Saturday, October 14, 2017

Canary Singles

For years I asked various MCS groups to create and promote a relationship-seeking site for those of us who are single and would like to connect with others, but most rejected my idea telling me it would dilute the socio-political message and public education is the priority. So many of us are isolated without a support system, without family, and sometimes without friends with suicide the number one cause of death for the MCS community. To me connecting with others is a priority. Most of us can't even fathom an actual romantic relationship as just surviving daily can be so stressful. For those ready and willing to take the plunge, where would one find a single, safe, fragrance-free person? We can't even find MCS friends!

So here it is!  There is a free 30-day trial then after that you pay to flirt. One month costs $9.99, three months $19.99, six months $29.99 and one year is $49.99. Payment is made through Paypal.

No, I have not yet joined.

I did look at the menu. If I'm reading the locations correctly there are actual some men close to me (which is odd thing to discover), but I think I'll wait until more members join to make it cost effective. I'm not sure if I'm a dating site kind of girl. And just the thought of a man in a life exhausts me. Just the thought. So much work. So much effort. I like my singlehood. My autonomy. My independence. Why would I want a man to mess it up? Hmmmmm...I'll ponder that.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

September Movie Reviews

*****  Exceptional
****    Great
***      OK
**        So So
*          Blah

The Book of Love is about a girl who's dad died at sea and a man who's wife recently died and how they come together. Great potential. Jason Sudeikis is a great actor, but some of the other performances weren't so good. Or maybe it was the script, or the direction. The music was composed by Justin Timberlake and although it was nice, it was a little too epic for the simplicity of the story. **

Deepwater Horizon is based on the true story of an oil rig in the middle of the ocean, corporate greed (BP has got to be the worst company in the universe, maybe even worse than Monsanto), and the disaster that follows as it blows to smithereens killing too many people. Great cast: Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson (Oh, I'm just now realizing these two were in a movie together! Funny.), Mark Walberg,  Gina Rodriguez, and John Malkovitch. Sometimes the Louisiana accents were hard to understand. Typical disaster plot - they spend the first half hour introducing the characters so you feel emotional about them, then the next half hour showing the camaraderie between them, next fifteen minutes to showcase how sleazy BP is, and then the big bang and survivor rescue. Good story. ****

Hacksaw Ridge Incredibly violent war scenes. I'm not sure if they were the worst I've ever seen, but very graphic with guts all over, body parts, half faces, large black rats eating the bodies. Pretty gruesome and incredibly realistic. Great story. Andrew Garfield was superb. It's about a young man who is a conscientious objector, refuses to even touch a gun, but he enlists to be a medic so he can save lives not take them. Of course, he gets a lot of grief for being the odd man out. In the end a lot of his comrades were really glad he was there. I like a story about moral conviction. ****

Hello, My Name Is Frank...I Have Tourette's was a strange little movie with poorly written dialogue and substandard performances. Obviously it's about a man with Tourette's Syndrome, more about the girl who just graduated from high school. Her mother was Frank's caregiver for most of her life and she is torn between her future and caring for Frank herself as a promise to her mother. On top of that she has plans to visit the grave of her best friend on the best friend's birthday although their relationship was unclear. She and her two friends along with Frank travel across three states (!) to get to the cemetery, again, not sure why the best friend lived so far away. I didn't like the ending as it really made no sense along with the rest of the movie. Too many loose ends when what should have happened seemed clear to me. **

Jaws What a classic! It's now 40 (?) years old and it's still great. Of course, the first time I saw it I couldn't sleep for nights because of the nightmares and for years I never went into the water. Love Richard Dreyfuss. When so many movies from the 1970s seem intolerably dated, this movie can stand the test of time. Such a classic. *****

Lolo is a French movie about a sociopathic mama's boy who sabotages all of his mother's relationships. She meets a man in the country who is moving to Paris. He is sweet and naive, and way too trusting. It has some funny lines, especially when the women get together and talk about sex. **

Looking Both Ways is an Australian movie about people preoccupied with death: a woman who's father just died, a man who has been diagnosed with cancer, a reporter convinced most deaths are suicides, the girlfriend of a man who was hit by a train. This plot was supported by flashes of headlines, television news casts, and articles. The woman who's father just died is an artist but sees disaster around every corner anyway. As she walks down the street she imagines the subway above her going off its rails and crashing, or the man walking his dog as a rapist...and this plays out in her imagination as art. The art/cartooning is really spectacular. The man just diagnosed with cancer sees the disease eating away at bodies. He imagines the smoker next to him with skin cancer cells or he reads that masturbation and sex eat cancer cells so as he's kissing the woman, he sees his cancer cells disappearing. Loved the art and the death theme, but it seemed as if there was too much going on, too many non-death-related storylines diluting the plot. It needed more focus. Still, it was interesting. At times a little slow. Lots of scenes with birds flying in the sky. The DVD was slightly damaged so I had to suffer through skipping every now and then which didn't help. ***

