Monday, November 26, 2007

Martha Mostly Meets the Cindarella Man

Two movies I watched recently:

"Mostly Martha" - This is a German film about an anal retentive, workaholic chef whose life is interrupted when her sister is killed in a car accident and she takes in her niece and a new cook is hired at the restaurant. There is a G-rated sex scene - at least, I think it culminated in sex - where the foreplay involved a blindfold and a bowl of soup. And it has a happy ending.

"Cinderella Man" - Yes, Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger in a "feel good" movie - if you like boxing. If you don't like boxing, you may not enjoy this flick. Oh, and Paul Giamatti, whom I almost did not recognize without his "Sideways" beard. I happen to like watching boxing, so I found the movie engrossing. Also, the ethical characters were refreshing. But when Max Baer came on the scene, I kept thinking about his son, Max Baer, Jr, who played Jethro on "The Beverly Hillbillies." This flick also had a happy ending.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Lives of Others

I really liked this movie, which (unlike Hollywood-made movies) was about the story and not the actors. It is long, but I did not feel it. In fact, I kept worrying that it would end too soon, and without satisfaction. My concerns were unfounded, though.

Basic synopsis: East Germany, 1984 (yes, shades of George Orwell). Some actually have faith in socialism, but two of these men become disillusioned, by different paths. And one, who works for the secret police, meddles in the life of the other, with mixed results. That's all I'm going to say. See the movie for yourself.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Weekend Accomplishments

Movies I watched this weekend:
"Off the Map" - Mildly entertaining. Joan Allen weeding the garden in the nude. A depressed Sam Elliot with practically no dialogue. Valentina de Anglelis as a home-schooled, overly mature, overly sophisticated, overly articulate 11-year-old. Mother Earth News in New Mexico.

"The New World" - R-e-a-l-l-y slow. Nothing unexpected or out of the ordinary happens. No complexity of character or plot. But very poetic, and in my younger days, I might have considered it romantic and erotic. Colin Farrell and Q'Orianka Kilcher are both very pretty, but I grew pretty tired of their pretty faces in a pretty short time.

Book I finished this weekend:
Writing in an Age of Silence by Sara Paretsky - I really hope things aren't as bad as she says they are. I'm hoping this book is a the-world-is-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket middle-aged rant. I'm hoping what I don't know won't hurt me. I'm the Queen of Denial. Lalalalallalalala....

Monday, May 28, 2007

At Least the Music Was Good

When I selected "Just an American Boy" from Netflix, I thought I knew a little bit of something about Steve Earle, or at least his music. Not much of the music in this so-called documentary was familiar to me, but it (the music) was good ol' rock 'n roll, plus a little blue grass, which I really enjoyed.

The documentary was not so good, though. My impression was that a lot of film was exposed (and not very well), then edited by a 13-year-old with new film editing software. At first, the graphic phantasmagoria was annoying, then a source of amusement, and finally a giggle fest.

And there was no storyline to speak of. Yes, Earle is against capital punishment, as am I, but we don't share motivation. Earle doesn't want blood on his hands, and he identifies with the perpetrators in a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I sort of way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Older But Not Wiser

I just found out that a friend of mine - one who is only a couple of years older than me - was diagnosed with vascular dementia. She has clear days and cloudy days, but it is a progressive thing, so eventually the cloudy days will take over. Meanwhile, she is making the most of the clear days, to travel and visit family.

So, what do you say to someone with an incurable illness? My thoughts are with her, but frankly most of my thoughts involve a feeling of relief that it is her and not me. Not very selfless, but accurate.

I don't know what to say to my stepmother, either, who suffers from a variety of painful, chronic but not fatal illnesses. She could live a very long time, suffering all the way. You can't say "get well" or "things will get better" because she will not get well and things will not get better. Instead, it will be one damn thing after another, until the end.

WWALD? (What Would Ann Landers Do?)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

I (heart) NYC

This is why I love NYC:

My local newspaper reported that the Lab Gallery in the Roger Smith Hotel in midtown Manhattan planned a Holy Week exhibition of a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ called "My Sweet Lord." Of course, it was canceled, but the gallery's creative director resigned in protest.

Doesn't that make you want to live there? At least for a year? Just to see this stuff firsthand?

