Thursday, September 23, 2010

How VERY Amusing!

I have had some nine or ten sore throats since late May, three of which developed into actual colds, and I could now almost open my own cold remedy store, between Lisa’s cold protocol, Jeff’s cold protocol, what my father used to use back in the 1970s, and what the Internet says.

The last three times I got a sore throat, I tried something I’d read about online, and it worked like a charm all three times: I squeezed the contents of an oil of oregano capsule into my throat, let it linger there for half a minute or so, poured in some water, gargled, swallowed the water and oil, and voila! Oregano oil tastes truly terrible, but is purportedly a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and it sure seems to do the trick. (It’s also part of Jeff’s cold protocol, but he didn’t say to squeeze it into my throat.)

I’ve been ingesting a bit of black elderberry extract and umcka daily as a preventative measure, and maybe that is helping, too.

A pleasant social event or two occurred in recent weeks: I had dinner with Tom and a friend of his from Lake County one Sunday night at Herbivore on Valencia St., and Tom and I went to see Ann and Mac on Labor Day, in a black City CarShare Mini Cooper that Tom enjoyed driving. Steve and Julie came over, too, and Ann made us an array of beautiful summer salads.

This may count as a positive social event, too: I have left Facebook. I was always uneasy about being a part of it, and had disquieting experiences on both ends of the spectrum: people I would swear I had never encountered who wanted to be “friends” and, even more worrying, a couple of people I actually do know who ignored my friend requests.

It was overwhelming and also wonderful to have elementary school, junior high and high school all come flooding back at once. The thing I most enjoyed when visiting Facebook: seeing what people I knew long ago now look like, and what their children and backyards look like.

The thing that was most irritating, on a low level: how Facebook could never figure out that my email address is actually a valid email address, and therefore asked me to confirm it every time I visited. Of course, the upside of that was that they were unable to send me notifications about this, that and the other, which allowed Facebook to fade quickly and easily from my mind between visits.

The most perplexing thing: Completely out-of-context sexual propositions.

The thing that was absolutely the most wonderful: having four dear friends from decades ago restored to me: Sally, a very close friend when I was seven. (There were three of us: Wendy, Sally and me.) Now we send floods of email back and forth, and have found we share a few major interests. Angela, my dear friend when I was eight. We have a lovely, satisfying chat on the phone every three or four weeks now. She grew up to be exactly who I would have predicted, a writer and artist, smart, peaceful, kind.

And Helen and Ginny. We may not do better than an email now and then, or maybe a visit when I am in Michigan, but I love having these extraordinarily gentle and decent human beings, sisters, back even to that extent. I still have little tiny decorated cards Helen made for me when I was about 10. (And thank you for reading my blog, Ginny!)

Every time I logged on, I saw at least one photo I liked, but the whole experience also always left me with sort of a yucky feeling. The final straw was the profile of Mark Zuckerberg in the latest New Yorker. I was already in bed for the night, under the covers, but shot out of bed and turned on the computer to delete my Facebook account when I read about him smirking about how foolish we are to trust him with our information, calling us “dumb f*cks.” These remarks were made when he was younger and he has said that he regrets making them, but I’m not convinced his heart is in the right place even now.

My final act before signing off was to do a save-as of 20 of other people’s photographs, mostly of Walt, who I thought was quite the glamorous older man when he was 18 and I was 16, as noted when I joined Facebook last November. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for him.

Then I emailed a few people to tell them I was leaving and had some very nice exchanges. Undoubtedly a few people will think I unfriended them, but if they search for me, they’ll see I’m not there at all and know it wasn’t personal.

I have seen some DVDs:

Brothers, The Wrestler (excellent!), Precious, A Serious Man, The New Daughter (terrible, but Kevin Costner was in it), The Road (Viggo!), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (extremely beautiful), Chaos (Jason Statham), Cellular (Jason Statham), Dragonfly (same as The New Daughter; this was the better of the two), Rage (Sally Potter—highly experimental—what a gorgeous vision of Jude Law), Welcome (a moving tale about a Kurdish refugee in France who tries to swim to England to reunite with the girl he loves), The Class, Little Fish, and Elegy.

I will make special mention of these films: Transporter 3, starring Jason Statham, the third in the franchise. I’m going to say Transporter is still the best, then 3, then 2. Tom watched it with me and spent practically the whole time trying to convince me that we’d already seen it together, but by the end I had persuaded him that I was seeing it for the first time.

Sin Nombre is a searing look at the Mara Salvatrucha and one young man’s attempt to begin anew.

Taps, about the goings-on at a military academy, features Tom Cruise and Sean Penn in their first movie roles.

In The Women (1939), Joan Crawford, working at a perfume counter, says to Rosalind Russell something like, “I’m afraid that perfume may not be a good fit with your personality. It’s called ‘Oomph.’”

“How amusing,” replies Rosalind Russell, in a tone that about made me fall on the floor laughing. By the way, there is not one single person of the male persuasion in this movie.

Finally, The Lovely Bones. It did not get good reviews. The only reason I saw it was that Mark Wahlberg was in it, though I couldn’t figure out what he would be doing in such a movie. The book didn’t do that much for me, and the movie absolutely knocked me out.

The young lady in the lead role, Saoirse Ronan, was perfectly cast. The second you see her, you can’t bear that something terrible will happen to her, and days later, I was still crying over the ending, where she says, in a voiceover, “I was here for a moment. And then I was gone.” I could probably cry over that right now if I put my mind to it.

In between the immediately sad beginning and the haunting ending were many scenes of dazzling beauty, imagined views of heaven, and also creepy things you see in dreams, a couple of which I have dreamed almost verbatim. The whole film was slightly stylized—a little too perfect, the colors a bit too saturated—which made the violence (not shown explicitly) a bit easier to bear. It was brave of Stanley Tucci to play the part of the predator. He did a very good job in that part. I loved this movie.
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