Loving is about the interracial couple who defied the system and changed the law allowing interracial marriages. The racism is so disturbing and more disturbing that it persists in modern society. Will we never evolve? ***

Maximum Ride is about a science gone-wrong that created a bunch of hybrid humans as weapons. They were kept in cages and experimented on as children, transported to a mountain cabin to emotionally mature, recaptured. Not-so-good script, not-so-good acting, but it was an interesting story. **

Priceless is about human trafficking, stealing girls and making them prostitutes. It starts out with a man who needs a job and agrees to transport "cargo" for a night. Accidentally he finds out the cargo are two Mexican sisters who believe they are coming to the United States to work off their father's debt as maids or waitresses. It has a lot of God-talk, great looking lead actor, the dialogue is staged and mushy. But interesting. ***

The Take was about an American pick-pocket (Richard Madsen from Game of Thrones, I didn't recognize him...) in Paris who steals a bag that has a bomb and when it goes off he is blamed as the terrorist. CIA agent (Idris Elba from Star Trek) finds him and uncovers the plan. Great story, very intriguing. Lots of scenes of fancy fighting that went on too long at times. ****

Twentieth Century Women was about a single, divorced woman (Annette Bening) in 1979 trying to raise a teenage boy. She feels she can't do it alone and asks her two roommates to help guide him to be a better man. Annette Bening was great, but the story was strangely unappealing and her character oddly unlikeable. **

ONLY TWELVE  MOVIES??? ONLY!!! Lately my library sucks at courier service. It's taking way too long to get deliveries. Not sure why, but I'm going days without any movies. Very frustrating.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Harvest Time

Time to dig up the food before the monsoons arrive. Last year I waited too long and all my carrots split and the onions rotted.

This year the onions are in good shape, but way too small. Not sure why they didn't like the hot spot on the deck. These are red onions, too. Last year's were twice the size but yellow onions.

The carrots are magnificent. Ginormous! Beautiful! No bugs! Yummy!

Well, I have one that looks like a human. LOL I know there is a reason it grows that way but I can't remember.

And I'm still getting some that are developed only on one side. I don't know why this happens. Only about 1/8th are affected. They are still usable in stews chopped up, but they are ugly. (Next time I pull one up I'll take a photo and post it.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Last Days of Summer

Oh, how I love summer! The rainy season started a couple weeks ago, but we are getting one last splurge of heat. It should be in the 80s today. I noticed the sun glaring down my staircase for the last time and thought Oh, this looks like heaven smiling on me!!! Or summer saying good-bye!

Good-bye sunshine, until next year!!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Life is a Party!

It's been a while since I worked on my incredibly fun party series furniture painting. I've been too busy with protest posters and house painting.

I've been toying with the idea of becoming a foster parent. Yeah, it does sound a little crazy with my restrictions on air quality but I just feel the need to contribute to the well-being of innocent children in our society who through no fault of their own are homeless, parentless, and vulnerable. I'm tired of reading about parents killing their kids, abusing them, neglecting them for their drug addictions, or any number of atrocities. However, how will I be accommodated in training sessions or meetings or teacher conferences or doctor's appointments? Besides the fact I have to work and we have absolutely no childcare in our area. Hmmmmm...this might be nothing but a fantasy, but it's a fun fantasy.

Anyway, in preparation I've started looking around to assess what I would need for children. Which bedrooms to use and furniture and supplies I might need, besides the long list of requirements given to prospective foster parents by the foster care agency. I've started watching Freecycle and I posted requests for twin beds, bunk beds, car seats, baby equipment (they need a lot of stuff!). This is a bit scary because I don't want filthy, bug-ridden, garbage in my house, but buying new purchases soaked in formaldehyde is impossible so this is my only option. Sometimes one can get really good stuff off Freecycle.

My first bite was someone who had booster seats, in good shape, used briefly until her children quickly grew out of them. I pick them up and they STUNK of mold. I had them in my car for about five minutes before I couldn't breathe and got rid of them fast. So frustrating. Why would anyone think dirty, moldy items would be fine for children? People are stupid. I realized I needed to ask more questions and be very specific about my needs, but the weird thing about Freecycle is people often won't tolerate questions. They just go to the next person if you are too picky. But I'm also learning people who are trying to unload garbage will bend over backwards to avoid giving information. It's such a game. Sometimes I hate people.

