Friday, June 10, 2011

Cold front moving in

...and we couldn't be more thankful in the un-central a/c confines of one lil' ugmo. We keep holding off on installing central because these old, 100 year old houses have awful duct work and everyone on our street says that it doesn't get up to the second floor, which is where you need it anyway. The bottom floor of the house stays nice and cool, due in part to the long, narrow shape of the floor plan, which prevents a lot of natural light coming in. To counteract the ducting inefficiencies, people either spend a fortune upgrading their duct work or buy MONSTROUS a/c units that are actually much bigger (not to mention freakin' ugly) than their actual square footage requires. It kind of hurts the environmentalist in me.

Our solution is going to be window units, which are admittedly also ugly, but aren't a permanent fixture. One in the master, one in the Big Yam's room that we'll turn on an hour before we go to bed and then turn off in the morning, supplemented with some fan action to circulate the air. I just don't think it's worth it right now to go central, especially when you only need it for like, what...20 days the whole summer? Considering we're going to be away from home for 24 days out of 90, and it's already mid-June and there have only been maybe 4 days so far where it was really necessary, I feel it fails the cost-benefit analysis. Besides, I've already shown what an Omega woman I can be buy toughing it out last summer while knocked up. This summer is gonna be cinchy.

I am grateful that there's a blissful cold front that's moved in that's whisked away the humidity and knocked the temperature down by 10 degrees. Love it! We've got the windows open and the house smells fresh and clean with the freshly cut grass from next door wafting in.

We've also been reduced to doing this to the poor Big Yam in lieu of a/c. I say "reduced" but it's hardly like I'm being forced to, because I personally think he looks hilarious in his owl of Ga'hoole/wet do-rag/Scarborough a/c look:

I'm going to take a fairly controversial position here and say that the David Simon-helmed Treme, about post-Katrina New Orleans (in the 9th ward and beyond) is a finer, more compelling show than The Wire. I think overall, it's more sophisticated, nuanced, and better written. Which is not to say that I do not still love The Wire - when you're talking about David Simon television, it's really splitting hairs - like comparing Five Guys Burgers and The Burger's Priest - two equally fantastic options.

It's easy for people to talk about and laud The Wire, which trades on familiar tropes - cops, drugs, the cultural capital of a certain depiction of black masculinity against an urban backdrop - this all contributes to the "cool" factor of The Wire. Gangs, shootings, the crumbling American public school system, the corruption of politics and mainstream media and the dereliction of duty by those in power to the underclass are all the stuff of life, yes, but also lurid parts of the contemporary, urban, left-leaning narrative and subject to romanticisation because of their omni-presence. While David Simon and the writers on The Wire are adept at side-stepping clichés and subverting traditional expectations of racial/sociological/economic interactions, I still think that they were guilty of this to some extent in The Wire. There were still some "stock" characters in the show and stock situations and c'mon - that final fifth season really left a sour taste in my mouth. I think it will always be easier for leftist non-black urbanites to fetishize black urban culture.

This brings me to Treme which situates the view in a scenario - New Orleans post-Katrina (the first season takes place approximately 6 months after, the 2nd season about 14 months after) and then gets down to the truly knitty-gritty of life across a wide cross-section of society with a sprawling, loosely interconnected cast of fully realized characters. The politicization is much subtler in Treme - this isn't a sociology 101 primer about the continued subjugation of the black underclass in America. The scope is much wider, too. The format of The Wire, with each season focusing on a different area - resulted in a much more high-level examination of the big issues - whereas Treme is about the living, the loving, the losing, against the backdrop of this rich, teeming, city - laden with history, culture, and the intersection and mixing of all that.

It's also about the creative process - the music of New Orleans and the traditions of swing and the high culture/low culture dialectic are fleshed out in the messy, complicated way that conversations about cultural appropriation and the native insider (who is allowed to criticize? Music critics in NYC, or the native son?) inevitably go. The Dotytron and I are suckers for the show - how can we not be? The music in Treme is outstanding and there's a big food element as well, through the vehicle of a New Orleans chef that is now trying to make her way in the NYC restaurant scene. Maybe it's my ignorance - I never knew about the "second line" - but what a tradition!

ANYWAY, in my humble opinion, Treme is better than The Wire and people should be flapping their gums about it more.

Tonight I'm making a "white" pizza of proscuitto, arugala mozzarella and ricotta as a pre-game meal. So pumped for softball!!!



Chris said...

I love Treme, but not even close to the Wire, imo. Do you watch Justified? My current favourite.

karl lagerfeld, esquire said...

That's because you're a secret Orillia gangsta, C.

Haven't seen Justified - we only have room in our schedule for about 1 hour of TV every 3 days, so right now we're devoting it to Game of Thrones and Treme. Will check it out!