Summertime Blues

Sometimes I wonder, what am I gonna do
Cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues

— Eddie Cochrane

July already. The days grow shorter. Not that it’s noticeable, but in a few weeks my morning walks will be in closer alignment to sunrise. The sunset times don’t affect us much because Marion and I aren’t night people. Our routine after dinner is to snuggle on the couch and watch a rented video or one from our collection. We retire early and rise early.

It wasn’t always like this. During my youth and my student days I was a nighthawk. I slept late, unless there were classes, and I confess I slept through a few of those. I usually stayed active until 2-3am. I had friends who kept a similar schedule and we spent many an hour discussing the state of the universe, usually agreeing, by 3am, that it really WAS existential.

What knocked the nighthawk out of me was getting employment and having to be at work and productive in the morning. It never tamed me entirely. Even while working I stayed up until midnight or so. I’d get to bed early enough, but sleep was elusive. I read a lot of novels between 10-12.

But aging has changed my natural circadian rhythms. I’m now keeping farmer’s hours. Funny that. I would have thought my natural rhythms were hard-wired and wouldn’t change during my lifetime. Surprise!

The main aspect of my life this has affected is my reading. I’d developed a pattern of reading fiction late at night. Now when I try to read in bed, I last, at best, a page or two. I often wake with my reading glasses on and a book in my hand. It’s cut down the amount I read. When I try to read during the day I get fidgety and find it hard to keep my focus.

On the plus side, I’m catching up on pop culture movies and TV series. It started by my getting hopelessly addicted to Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Fortunately so did Marion. We then branched out to other Whedon productions: Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, and Dr. Horrible. Angel was okay, and better than most of the fare on TV, but it never reached the quality of Buffy. Neither of us cares much for David Boreanaz as an actor, so it was hard to very excited about the series. If it weren’t for a great supporting cast, and a few very good episodes, we’d never have watched the entire series. Firefly was good, as was the follow-on movie Serenity. Dr. Horrible was funny, and clever. Dollhouse is disappointing. I was surprised to hear it was renewed for a second season.

In an effort to branch out to see other movies and TV series that we’d missed over the past thirty or so years, I’ve been asking friends to make recommendations. We’ve signed up with to rent titles from our wish list. Zip has most of the TV series I’m interested in.

I particularly like to see how a well-done TV series introduced its story and characters to the audience for the first time. That makes the season one, disc one offerings especially useful. I believe a budding fiction writer can learn a lot from good TV and movie productions.

Starting this month I’m going to start chronicling what we’ve been watching and which shows we really liked, or didn’t, and why. A couple of teasers: we’re loving Battlestar Galactica but couldn’t even get through the very first episode of Star Trek: Next Generation.

9 thoughts on “Summertime Blues

  1. Thank you, Tony. Another one I never saw. I’ve put it on our wish list. I presume one should watch the pilot first before delving into season one?

  2. My wife quite enjoyed the quirkiness of Twin Peaks (here’s the program intro: ). In the programs you’ll see repeated references to “the owls are not what they seem” and pie is a recurring theme.

    ST:TNG … The first few episodes were, well, the first few episodes (ditto for West Wing). But once the writers got into the series and the characters, things improved. I didn’t like the Ensign Crusher character — though Will Wheaton probably did as well in the role as any actor could.

    I liked the “Police Story” ensemble series and would gladly watch an episode or two again, but not a full season. And I liked “Bay City Blues” (though it hasn’t made it to DVD, it appears) and “Thirty Something” is out on DVD (at least season 1) but not available at

    I am ashamed to admit that I watched a lot more TV than that and I could easily mention another half-dozen series that captivated me so I am looking forward to seeing what series you and Marion watch and to see how many episodes (and how many seasons) you survey (for research purposes only, eh!).

  3. John, thank you for these. And sure, some of this is research, but it’s also for the enjoyment. If I find a show really fun or interesting to watch, I can then start asking, what makes it that way?
    Don’t feel you need to hold back — there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. A good story is a good story, no matter the medium.
    One series that has been recommended to me is Monk. I have season one, disc one on its way. has become a valuable resource. My library’s holdings are pretty limited.

  4. For something a little different, one of my faves is American Gothic. It’s more than a little strange, quite dark, but well worth working through.

  5. Let me go way back to the beginning, and suggest The Avengers, beginning with season 3. (Most of seasons 1 and 2 were lost, and thank heaven for that.)

  6. Gord, That’s way back, for sure. I used to watch it when I noticed it was on. The wonderful Emma Peel. Who could forget? Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. Obligatory Cancon citation: When Diana (“Mrs. Peel”) Rigg left, Steed’s partner the next season was Linda (“Tara King”) Thorsen who was born in Toronto.

    I saw Diana Rigg in Pygmalion in London one summer. I got a rush ticket, fifth or sixth row towards the right side of the audience and was mesmerized by her.

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