The next bite was someone with a twin mattress. Totally clean, kept in a mattress protector in storage, no stains, no stink, no bedbugs, no animals, no smoking. Could a mattress be that perfect? No. The stains were very faint, but it stunk to high heaven of perfume which is a clear indication it must have smelled. I am so incredibly tired of people thinking Freecycle is a really FreeGarbagePickUpService! My frustration level was climbing.

Shortly after the mattress disappointment someone offered a twin mattress, again, perfectly clean and good shape including a really stupid photo of the SIDE of the mattress. No stains aren't usually on the SIDE. I reprimanded him, "Is is really clean? Or does it have stains, stink, bedbugs, animal dirt, and second hand smoke saturation? I'm so tired of people thinking Freecycle means Free Dump Service! If it's really clean, I'd love it." Needless to say, he didn't even respond to me, but my frustrations were released. Poor guy.

My next encounter was someone wanting to unload two dressers. Oh good! I was wondering where I'd put kid clothes. One of the dressers was beautiful and huge. I couldn't move it by myself so I passed. But the other dresser was a small child-size, white, with six drawers. It had problems. A few of the drawers were coming loose at the seams and had some glitches in the wood. At least the people were honest and they had me come directly to their house which is a sign of trust. I was hopeful. I took it.

I cleaned it up, repaired the drawers, glued the seams, and fixed it the best I could. Then I painted it! I really tried to stay away from dots, but I couldn't help myself! I'm an addict!  As you may remember from previous posts I have dotted furniture all over my house with titles like "Fiesta" "Confetti" "Celebration" and "Spree"...this dresser because of its tropical-looking leaf pattern is called:


Unfortunately, I don't even want to use it as a dresser now so it's still sitting in my kitchen as a display shelf for my colorful, garage-sale-find-fifty-cents-each ceramic collection! LOL!

So cheerful!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bumper Sticker of the Week Award

Buckle up. 
It makes it harder for aliens to suck you 
out of your car.

(This made me laugh so hard...)

Monday, September 11, 2017

NONessential Oils

My post on essential oils is popular, probably more popular than any other topic I discuss. I also receive comments on it. Some try to bully me into using essential oils. Others are telling me they are being bullied into using essential oils. My question is WHY? Why would anyone want to stink to that extent? Why do people want to pay money to stink? Why are bullies so intent on sucking me and their friends into their addictions?

I recently ran into a friend at a local store. I know he is a fan of organic foods and based on our few discussions, he is a health aficionado. He keeps me posted on new places to get organic food and I like people who are health conscious. During this visit we jumped on the topic of essential oils. I can't remember how we got there but he said on occasion he uses essential oils. This is going to sound sexist, but why does a man want to stink like that? I asked him why and he shrugged, muttered, but didn't really give an answer. I came right out and told him essential oils were totally unnatural.

He began defending them like an addict, "Oh no, you can get the organic kind!"

I tried to explain my very bad reactions to essential oils, and he countered it with, "You must not be using the organic kind!"

I assured him I had and it doesn't matter. But more importantly, how does he know they are organic? Anyone can label anything organic as long as it has one ingredient that is organic. How does he know those organic herbs aren't mixed with additives, stabilizers or preservatives? Toulene is in every perfume. How does he know manufacturers don't slip in some Toulene to help liquefy the oils? Does he know how the essential oils are processed? If they are so natural, why do I react badly to them? I'M CHEMICALLY SENSITIVE! I'M A CANARY!  He didn't have any answers although he assures me he's read articles and the oils he uses are organic and healthy and natural. 

Of course, I countered that with my standard defense: essential oils are natural like plywood is natural. The analogy went right over his head.

"Oh, no, plywood isn't natural."

To which I replied, "Why not? It's wood!"

"No! There are fillers and glues and processing." Really. He still wasn't getting it. This is the mindset of an addict.

In the past I did a lot of reading and research on essential oils. I thought I'd give it another crack and see if I can find updated information. Here's some tidbits of information although nothing new:

There are many ways essential oils are processed. Distillation is currently the most trendy. There is also "solvent extraction" which is preferred for herbs and flowers that are less stable. Yes, CHEMICAL extraction. If that one doesn't tickle your fancy essential oils can be processed with "Florasols extraction". Florasols is another solvent originally developed as a replacement for Freon. So I'm wondering, can an essential oil manufacturer use organic plants but use chemical extraction for processing and still call the product organic? Hmmmm...

Flammability. Essential oils have a flash point temperature that causes them to combust. You'd think this would be around 100 degrees...200 degrees. Some spontaneously combust at 60 degrees. Why are they flammable?  Perfumes are flammable, too. The post office won't mail them for you because of this safety hazard. Hmmm...

