Driving Miss Daisy

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The author’s preface begins by stating of Miss Daisy being a real person his grandmother knew in Georgia in the 1940s. Daisy was a spinster and the last of her large clan. There was also a real Hoke, whom was a part-time bartender at a country club, and Boolie was the brother of Uhry’s aunt’s friend, and the characters aren’t like the people, he only used their names. Miss Daisy was partially his grandmother, her four sisters, and his mother. Hoke comes from his grandmother’s driver, but also other black drivers he’d known in his youth, and Boolie is made up of not only Uhry, but many men he couldn’t identify from his past, and Florine’s character’s real-life counterpart is refused to be revealed. As for the play itself, Uhry didn’t realize the hype it would bring, originally given five weeks on stage, a 74-seater, then the play was given an extra five weeks for popularity and moved to a much larger theater. Uhry had been currently writing the screenplay when he’d written this introduction, and had won the Pulitzer, he stating of writing what he knew and people shining to his perspective without seeking publicity.

Daisy, whom is 72-years-old, is heard announcing of going grocery shopping, starting her car, and then noises of a terrible wreck occurring. She is then arguing with Boolie, her 42-year-old son, he noting how lucky she’d been not to have gotten hurt or worse. Daisy stubbornly declares of the car being faulty, her old one not having acted this way, but Boolie stating how it wasn’t the car’s idea to hit their neighbor’s garage. Daisy denies his idea of hiring a driver, he trying to convince her of the likelihood she’ll be able to stay insured after wrecking her car with only two weeks of use so far, he then attempting to ease her mind with knowing he’d work out all the details, but she not wanting to be hassled with someone whom would take advantage by using her things and eating at her home. When he fails to convince her and she defends herself by stating how she was brought up to rely on herself and hiring “them” wasn’t affordable, Boolie gives her a hard time upon hearing her usage of “them”, he sharing he and his wife, Florine had plans for the evening, and Daisy passive-aggressively commenting. Boolie dismisses this, and then relays he’d be interviewing men for the job and would phone the next day, she still resisting, and then sings a song to conclude the argument.

Boolie is found in his office, Hoke walks in, currently around the age of 60, and looking like he needed work, but attempted to look nice. Boolie finishes a bit of work as he invites him to sit, Hoke agreeable to allow him to finish his task, Boolie then asking how long he’d been unemployed and where he’d worked before. Hoke responds of it being about a year, he then sharing how he preferred working for Jews which led into whom he’d worked for before having attempted to rip him off by selling him over-priced shirts, he then driving for a Jewish man whom Boolie knew, Hoke having worked for him for 7 years before he’d died. Hoke inquires who he’d be driving, Boolie relaying whom it was for and the reason he was looking rather than his mother, assuring him since he was hiring, she wouldn’t be able to let him go. Hoke is satisfied and accepts the job after Boolie offers his pay rate at 20 dollars a week.

Daisy is next seen coming into her living room, reading the news and ignoring Hoke, she only replies to his greeting her. She answers smartly to his weather chat, and then states of taking the trolley to the grocer’s when Hoke relays what the housemaid had told him of certain supplies running low, she refusing to let him take her. Hoke attempts an offer at caring for her flowers and when denied, states of being able to start a vegetable garden, but again is refused, Hoke then resigning himself to sit in the kitchen like he had for six days, but upon discussing how she’d been raised, he offers to water her front steps, this being when she gives him permission to drive her, instead. Hoke makes conversation on the car’s new smell, Daisy speaking of how she’d been taught to drive by her husband and she wanted him to drive well below the speed limit, she then freaking out about the route he was taking, but he gets her there, and once relinquishing the keys to her, she gives him a death stare after he reminds her of getting cleanser, then he calls Boolie from a pay phone, he seeing she’d caught him calling from inside the store and expected she’d have a fit.

Daisy is now peeved when Hoke picks her up from temple directly at the front doors, the two arguing why it would be a big deal Daisy’s acquaintances would see her with a driver and looked wealthy, Hoke giving up on talking about it, and next Boolie receiving a call from Daisy, he agreeing to visit her later, she speaking quickly. When he sees her, Daisy is going off on how Hoke had taken a can of her salmon, Boolie not getting what the issue was, he now tired of arguing and stating she do what she wanted, Hoke then arriving and sharing how he’d had the can of salmon and bought a replacement, Daisy attempting nonchalance and going upstairs to change from her robe. Daisy and Hoke are now at a graveyard, she carrying a mini-shovel and Hoke commenting how often they’d come in the past month, she having cleaned her husband’s stone thoroughly, and how she didn’t allow the staff to tend to it, she instructing him to retrieve some flowers from the car to set on a friend’s husband’s grave, she directing where it would be, but Hoke returning and guiltily confessing of not being able to read, Daisy not believing him at first, since she’d seen him look at the paper, he confiding he was looking at the pictures. Daisy then learns he knew the alphabet, and so actually could read and didn’t know it, having him listen to the sound of “B” and “R”, the first and last letter of the last name he was searching for, she declaring he’d locate it, and Hoke sharing how much he was grateful for her help, she dismissing this and sending him off, claiming of getting hot.

It’s now Christmas and Boolie is speaking on the phone and looking festive, he asking Daisy if she had coconut, to bring it along, since Florine needed it for her ambrosia. Daisy and Hoke are leaving, she not caught up with the Christmas spirit (hwhat a surprise…), she giving Florine the most crap for how many decorations she put up, Hoke agreeing, but enjoying himself. He points out how she’d also put a Rudolph up in a tree, Daisy declaring how Florine’s grandfather would’ve responded to viewing this, but then changes the subject to a book she’d given to Hoke, she vehemently denying it being a present, and to tell no one, Hoke assuring her and attempting to hide his feelings, the two then walking up the drive.

Boolie is now in his late 40s, dressed for golf, and waiting for Hoke, whom comes out to share of Daisy not coming, he relating how defensive she’d been with this new car lately, she chasing some man around when he’d set his case on the hood for a moment, and how she disliked using the A/C, he going on to describe of having purchased the old car and allowing Daisy to ride in it once in awhile, he warning Boolie to mind his ashes. Daisy is then shown carrying out a large suitcase, looking around apprehensively, then getting a dress bag and wicker basket, after which she brings out a wrapped present, Hoke then coming out with a small suitcase and fussing about how she’d brought out all the heavy items unnecessarily, she going on about the time, and he assuring they weren’t late, Boolie then coming out with Florine’s gift for his uncle, whom was turning 90, Daisy stating how inconsiderate they were for not attending and instead going to a show, My Fair Lady in New York. Boolie gives Hoke some emergency money, makes sure they’re set with map, and then wishes Hoke well. Hoke is eating deviled eggs with enjoyment whilst he drove, they discussing their first times out of Georgia, Daisy’s being when she was 12, and Hoke’s being right then, she getting agitated when realizing they’d made a wrong turn, she regretting having been driven and getting talked into it by Boolie instead of going by train. As they are still driving, Hoke soon has to relieve himself, Daisy demanding he wait, but Hoke insisting, and declares of taking the keys, after which a few moments pass, and Daisy at first sounding furious, and then scared as she waited in the dark silence. Hoke is then entering Boolie’s office and relating how he’d heard from Boolie’s cousin’s wife about wanting to hire him, Hoke bringing it up, since putting the idea of a raise in his head, Boolie agreeing and offering 75 dollars a week, Hoke accepting this sounded right, and mentions how being in demand was a nice feeling.

Daisy, now in her 80s, is shown in her house, walking by candlelight, the lights having gone out, but phones still working. Boolie called to inform her it was the neighborhood and would update her after checking the car radio. Daisy is then startled when hearing her door open, but then Hoke greets her as usual, telling how he’d learned to drive on ice long ago and had stopped to get her coffee, she pleasantly surprised. They then go through their routine of she stating he clean up the water he’d tracked in and he replying of who she thought he was, she then picking up Boolie’s return call and learning of when the ice would melt, she replying he could stay put, since Hoke had come, Boolie giving her a hard time about she complimenting Hoke for the first time he’d heard. Next, Daisy’s in the car, Hoke returning to inform of the major damage up ahead. Daisy states how it was so late she wouldn’t make it to temple anyways, Hoke replying it had been bombed, so she wouldn’t have been able to, regardless. Daisy is in denial, then hoping no one had been hurt, unable to fathom why a reformed temple would be hit, Hoke describing the sort of people who make such destruction didn’t care, he sharing a childhood story of a buddy’s father getting strung up, Daisy not seeing the relation, and then disbelieving the news he’d heard from the cop being a lie. Hoke decides he’d attempt to return her home, she commanding he end the conversation.

Next, Boolie is in his late 50s, walking in to a room whilst being applauded, carrying a silver bowl, and attending due to being elected man of the year by the Atlanta Business Council and preparing to share his speech of thanks and his one-liner jokes about himself, then sharing his family’s origin of their business having been in alignment with the view of the people in their city, due to the success they had, concluding his speech with humble, gratefulness and mention of the upcoming sport’s event on Sunday, and regarding whom he wished to win (football, most like). Daisy is then shown attempting to make a phone call with effort, she becoming more decrepit. She gets a hold of Boolie’s secretary and only has her relay of having acquired the tickets to the honor banquet for Martin Luther King, Jr, then reassures the lady of how late in life her cousin had married.

Later, Boolie joins Daisy, whom is now 90, he inquiring how she was, Daisy not seeing the question as suitable for someone her age, and they moving on to his receiving her message. Daisy suggests Hoke drive them, but then offers Boolie to do so when he states of they needing to discuss these plans further, he broaching the subject by stating of realizing MLK Jr’s accomplishments and progressive acts being many, Daisy stopping him by announcing he should get to the point of whether he’d rather decline attendance. He explains how the ignorant men he worked with may affect his success if they found out, he suggesting she invite Hoke, Boolie then leaving. After Daisy gets ready, Hoke comes in to collect her and help her into the car. They’re on their way before Daisy starts harping on Hoke for being blind, he denying this accusation, and she stating how he’d almost hit a mailbox, the car thoroughly scratched. Hoke contradicts this, again and she repeats her accusation of him being blind, which was unfortunate, since the new car looked so nice. Hoke then states how it was rounding a couple years of she owning it, she replying he was going the wrong way.

The two compete about their length of time in Atlanta until he trumps (bad choice of word) her on she not having driven for 2 decades, she then changing the subject to Boolie, dancing around how he’d mentioned MLK Jr. and how easy it was for Hoke to see him preach at his church, Boolie believing Hoke wanted her to invite him, he then getting worked up with how she’d brought this up whilst he was driving her, she flustered he was over-reacting to how she’d asked, getting out and walking herself to the entrance. Boolie is now shown on the phone with Hoke, the latter having called to discuss Daisy being aggravated, different than normal, she calling to him, Hoke then describing how she thought she was teaching school and talking nonsense, Boolie assuring he was on his way.

Daisy looks unkempt and inquires where he’d left her school work, he denying there was any at all, she certain she put them in a particular spot after grading them. He tells her she’d lost her mind, she ignoring him to state how popular she was with her students for diligently returning their school work a day later after they’d handed them in. She becomes upset when convinced she had ruined everything, Hoke attempting to calm her and convince her she wasn’t a teacher any longer, how lucky she was for being looked after, and if she wanted to see misery, to visit the “state home”. She still doesn’t register the subject and so Hoke instead resorts to stating how Boolie would sic a doctor on her to admit her into a loony bin instead, if she wasn’t careful. She then sobers her tone and asks after the first car he’d bought which she’d previously owned, Hoke updating it would be in a junkyard by now, and she stating, then insisting he was her “best friend”, he convinced by her conviction.

