy with Christmas knitting, so it sat and waited.

I think I need something quick and easy. I started with the power cord. But instead of an I-cord, I wrapped the yarn around and did a sort of, kind of slip stitch thing.

I rather like it. I especially like the yarn, but that makes sense as it's the same yarn I used on an I-cord for this same purpose before.

Now, I just need to figure out what yarn I'm going to use for the earbuds.

Friday, April 3, 2020


I'm not officially doing the A to Z Challenge this year, but I thought it would be fun to fit my posts to the letter of the day when possible. And with a random quiz, of course it's possible.

So, today your task, if you choose to accept it, is to find the first name that starts with C that goes to the three last names provided. And bonus, it's a matching thing, so you're given all the possible first names up front.

C Names by 3 Surnames Quiz

A few things to remember: 
  1. Let the site fully load before you begin. It's slow until then.
  2. There are "prev" and "back" buttons so you can skip if you're not sure.
  3. Yes, it's timed. Sorry.
Good luck, and let me know how you did in the comments. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Back Off

I'm not officially doing the A to Z Challenge, but if I can write to the letter of the day, why not?

So far, I seem to continue to be healthy...

...And because needs must, I headed out to the grocery store last Monday.

Although, it became more than the grocery store. I got the roommates' lists (might as well only have one making the trip), and headed out.

It's kind of eerie Outside. There are still people about, but not many. And I kinda felt like I was taking my life into my hands. The news is scary.

The stores are still pretty much out of toilet paper and Lysol. I looked. But food is out there.

Lately, I've been shopping at a store called Grocery Outlet. Because I knew they wouldn't have one of the things on roommate's list, I first went into Dollar Tree, which was in the same strip mall.

Shortly after I walked in, clueless guy walked in. As I was doing my shopping, I made sure to keep distance between me and the others in the store. But clueless guy came way too close.

Clueless guy was 50-ish, wearing a polo shirt. When he walked down the aisle I was on, I backed up. I avoided the next aisle when he was on it. And then the next aisle he approached way too close again.

He wasn't talking to me. I mean, we acknowledged each other, but other than that we were doing our own things.

I got to the checkout first. Someone was there, so I stood a ways off. Then clueless guy got right behind me. Sigh.

But I was done. I felt like I accomplished something. Then I headed over to Grocery Outlet to finish up my trip.

Guess who entered the store shortly after me? Sigh.

And because I don't have a good photo to accompany today's post, here's a picture of roommate's dog, Buttercup...

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Avenue 5

I'm not officially doing the A to Z Challenge this year, but if I can fit my posts into the letter of the day, why not?

For "what to watch Wednesday", I'm going to talk about a show I hesitantly recommend. But it fit the letter of the day, so...

From IMDb:
The troubled crew of Avenue 5, a space cruise ship filled with spoiled, rich, snotty space tourists, must try and keep everyone calm after their ship gets thrown off course into space and ends up needing three years to return to Earth.
The first season wrapped up about the time we all got stay at home orders in California. With a total of nine half-hour episodes, it's an easy binge. If you're looking for something to watch.

Because I'm a bit ambivalent about the show, I'm going to list some things I liked and some things I didn't. First up, in no particular order, five things I liked about the show:
  1. Hugh Laurie. And with his actual British accent. Sometimes. 
  2. They actually take into account how long it would take communications to reach them from Earth (and how long it would take them to send messages back). They play it for comedic effect, but still. 
  3. The gravity exerted by the ship created some surprising, but in retrospect obvious, problems. 
  4. Even though they were on a space ship in the future, the plots revolved around mundane matters that most people can relate to. 
  5. Characters: Billie, Karen (sometimes), Sarah (until her final episode), and Iris. 
And here are five things I didn't like: 
  1. Some of the characters were really very annoying.
  2. It took the "captain" way too long to figure out what the actual skill level was of the "bridge crew". 
  3. The problems created by the gravity of the ship was a gag that was taken way too far. 
  4. Too many of the "bosses" were incompetent and/or made things worse. (This is good writing, but some of their idiocy really irritated me.) 
  5. While some of the plot points make sense from a "how people are" standpoint, they did take a couple of them way too far. (I don't want to spoil it in case you are planning to see it. And you might not have a problem with it.)
On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, it gets a solid 3. Not bad. And I totally want to encourage different sci-fi takes from those that make these sorts of things. 

If my five things I didn't like didn't turn you totally off, you can find the show on HBO's streaming service. 

Have you ever seen Avenue 5? If anyone has anything to add, feel free to do so in the comments.