If you are pregnant or nursing, don't use them. It could lead to abortion or premature births. Hmmm...

People with health problems such as asthma, epilepsy or hypertension shouldn't use them. Hmmm...

They are a danger to pets as their livers can't process them. Well, what about human livers? Granted we are bigger, but if a pet can't process them why is it assumed a human can? WHY would a human want to? Dogs are used for medical research because their physiology is so close to humans. So if essential oils are not safe for pets, why are the considered safe for humans? Hmmm...

Some essential oils are photo toxic creating photosensitivity which makes the wearer vulnerable to sunlight. Where have I heard that before? Oh, that's right! Pharmaceuticals are also photo toxic as well as chemical-laced lotions and beauty products. Why? Because they have chemicals in them. If you've read my posts on skin cancer, you know I believe chemicals cause cancer NOT sunshine. Hmmm...

Do not put essential oils in eyes, nose or ears as it could lead to chemical burns. Chemical burns? But I thought they were natural? Ingesting too much oil can burn one's stomach walls. This is anything but natural. It might have been natural as a sprig of lavender, but it's not natural as a bottle of poison. Hmmm...

Doesn't this sound like the warning label on any number of chemicals? So why do people think they are so natural and healthy? What is the point in using essential oils anyway? More importantly,
why do I react to essential oils as if I'm being poisoned if they are only natural plant materials, healthy and organic?

Today I ran into another acquaintance who I really like, who is always very elegant looking with beautiful hair and make up,  and who had a bout with skin cancer not too long ago. However, she doesn't wear perfume. She tells me it bothers her and wonders how people can wear so much of it so often. I introduced the idea of chemical addiction...perfumes and colognes are chemicals. She hadn't thought of that. At that point she discloses she rather enjoys a dab of essential oil now and then. After all, it's natural, isn't it? Again, I pull out my arsenal of defense: PLYWOOD. It's such a great comparison. She seems to get it, but she's not having it and decides rather than listen to the person who is chemically sensitive, who has bad reactions to chemicals, and who has bad reactions to essential oils (Logic 101), she decides she'll have to consult the grocery grunt who stocks shelves because of course that imbecile must know way more than someone who is actually chemically sensitive. I think the unenlightened will do anything to justify their bad habits and find anyone who would support them before actually questioning the facts. I think I'd be less insulted if she'd just come right out and say, "I don't give a shit what you say or how sick my stink makes you, I'll wear my stink. Fuck your health."

I usually do really like my unenlightened friends. I tolerate their bad habits. When they arrive at my house stinking of chemicals I keep my mouth shut and adjust my position upwind. However, this constant attempt at educating them is absolutely exhausting. They know me. They know I'm chemically sensitive. Yet they still use toxic laundry detergents, soaps, hair products, lotions, make ups, and...essential oils. They just don't get toxic products are toxic to everyone. Just because they don't react doesn't mean it's not affecting them. Or they just don't care.

From another blog post of mine:
Unfortunately the term "natural fragrance" or "essential oil" on an ingredient list doesn't necessarily mean it is safe. In a study analyzing 35 top selling products, green, natural and organic fragranced products emitted just as many hazardous chemicals as regular fragranced products. That's because most essential oils in consumer products are processed with a toxic solvent. In addition, essential oils containing terpenes such as pine and citrus oils react with ozone in surrounding air to create secondary pollutants such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, and ultrafine particles.

To all you out there who are so self-centered that you use essential oils (or any fragrance or scented product or chemical) and persist in poisoning innocent bystanders...STOP! Please STOP! It does not make you smell good! It makes you smell desperate for attention, lacking in self-esteem, and stupid. When your body overloads, you, too, will join the ranks of the chemically sensitive! Yes, I wish chemical sensitivity on EVERYONE. Then everyone would be forced to be fragrance-free.

Italian Prunes

Italian Prunes are ripe! 