Boolie is shown browsing around Daisy’s living room, he now 65. He pockets his mother’s address book as Hoke, 85 walks in, greeting Boolie. He asks how Hoke had come by, he stating his granddaughter had taken him, she 37 and teaching Biology at a local college. Boolie then inquires if Hoke wanted anything from the house before Goodwill came to clean it out, he already exhausting what he wished to keep from Daisy’s possessions. Hoke declines, Boolie then confessing how odd it was to put Daisy’s house on the market whilst she was still living, Hoke understanding, and Boolie rationalizing the decision, since she hadn’t been there for over a couple years. He then confides of Hoke’s weekly check indefinitely being sent to him, Hoke relating how he was grateful, and he attempting to see Daisy as much as he could without a bus going to the stop necessary, he resorting to cab it over when he could. Boolie acknowledges Daisy most likely was happy when he could come by, then states of they moving along to visit her now, since they both more than likely had plans later for turkey day, and should let his granddaughter know he’d give him a ride back.

Daisy, 97 is shown moving about with a walker, Boolie and Hoke arriving, the two greeting her, and Boolie helping her sit, the two including her in the conversation of what she’d been up to, but she not speaking, acknowledging them at first with a nod and then seeming distant. Boolie provides general chat until Daisy bursts out with Hoke having come to visit her and not him. Hoke notes she was having one of her better days, she then commanding Boolie to go flirt with the nurses, her son stating how she wanted Hoke to herself and she being “a doodle” before leaving. She snoozes lightly and then sees Hoke, asking if he was still getting paid by Boolie, he admitting this and still wouldn’t divulge the amount, the two agreeing they were living life as well as they could. When Hoke notices she’d left her turkey day pie and sees her struggling with the fork, he offers to accommodate, proceeding to cut easy bite-size pieces for her.

I didn’t expect how sweet the characters were with only my knowledge from the film (which was fine from my recollection), but this being quaint and engaging. Quite enjoyable story, and it’s so short it won’t take any time to read it, so if it’s a nice, lazy story one’s after, this’ll do.

The Silver Linings Playbook

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Pat jumps right in with being visited by his mother and knowing summer had hit by the color of her painted toenails. She meets him outside whilst he was doing some exercising, explaining his reasons for doing so involving Nikki’s preferences, when his mother inquired. She then throws him for a loop when asking if he’d like to go home with her, he surprised by her truthful tone, but only if he didn’t go after Nikki, she and his father agreeing to job-hunt for him and ready him for his own place. Pat continues his push-ups, whilst she attempted to convince him to accept. Pat weighs his options, not wanting to deal with the downer institution he was in anymore, and agreeing to her terms until Nikki and his “apart time” was over. Pat packs his bag and sort of says goodbye to his roomie. When he meets his mother and doctor in the lobby, the doctor seems crestfallen when Pat mentions how much better he’ll feel when Nikki calls off their separation, Pat seeing this as the doctor’s inability to believe in positivity and optimism. When they’re driving, his mother shares of the process she’d gone through for him, and he states his gratefulness of all she’d done to get him out, and confirms his want to heal himself. They reach New Jersey, Pat’s hometown, the changes to the area making him breathe hard, his mother assuring his new therapist would be able to help him get over his anxiety.

When they get home, Pat is greeted by his new workout weights which he thanks his mother profusely for, and immediately puts to use, he mentioning how besides this, he wrote daily activities (of which this book is one) for Nikki’s perusal when she decided to speak to him again. The writing having started because of the drugs given to him whilst being institutionalized affecting his memory, this being his way of knowing what would be favored to share with Nikki, the doctors not returning his first entries, so he starting fresh. His mother then confesses of their house having been burgled and the pictures with he and Nikki having been taken due to the expensive frames they were in, Pat going along with this explanation (leaving me uncertain as to whether he truly believed this). Pat and his father don’t speak for awhile, he needing to accustom himself to Pat living with them, his visit during Pat’s sabbatical only ascertaining his father’s rage at his son’s situation. Pat also began reading literature for Nikki since she had English teacher friends, he beginning with The Great Gatsby. Pat’s firm belief in silver linings colors his irritated reaction with the book, Fitzgerald obviously not the bright-side kind, he instead focusing on being able to impress Nikki with reading her favorite book, and eventually planning on reading her American Literature syllabus, waiting for his moment to burst out a line from Gatsby which also applied to him when Nikki, her friends, and he had another dinner together.

During another workout, Pat’s mother informs him of his appointment with Dr. Patel, which he attempts to postpone until the evening, but is told of the times agreed being court-ordered, so he prepares to go. As he’s waiting to see Patel, a song comes on which agitates him into believing it had been played to set him off, his tantrum bringing out Patel, whom has the secretary shut off the music, as requested, Pat breaking down. Patel has Pat follow him into his office as his mother and the secretary attend to the mess he’d made of the furniture and magazines, Pat immediately warming to the pleasant, but oddly painted and adorned office. Patel offers Pat a recliner and request he call him Cliff, so as to keep sessions light. When Patel asks about his reaction to the song, Pat shows his resistance in answering by humming one note and blocking the memory, Patel moving on to ask about Nikki, Pat realizing his responding question sounded too sensitively protective of the topic, but Patel explaining his motives being to get to know Pat better, and since his goal was to see Nikki again, it being an ideal spot to begin.

Pat opens up about their temporary separation and the reasons she’d given, he also explaining his dedication to his job having over-shadowed his home life and neglecting her, Patel inquiring after how long the separation would last and Pat being told to not make contact with her until further notice which made the estrangement’s length uncertain. Pat then delves further on his reasons he believed she’d return, having to do with happy endings, and life being like a series of films, so his happy ending should be coming up soon. Also, he having sworn off watching movies to dedicate living his own movie until Nikki returned. Patel’s response is what convinces Pat he would get along well with this doctor, he not condemning his optimism. They move on to varying topics after, Pat asking about Patel’s family as a courtesy, and the subject turning to valuing the women in their lives whilst they were there, Patel informing Pat he was changing his medication and to share any issues he had going forward. On the ride home, when Pat mentions his idea of the likelihood Nikki would locate him more easily at his parents’ home rather than the institution, which again prompted him to voice how grateful he was, his mother breaks down, and when they get home, Pat continues his workout. When he prepares for sleep, he thinks of his disappointment of his father still avoiding him, and then of Nikki, in lieu of reading, since his mother hadn’t gone to the library yet, but looked forward to his expected dreams of Nikki.

Pat reiterates his unfailing faith in silver linings, he beginning his run, which tended to happen at sunset to see if there were clouds in the sky to cover the sun, so he could view the actual silver lining which reinforced his hope of seeing Nikki again. Pat had lost so much weight, he was close to the amount he was in high school, this also being the time Nikki first met him, he hoping the change back would aid Nikki’s ease for believing he’d changed for the better. What fuels Pat’s run is imagining he’s jogging to Nikki, helping the notion the amount of time left apart is also decreasing.

Pat’s request for a book when his mother is going to the library was a romance story by Hemingway, so he could learn from it for Nikki, and when she returns with A Farewell to Arms, he enjoys it until getting to the depressing ending (I swear, Quick better not be ruining books I plan on reading), he unable to comprehend why she’d teach this to high schoolers. Pat is now angered with Nikki, vowing to not read Hemingway ever again, and isn’t surprised by his suicide.

When Pat’s next at Patel’s office, the secretary shuts the stereo off when seeing he’s entered, and when seeing Patel, shares how his medication is treating him. Pat hadn’t been taking them regularly, so not actually noticing anything. Patel then makes certain Pat hasn’t had any odd visions and has him promise to report to his mother if he does see anything strange. Pat is certain the combination won’t affect him so drastically due to having good command of his perception.

Later, during a break between sets, he smells crab snacks his mother is cooking, as well as pizza and buffalo wings. He asks why she’d done so, noting this usually meant guests were expected, he then thinking of how Nikki would devour crab snacks and usually he’d react invalidation when she spoke of her guilt of having stuffed herself, Pat now deciding he would do the opposite and state how it would be fine, since she needed more flesh on her bones. His mother instead informs of his brother, Jake coming to watch football with he and their father, Pat stressing a bit since Jake had reacted similarly to how his father had, saying some terrible insults about Nikki. Pat returns to the basement to do another set of push-ups and takes his jog early due to the family get-together.

Ronnie, Pat’s old best friend, recognizes him whilst he’s out, but Pat doesn’t stop due to his tight schedule, Ronnie not ever having visited him whilst he’d been with Nikki, only sending letters about his daughter during his stay in the hospital. When getting back, he sees Jake’s car, he seeming to be doing okay in the money department (I’m getting a bit tired of hearing Danny’s ghetto-like phrases interspersed in Pat’s thoughts), going in for a shower, and after changing, heading in the direction of conversation, Jake surprised by Pat’s physical change, he not pulling away when Jake checks his muscular arm, still a bit pissed about Jake’s comments about Nikki, struggling with also feeling glad to see him. Pat sort of gives Jake a response of forgiveness, which Jake looks impressed by, and seems to Pat, nearly emotionally overwhelmed, but instead gives Pat a gift of an Eagle’s jersey, Jake explaining whom the number belonged and spoke of a stadium Pat hadn’t heard of before in regards to whether he planned on continuing attending games with him and another dude, Scott. Pat also learns Jake plans on spotting him for the tickets since he’d relinquished all finances to Nikki.

Their father doesn’t appear until right before the start of the game, not acknowledging Pat at all, their mother suggesting he attempt some kind of interaction when they were both in the kitchen. Conversation is clipped, but Pat is focused on noticing most of the players he’d rooted for were gone and the Vet stadium they used to go to had been torn down, he disbelieving this the most, even after being shown footage, and when speaking with his mother in the kitchen to suggest the possibility of what he’d seen being in his head, she reluctantly shares what year it was, Pat unable to cope with this and shrieking his disbelief, and then demanding to know how long he’d been away, Jake supplying it had been almost four years, Pat still unable to grasp this and then fainting.

Pat mentions how he’d had the misconception of Kenny G being solely heard in the hospital, he currently readying to sleep in the boiling attic so he could lose more weight, but this night bringing the auditory hallucination of Kenny G, which then manifests to visual. Pat has an irrational fear of the man, hearing a song start and as he’s begging for Kenny G to desist, his yells get louder and he begins banging his hand on his head, his parents now attempting to keep his arms down, which unfortunately brings the fall of his mother. His father kicks him, ending the music, but the punch to the face, bringing him to tears, his father deciding Pat would be put back in the institution, his mother staying to comfort him as he drifted to sleep. He awakes with her still with him, he apologizing profusely and begging to be allowed to stay, his mother reassuring him of he not going anywhere and then making him breakfast, he then getting straight to working out after, due to sleeping late.

Ronnie ends up appearing in the basement, Pat finishing a set of bench presses, and reading into Ronnie’s excuse of not being able to stay long because his wife didn’t know. Pat doesn’t confide the truth when Ronnie takes notice of his facial bruises, but accepts when Ronnie offers to return to workout with him sometime, Pat not holding his breath. Then when Ronnie invites him to dinner the next night, Pat is surprised by his specifying a time frame. Ronnie had figured Pat thought his wife, Veronica didn’t like him, whilst Nikki had despised Veronica, and Pat seemed to adopt her negative view of his best friend and wife.

