I am currently without a phone and I’m super frustrated. The last episode in this stupid drama of my stupid life is that I was attempting to switch simcards from a working phone that won’t charge because of a bad charge port to a deactivated phone that was going to be activated as soon as I finished switching. The simcard was stuck. I jerked a bit too hard and it flew up into the air (out of the black plastic frame) and landed like Longfellow’s arrow, I know not where. I’m cleaning my closet out, you see. I have open bags and boxes of things that have been sorted, need to be sorted, might have been sorted but I’ve been procrastinating so long I don’t know anymore. I have gone through half of them, no sim card. I’m done. Tomorrow I may just buy a new phone and start from scratch. Suggestions on phones welcome.

Calling myself stupid—– I did this a few weeks ago when the grandkids were here. The story of why I did is long and boring and tedious as well and I shan’t bestow the tedium on you, but the funny thing was I first shocked the grands. “Grandma!!! You’re not stupid. You shouldn’t say that about yourself. Why would you say that?’ Which was all very encouraging and warm fuzzies from hair top to toes, but then when I told them what I had done they were all, “Oh. Yeah. I guess that was- ” they caught my eye and didn’t say stupid, but you know they were thinking it. Kids are adorable.

In connection with becoming a staunch fan of a couple Chinese dramas I mentioned before- Rebel Princess and Story of Minglan, I’ve been reading up on Chinese symbolism, which has some elements in common with western symbols, and some very different. Some of the interesting things:
The peach is used for a lot of things (and peach blossoms and peach wood) but most commonly longevity.
The peacock isn’t about vanity, but about dignity and beauty. The glowworm is also a symbol of beauty and steadfastness. Fish in general are symbols of prosperity, and gold fish are an ‘acceptable wedding present because phonetically the word for goldfish is similar to something like abundant prosperity. Goldfish in a picture are symbols of fertility. An owl does not symbolize wisdom, but impending disaster, and spiders are good omens- one sliding down or descending on its string is a blessing from heaven and in one area at least a spider symbolizes a son returning from far away or at least a visiting guest, and the narcissus is connected with the immortals and can symbolize a married couple. Of course, this all assumes my sources are accurate. for the above, I used a dictionary of chinese symbols, by Eberhard.

I finished Ming Lan and love it. I am still watching Rebel Princess, and it continues to be absolutely gorgeous and well done in every possible way. It’s fascinating to me that the Chinese title has nothing to do with a princess or her being a rebel- it’s called Monarch Industry, which better suits, IMO, the general theme of the series, which is that the monarchy is essentially just a business, and each powerful family is trying to make it their own personal family business. The princess is not really much of a rebel. She lives true to the values she was taught as she grew up, but what she did not know is that almost all the adults around her only gave lip service to those values, they expected her to outgrow them. I love it for many reasons, but one of them is not that huge in the whole picture, but still I adore that this princess is not a warrior princess. She doesn’t have any idea how to fight at all, not physically, and a couple times where circumstances compel her to try, she’s not very good at it, and cannot bring herself to deliver a killing blow. She leaves the fighting to her warrior husband. What she is good at is fighting through diplomacy, negotiation, reading the room, loyalty to her husband and their values, and through her commanding presence and dignity, which she never loses. Her costumes, which are so scrumptiously beautiful and stunning are every bit as much her armour and war garments as her husband’s sword and chest armour. There are two or three warrior maidens for those who like that sort of thing.

I just find it tiring and tiresome because it’s so phony and unrealistic and yet it’s in every show with any fighting, that girls can physically fight as well as men. No, they really can’t. And it’s so unrealistic that it’s like including a real werewolf as a regular character in Dragnet or an Agatha Christie series (I don’t watch language shows anymore, so I don’t know which recent ones to pick).

Another Chinese drama I enjoyed was The Longest Day in Chang’an. It’s a little bit like 24, in that the city of Chang’An is facing a terrorist attack and they have to catch the terrorists and stop them from implementing their plan by the right hour. Only it’s set in the Tang Dynasty, 618 to 907, and the lead detectives are a partnership between a Taoist priest who runs a sort of intelligence agency and is a close friend of the Crown Prince, and a death row inmate released for a day to help with the investigation. The plot is full of twists and turns and is sometimes funny, often sad, always adrenaline boosting, and the series is fascinating. SEveral of the songs for the soundtrack are poems by Li Bi, a Chinese poet who lived in the era. The set of the city streets took half a year to build. The cast read the book on which the script is based three times. I watched it because one of the side characters is the lead male from Rebel Princess, and he plays a different character here.

He’s pretty good. Really good. But he’s absolutely superb in Rebel Princess and so is his female counterpart. I can’t find the gif again, alas, but some other fan posted a picture of him staring down a character who needs to die with the line, “I am measuring you for a coffin and I want to be really precise.” His cutting glance really does seem as though it could draw blood.

I am not sure if I am reading books as much as buying them these days, but I have several going. H is for Hawk, This Sceptered Isle- Empire(I confess I love the audio more, but I kept wanting to look up quotes so I bought the book, too), a fairy tale in Spanish, which I can translate one page a day, a book about Chinese fantasy genres in Manga and movies, I finished a couple novels by Thomas Love Peacock, proto-Victorian and Victorian. I’m reading Macbeth, and slowly going through the English translation of a Chinese novel called The Red Chamber. It’s an abridgement of a five volume series the author spent something like forty years writing. Later I hope to tackle the full set.

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  1. Anne-Marie
    Posted March 1, 2021 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Does stupidity, like misery, love company? I just had to buy a new phone because I’d left the case off the previous one and I dropped it face down on a ceramic tile floor. The screen broke into tiny shards that started falling off the phone one or two at a time, and the back separated from the front. The phone still worked most days, but I could those were numbered.
    Anyway, on the recommendation of my 18yo son, I bought a Samsung Galaxy A10E. The E is important because it’s the model with the USB-C charger, which is more stable and stronger than the micro-USB on the old phone. About $100 on Ebay.

  2. 6 arrows
    Posted March 6, 2021 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of adorable grandchildren and their very human grandmas, my nephew and my mother-in-law have always had a fondness for each other, forged through many hours over the years of grandmother caring for grandson while his parents worked.

    Nephew and MIL both also have an unbeatable sense of humor.

    I recall a day a number of years ago when MIL was standing at the kitchen table, making potato salad, with nephew (then maybe 12, 13, 14 years old?) and others of us standing nearby. At one point during the food preparation, Mom dropped some bits of shells from the hard-boiled eggs into the salad. She then chastised herself, exclaiming, “Oh Grandma!! You’re so old and short and fat and ugly and dumb!”

    Nephew, pausing, with a sly smile and a twinkle in his eye, replied, “Grandma? You’re not dumb.” 😉

    Oh, she laughed and laughed! So endearing, the delightfully unorthodox ways grands show their affection. 🙂

    • Headmistress
      Posted March 6, 2021 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Oh, that is hilarious!

  3. Anne-Marie
    Posted March 6, 2021 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Another thought–it might be a lot easier and it would certainly be cheaper to buy a new sim card for the deactivated phone.

    • Headmistress
      Posted March 11, 2021 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      That would have been great, if that provider had ever gotten back to me in a timely manner. And I didn’t have the pin/password for the deactivated phone and in the end, decided I just had a strong irrational emotional distaste for using the phone that had been used by a man sitting right next to me in bed, at a restaurant on our anniversary, across the table from me at a friend’s house, to text the girlfriend he met on an airplane.

      • Anne-Marie
        Posted March 16, 2021 at 12:10 am | Permalink

        Hm. Not sure I’d call that irrational.
        I keep you in my prayers.

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