Thursday, August 31, 2017

August Movie Reviews

*****  Exceptional
****    Great
***      OK
**        So So
*          Blah

Before I Disappear is about this totally messed up guy. In the bathroom at work he finds a woman dead from a drug overdose and his boss, the nightclub owner, doesn't want the publicity so they get rid of the body. Later he finds out it was the rival nightclub owner's girlfriend and he's wondering why she isn't calling him afraid she dumped him. Our screwed up protagonist can't say anything. He tries all night to commit suicide, but the phone keeps ringing. His estranged sister is in lock up and she begs him to pick up the niece and watch her. It was a strange movie with lots of odd characters. It made me thankful my life is not so dramatic. I like my boredom. My review makes it sound like some kind of comedy, but it definitely wasn't. ***

Bird People starts with an American business man (Josh Charles the dead lawyer from The Good Wife) in Paris. For some reason he snaps and decides he doesn't like his life. He quits his job, quits his wife and kids. It seems very self-centered and we get to watch long scenes of him smoking. Everyone in this film smokes. Every now and then there is a bird in the scene. Then there is the hotel housekeeper who is working at the hotel where he is staying. She turns into a bird. Yep, you read that right. She turns into a bird and flies around looking at people. So weird. I turned it off. *

Camp X-Ray is about a "detainee" (Payman Maadi) and a guard (Kristen Stewart) and the hell that is Guantanamo Bay. It was really good. Sad. ****

Decoding Annie Parker is about one woman's experience with cancer after her mother, father, and sister died from it. Convinced there must be a genetic link she passionately searches for answers while geneticist Mary-Claire King  researches to discover genetic markers and mutations that cause cancer. Excellent performances. Cancer baffles me. I'm still perplexed why I'm still alive when my mother died when she was thirty-four years old. My friends are always giving me shit about how their parents lived to be elderly and because of genes, they will, too. Sorry. I don't buy it. If our longevity is all about genes based on our family history, I should have died ions ago. Someday I think someone will figure it out. Until then we are all in the dark. ***

The Girl on a Train is about an alcoholic woman who rides the train to Manhattan every day. She sees the houses on the way, her old neighborhood where her now ex-husband lives with his new wife/former mistress. The woman down the street is having an affair with her psychiatrist and disappears later to be found murdered. The alcoholic blacked out the night of the murder and can't remember where she was and what she did, but she awakens the next morning dirty and covered in blood. Great murder mystery. Excellent performances. ****

Hungry Hearts is about a couple (Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher) who have a baby. When she's pregnant she stops eating. The doctors keep telling her she has to eat so the baby will develop, but she ignores them. She becomes very weird and neurotic. Then when the baby is born she refuses to feed him meat (protein) and has him exist on avocados and weird herbal potions designed so he will not digest nutrients. The baby is underdeveloped and not gaining weight. She's starving the baby and herself. She also refuses to take him outside for fear of environmental toxins. It had a very slow start, way too much introduction. I've always liked Adam Driver and he's just starting to do a lot of dramatic roles. ***

Inferno is part of the Davinci Code series starring Tom Hanks. This one is about the release of a virus to cull half the population so the other half can live and the human race won't be obliterated through overpopulation. Through various clues they try to figure out where the virus is located before the bad guys release it. Lots of high drama, intrigue, chase scenes, never a dull moment in an exhausting kind of way. I do like a movie about the risks of overpopulation. ***

Jane Wants a Boyfriend was about the relationship between an autistic woman and her overprotective sister. Hate the title. I couldn't tell if the actress playing the autistic woman was overacting or if that was just the way autistic people are. It didn't feel natural, but I don't know. ***

Kelly and Cal Stupid, uninspired, lacking in creativity title. It's about two people who have lost their former selves and really don't know how to go on with their lives. Kelly is a former bass player in a rock band who got married and is now living the suburban life with  a new baby. Cal is an ex-artist teenager in a wheelchair after an accident that left him without fine motor skills. They develop an odd friendship that satisfies each other's need for companionship, but Cal starts crushing on Kelly and well, Kelly is married. Interesting human relations.***

Last Cab to Darwin is an Australian film about an elderly cab driver who has been given three months to live. He doesn't have family and refuses to be hospitalized. He sees an article about a new euthanasia law and starts driving 3000 kilometers to Darwin to end his life. Along the way he meets some interesting people. Great photography, excellent performances. I had a difficult time understanding the dialogue with their strong Australian accents. ***

Last Weekend is about this incredibly wealthy family, with an incredibly beautiful lake house, and their incredibly spoiled kids and their last weekend before they sell the place. I had a hard time relating to people whose greatest drama is selling a house. Patricia Clarkson always plays quirky characters. I wonder if she's like that in real life. ***

