Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ripping Good

I went to Howie’s Tuesday evening, and when I was walking home, I caught up to Charlie and two of his friends walking along Valencia St. “Are you following me?” I asked.

Charlie smiled and said, “Right, I’m stalking you from the front.”

“That’s the most treacherous kind,” I grumbled.

I listened to a talk by Joseph Goldstein Thursday evening, the first of 46 talks that formed the basis of his book, Mindfulness. The inspiration was someone else in Howie’s group who said he’d been listening to these talks and planned to hear all of them before going on to the book. I found the talk exceedingly relaxing, sleeping through probably a third of it, while sitting up. The relaxing effect was probably exacerbated by the fact that I’d already encountered the same key points in the book.

I was thinking of listening to a talk every Thursday night, but maybe that’s not such a good idea. I already have a slate of things to do every day, none of which takes hugely long and all of which are beneficial (meditating and stretching, etc.), but perhaps life isn’t supposed to be one big checklist. Where’s the joy, man? Also, forget that thing about not listening to the radio or music while doing other tasks. Up with background noise.

This past week I finally watched The Nun’s Story, which had been sitting on the shelf in its red Netflix envelope for three months. Who has two and a half hours to watch a movie, even one recommended by her mother? But I finally saw it, and sent my mother a note saying it was a ripping good yarn, a phrase that pleased me so much, I now plan to say it about every story and movie, good or bad.

I also watched Another Happy Day, with Ellen Barkin, a comedy that also manages to be wrenchingly painful, as Ellen Barkin’s character strives unsuccessfully to wring deserved compassion and understanding out of her clueless family. The same evening, I watched the first episode of Orange Is the New Black on Netflix and thought the lead actress was darling, but found it otherwise awful—very different from the book, which is excellent. I’m not going to watch any more of these. I finished by watching Lovelace, which is very good, though a harrowing tale indeed. It says at the end that Deep Throat made $600 million, but its star got only $1250. However, the Linda Lovelace Wikipedia page says that her controlling and violent husband took even that. The film closes by showing the real Linda Boreman’s sweet-looking face. She died in a car accident at only 53.
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