A good alternative to living in NYC is reading about living there. Try The Year of Yes, by Maria Dahvana Headley. This is a laugh-out-loud memoir of a twenty-something NYU student who decided her love life needed changing, so she started saying yes to every man (and a couple of women) who asked her out. The dates were usually coffee or drinks, but she did drag one homeless guy who thought he was Jimi Hendrix to the falafel shop, visited Coney Island on the last day of the season for a quick swim in the frigid waters with the happiest conductor on the subway system, offered a mime the death scene of a lifetime, fell in love, fell in lust, and just when she was on the verge of crashing and burning, got it together with The One. (I don't feel I am ruining the story here, because when she meets The One halfway through the book, it is the most shameless foreshadowing I have ever read.) Headley is either the bravest or craziest or the best writer of hyperbole I have ever read. May she live happily ever after (in Seattle).

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Sick Day

Today I called in sick. Yes, I really am sick. I have been sick a lot this winter. I don't have a lot of symptoms, or at least not very acute ones, but they culminate in feelings of extreme exhaustion. That's how I know I am really sick - I can't seem to get up the energy to do much of anything, even things I enjoy. I know, that sounds like depression, but it's not. After a day or two of rest, I start feeling better. This cycle happened so often this winter that I stopped smoking what few cigarettes I smoked (I went cold turkey from 2-4 cigs a day - big whoop). About the same time, the mild winter turned bitter. I stopped getting sick every couple of weeks, but I don't know if it was from not smoking or because all the germs finally froze to death.

So I've been feeling pretty good, until the cow-orker across the aisle from me started coughing her germs in my direction, and my supervisor kept hanging over the partition between our desks, dropping his germs on me. It was just a matter of time. I found myself clearing the phlegm from the back of my throat a lot, and sneezing, and taking naps when I got home in the late afternoon. I thought about staying home yesterday, but the Big Boss was coming from HQ, trailing a bunch of little bosses with him, so I thought I should show up. There was even a work party last night, at a new bowling alley near my house, but I had to go home first to let the dog out, and once home, that was it, I was not going anywhere.

When the alarm went off this morning, I could tell I felt worse, because I kept drifting off again. My alarm clock has a feature that lets me set the alarm to "chime". This means that instead of making an annoying, obnoxious, sure-to-rouse-one-from-stupor noise, the clock chimes for about five minutes, then stops. About five minutes later, it starts again. So, if you just let it chime, you can drift in and out of sleep for hours. Usually, I get up during the second round of chimes. Even the dog knows this and doesn't start whining until then. But today I kept falling asleep, even during the chiming. After about 30 minutes, I did get up, only because the dog insisted on being fed. I drank some coffee, but I knew I was not going anywhere.

Taking a sick day is like taking a day off from your life. Ordinarily, when I am home, I can't relax because there are all these things I should be doing, or I'm thinking about all the things I will be doing just as soon as x happens. But today I was obviously not up for achieving anything on my to-do list except getting well. So I knitted a little, took a couple of naps, watched a movie, finished reading a book, etc.

I did clean out the junk drawer. I'm not sure why that seemed so important, but it is one of those small tasks, like laundry, that gives one a feeling of accomplishment: I may not have done much today, but at least I cleaned out that drawer that's been bugging me for God knows how long. And I did walk the dog, so the beautiful weather was not totally wasted on us.

And, as God is my witness, I will never be unhealthy again. I will go to bed on time, eat better, exercise more, even meditate. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Pet Peeves: Other Drivers

I69 runs around the west side of our fair city, and a good portion of it is 6 lanes, 3 going in each direction. I like to drive in the middle lane, away from the on/off ramp traffic, and I drive about 5 miles over the speed limit. So I'm not exactly poking along. So why, oh why, does someone (usually a guy, usually in a big truck or SUV) who is in a big hurry roars up behind me, then sits on my tail, trying to bully me into driving faster or moving over, even though both lanes on either side of us are clear of any traffic and the guy could easily, easily change lanes a pass me?

Another puzzlement: three lanes going in one direction, right? Originally, I thought the slowest drivers would use the right lane, the medium drivers the middle lane, and the speed demons the left lane. I gave up on that idea because most people, regardless of their average speed, prefer the middle lane. Ok. I can accept that. But why does someone move to the left lane, then travel the same speed as the driver in the middle lane, who sometimes is also going the same speed as the guy in the right lane? Two lanes going the same speed I can accept, annoying as it is. But if you are in the left lane, aka the FAST lane, then by God you better go

Of course, if everyone drove like me, it would be a perfect world out there on I69.