My sofa came a day early on Wednesday. I thought I’d have to lug it up from the lobby, but somehow they delivered it right to my apartment door. Through a fair amount of struggle, I assembled it that evening. Then my rug came on Friday. Much easier to set up. So at last my living room is taking shape. I was even able to use the quilt my mom made me years ago to reinforce my color scheme. She tells me the pattern is a triple Irish chain.
I spent a very sweaty Saturday evening moving my boxed books into a stifling storage room. The storage bins here are pretty small, so now for the rest of my living room junk my bedroom is doubling as a storage space. I have a feeling my next decluttering will be sooner rather than later.
I’m still working on my cleaning schedule. It’s taking a little time because I’m working from Melissa Maker’s book Clean My Space, and I’m converting its schedule chart to a spreadsheet.
I finished The Contract by John Powell and Gwen Plano. It’s a political thriller with an interesting framing device. Heaven is intervening in a global political emergency, and the protagonists are two souls the heavenly authorities send to work through human bodies on earth. It sounds apocalyptic, like a left-leaning Left Behind, but I’m not sure the Second Coming will be involved.
Although I felt the story took a long time to get all the pieces in place (half the book), once the main action started, it carried me along. When I got to the end and found out there was a sequel, the story had intrigued me enough that I bought it and started listening right away.
The sequel is The Choice, which was only by Gwen Plano. It turns out this series is hers, and Powell was only helping. Since the first book introduced the scenario, this one could launch straight into the interesting parts.
This series reminds me that “interesting” is a relative term, because I’m sure someone who’s more into romance would like the first half of The Contract more than I did, and people who are bored by research would probably be watching the clock at many points in The Choice. I think you’d call this story a police procedural. But it was just the kind of “boring” I can get into.
Since this series came right after I’d read Robert McKee’s Story, I paid attention to its use of conflict and “the gap” (between expectation and result). For being thrillers, these stories had less conflict and confusion and failure than I expected. Other than some key plot points, most of the events seemed to flow smoothly, the characters got along, and they got what they wanted. But I didn’t mind too much, because it fed the part of me that thrives on good will and cooperation.
There will be a final book in the series, so I’m looking forward to that.
Over the weekend I continued my AI movie theme with Chappie. I’d heard it wasn’t great, and certainly I had to work to suspend my disbelief, but I ended up liking it more than I expected. David Ovienmhada captures some of the difficulty I had, and it’s the main reason I find this movie valuable. Ovienmhada notes that the movie’s AI doesn’t emerge from a “clean room” setting, such as a tech company or government lab. I’m already used to imagining that a general AI could pop up anywhere in a range of contexts. But what I wasn’t considering was an AI training environment that might be as random and foreign to me as a gang of criminals.
Chappie isn’t an orderly, well-mannered, Star Trek AI. He means well, but he’s a product of his rough upbringing, and he’s catching up to the humans around him the whole time. It’s basically a robot coming-of-age story, and apart from what’s probably a typical movie structure, it’s messy. Understanding and accepting it means my mind has some territory to expand into, and I welcome it.
It’s official. This is my favorite place I’ve lived since college. On Wednesday just before I put together my sofa, I was sitting in the kitchen and spotted something on the ground outside.
After that the rabbit hopped away from the burrow toward the building, and a third rabbit hopped out of the bushes and joined it. I think that’s the most rabbits I’ve seen in person at once. What other woodland neighbors will I find here?