Siege Diaries 6/13/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Am I fulfilling my post in this campaign of life, or sleeping on duty?

I think the biggest challenge for me is understanding when I am “on duty” and when I need downtime. Because everyone needs a chance to be “off” in order to be more effective when they are “on.”

Last night we watched an excellent movie: The Courier, which focuses on the fascinating case of a rather average English businessman, Greville Wynee who, in the early 1960s, is recruited to go to Moscow and make contact with a government official, Oleg Penkovsky who is appalled by the aggressive stance Khruschev is taking towards the West with nuclear weapons. A one-time assignment turns into an ongoing relationship, where the two men get to know each other and the British man becomes a regular courier for intel. Unfortunately, the KGB figures out what is happening, poisons Penkovsky, and figures out the details. Wynne, whose MI6 and CIA contacts have promised that his Russian contact will be helped to defect, returns to Russia to try to get him and his family out, and is captured, tortured, and held for several years–although he does eventually find out that the USSR had backed down in Cuba and is able, in a meeting with Penkovsky that the Soviets hope will trap the British man into a confession, is able to let him know that his acts were not for nothing. It has a certain amount of the feel of Bridge of Spies, taking place at about the same time, but spares nothing in depicting the British man’s treatment while imprisoned in the USSR.

The movie provoked some interesting observations for me. First, the main theme is an obvious homage to Shostakovich’s light waltzes, particularly the massively-popular Waltz no. 2. Second, I am starting to be able to pick up the occasional word in Russian (this time, it was the word for “West”). Not only that, I am getting a few in-jokes. Just before Wynne and Penkovsky are arrested, they go to a performance of Swan Lake – the music of which tended to be played on Soviet radio during times of crisis, and for me was a warning that things were about to go sideways.

Speaking of Russian, I was feeling a little behind, having not done any of my lessons for the past two days, but I made up for it by finishing the entire current chapter today. I am starting to get a sense of what the various noun cases look like–although I’m also starting to wanting to augment my learning with some sort of study aid so I can put them into parallel with my Latin noun cases.

I’ve now moved onto the cabin walls for my embroidery project (shading to be added later). I am liking this colour I picked. It was a really tough choice since I wanted a light brown that had a hint of gold without being actually gold, and agonized over the selection.

RPG #1 was cancelled today, but #2 went ahead with some wonderful satisfying results. We got confirmation that driveway paving is a go for Tuesday, which means it should not interfere with the doctor’s appointment on the 25th or pickup of new glasses (which should be around the 23rd) but may mean putting off a planned half day vacation for Friday.

In other news, case counts at 530 today.

Off we go into another week.