October and November 2019 Update

October was a busy month including a long weekend in Baltimore (which I already wrote about) and our annual Staycation which is a combination of attending the Philadelphia Film Festival and trying new-to-us restaurants.

As always, the Film Festival was a delightful experience. I saw sixteen movies, and I would say the following were the standouts:

The past two years of the festival seemed particularly strong. While there have been a handful of movies I haven’t been thrilled with, it’s been a while since I’ve sat through a real dud.

During our Staycation, I did take some pictures (other than photos of the food we ate). One day, I took pictures with my Olympus OM-1. I finished off a roll of Kodak Gold 200.

Then I started a roll of Kodak UltraMax 400. For both sets, I used my Sigma 135mm f/3.5 lens. When I initially got 135mm lenses (I also have a Minolta Celtic 135mm f/3.5 for my Minolta XE), I wasn’t particularly comfortable shooting with them. But now that I’ve been out a few times with them, I’m starting to enjoy them and finding the right situations for them.

Also in October, I purchased a new used camera, a Minolta Hi-Matic 11 which I previously wrote about. All those shots were also taken during out Staycation.

As much as we love the film festival, we usually take a day off from it to do something different. The festival runs eleven days, and I attended nines days of it and Holly went to eight so a break was welcome.

We decided to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the newly opened north entrance and the truly fascinating Design for Different Futures exhibition.

It was a perfect fall day, and I brought my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with my EF 17-40mm f/4 lens. I took pictures of the walk there, the north entrance, and the new additions to the sculpture garden.

You can see all my Staycation pictures, including all my food photos, in my Flickr album.

I also finished a Lightroom Classic CC Essential Training tutorial on Lynda.com which I have access to thanks to the Free Library of Philadelphia. I had worked through an earlier version of this tutorial when I first started using Lightroom a couple of years ago. Now that I have experience with it, I wanted to work through the tutorial again to make sure I am getting the most out of Lightroom.

I continued to dabble in the How to Draw tutorial from The Great Courses, but I haven’t gotten much further and haven’t drawn anything worth sharing. I’m beginning to suspect that this course isn’t quite right for me (or at least not at the moment). It’s a bit more formal a training than I’m looking for. Perhaps at some point if I grow really serious about drawing and am willing to devote significant time to it, then this course might be for me.

In the near term, I’m more interest in casual sketching. I did recently get a couple of other courses through The Great Courses which seem more appropriate: Everyday Urban Sketching and Sketching People, Places, and Landscapes so I may move on to one of those.

As I mentioned in my August and September 2019 Update post, I’ve been in an organizing and planning process with my writing so I haven’t really been doing much actual writing. I’m just trying to get my head around what I want to work on and in what order. Basically, I am hoping to get a plan together heading into 2020 (since it’s December already!).

October and November turned out to be good reading months (as 2019 has been in general). I read six books in those two months bringing my year total to 46 which is a lot for me.

I mentioned The Unbearable Lightness of Being in my August and September post. I actually had finished reading it in October but included it since I wrote the post in early October.

I finished A Literate Passion: Letters of Anais Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953 which I had been chipping away at for a while. I found it to be a bit hit or miss. I didn’t do an official tally, but it seems to include a lot more of Miller’s letters than Nin’s. I found her letters to often be more interesting so I was disappointed there weren’t more. I also wish there were more letters from the later years after Miller left Paris for Greece and then eventually California.

I read Kieran Setiya’s Midlife: A Philosophical Guide which I’m planning on writing more about later since part of what I want to accomplish with this blog is an exploration of midlife. The short version is that I found Midlife to be quite interesting and a worthy read for anyone curious about this time of life.

For some reason, I got it into my head that I wanted to revisit some Shakespeare who I have been quite into at various times in my life. I read two of his early plays: The Taming of the Shrew, which I had never read before and thought was just OK, and Richard III, which I had read before and rank among my favorite Shakespeare plays. My recent reading did not change that opinion.

Finally, I re-read The Golden Compass for at least the third time. The three books of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials have long been some of my favorite books. I was excited to hear that the BBC was making a series based on it so I decided to read book one again.

So far, I have been somewhat disappointed with the series, although TV and film adaptations tend to disappoint. The relationship between humans and their dæmons is so important in the books and it feels underdeveloped in the series. I also don’t like the the series is devoting so much time to characters other that Lyra. Seeing the events of the novel through her initially innocent eyes is essential to the story. The series feels diluted by presenting so much of the story from other perspectives. But, I’m interested enough in it to keep watching.

October and November 2019 Reading Update
October and November 2019 Reading Update

Books Read in 2019

  • The Way the World Ends, Jess Walter (Kindle book)
  • There’s No Place Like Home, Edan Lepucki (Kindle book)
  • Controller, Jesse Kellerman (Kindle book)
  • At the Bottom of New Lake, Sonya Larson (Kindle book)
  • Falls the Shadow, Skip Horack (Kindle book)
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing, Brooke Bolander (Kindle book)
  • Sabrina, Nick Drnaso (Kindle book)
  • Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng (Kindle book)
  • Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday (Kindle book)
  • Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), Jeff Tweedy (Kindle book)
  • Washington Black, Esi Edugyan (Kindle book)
  • Boca Raton, Lauren Groff (Kindle book)
  • The Hillside, Jane Smiley (Kindle book)
  • Ninth Street Women, Mary Gabriel
  • Amaro, Brad Thomas Parsons
  • The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
  • Are You My Mother?, Alison Bechdel (Library book)
  • Zama, Antonio di Bennedetto
  • Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, Dani Shapiro (Kindle Book)
  • Educated, Tara Westover (Kindle Book)
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 2: Legacy’s End, Charles Soule (Kindle Book)
  • Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #1-4, Jeremy Barlow (Kindle Book)
  • Dark Disciple: Star Wars, Christie Golden (Kindle Book)
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 3: The Burning Seas, Charles Soule (Kindle Book)
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 4: Fortress Vader, Charles Soule (Kindle Book)
  • Ahsoka, E.K. Johnston (Kindle Book)
  • Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, Henry Miller
  • Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, Janet Burroway
  • The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli (Kindle Book)
  • The Girls, Emma Cline (Kindle Book)
  • The World According to Garp, John Irving
  • Radical Inventor: A Retrospective of Alexander
  • Calder, Anne Grace
  • The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene (Kindle Book)
  • Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life, Amber Scorah (Kindle Book)
  • The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells (Kindle Book)
  • Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino (Kindle Book)
  • A History of the French New Wave Cinema, Richard Neupert
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
  • The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare
  • Midlife: A Philosophical Guide, Kieran Setiya
  • A Literate Passion: Letters of Anais Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953
  • The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
  • Richard III, William Shakespeare

This Creative Midlife Posts in 2019

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