The Lobster was the second weirdest film I've ever seen. The first most absolute weirdest movie, Swiss Army Man, is featured below. August must be the weird movie month. The Lobster was about an alternate universe where everyone lives happily as a couple. If for some reason, you are dumped or lose your couple status and become single, you are sent to a hotel where you have 45 days to find your new partner based on your distinguishing characteristic (good hair, nose bleeds, limps, stutters...) If you do not find a new and suitable partner, you are turned into an animal of your choice. Our star (Colin Farrell) chooses to be a lobster. His wife left him. He is accompanied by his brother, a dog, a previous hotel tenant who "didn't make it". Every now and then the group takes their dart guns and hunts for loners. If they shoot one the loner is brought back to the hotel and transformed into an animal. Nearing  the end of his stay, Farrell becomes desperate and decides to find himself a partner come hell or high water and fakes his distinguishing characteristic, but his lies are found out. He runs away to join the loners and there he meets his true partner (Rachel Weisz - they are both near sighted). Unfortunately in this community they are not allowed relationships. The whole movie was SO INCREDIBLY WEIRD. Are people that bored with filmmaking they resort to making up this kind of shit? LOL. I was recently asked if I could be any animal what would I be. I didn't have time to really think it through but finally came to the conclusion being a bird would be cool. But then I thought some kid would probably take his bb gun and shoot me or one of those horrid crows would fly me into a fence or eat my babies. So I settle on being an eagle. No one really messes with an eagle and they are protected by law. That's the best I could come up with in a short amount of time. **

Manglehorn is about a man (Al Pacino) who is obsessed with the woman who got away. Or who actually left him because he was so emotionally unavailable. Obsession and regret makes him even more emotionally unavailable. Great performances. ***

Mr. Pig is about an elderly pig farmer-alcoholic (Danny Glover) who has lost his family farm and takes off with his prize pig "Howie" to sell him for big bucks to a Mexican factory farmer who was the son of his dad's old pig farming friend for $50,000. With money in hand he asks to see his pig one more time and unexpectedly gets a tour of the factory farm. He goes berserk and refuses to sell the pig to such a horrible fate. He needs to find a home for him, but his daughter begins to worry he's gone crazy and joins him only to find out he is dying from cancer which is why he's settling all his accounts. ***

The Salvation was about a Danish settler in the Wild West who waited seven years before sending for his wife and young son only to have ruffians murder them both on the stagecoach. He catches up to the stagecoach and shoots them dead. One of those ruffians was the brother of the bad guy (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who has been terrorizing the town for profit. Now he's really pissed off. Classic Western plot. It was a great revenge movie, although sad. Too many good people died. ****

Sing Street is about an Irish boy in the 1980s who writes music and forms a band to impress a girl. Outstanding music. Excellent performances. Great hair. Loved it. ****

Swiss Army Man had to be the absolutely weirdest movie I've ever seen! It's about a man (Paul Dano) stranded on an island somewhere in the Pacific. Just as he's about to kill himself because his solitude is driving him nuts, a dead body (Daniel Radcliff) washes up on shore in front of him. The corpse farts. A lot. And Dano uses the body like a jet ski propelled by the gas. Yeah, I have no idea. The weirdness was shocking. When the farting stops and therefore, along with the jet skiing, they are washed ashore on land somewhere. Eventually the dead body starts talking and their relationship begins as Dano figures out all kind of ways to use a dead body (like a multi-purpose Swiss Army knife). SO. INCREDIBLY. WEIRD. Performances were outstanding, but SO. INCREDIBLY. WEIRD.  The writers were crazy. I ended up fast forwarding through it just because I was curious where it might go although it was still too weird to watch. *

Table 19 is about wedding reception seating and the farther away you are seated from the wedding couple the more undesirable you are. Table 19 is next to the bathroom, barely within sound of the band, and eventually they realize they are the guests that should have "regretfully declined" the invitation but didn't. The story centers on the ex-girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) of the best man who was the maid of honor since it was her best friend's wedding but after being unceremoniously dumped opted out. Of course, he is there with his new girlfriend who was promoted to maid of honor. The ex-girlfriend is placed at the table with a group of misfits. At first it felt like a typical rom-com wedding plot with the jilted girlfriend who doesn't want to go to the wedding, goes anyway, meets a gorgeous guest who sweeps her off her feet and gets carried off into the sunset. However, shortly after she meets and dances with the gorgeous guest, the plot goes sideways. The idea had a lot of potential. I really like Anna Kendrick so that gave it more potential. Unfortunately, the story wasn't that interesting and the characters weren't that interesting. The antics of Table 19 guests became a little meaningless and didn't pack the punch they should have. Most of the time they are sitting somewhere feeling sorry for themselves and bonding over their pathetic states of misfit-ness.  It was borderline stupid comedy but the comedy wasn't outlandish enough to fit. **

Tokyo Fiancee is about this young, sweet Belgian girl who was born in Japan but left with her family when she was five years old. She has dreamed for 15 years of become Japanese and heads to Tokyo. She offers French classes and a handsome young Japanese man hires her. It blossoms into romance and he asks her to marry him...but she is unsure. Do they love each other just because they are fascinated with each other's culture? She tells him of the Belgian tradition of engagement thinking she can put him off for a long time. Then a few natural disasters occur and she is forced to leave. Sweet film. Pauline Etienne is absolutely adorable. It has English subtitles. ***