Pat is over-thinking what he would wear since Veronica was obsessive-compulsive about her fancy dress parties, his mother letting him know to get ready to see Patel. When Pat confesses his anxiety about seeing Veronica and noting Nikki’s opinion of she not being a nice person, Patel then suggests he wear his jersey and new khakis, Pat reassured. When Patel mentions the Kenny G incident, Pat blocks out the name. Patel then brings up how he hadn’t been treating his mother well, and Pat feeling terribly, he breaking down, and agreeing to want to be a better person. Patel then relates to changing his prescription for higher doses to stave his outbursts, which if isn’t remedied, Pat would need to be readmitted, Pat declaring he’d be better.

Once Pat gets ready, his mother confirms he looked fine, but wondered why he couldn’t wear one of his new shirts, Pat sharing how Patel had encouraged he wear his jersey, she then giving him a bouquet and wine to give Veronica and Ronnie. When he arrives, Ronnie is impressed with his jersey, they meet Veronica and Emily, their little girl, in the kitchen, Veronica noticing, but not mentioning his bruise, and greeting him warmly. When Pat officially meets Emily, he understands her cuteness factor, and Ronnie gets him a beer, Pat inquiring whom else was coming, Ronnie revealing Veronica’s sister, Tiffany was the fourth guest, Pat surprised to learn her husband had died, she then coming in before he could learn how. When Tiffany and he waited in the living room whilst Ronnie put Emily to bed and Veronica finished dinner, Tiffany asks about what happened to his face in reply to his compliment of she looking nice, he thinking the makeup was too much, but wanting to practice for Nikki.

Tiffany eventually leaves him alone once he asks about her job and why she’d lost it, he awaiting Ronnie. Dinner is immaculate, but weird due to only Ronnie and Veronica making conversation, they focusing on Tiffany and Pat, one complementing either of them on their accomplishments and pastimes. When dessert is barely finished, Tiffany declares of being weary and asks backwardly if Pat would walk her home, Pat taking the opportunity of practicing his kindness skills. When they reach her parents home, she states of living in a guest house and stating how he could sleep with her if he wanted, she breaking down when he doesn’t answer, Pat surprised into silence. When she hugs him, he’s thinking about how she’s crying makeup onto his shirt, but then begins getting teary himself, eventually the two parting, and when Pat gets home, is told to phone Ronnie, instead he laying down until sunrise.

Pat has a single picture of Nikki, a head-shot he didn’t get to tell her he liked, and had been a birthday present. Pat then remembers his wedding video, and goes to his parents’ room to ask after it, but when his mother doesn’t answer, he announces knowing where they keep them and is off to look, but when he doesn’t locate it, and sees his mother standing behind him, she tries to play off it having gotten lost, Pat losing his temper, but reigning himself in to leave the room and do a bunch of sit-ups, push-ups, and stationary biking, he then going to sleep in the attic, doing his hum-counting due to his uncertainty of Kenny G possibly returning, but makes it through the night in peace.

Pat was now reading The Scarlet Letter and relating how he’d called Hester’s baby daddy by the eighth chapter, he wondering if Nikki played up the risque bits to the class she taught. Pat continues his thoughts on the story and idea of which sin would be greater in God’s eyes: the coveting of another man’s wife or leaving Pearl fatherless. He finds he could sympathize with Chillingworth at first, but gave up when the man continued to mess with Dimmesdale. Instead, Pat shined to Hester’s character overall, due to her outlook on silver linings, and again finds similarities to her story and Patel’s advice to treating women well. Before the moment passes, he considers whether if he’d understood this sooner whether it would’ve changed the outcome of his relationship apart or whether it was one of those lessons which must be learned firsthand. He then hopes for the chance to publicly apologize to Nikki and show her his knowledge of the Old English classic.

When Pat next speaks with Patel, he senses his mother had spoken with him of the dinner party by the way he’d inquired about it, Pat not sweating he knew something about the dinner and instead glad to report of the shirt he’d suggested working well, Patel changes the topic to Tiffany, though and asks whether he’d slept with her after Pat divulged believing she was a slut, Pat irked by Patel’s question at first, until realizing he was only gauging his loyalty to his wife. Then Patel gives insight as to why Tiffany had offered to sleep with him being about obtaining a friend rather than sluttiness, he having Pat go over how the night had ended, Patel stating how kind Pat had been to her, which gets his happy agreement, but has also led to her trailing him on his jogs, even after he told her to stop. Patel asks whether Pat thought Tiffany was sexy and Pat agrees, but states of this not mattering since he was taken, Patel then questioning whether Pat truly believed he hadn’t seen Nikki for only a few months, Pat becoming angry, but apologizing, Patel allowing he should’ve taken Pat’s answer seriously. He then gives an example of going out to do something he didn’t care for with his wife and to possibly allow Tiffany to run with him, date her a few times and perhaps after a little while, she’ll get bored of him, Pat at first dubious, but taking Patel’s word for it.

Pat inquires after his mother’s thoughts on whether dating Tiffany will get her to leave, she posing the idea of he needing all the buddies he could get, which he doesn’t respond to since she seemed to hope he’d take a shine to her, this making him uncomfortable. She was also the single member in his family whom didn’t loathe Nikki, she having remarked to Pat of noticing his “friend” tagging along on his run on days she watched after him, giving her own version of a wink-wink. Later, Pat psyches himself up to ask Tiffany out, but instead only starts his run, with her trailing him. When he gets to a diner, he asks her out, and they make plans to meet there later, Tiffany finally biffing off, to Pat’s surprise, he then running longer and getting the good sign of multiple clouds lined with brightness. When he returns, he informing his mother of his plans, she suppressing her pleasure, and when he’s ready to go, she advises him to wear a belt and tuck his shirt in, which seemed pointless to him with this only being a way to end Tiffany’s attachment, but he reminds himself of being in his mother’s debt, and does as she asks, she then having him put on some casual shoes she’d gotten him.

When Pat meets Tiffany outside her parents’ home, he complements her outfit, she regarding his shoes as she walks off; the two walk in silence for a half hour. After they sit and order drinks of water and tea, Pat is so busy stressing over how much money he’d have so he’d be able to over-tip like Nikki had taught him, he misses Tiffany’s order, and when asked for his own, gets raisin bran, learning Tiffany had only gotten the tea after the waitress left. When the cereal arrives, Pat offers to share, Tiffany taking him up on it, and when they finish, he gives the waitress the forty dollars, the waitress shocked and happy. When the two reach Tiffany’s home, she shares how she didn’t actually want Pat to sleep with her, she walking away. His mother doesn’t believe all he’d had was cereal, but instead of he entertaining this chat further, he goes to his room. He speaks to his picture of Nikki about his night out and hoping they had the chance to do the things he’d done with Tiffany, he crying and muffling the noise with his pillow.

On the day of a game, Pat wakes early to begin his workout, and when he runs, he’s surprised to see Tiffany, since he was doing so in the morning. She refrains from speaking with him and only follows his route, and when he finishes, she jogs home, Pat showering and discovering Ronnie sitting with Jake, everyone taking up the Eagles chant when Pat starts by stating, “Go Birds!”, Jake instigating a singalong of their team’s fight song, afterwards Pat feeling like he was truly at home. When he notices Jake’s new jersey and player, he’s confused by his turnaround, Pat then focusing on being a good cheerleader for the Birds to satisfy his father, he feeling happy being with him, but still holding a grudge for his punching and kicking him. Their father at first is pissed off with the results of the playing, but by halftime is satisfied with the Birds progress, they all throwing around the footyball, and before going back to watch the game, do the chant with their neighbors once more.

When the Eagles win the game, Jake urges their father to join their fight song again, their father surprising Pat by putting his arm around his shoulder, for being so drunkenly happy, his mother tearfully enjoying the scene from the kitchen, and Ronnie having Pat walk him home. As they stop in the park to toss the football around, Ronnie asks about his thoughts on Tiffany, Pat being honest, not regarding her as anything, and Ronnie stating of her weirdness, Pat giving him a bit of a hard time when he states of Tiffany being in therapy, and then he relating Tiffany’s lack of spouse being somehow similar to Pat’s situation, Pat letting this slide. Ronnie then says his peace about what had been reported about Tiffany’s release from her job, Pat deducing this must’ve been the reason he’d been allowed to come to watch the game in the first place, Pat taking offense by the thought they would believe he’d take advantage of Tiffany and believed they didn’t truly relate to her perspective about the situation, so Pat goes to Tiffany’s, and when getting permission to knock on her door from her mother, whom seems shocked by Pat’s reply of being married and only wanting to be her friend after she asks what he wanted with her, but walks away from her door when she doesn’t answer, she turning up when he gets to the park, and finally reveals why she followed him during his jogs. Her answer brings up more questions which she doesn’t plan on sharing until her exploratory survey was complete, they not chatting with each other as Pat follows her until she walks him home, she inquiring after his team winning and then leaving him there.

An interesting occurrence happens on Monday when Pat’s father comes down to the basement whilst he’s working out for the first time. His father relates of having decided to leave his sports papers for him after he’s read them from now on, so Pat could catch up in learning the new players, which surprises him due to how his father normally brought his papers to work with him. When Pat finishes his set and goes up to breakfast, he asks his mother about his father’s odd gift, he debating whether he was going to take all of his pills as she answers, she advising he not think too much about it, and his father only attempting to make an effort, Pat then decides he’ll take all of his required amount of pills. During the week, Pat reads up on the team, but has yet been able to show off his newly acquired knowledge to his father, since he stayed secluded, which he discusses with Patel on his Friday session, but Patel consistently refocusing on Tiffany, which irritates Pat. Patel then inquires about he, Tiffany, and Ronnie’s family going to the beach and asking what Pat thought Tiffany may wear for her swimsuit. Pat’s anger flares until thinking this could be another test, his response being to remind Patel of he not being single. They finish with referencing the Eagles, which has Pat deciding his doctor was the best ever, and on the ride home, his mother agrees with Pat’s idea of his father likely deciding he’d begin speaking to him again if their team won.

Pat is fully supplied with beach accessories when Ronnie picks him up, his mom having packed him an extra outfit, as well as the normal beach accouterments, and despite his not needing any snacks, had made a lunch, regardless of his words being heeded about Ronnie bringing subs; Pat’s contribution to his baggage being a football. When he’d gotten in, Veronica decides to give thanks to Pat’s mom for the gifts he’d brought over the night of the dinner, she having come out to wave goodbye to Pat, this greeting though, giving her a reason to approach the van and launching in with a question about what they thought of the outfit she’d bought for Pat, also taking the opportunity to attempt a closer look at Tiffany, whom turns away from her. When Pat’s mom tries to greet Tiffany and is ignored, Veronica and Ronnie show off Emily to lighten the awkwardness. After a few moments, Tiffany comments on how she thought their plans were to hit the beach, which gets them on their way, Veronica and Ronnie attempting to keep the chatter going until Tiffany suggests silence. They get to a secluded part of the beach and as Veronica fusses with the blanket and Ronnie sets the umbrella, Emily gets sand in her eyes and screams, Tiffany requesting Veronica to shut her up, in so many words, for feeling unable to cope with the noise, which prompts Veronica to advise her in remembering what her therapist suggested, making Tiffany cuss at her and walking off, since she’d said this in front of Pat.

