Binge Watching

Just binge watched “Billions” for eight episodes on showtime from Amazon, starting last night. Now I am feeling exhausted, hungry, eyes hurt, whole body ache. It’s a wonderful show no doubt–the plot is quick paced, the acting quite convincing, the actors too handsome, the actresses too beautiful, the human relationships full of twists and barely civil. It’s very entertaining. The best thing about this show is that nobody dies, except a very minor character in the beginning. My appetite for death or gory details in a show or a book has dwindled to non-existence now. I still remember the days when I was engrossed in detective stories and one corpse is just not enough. I can’t imagine how I could be like that. Now I don’t want to hear about death or even ill health.

C once told me that television shows are getting better while movies are getting worse. I haven’t watched much television shows since the first five seasons of “Big Bang Theory” quite a while ago; I haven’t stepped into a movie theater for ages. Recently I watched “Shrill” and it’s so good and read the book, which is even better–the book has more teeth and bites more satisfactorily than the show. Then I watched “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and really love the character Leon–his slang, his unconventional way of doing things. Larry’s character is great and Leon brings that greatness to a new level. I hope there’s an Asian character on TV that’s as cool as Leon, but I know there won’t be. Just a dream. Oh, of course how can I forget Susie? She is as wonderful as Leon.

I like the show “Billions”, but I seriously dislike one detail when an innocent man is deliberately framed by the DA office to shield a mole planted in the hedge fund firm. Probably it is based on a true event. Another alarming detail is that even the cleaning staff in the District Attorney building is being bought as informant to tell the outside world who’s coming in and who’s going out in the office. The intriguing world of New York City.

Word Confusion

Some words are created to communicate, while others just to confuse. I thought I read “ruminative” on an article about what Fran Lebowitz has to say about her current state of staying at home, but it is actually “remunerative”. I don’t know about native speakers, but as a person learning English as a second language, I’ve always struggled with such kind of confusions–words that look alike but mean very different things. Actually this is not my biggest frustration. The crown has to be given to vowels, which my ears can’t distinguish and my mouth can’t pronounce the difference. “Pot” and “port”, “wit” and “wheat”. Actually half of the vowels are troublesome. A teacher used to teach us to twist our mouths in order to pronounce different vowels, but my tongue and my lips just couldn’t be managed. It’s as impossible as those difficult dance steps that the body just can’t perform. Well at least distortion of the tongue and the lips is a way to make improvement–even if I can’t master it myself. When it comes to listening, there’s no way to deal with one’s ear to make it distinguish the different vowels. I was told to “listen” and to “listen carefully”, and I did. My ears were strained to utmost attention, only to hear the same sound comes out of “thick” and “sick”. Fortunately most of the lectures I attended and most of the presentations I gave were based on contexts, without which who knows how much miscommunication and misunderstanding might arise.