The Trip to Italy with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. The previews showed scenes from The Trip which I assume was the first movie, but my library system doesn't have it. I constantly felt like I was coming in at the middle of a story. These two comedic actors spent the time eating the most heavenly looking food, driving the beautiful countryside (while listening to Alanis Morrissette) and babbling hilarious banter back and forth while quoting movie lines and doing impressions. It would be fun to travel with people so funny but at the same time it might get old and irritating for a whole week. I think it was fictional, but they used their own names so I wasn't quite sure although the extramarital affairs wouldn't be something they'd publicly admit. ***

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet was about a little boy born with a highly developed scientific mind who's adventurous twin brother dies in a shooting accident as they are researching shooting velocity. He feels like his family blames him. After he invents a perpetual motion machine and wins a prestigious award from the Smithsonian Institute, he decides to run away from home via freight train to accept the award in Washington DC. Strange story. Not realistic at all. How does a little kid travel across country without being caught or worse? Then he gets to the Smithsonian and no one questions where his guardians are? He just shows up and that's fine? Lots of potential and I think it was supposed to be about grief from a child's point of view, but it was trying too hard to be a comedy or a fantasy or both. Too bizarre (theme of the month) It failed every step of the way. American landscape was lovely.  **

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Lost My Bra...

I searched high and low. The last time I remember seeing it I was walking through the kitchen thinking I needed to take it to the laundry. It wasn't in the laundry. It wasn't in the drawer. It wasn't in the bathroom. I started searching in places like the my office, my car, the garage, the refrigerator. Did I throw it in the garbage mentally associating needs to be washed with dirty and garbage? Unfortunately, garbage day was the day before so I was out of luck. This could get very expensive.

You probably don't think losing an undergarment is a big deal. Bras are a dime a dozen. Well, not really. The last one I priced was $30. When did they get so expensive? I only wear very comfortable, 100% cotton sport bras as a rule. This was my one and only "official" bra. White, kind of ugly, straps, hooks. The typical modern torture device for women, but far more supportive (and more uncomfortable) than a sport bra. It's my fancy dress-up bra for when I wear nice clothes. Needless to say, I don't wear it often.

I'm convinced my brain is in a process of serious degeneration. Am I in some kind of downward spiral and too mentally unaware to know? Am I just now noticing?  Is it all the painting I've been doing? Is it just old age? Do others notice?

I don't feel foggy, I just don't have a memory. I can't remember what I've read. I can't remember the definitions of words and have to constantly look up their meaning so I know I'm using them correctly. I turn on the washing machine and not more than five minutes later I don't know why I can hear running water. And I'm losing things.

I bought a roll of painter's tape for artwork. After unpacking the car, the tape disappeared. Last time I remember seeing it I took it out of the bag in the car so I could use the bag for groceries and I placed it in my art tote with my art supplies. I check my art supply tote four times. I looked in the car five times. I checked the refrigerator twice. I checked the garbage. Bathroom, office, bedroom, kitchen shelves. Nope. Did it meet the same fate as my bra? bra...garbage. I checked the garbage again only this time I dug down to the before I got home and threw the mail away level. There sits my brand new roll of tape, covered in old food, thankfully still wrapped in its plastic packaging.

Today I opened a drawer I thought was unused, empty. There sat my bra. Keeping company with two old sport bras I thought I had thrown away. I had convinced myself my bra collection was getting sparse because I was throwing the old, ratty ones away. Nope, just forgetfully reorganizing.  I seem to be perpetually confused. Confusion is a brain issue, too. Hmmmm.

This sucks...but I AM finding things! I guess I'll know it's really bad when things disappear forever...unless I don't even notice it! Is this the start of Alzheimer's? God, I hope not.

BTW, do let me know if I start writing incoherently. I might not notice it.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Heat Wave

This heat wave is making my roses crazy! And the house is so hot they are opening too fast.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

We Got Haze

Forest fires in the north have hazed the environment. Unusual temperatures in the 100s make outside pretty unbearable...except in the early morning hours. During my walk I happened to glance at the horizon and the sun just coming up over the hills was a vibrant red! So beautiful. It took me too long to walk home and grab my camera so much of the red was replaced by orange, but the view was still amazing:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Movie Reviews

*****  Exceptional
****    Great
***      OK
**        So So
*          Blah

Anesthesia was about this mix of people questioning the meaning of life. It was a little too abstract for me and even the lectures of the college professor went way over my head. I normally don't like Kristen Stewart but she was really outstanding in this movie and had some great lines on the futility of life. **