Veronica goes after her and apologizes as they walk, Ronnie and Pat fixing the blanket, the ladies not returning after ten minutes passed. The two eventually take Emily down to the water, and in for a little while, they then doze, Pat wakes first and entertains Emily for a bit, he then taking her out into the water again, but the waves having become much bigger, Pat swimming them over and making Emily giggle which has Pat decide on his resolve to “make a daughter” when Nikki returned, he then hearing Veronica shrieking his name from the shore, so he paddles them in, she upsetting Emily and demanding to know why he’d taken her out, then turning on Ronnie for having allowed this, Ronnie then seeming to think Pat must’ve done something terrible in the process, so due to these stressful circumstances, Pat feels an outburst under the surface, dashing off, upset, and then noticing Tiffany streak past him. They race for awhile, and when they get closer to their umbrella again, Pat follows as she goes into the much calmer ocean, they getting closer to each other for a moment, and Pat being reminded of Nikki, glad Tiffany swims further away for feeling the urge to kiss her. After they float in the ocean for a bit, Tiffany states to Veronica and Ronnie of they being ready to leave, Ronnie and Veronica all smiles now, and making sure they wanted to go before having lunch. Pat agrees with Tiffany, and the group pack up and return home (odd reactions from Veronica and Ronnie, but everyone has their own way of letting go of hysteria).

Pat’s father wakes him with the terrifying screaming start of the Eagles chant, they finishing it, and without another word, he leaving. Pat now has two hours to workout before his brother’s tailgate party, Tiffany meeting him at 8 a.m. for a run, his dad giving him a ride after, he not attending the game due to a bad history with an opposing fan and his resulting assault charge. His father fills the ride with Eagles talk and for Pat to be there for his brother and mom, he then leaving him a little ways from the stadium, ending with the chant once more, a few more fans joining in with them. Pat walks his way through the friendly crowd until seeing Jake, he greeting him buddy-buddy style, Scott doing the same, and letting slip how they hadn’t seen each other in years, backtracking by asking how many months it’d been, and then deciding to introduce him to the boys inside the tent.

Afterward, Scott talks about his family instead of asking Pat about what was new with him, which comforted him, but also again being confronted with the reality of it being a few years since he’d last seen him, and after food and beers, tosses the ball around until Jake notices a Giants fan and starts an “asshole” chant, fifty fans joining in, and when they make the kid with him cry, he goes after Pat once people were dispersing. Scott and Jake defend him and the crowd returns, Jake getting knocked down. Pat goes off on the guy and knocks him out, he fleeing, distressed, and puking a couple times until Jake catches up and calls Scott, whom informs Pat of the guy being fine, but looking for him, so to stay away. Jake leads Pat to the stadium, and when getting to their seats, is impressed with the spot, but the Eagles don’t win this game, Jake and Pat parting near Jake’s apartment, Jake giving him a hug before leaving him, then getting on the subway again, still plagued with thoughts of the little boy crying. When he gets home, his mother tells him of the news of his father having broken the TV, he then going downstairs for a bit of a workout. He has a terrible dream involving Nikki and the memory of the Giants fan, but when waking and seeing the sports pages at the stairs, tries to let it go and prepare to workout again.

Pat and Tiffany go back to the same diner for the same order with tea, the two not having spoken on their walk or as they waited, Pat noting how their friendship didn’t rely on much chat, but he debating whether to confide his obsessive thinking of the crying little boy, since he didn’t see Patel until Friday, and she may relate to his feelings, he deciding to share, even though upon starting, regretting it, and when he begins to digress about how Nikki wouldn’t have approved his conduct, Tiffany dismisses her, and repeatedly says, essentially, she could fuck off, since she wasn’t around anyways, and she must not care for Pat much due to this. She leaves when the server comes to tell her she couldn’t cuss and when Pat goes looking for her, he sees her running off, she not answering him when asked if everything was alright, she going home without saying a word.

Pat attempts reading The Bell Jar in the evening, Nikki’s opinion being all females should be made to read it, he wanting to read it so he could understand the female perspective better and Nikki’s view. It doesn’t take him long to sense it was going to be a bleak story, he revealing his profession as a history teacher helping him realize this by the Narrator mentioning dark points in history, he describing the plot. Pat hadn’t reached the end when he states how he was curious of what the main character would do in order to rise from her mental illness in one piece, but this also spurring his interest due to his want in learning more about mental health. He relates how the Narrator almost dies from losing a lot of blood and how similar to a female character in A Farewell to Arms had suffered the same, making him question why this was popular in American Literature. By the end, Pat gets aggravated by its lack of finalizing and staying open to the Narrator’s fate, but upon reading the short biography in the book of how it was based on Plath’s life, and how she ended hers, he destroys the book, which was borrowed from the library, and proceeds to workout, wondering why people read such books. Tiffany continues to come by for runs over the next couple days, the two still not conversing.

When Pat sees Patel, he has no intention of sharing his bad acts during the week, but spills for guilt, not noticing how upset he’d become until finishing his speech. Patel’s response isn’t what Pat expects since he doesn’t tear him down for being violent toward the Giants fan, and attempts to ignore his statement of the Eagles making it to the Super Bowl two years ago. Patel then explains when he isn’t in his chair, he’s a fellow fan, but when he’s sitting, he’s his therapist, Patel reclining and stating Pat’s actions not having been the correct course of action, inquiring how else he could’ve reacted. Patel suggests Pat trying to use his Kenny G hum, asking where he’d come up with it, Pat almost annoyed Patel had brought him up, until remembering how kindly he’d taken his misstep, sharing how he’d gotten it from Nikki. Patel then asks why he didn’t use it for his moments of rage, Pat not having considered the possibility before. They move on to why Tiffany had reacted as she had, and Plath’s novel, Patel’s daughter also having recently been required to read it, and going on to explain its usefulness as a teaching tool to cope with reality and showed how some people’s minds worked. Patel ends their session by assuring he wasn’t angered by Pat’s fight, and they doing the Eagles chant, Pat knowing Patel was doing it to help him let go of his guilt, and it doing its job.

Pat’s in the basement working out when he hears his father instructing where to place the delivery of his new T.V., his mother coming in half an hour later to argue how they couldn’t afford it, but his father shouting of if they could spend so much on Pat, he could buy himself a new set, his mother leaving for her bedroom, Pat knowing she was upset, and he being the cause. He feels terrible about this, but upon seeing the T.V., is quite excited to watch a game on it. Pat’s father ignores his test question of purchasing the new set, Pat knowing he wouldn’t speak to anyone after fighting with his mother, he going on his run with Tiffany, whom also stays quiet throughout, and when he returns, he sees his mother’s car missing from the driveway.

Pat’s mother is still gone by the time Pat’s sleeping pills were supposed to be administered, he getting nervous by this uncustomary tardiness. After waking his father with his concerns and getting no response, he then locates his medication and takes the one’s he recognized for the hour, wanting to impress his mother by being responsible. He lays down, but is plagued with persistent questions until hearing a car pull up, meeting his mother on the porch, and realizing she’s wasted when informing Pat of Nikki’s mistake in letting him go, as well as her booze-breath, he leading her to the couch where she goes to sleep quickly. Pat moves her to his bed, then retrieves water and Tylenol, waking her briefly to have her take them, he then obsessed with thoughts of partially being the cause of his mother’s drunkenness. He goes to the attic to sleep, but is wakened by Kenny G above him, whom isn’t deterred by his humming, he keeping at it, and finally, Mr. G disappears, he searching the room to make certain, about to be proud of himself when he registers a box with his name on it and becomes uneasy. He takes a look inside, and first removes his high school soccer jacket, he then arranging the attic as it had been before he’d moved boxes around, he going back to his sleeping bag, but returning to the box throughout the night with disbelief of what he’d discovered, it reconfirming his mother’s dishonesty.

When Pat wakes in the morning and checks on his still sleeping mother, he has conflicting feelings of pride for having left the now empty glass next to his mother and peeved by her actions regarding the box in the attic. He goes downstairs and witnesses his father burning a steak, Pat leaving him to it for his morning workout, he hearing the smoke alarm for fifteen minutes, and when it’s the usual time for his pills, gets them himself, checking on his mother with considerable concern, but once again being ignored by his father when he attempts to start a conversation. He continues his workout, his mother ending his anxiety once she comes down to regard his successful pill taking, he giving minimal acknowledgement and asking where she’d gone, she instead speaking of her appreciation he’d taken care of her, and once she mentions how life would be changing for the better for them all due to a conversation she and his father had whilst he’d been out, his concentration about the box is lost. She then informs him of leaving for the day, but would be back, Pat trusting her because of her steady gaze.

When Pat goes upstairs and is again ignored by his father, he takes his run, this time alone, and for once had hoped Tiffany would turn up, he thinking she had become his new best buddy, which unnerved him. When he gets back home, his hope of seeing Jake’s car in the drive is dashed, he sensing he’d be stuck with his father alone. After he gets ready to watch the game, and during the first commercial break, he starts the yell for the Eagles chant, but stops when his father doesn’t join him. As the game progresses though, his father’s attitude changes for the better, he ordering pizza for them, giving Pat a beer, and talking of Baskett keeping up the good work. When the pizza arrives and his father mentions this day being better if Jake were present, Pat inquires where he was, but doesn’t get a reply. Fortunately, the Eagles win, but his father doesn’t stick around to chat, Pat then taking the opportunity to clean up. He detects a balled up piece of paper under the coffee table, and when inspecting it, sees his mother’s writing.

After reading the letter written to his father, he thinks of how nice it would be to have his father sit with them for meals, as his mother had transcribed. Pat locates Jake’s number, it being picked up by a lovely voiced woman. Jake comes on the line talking about the game, Pat inquiring why he hadn’t come and learning about their mother instructing him not to, Pat then reading the letter he’d found and Jake giving her kudos, he confirming they’d get together Monday. Whilst Pat waited for his mother to return, he finishes cleaning up, she asking if his father had commanded he do so when she comes in to see him scrubbing the couch, she informing Pat how they’d be leaving his trash from now on, Pat resisting the urge to bring up the box again, and instead offering his bedroom to her whilst she was on strike. When he poses whether Jake had a girlfriend and she responds insouciantly, he senses she’s sparing him in some way, he wanting to know what it was all about.

Pat has an abbreviated workout and run with Tiffany before riding the train to Philly to meet his brother, and is greeted unexpectedly by a doorman/security guard, then is brought to Jake’s floor by an elevator operator, finally once getting ushered in by Jake, first takes in the expansive view, then Jake’s baby grand piano, he playing a couple songs for him after explaining having taken it up a few years ago. After, Pat applauds enthusiastically and learns Caitlin, Jake’s wife had brought the piano with her when she’d moved in and had helped Jake learn, due to her profession as a classical pianist. Jake then offers he meet Caitlin at the cafe for lunch, as long as Pat was game, and when they all meet up and sit, Jake and she lead the conversation, Pat asking about their wedding and feeling some pressure when realizing they’d been together for some years. Caitlin doesn’t reveal how long, for Pat’s sake, but he not feeling great about this setup his mother seemed to have implemented. They get through the meal in one piece though, Caitlin being dropped off at the apartment, whilst Jake and Pat ride a taxi to City Hall where they catch a train to the stadium.

Pat becomes aware of the current day of the week, which panics him about his being unaware of his brother’s career, Jake not going into it much other than admitting to being an options trader, he playing the stock market which kept him self-employed. Pat feels Jake thought he was inadequate in understanding the finer details, but Jake curious to know his thoughts on his wife, he guessing Pat wasn’t happy he’d kept his marriage from him, but Pat stating it was alright, currently overwhelmed with wanting to share the current events about Tiffany, the box with his name on it, their parents issues, and how he was getting stuck between them, as well as disappointment for missing his brother’s wedding, he deciding to talk of his feelings of nervousness about being confronted by the big Giants fan. Jake assures him their group was setting the tent up elsewhere as a precaution, and the odds of a Giants fan coming to a Green Bay game was slim, he declaring he was looking out for Pat.

When they get to the tent, they see their group in an argument with some men in a bus with The Asian Invasion on the side, Pat hearing Patel before he was in view, attempting to have Scott’s group move for the bus parking in the same spot consecutively as a good luck charm, Pat demanding they agree to move, they shocked, but doing so, Patel leaving him alone to decide whether he wanted to greet him or not, but when Scott asks after Pat’s reason for making them leave, and Jake inquires after whether he knew the small man, Patel had walked up with a platter of kebabs as a peace offering. Pat then decides to introduce Patel to his peeps, everyone at ease, Patel explaining to their group of the game Kubb, which his buddies were setting up currently, the now friendly groups playing the game, and Pat with Patel winning in the end. Jake paid Pat’s entrance fee for him, and he wanted to give his winnings in return, but Jake refused, Pat then making certain with Patel of their socializing being acceptable, he reminding him his chair rule, they all then going inside the stadium. When Pat gets a ride home in the bus, it’s after midnight, and the driver had honked his specially tweaked horn, it blasting the Eagles chant with all of the groups voices, entertaining Pat, regardless of its blaring. When he gets in, his father and he sing the Eagles fight song, Pat going downstairs to workout after his father had gone up to bed without another word to him, and Pat thinking about how hurt he still was by not having been able to go to his brother’s wedding.

Pat asks his mother about Jake’s wedding photos, she pretending to not know what he was talking about until confiding how he’d met Caitlin, so knew she existed, his mother comfortable putting the photos back on the wall again, she returning with an album and whilst he perused, hung pictures, he asking after her father’s profession, the man currently teaching at Julliard. Further inquiries make it clear whilst the two families were friendly, they hadn’t much in common, Pat getting a flashback of their father’s reaction during Pat’s wedding, he in awe of seeing him cry. Pat then asks his mother how she’d replaced the burgled photos, she attempting to hang on to the lie until Pat shows her the photos of he and Nikki he’d discovered, asking whether she disliked his wife, he questioning her with his other pressing thoughts, but none getting answered, since during her starting to try, she breaks down, Pat too angered to practice being nice, instead preparing for his run and seeing Tiffany ready outside.

During Pat’s next session, they start with Patel’s wife’s talent for her painting she’d done for the hood of the bus, Pat going from this topic to his current depression over a player whom had been reported having attempted to commit suicide and the man denying it, which made everyone now question his sanity. Pat also didn’t feel great about not learning this player’s history with the Eagles until recently, he not liking how his father and brother spoke of him as a “pill popper”, and Pat reading of the man maybe dealing with depression, he wondering why his family used this against the player, not truly able to relate his point, so leaving the topic. Pat’s next tailgate party is surrounded by bad vibes for this player, many people showing their hate creatively, and Pat tipping Patel off with his bad game playing. Patel attempts to lighten Pat’s view of the fans, and they not serious about the written abuse about said player, Pat debating Patel’s stance in this defense due to his profession.

Pat decides focusing on Jake and the bus driver’s game of Kubb and ignores the negativity of all the fans around him, and when they were in the stadium and a taunting chant is taken up by the crowd, Pat feels sorry for the player, even if he did seem to take it lightly, Pat putting himself in the man’s shoes. When the Eagle’s luck changes for the better though, Pat forgets about the player and rides the high of Baskett’s success, the game ending in their favor, but Pat still empathizing with the down and out player when he sees him leave the field. When Pat and group get back to the parking lot, Patel and he celebrate as well, everyone regrouping at their parking spots, Pat overjoyed, later on again getting dropped off by the bus. When he investigates inside, he sees an uncomfortable sight in his parents’ room, they no longer on the rocks, and Pat going for a run as his mother suggests, he going to Tiffany’s to inform her of their reunion, she preparing to go, and after their long run/walk, Pat talking her ear off. Tiffany hands him a letter with specific instructions of when to read it when she’s back at her parents home, he apprehensive what could be inside.

Pat finally gets his sit-down conversation-filled meal with his father, he nervous for his mother’s happiness getting crushed when his father back-slid, but trying to live in the present, he and his father talking football. Unfortunately, when his father switches topics unexpectedly to Tiffany, Pat respectfully asks to leave the room for getting the sensation of losing it, going for a workout and run. When he gets home again, he believes he’s turned his attitude around enough to read Tiffany’s letter, she confessing how she’d been conversing with Nikki for two weeks and the news of she having divorced him not long after he’d been admitted due to a crime he’d been in trouble for, Tiffany doesn’t detail, she supposing how Pat had dealt with the memory was to bury it.

Tiffany offered to be their go-between, since Nikki was also eager to communicate with him, but still uncertain by his stability and the fact the two each had a restraining order on the other, Pat’s taken out by his parents. Tiffany also had a condition upon his accepting this proposal, due to what she was risking, she wanted him to agree to dance with her in a contest, thinking it was fate which brought a man with such muscles to her, since she needed someone strong enough for the lifts she had in mind. Nikki even supports this idea, Tiffany then listing what was required if he agreed to her terms, he troubled by some of the information, but noting how parts did add up, seeing the silver-lining, of course being to get Nikki to come back to him in the end. The decision was obvious to Pat, and next morning he goes to Tiffany to inform her, she setting their next meeting for tomorrow afternoon. When they meet, Tiffany has him listen to the song she’d chosen, he agreeing of relating to the lyrics and so much so he was crying by the chorus hit, Tiffany stating how he’d use his pain for the dance.

Pat next decides to spare the monotony of his training sessions, as well since Tiffany was paranoid of being copied before she could open her own dance studio. He then lists the training in clip format: Pat racing Tiffany and winning, workout sessions, Tiffany giving him motivation on how to crawl across the floor and not being impressed, his father worrying when Pat begins humming at him whenever he mentions the Eagles, and his brother getting the same response when Pat returns his call and hears him mention Baskett and the game he missed; Pat uncomfortable when Tiffany rationalizes he touching her in personal spots being acceptable for their dance, he again working out, and Tiffany giving him pointers on how to lift her and supporting her with his hand on her groin.

Pat confuses Patel with his humming when mentioning football, his mother suggesting he give dance training a break to watch football with his father and brother, only getting the humming response. Tiffany gives him advice when she plans on doing her flip and how to give her extra air, his father tells him of Baskett failing because Pat wasn’t attending and he humming through it; Tiffany getting harsh when Pat continues to crawl incorrectly, showing him what she wants, he again repeating why he won at racing her, Ronnie visits to ‘workout’ and warns him of what Tiffany does to get what she wants, Tiffany then describing how Pat’s movements will correspond to one day’s worth of sun; His mother resorts to pleading with him to end his humming when she attempts to have him explain to Tiffany why he needed to watch one game with his father, and Pat then informing Patel why he wanted to be in the dance contest having to do with getting a chance to be the sun, the source of silver-linings.

Jake explains the difference between his wife understanding his football obsession and how Tiffany regarded Pat’s, he also stating how their father would definitely blame Pat if the Eagles lost. Tiffany then shows her part of the routine, Pat properly impressed by the emotion through her moves; His mother updates him of his father no longer being civil due to the Eagles’ loss and wanting Pat to end his humming. Pat then repeats how fast he is when he and Tiffany run, Veronica dropping by with Emily to inquire whether Tiffany and he were truly doing well with rehearsals since Tiffany hadn’t invited family to watch her dance for two years, and if they failed she’d regress into a depression. Pat kisses his photo goodnight with the promise of succeeding soon, he again working out, and Patel attempting to setup a carpool so Pat could get to the home game, and questioning whether he’d truly miss it. Tiffany then advises Pat needing to lock his arms so he wouldn’t shake during the lifts; Pat’s father then shown shouting at him from the top of the basement steps of he causing the Eagles to fail.

Pat works out again, Tiffany giving some props, but questioning whether they could fix everything before the day; She gives him his costume, working them tirelessly until Pat is running on fumes, she continuing as it grows later and starts them from the beginning. Tiffany then shaves his chest, a first for him, he questioning why he can’t wear a shirt, and she rationalizing, the sun didn’t. Again, Pat repeats of running faster than Tiffany, she having them practice the dance twenty five times two days before the contest, and stating how she didn’t feel they had enough people to cheer for them and her acting as go-between rode on their winning. Pat asks Patel to come to the dance contest with his family, he asking for a trade where Pat’d join him at the game after, if he agreed, his buddies also missing him, and Pat unable to declare a definitive answer, yet, so Patel stating the same, Pat feeling let down. He then calls his brother and leaves a too-long message about he coming with Caitlin to the contest, getting interrupted by Caitlin when he calls back, and hanging up. His mother agrees to go, but can’t promise his father would go with her.

Veronica gives them both a ride, dropping them off at the front, Tiffany leading him to the hall where they needed to register, but arriving too early, so the two sitting down to wait, Pat sensing she was nervous and inquiring if she was alright, her response being for him to not speak with her due to it being unlucky, which gives Pat a chance to become bitten by nerves, and when other young dancers start to register, they sign-in and change, an old fat lady approaching them about not wanting her daughter to have to undress in front of Pat, Tiffany and he going to a supply closet to wait, he then having Tiffany check to make sure no one was dancing to Kenny G. When everyone is changed, they get a knock on the door, Pat surprised by all the teenagers in attendance, and when they practice, he realizes they were up against other worrisome talent. After they are introduced on stage, Pat is disheartened by not seeing his family, but convinces himself his mother could be out there somewhere, easing his mind. They are set to perform last, Pat hearing the varying decibels of applause, his nerves kicking in once more when the girl before them gets the loudest response yet.

Pat attempts another look at the crowd as they get into position, but sees no one he recognizes, and then their music starts, his attention on his moves. Bonnie Tyler is playing and Tiffany is killing it, Pat seeing his performance as perfect, as well, but Tiffany doing most of the intricate movement. Pat considers how the dancer before them will most likely win, but due to their performance going so well, believing they could still have a chance. The final, most difficult lift is executed and accomplished, the audience pouring out thunderous applause, Pat then seeing his family and Patel with his buddies, Ronnie and his family with Tiffany’s parents having attended to support them, Tiffany coming clean about the contest not including a trophy, this only a motivational tool. She then informs him she’d help him speak with Nikki, Pat also getting the okay to talk football again, and then being thanked with emotion by Tiffany’s mother. After Pat’s mother shows how happy she is for him, Jake and Patel inform of whisking him in the bus for an overnight tailgate party, they first getting cheese-steaks, then playing Kubb and throwing the football for a bit, Patel reminding Pat to take his sleepy time pills. When Pat wakes the next morning among all the sleeping men, he goes outside to workout and run, he realizing how many buddies he now had, feeling only slight guilt for how he left Tiffany, but then looking forward to writing his first letter, and praying the Eagles turn their game-playing around today.

Then, the second letter from Nikki is shown, she stating the oddness of speaking with him after having been together so long and then a part for almost the same amount of time, she hoping their correspondence provides both sides with closure before she moves on. She also states how impressed she was by the length of his writing (his journal), she suggesting they cap it at five pages for Tiffany’s sake, she then complimenting her, but moving on to mention hearing how well he’d done in the dance contest, then sharing how terrible working at the high school had become, also giving sympathy about his father’s temper, but how great season tickets with Jake must be. She jumps into having gotten married again, she not wanting him to get the wrong idea after hearing certain parts of the diary of he holding out for a future, she confessing how she’d cheated on him. To end, she gives him props for reading her syllabus, he not alone with his view of the stories being downers, but literature attempting to harness both sides of life, she wanting Pat to succeed with implementing his new self and finding peace in his life.

Pat’s return letter jumps straight into his reading Huck Finn, as suggested, and liking it overall, but surprised by the excessive use of “the n-word”, besides this, being impressed how Huck stuck with Jim despite religion dictating hell would await him. He then mentions how distraught he’d become with her news, but also couldn’t help thinking her recommendation was also a way of relating he should follow his gut, he then reminding her of some good memories they’d shared, he hoping she’d keep an open mind at least whilst they wrote to each other, he attempting to show he’d changed and deserved a second chance, regardless of knowing wooing a married woman is sinful and he felt somewhat guilty, but needed to follow this path through.

Nikki’s letter states how proud she was he’d been able to make such a drastic turnaround, regardless the cause, she then making clear she’d offered he read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for entertainment and didn’t plan on secret meanings, she then giving The Catcher in the Rye as a good theme for what Pat was going through, she wondering how stable his current reality-base was, especially with what the future could bring. She then regards the memory he brought up, she stating how she’d continue to treasure it, but they having been too young, and her new hubby making her happy, this exchange only to supposed to be about making the farewell easier for closure.

Pat replies with football updates and how one of his old favorite players had shot and killed himself, he then regarding how terribly he’d been feeling since her last letter, even sharing it with Patel, but not how they’d made contact, Patel maintaining his reasons why being with Tiffany was better for him, but his love for her enduring all. He also mentioning how The Catcher in the Rye gave him the idea of she being the object he couldn’t help, but make a grab for, he hoping she’d agree to one meeting in person, and if he failed, he’d cope.

Her response was to show empathy for his past favorite player’s death, and having sympathy for his mother dealing with his father being a chore, she then reminding him how he’d broken the agreement by sharing the letter with Patel and would have to stop contact due to legal issues, but agreed with Patel’s assessment of their past relationship, and how their writing wasn’t helping him get over her, she ending by wishing him well.

Pat decides to attempt a request he believed she owed him, deciding to try and get her to meet with him on Christmas Day at the place they became engaged, he not able to give up on his happy-ending movie. He next accompanies his mother to Christmas mass, since his father wouldn’t go, he getting flashbacks of going to Christmas mass when Jake and he were kids, and during the priest’s story, prays for Nikki to agree to meet with him tomorrow, and being grateful God would help him get her back, then stating how upset his father was making his mother, but regardless, is happy God had helped him change his ways. When they get home, his mother pours them both some eggnog and reminisces of the ornaments he and Jake had made as children, Pat thinking about how he loved the way his mother unconditionally loved him, unlike Nikki, they then hearing the doorbell, and Pat thinking it could be Nikki, but instead Ronnie, Veronica, Emily, and Tiffany enter, they singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Ronnie and Veronica finish the first verse after Tiffany stops, Pat seeing how happy Ronnie’s family was, and was a bit jealous.

They all sit and his mother suggests he pass out their presents, everyone happy with what they received, Pat then opening theirs to him and seeing an autographed personalized photo of Baskett, the family then readying to leave to put Emily to bed, Pat’s mother thanking them, getting emotional, and Tiffany palming him a piece of paper before leaving, his mother stating how happy she was he was there for her, the two then off to their bedrooms and Pat opening the paper. Nikki’s last letter confirms she wouldn’t be meeting him and stating he needed to move on, his family and Tiffany able to ease this transition, and she not responding again or speaking with Tiffany after this, since she’d been cussing at her in defense of him, then declaring he no longer attempt communication with her, and reminding him of the active restraining order.

Pat gets up early to lift weights, he apprehensive about meeting Nikki, reminding himself how this was like every hopeless part of a movie before the perfect ending occurred, and God wouldn’t ditch him at his hour of pending despair. When he goes upstairs for breakfast, his father eats with them, they then exchanging gifts, Pat preparing for a ‘run’ and going off to see Nikki, happy they’d finally see each other again, and when reaching the spot, sits down and begins his waste of time. After it reaches darkness and he becomes more agitated, Tiffany shows up and apologizes, since she’d been the one writing all the letters, Pat finally understanding his reunion with Nikki would only ever be a dream, he then having violent thoughts and breaking down, Tiffany attempting to confess what parts were true, and then declaring her love for him which has him up and running away from her, he ditching her attempt at following, then angrily praying before he begins getting a beat down from unknown assailants.

When he regains consciousness, all his valuables plus shoes and belt have been stolen, he noting one leg and knee stiff, walking to the one house with Christmas decorations, he realizing he’d gotten mugged because of his angry prayer and immediately repents, he knowing he’d been forgiven when his buddy Danny asks what he’s doing near his Aunt’s nativity scene. Pat then shares how they first met, and how Danny had chosen Pat as his first person he speaks with in the bad place, he doing so after they’d agreed to an experimental treatment, they then becoming friends. When Danny offers Pat join them for Christmas dinner, he learns Danny had been released only the day before, Danny’s aunt calling an ambulance since he looked so messed up, and he learning his leg was so busted, a cast ending right below his hip is set. His mother, Jake, and Caitlin come and let him know Danny and his aunt had left. When Pat is released, he learns they’d found out what Tiffany had done when she’d called them, Jake blaming her for their less than idyllic Christmas, Pat becoming upset and apologizing to Jake as he drove them home.

Pat’s birthday lands on a Friday, the 29th, he taking an awkward shower as his mother protected his cast, he feeling less muscley for not working out, and they then going to his therapy session, Pat sharing all which had happened, he now speaking with Danny a lot to fill his time and writing some, but no longer reading or watching TV. After Pat shares how Danny and he played Parcheesi when he visited, Patel offers to confide why Pat had lost his memory, agreeing with Tiffany about he needing this obsession resolved, but her methods not necessarily helpful, of course. Pat maintains his movie may still have a good ending pending, and when Patel attempts to show life wasn’t film, Pat gets agitated, the both of them feeling concern, Pat’s based off of Patel’s look. When they’re on the ride home, his mother informs him of the party they were preparing and Nikki wouldn’t ever be in attendance when Pat inquires, he not feeling chatty as she cooks the meal. Jake and Caitlin come first and are unable to lift him from his funk, then Ronnie and Veronica come in with Emily, whom sits on his lap, making him feel a bit better, she then drawing on his cast, and after they eat and he opens his presents, one of them being a gym pass which was thoughtful, but Pat not as interested anymore, he asks after Tiffany, his mother having invited her, but she obviously not agreeing to come.

 Pat, Scott, and Jake attend the New Year’s Eve day football game, but Scott has to leave early due to promising his wife he would if the game didn’t matter, the Eagles already certain to be in the NFL East (whatever the fuck that means). Jake is also about to pull out for missing the start of Caitlin’s party, Pat reeling him back with a guilt trip. After the game, they meet Patel and friends at the bus, Jake leaving after a bit, and Pat getting a ride home on the bus, he getting another family dinner, but his father bowing out early with minimal chat. He and his mother watch the New Year’s festivities on TV, she stating how the new year would be a pleasant one, Pat agreeing even though it wasn’t shaping up the way she described, Pat thinking of how grumpy his father was despite the Eagles. When he notices his mother sleeping and looking chilled, he discovers a videotape which he plays after covering her with a blankie, he seeing his wedding reception. When their Kenny G song plays, Pat regains his memory of what happened the night he found Nikki cheating on him, losing consciousness after attacking the man when hitting his own head on the sink, and being drugged after waking at the hospital. He then comes back to himself and leaves a message on Jake’s machine, wanting a favor.

Tiffany writes a letter, she gauging if enough time had passed, and instructing he read it all if he hadn’t destroyed it, yet. She was aware of her ability to write surpassing her communication skills and relates how many people currently loathed her, Jake intimidating her with a death threat, so she having kept away and not making any kind of contact, her parents and therapist also showing their opposition to what she’d done to him, she still supporting her belief she’d done it for his own good, describing how many interests they shared and she hoping he’d give her another chance. Then she decides to share a personal story only her therapist knew, starting with details about her husband, he having been a cop whom spent half his time as a counselor for troubled youth at a local high school.

Tiffany mentions her hubby’s last words being a question regarding how she wanted to slow down their fuck sessions, he not taking this well, since he was used to a multiple amount per day, and when he left their home, he only having been on a lunch break, next Tiffany hears, he’d been injured, the looks on the other officers faces when she’d arrived at the hospital revealing he hadn’t survived the fairly ironic accident. She mentions blaming herself still over how he’d died being because she’d hurt him and after his death, she had begun to seek out men to sleep with so she could pretend it was her husband, which ended with the start of therapy, but she having considered using Pat in the same way when they first met. Not until they’d gotten to know each other did her opinion change, especially after they’d cried together. She then admits how she’d been behind getting his mother smashed, using her to get to him, but she now actually being buddies with her, she having decided to forgive her and deliver this letter. Also she admits she may not deserve Pat, but wrote the letters only once knowing Nikki wouldn’t ever return to him, she now hoping they could at least be buddies.

Danny reads the letter, Pat wanting an unbiased opinion, but he doesn’t respond to this topic, instead setting up the Parcheesi board, and the two playing, Pat deciding he needed to figure what to do on his own, anyways whether Danny had this in mind or had only wanted to focus on the game. He then mentions how good of a player Danny was, he rolling well most of the time, and how he used to be a great artist, as well, but since his second operation, didn’t seem to have this drive anymore.

Pat goes to a park after his cast had been off for one week, he thinking about goldfish in the nearly frozen pond he stood at, he desiring to throw a rock so as to break the ice, and then noticing Tiffany walking toward him, Patel having known she’d meet him as he’d requested. They stand silently for some time, Pat breaking the ice (pun intended) by inquiring why she hadn’t accepted his mother’s invite to his birthday. She reminds him of what Jake had said to her and Ronnie having commanded she leave him alone, they regretting getting them together. Pat had spoken with Jake about his conduct, and knew Tiffany was being honest due to the way she was acting, surprised and impressed Ronnie had stood up for him, even though if Veronica had known, she’d have shut that shit down, knowing Tiffany’s sensitivity.

Tiffany then apologizes profusely, it quiet between them again, Pat deciding he’d confide the ending to his old life’s story, Jake having brought him to his old house, where Nikki still lived with the fool she cheated on him with, he seeing her with him in their front yard with two small children having a snowball fight, the scene so idyllic, Pat was able to let her go and end his story with her there, not even desiring to approach her. Tiffany responds by giving him his belated birthday gift, a chart identifying cloud shapes, she noticing how he stared at them when they ran. The two then watch the single cloud mass, hoping for a break, Tiffany stating after some time of requiring Pat in her life, Pat realizing he did, as well, kissing her on the head and saying so.

One of the easiest books to read, found myself unable to break away after awhile. The story stands well on its own, I having forgotten most of the film, but this one being one helluva ride. Recommended to the mentally unstable and otherwise.

The Veldt

The Veldt was first published as “The World the Children Made” and began with a wife speaking to her husband about how the children’s room seemed changed somehow and if he didn’t look at it to confirm her thoughts he should call in a psychologist to gauge whether the room seemed odd, which finally gets him to agree to check. As they walk down the hallway we learn the futuristic quality of this family’s home and how the children’s’ room had the atmosphere of an African grassland, Lydia telling her husband, George to wait for the oddity to appear. Lydia tries to point out the sounds and images she’d seen and heard, but George didn’t witness either and was marveling over the technology of the room. The lions they’d seen in the distance going towards the watering hole were now coming their way, each noticing how real they seemed.

Eventually the lions act as lions do and Lydia runs off with George tailing her, he exhilarated and she upset by the too real experience which makes her demand he speak with their children on not studying African subject matter anymore and to keep the door locked until she got her bearings about the effect. Lydia then considers perhaps they should shut the whole house down for a little while and she’ll do all the tasks a wife and mother was meant to do, the good ole fashion way, she noticing how George had been stressing and not knowing what to do with himself as much as she was having the same problem. They sit down for dinner without the children who’d called to reminds them they’d be late for staying at a plastic carnival on the other side of town, George thinking about how young their children were and how they’d already started to find some fascination with death through the African plains they constantly were entertained by in their playroom. George is soon absorbed with the thought he decodes to go and listen at the nursery door, hearing a lion roar and then hearing the scream Lydia must have heard, he unlocking and opening the door for a peak inside.

George then tries to change the scenery which doesn’t respond and when he gets back to the dinner table Lydia considers their son may be the culprit, the children then walking in. George then asks about the African veldt, the children acting like they had no idea what he was talking about and when he asks his son to take a look, his daughter goes off instead and when they follow after her, the scenery has changed. George sends the children to bed and before leaving the room sees an old wallet of his had signs of the veldt, he locking the nursery door before leaving. At night George and Lydia are up late and discussing the state of their children’s attitudes, which was not being respectful towards them and how they all were spoiled. Then they both hear screams from upstairs and how the scenery must have changed in the nursery again, this happening after they discussed how the children had been acting coolly towards them after being denied a trip to New York in a rocket. The next morning George gets a taste of his son’s insolence at having the nursery locked up and having the house possibly shut down for awhile, his son, Peter finally backing off.

The next day Mr. McClean, the psychologist visits and they go to the nursery so he can study what the children were conjuring, he immediately getting a terrible feeling from the room and explaining why they must definitely shut down the house and get rid of the room. They immediately begin and the children have the fits expected, Lydia turning into an every day house wife with the words of turning it on for a moment so the children can adjust to it being turned off, but George staying strong and keeping the place shut down. At the last moment though, he gives in, giving the children one minute to stay in the room before they all left for a vacation, he going upstairs to dress and Lydia following after turning the nursery on. The children then call them from the nursery and when the two enter, are locked inside, the next we see being Mr. McClean returning and the children sitting in the nursery informing him their parents will be along shortly and the little girl enquiring whether Mr. McClean wanted tea whilst he waited; Dark and crazy, but good. Next up, A Sound of Thunder.

Bone: Holiday Special Premiere Edition

This one throws us straight into the season of winter solstice with Thorn and Fone Bone coming back with the tree they’re going to set in the house for a night. Smiley isn’t certain whether they celebrate the solstice in Boneville, when Phoney speaks up and says they do, for different reasons. Phoney goes on to mention his reasons having to do with monetary value. Fone takes this moment to go back out into the woods with a little tray, looking for someone until they pop up voluntarily and we see it’s the rat creatures still ready to kill Fone, instead accepting Fone’s gift of quiche.

After the short holiday comic, we get an interview with the creator, Jeff Smith. They first ask where he’d gotten the idea, which is covered in almost every selection. Being, from childhood and his visiting with family in summers where they had cartoons playing all day whilst in Ohio it was only Saturday morning. He goes on to mention the creative environment he’d had with visits to his grandmother’s and the all day cartoon binges. He created Fone Bone at the same age, along with hundreds of others, the one sticking in his mind through then and going slight bit of physical change. A childhood friend came up with Phoney Bone in response to his Fone Bone and Smiley came soon after, this all happening in the third grade. The interviewer then likens the three Bones to Mickey, Donald and Goofy, which Smith agrees, but didn’t plan on it to happen, but other cartoons follow those archetypes of personality as well, like Peanuts and Looney Tunes. Then they move onto the types of comic books Smith had read, first being Uncle Scrooge, then moving onto the superheroes like Batman, Green Lantern, etc., anything Neal Adams, but by seventh grade had “moved on” from comic reading.

This interview goes on for a few pages so I’ll give highlights. Smith goes on to mention some Disney comics, the longer ones being quite good. Then talks of some art teachers, whilst encouraging his interest in art, didn’t support his want of being a comic artist, one teacher going so far as stopping him from going to Disney. Smith did realize later this teacher was right, he needing to do his own cartoons. He gets a scholarship to Columbus College of Art and Design, but again there wasn’t any place for cartoonists. Soon he’s hating on Modern Art, talking of its origins describing Picasso and how brilliant he was, but then continuing on how others thought they got the style and it began to fail. Likening comic book artists like Frank Miller and Alan Moore being the fore-front of gritty realistic superheroes and the copycats not “getting it”. Except for Dark Knight and Watchmen, then saying after it wasn’t understood by the other cartoonists. Smith realized he couldn’t join fine or commercial arts which pushed him into his niche of continuing his cartoons. In Ohio State University, Smith and a friend ended up messing around with the sports scoreboard which only did the usual “CHARGE!” and what-not, making little cartoons when another guy who knew how to work an animation camera got interested and joined up with them doing odd jobs for the area, soon starting their own company and eventually doing films, like Ferngully, Rover Dangerfield, and Bebe’s Kids, which was the end of cartooning for Smith due to doing Bone at the time, selling his share in the company to his partners. They were going to make a Bone short, but he wanted to keep it in the paper realm, it being a “huge undertaking”.

Then he read The Tick and noticed how black and white comics were popular, at this time being 1988, but soon realizes there had been a real downfall of black and white comics during then, as well. Not knowing of it and making the first year of trying to get up and running difficult, but it began to move along after. Then he talks of how he’d gotten certain “celebs” of the comic world to give a quote for his comics. We also know Smith won’t be showing Boneville, being the reader will do a better job of it than he can and he’s sharing a different story, of leaving a sheltered life to go out into the “real world”. Then he goes on to say the Bone series would go on for as long as the story is there, not set on a certain length, but waiting for the story to wind itself down naturally and when it does, he has a set ending. Smith also mentions not planning on showing the cow race, but how it “just had to happen”. He talks also of how the pauses where a picture is shown gives the reader a moment to contemplate the characters thoughts and how it’s fun to draw, as much as an explosion is. The interview is ended with advice to self-publishers: Do your homework.

Then an early Bone comic is shown. First is a short with the Hooded One looking on, thinking he’s finally got Phoney Bone, when Fone shows up and he has to stay where he is. The next is of Phoney talking to a pig whom thinks he’s a bunny, but how the pig seems to have murder on his mind. They let him out and Fone goes for a knife in retaliation, but is slung near the pig again, who apparently is supposed to be Russian, calling Fone “Babushka”, which is odd. Then we have a scene with Gran’ma Ben wondering why she can’t hear Phoney “shooting’ off his mouth”. The man eases her mind by telling her they must be in the sun room, knowing the importance of their meeting. The last is of the Bones invading a man’s apartment with the dragon. This was an odd collection, but still informative and entertaining.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of N.I.M.H.

It took me a little time to get used to the tone, once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. A much deeper look into the story behind The Secret of NIMH, which I’ve seen plenty of times as a youngster. It’s much better descriptively and has more fluidity didn’t quite carry over to the movie. To me the movie seemed awkward, mostly due to the actress voicing Mrs. Frisby. I was annoyed even as a child over this, but the action and character O’Brien created covers my background memories with a nice haze which makes it much easier to dive into this story with a fresh perspective.

Then Jeremy the Crow makes an appearance when he lets Mrs. Frisby privy to the legendary oldest Owl in the woods who gives advice depending on his whimsy. And when Jeremy offers to fly her to the owl’s tree and back and thinks of her child and how it solidifies her resolve into doing something she fears, she agrees to Jeremy’s offer and is polite about it. (I maintain, this is much better than the movie.)

It’s so exciting and mysterious. Also I believe I’m doing a better job of reading it to myself than the voice actors were in acting out the scene. Grr. Argh. Once she meets the rats of Nimh and is waiting for them to finish their meeting, she’s placed in the library to wait where they also happen to have their plan written out on a board.

It begins to read like Lewis Carroll. Quite nice flow and interesting “mystery”. (Also once getting to Nicodemus’ experience in the maze and tests with the neurologist, it reminds me of pre-Ninja Turtles, Splinter.) Also, we get a closer look at Justin and how heroic he became in his valiant escape attempts whilst being tested along with the other rat prisoners. The book gives a better description of the rats of NIMH, how they lived, the living quarter they expanded and The Plan is told plainly, as well. Which supports the idea of abandoning living like an animal and becoming more civilized due to intelligence. It definitely poses both sides of the human personality and how we debate a situation to death and still not come to a satisfiable-to-both-sides agreement.

When Mrs. Frisby is captured by the boy Farmer’s son, she learns Mr. Fitzgibbon had heard a story which had made him share his rat experience on his farm, which I do not remember being mentioned in the movie, where he now has the government officials coming in to inspect the farm and possibly capture the rats since they couldn’t recover the ones mentioned to him. It opens discussion to the family about the reason for such serious caution, which was thought to be an outbreak of rabies. By the end of the chapter, it’s  discovered if Mrs. Frisby succeeded with the important part of the mission and if she’ll be able to share with Nicodemus the news she overheard.

Mrs. Frisby contemplates her position and what her children might think of her late absence. Justin proves her theory was accurate when he arrives to aid her, which I remember being different from what happened in the movie, though it’s been years since my last viewing. Once Justin gets her out and they’re on their way, Mrs. Frisby informs Justin of the news she learned and Justin states how fortunate the rats are to have met her, since the rats plan would’ve been severely damaged if not completely ruined without the information learned. When they reach her home, a friend is there defending her property like a “bohss”. (I appreciate the rats respectful patience toward Mrs. F.’s buddy, too which shows a side of humanity slowly dying in America, as far as I’m aware.) When the description of how they move the home is explained, it calls to mind any of Disney’s fairy-tale cartoons or Merry Melodies. By the end of the chapter, her home is moved and Justin suggests Mrs. F. should put her children to bed whilst they finished minor detailing which is all made to seem to take under 15 minutes or so. Quite impressive and showing the imagined comfort of the start of what was hoped to stay to being “American hospitality”. I imagine Switzerland or Canada being the new or steady and highest hospitable peoples.

Mrs. F. and clan are safe and when she awakens she feels a long overdue sense of safety and peace, but then begins to wonder and have growing concern for the rats and their plight when Brutus comes a-calling. She is requested to attend a meeting being held by Nicodemus so he can ask her more about the conversation between the family she overheard. Mrs. F. for the first time I can recall, sounds “…small in the big room…”, which would be the only reason for the movie version’s voice actress to sound like a squeaky, bumbling, unintelligible protagonist. The meeting goes well for her since she was able to fully remember the conversation verbatim and was able to answer questions given with tact and plainness of speech. Something the writer(s) of the film may have been able to help in the creating of it. As a child, I was baffled by the speech-patterns in the movie. They also cover the title of the newspaper article describing the strange occurrence: Mechanized Rats Invade Hardware Store. Making it seem like the dead rats were suspected of stealing tools besides being next to the motor when they were electrocuted. Nicodemus and others then begin deducing the possibilities of what and if the doctors in town are from NIMH and whether they’ve found Jenner’s H.Q. They continue brainstorming on what they’ll do when the M.D.’s come to the farm and if they could convince them they aren’t “special” rats. Their plan becomes one where 10 rats must stay behind, and all of the strongest and brightest volunteer first before 800 more. O’Brien has made his point concisely and consistently. They stick together and use voting system whilst also being efficient. They really are, undeniably exceptional rats. They don’t leave those chosen helpless, though which is nice.

Meanwhile Mrs. Frisby returns home and is noticed by the children she looks sad. She gives them answers enough to satisfy their curiosity and decides to recount the whole story to them another day. Mrs. Frisby can’t stop thinking about not wanting to watch what happens to the rats, but needing to overlook the area somehow, comes up with a great vantage point helps her watch to see the rats plan, hopefully go smoothly.

The exterminators come to bulldoze and blast the rose bush with cyanide. The rats plan goes smoothly with only 3 MIA’s. The rats then bait the humans in a way like a scene in the Mel Gibson movie, The Patriot. One more rat reappears, unbeknownst to all but Mrs. Frisby. The humans begin to unearth the rats second escape tunnel. They uncover two rats in the main room where the gas came in and take the bodies with them. (When the humans leave, Mrs. Frisby runs to where the now motionless last rat is left lying, showing Mr. Ages trying to move who it turns out to be…I won’t say yet, because I’m feeling evil. I will say Mr. Ages had decided to think ahead as well and prepare an antidote to the poison.) So he’s obviously one lucky rat. When never-said-which rat confesses what he remembers of the moment before and after the cyanide, it’s not only an enlightening perspective, but the rat whom helped him out, sacrificed himself for the one rat left behind, sadly. Last act of obvious heroic behavior.

The Fitzgibbon’s go about starting a veggie garden right next to Mrs. Frisby’s freshly deposited home. Safely hidden, but with the weather being good for growing, it means the family will be loitering in the area so, this is when Mrs. Frisby and clan move to their summer home. An idyllic, less isolated life. After a day of relaxation, Mrs. Frisby decides to share the story with her children since they should know their history and how it’s linked to their father. O’Brien is tidy about leaving all information filled in as needed. The children also speculate who the heroic rat was and wanting to go to Thorn Valley figure out the truth. The only opening he allows is Martin’s excitement in contacting Jeremy so he could try to visit the rats. Mrs. F. allows him the hope in imagining and gets them all to bed. Quite abrupt and peaceful ending. It’s a fine way of completing it, even if Martin’s part isn’t reprised in the sequel, it’s still solid enough since every other possible side-story is cleaned up and the slight mystery which isn’t, is minor.

Lets Explore Diabetes With Owls

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As soon as I start, Sedaris doesn’t disappoint with his descriptive and hilarious deadpan, humorous style. Playing into the typical American outlook of wanting to have “serious” doctors, and treated with a certain gravity we’ve become accustomed to. He accompanies the humour with odd tales from his personal life, some of which are unsettling, but quite entertaining. Sedaris does make a valid point about today’s parenting, however in his second story. Parent’s treat their children extremely on the verge of being slaves to the child. “They did not live in a child’s house, we lived in theirs.” Which Mike from NoFx said about his daughter with his wife. They wanted a child they could share their lifestyle with, but I’m pulling two similarities where none need be. Although this second story proved funnier than the first.

The third proves Sedaris showing what seems his disenchantment when having to hear of people’s possible over emotion about a loved one’s death and they dying too young. Sedaris proves when one is young and from a large family and possibly only from his era, there’s a better chance of one being able to prey on people’s weaknesses and avoiding attention if you’re clever and don’t get overcome by self-loathing and being a praise-stalker. Wistful ending, quite introspective. Oh, my gosh, the next story tripped me out; it was so funny how stereotypical Sedaris made me believe “his” Black girl’s were. He brought me right into his classroom with Delicia, so hilarious! Also he and his siblings relationship with their Grandmother is so unique and again made me laugh out loud. He also has such dramatic outbursts at the age of fourteen with his mother I wondered whether they actually happened the way he describes them sometimes, they are certainly funny to imagine, at least.

Again, Sedaris has made me fall for his funny story ploys are so obvious he seems to want me to giggle at them. A description of his best friend’s mother: “In a neighborhood of stay-at-home moms, Shaun’s mother worked. A public-health nurse, she was the one you went to if you woke up with yellow eyes or jammed a piece of caramel corn too far into your ear. ‘Oh, you’re fine,’ Jean would say, for that was what she wanted us to call her, not Mrs. Taylor. With her high cheekbones and ever so slightly turned-down mouth, she brought to mind a young Katharine Hepburn. Other mothers might be pretty, might, in their twenties or early thirties, pause at beauty, but Jean was clearly parked there for a lifetime.” David has a way of making these stately declarations. They’re the little laughs one gets because they are so wildly recited. Another essay is out-rightly sad if one loves animals and especially endangered species and feels bad about a child losing their father at an early age. Still entertaining, it’s the unfortunate situation of having the “information at your fingertips” “trouble” again. Then there’s a short “rant”, I suppose deals squarely with the Lord-ah. It’s realistic enough anyways, so in a sense was entertaining. I do look forward to saying whatever lie taught me on Pimsleur, as David experienced; It was a good laugh, as well. Also if one ever comes across the chance to ask a German if they are from Minnesota couldn’t sound any more enticing.

While Sedaris does sound more wistful compared to his other books, I think he’s trying to work through the memories surfacing which aren’t as hilariously upfront as others, and perhaps trying to remind himself to live in the now, because his life sounds pretty good to me, and I think he’s trying to convey he realizes this, too. Then David shares a story about his father when his sister Gretchen moves in nearby him to await a college admission acceptance letter. The story proves on the darker side of female’s and dealing with night assault. His father brings him on “rape” runs to locate the guys who keep going after Gretchen, nothing comes of it, but David’s outlook proves bleak in regards to his current situation, which was working as a clothed model for a college on a severely minimum basis and feeling like he’s stuck (I can relate). He stayed “stuck” for 3 years, but obviously it was temporary.

Just a Quick Email is a short and exceedingly funny scenario characterization. It reminded me of two morons who are continually trying to make themselves my personal pair, who may even be able to relate to parts of it (they do love a good “shout-out”), at least in the case of the drunk-driving *wink wink*, but I do digress.  Another story had to do with David’s lack of ability at fighting, when relating a story to a straight man whom he incidentally had interest in, he relates the story of his failed fist-fight attempt. Now I can also appreciate Sedaris’ reasons for all the wacky and odd questions to fans and most anyone: He’s a note-taker which I can appreciate. He also gets extreme discomfort from having his picture taken, probably an insecurity he feels unnecessary to “work” through, which I can understand. Why be more uncomfortable on the job? The stories still get better when we learn more about David’s first boyfriend and how racist Americans still seem to other countries; Hilarious unto itself. Sedaris’ perception on how French people have a self-satisfactory tone in their voice when they show how they approve of America choosing Obama for President, I have to wonder if it’s only because it’s been so long since we’ve had a positive, intelligent seeming leader. He also reveals he thinks the French, or whichever European people are jealous we got the half-Black President first. The whole theory is entertaining.

Sedaris also has a strange situational essay about a character dealing with gay marriage in an extreme way. Mostly weird, a bit funny. If anyone knows the show Oddities, understanding will arise quickly in one of David’s later stories in this series where he’s in a taxidermy shop and is presented with definite oddities, one including the head of an approximately 14-year-old girl from Peru was around 400 years old. I suppose the main downside of traveling to China would be all the phlegm and piss/poo makers in the street/bathrooms. It sounds nasty and coupled with the theme of food, begins to sound less than inviting. The essay after makes fun of people outside the periphery of intelligence and so begrudge Obama for seeming to talk down to them. It was a pretty entertaining short essay. Also while harbors righteous anger towards slow-pokes it seems he hasn’t mastered the ability to verbalize to said slow-poke what their dumb problem is; I could be of so much use in that department by now, I could make so much money.

Sedaris, who is a diary-addict, can’t seem to stop himself, nor would we want him to, since I believe it would mean less to no more books from him. Where else would we get strange anecdotal stories about whichever strange family or close friend he has? (I’d end up missing them.) He takes the “women” way of fighting and has put an O.C.D. twist on it. Since he writes everything down, he can go back to an argument which started years before and states his stance on it to his boyfriend, which of course is even harder to make a fight end if it’s with someone with “passion”, but seems so ridiculously over-the-top I can only imagine someone bursting out laughing at such a reaction. Unfortunately, possibly due to age, he has the “age-old” view of pot-smokers who, whilst a good source for a joke, not so much when it’s necessary about remembering a trip to Greece is a concern. Too bad he hasn’t run into some with intelligence, but when regular intelligence is so hard to uncover, how can one expect someone to wait for a specific variety. *Sighs* Life. I guess he hasn’t delved into stand-up comedy much. Not necessarily the best source for the intelligent comedians, but for the collected few, which is all I can hope for; and to discover a 7-year-old kid who would look at a guinea pig and marvel at its size by repeatedly and incredulously saying, “Jesus, will you look at those? Christ Almighty. Someone should take a picture.” I mean, come on, I’d appreciate the mentioned candor over the dull diatribes I hear people spout behind me in lines all day every day.

Now it’s my turn to take the Lord’s name in vain though, because Oh my God the next essay is funny to any who has either watched the BBC or knows Britain on a more personal level. David recounts another personal experience involving his father, at which point his extreme fascination with British terminology is shown. Oh, and when Sedaris’ laptop and bag are stolen and his passport was in the pocket of the bag, one of the funniest stories. Plus, David doped up on anesthesia makes me want to laugh and laugh. Also, if one doesn’t want to end up like Michael Jackson, take Propofol with care. I can’t say I’m thoroughly disappointed with this addition to David’s books. The fact he ends with a dog version of “There once was a man in Nantucket…” and make it sound more dirty and clever and then make me think it could mirror the rhythm to the Jim Carroll Band – People Who Died is a feat in itself. Gold-star, Sedaris.

Cagney by Cagney

Cagney by Cagney

This is seriously one of my favorite and most memorable autobiographies. James Cagney seems to spare no detail in this book, which may seem odd since it isn’t a chubby book. He goes through a bit of a childhood bully phase in accompaniment of his brothers and he describes behind the scenes moments about what happened in some of his movies and the people he met, whom I don’t remember unfortunately (perhaps a reread is in my distant future).

It was pretty much reading an action, adventure, intelligent, multifaceted, beautiful movie which was never made; I enjoyed reading it. This book was one of the main influences I watched more of his movies to see if I could capture any of the moments from this wonderful read. He was one hell of an actor, with quite a range. I recommend this book to anyone who knows of his movies and enjoys his work.