Arrival is a sci-fi with a whole lot of human emotion thrown in to make it less science-y. It's about this linguistics expert (Amy Adams) who is called to help the government try to translate alien language when twelve extra-terrestrial ships land all over the world and no one knows who they are nor what they want. The octopus-like creatures make strange whale-like sounds and when Louise starts showing them words they spray black ink-like substance on the glass partition creating abstract shapes. Because Earth is divided into various countries all with different leaders, many with their own alien ship to deal with, we humans can't quite get it together and sharing information on each of the ships becomes problematic. Naturally China and Russia decide to do their own thing and plan to attack their ships (idiots) based on misinterpretation of the alien communication. It was long, drawn out, somewhat boring, and Adams was unemotional through most of it. It was like she was in a trance. which might have been appropriate, but still irritating. The music was obnoxiously irritating although fitting in a weird way. There was time jumping, too, although you don't realize what is going on until the end. Actually I'm still not real clear what was going on...and that's how I know it's sci-fi! **

A Ballerina's Tale is about the rise of Misty Copeland, first African-American principal dancer in a major ballet company. Lots of history on other African-American dancers. Just watching her exercise exhausted me. It was fascinating especially the part where she talks about the pain tolerance of dancers and we find out for two long she was dancing with fractured bones! Eeeew. Excellent documentary. ****

The BFG is based on Roald Dahl's book of the same name about a little orphan girl with insomnia and one night she sees a giant roaming the streets of London. Afraid she will tell other humans about giants, he snatches her and carries her to Giant Land to live with him in his very cool cave. The other less friendly giants want to eat her so they have to figure out a plan. Outstanding!! Good lord! Talk about bringing this book to life and with such wonderful special effects. *****

Blood Relative was about a young woman who ran away from her broken home and multiple step-fathers when she was a teen. She contacts her ex-con, ex-biker father (Mel Gibson) while on the run after shooting her drug-cartel boyfriend. It doesn't take long before they find her. He taps into his connections with various gangs, prison inmate friends, and biker clubs for assistance all the while trying to not violate his parole. It was really good. I don't normally like shoot-em-up movies with lots of violence, but this one wasn't so mindlessly bloody and the plot was excellent. Great role for Gibson. ****

Born to Be Blue was based on a true story about trumpet player/heroin addict Chet Baker and his rise then fall then rise again. Outstanding performance by Ethan Hawke. The time travel and flashbacks were a little discombobulating, color to black and white, but that's just me. Depressing story due to the drug addiction. ***

Denial is about the libel trial between a Holocaust professor (Rachel Weisz) and a Holocaust denier who claims the Holocaust never happened and the very strange English legal system where the defense has to prove the accuser is wrong. It was good. Weisz fake Queens accent was irritating, but maybe it was supposed to be. ***

Effie Gray is the true-ish story of art historian John Ruskin's wife (Dakota Fanning) who he ignored and treated like garbage. This story line was featured in the movie I saw about the Pre-Raphaelite artists a while back. Most of the plot deals with her marital situation which was very depressing. In the end she falls in love with artist Everett Millais and gets a divorce which is unheard of in the 1800s.  Most of the performances were excellent, but the plot was slow and not very interesting. Dakota Fanning rocked a great English accent, but if the character was supposed to be Scottish...hmmm? Her character was very stoic which might have been appropriate, but Fanning tends to be unemotional no matter what character she's attempting and that's not a compliment. **

Every Thing Will Be Fine was about a writer (James Franco) who when driving in blizzard conditions on a country detour hits a boy on a sled. He gets out and the boy is sitting in front of the car in a stupor. He sighs and thanks God. He walks the boy up to the house, carries him on his shoulder, makes conversation, and when he reaches the door the mother asks where her other son is. The driver didn't realize the older brother he hit was under his car. A really memorable scene! The movie is about how this man and the dead boy's family deal with such a trauma. Interesting. Maybe a little slow. The music was really melodramatic like a ghost story which was a little unsettling. ***

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them the latest J.K. Rowling film about a British wizard / magical creature advocate (Eddie Redmayne) who travels to America carrying a suitcase full of magical creatures. When bad things start happening, it's all blamed on the few innocent creatures who had escaped. Redmayne's character, Newt, was such a quirky, nerdy guy with so much bizarreness he was just another creature. The story was incredibly convoluted with way too much going on, way too many theories and rules and weird names of things it lacked connection. Even the never-ending special effects were so bombarding the exhaustion of it inspired...apathy. Oh, another building falling apart, another explosion, another poof of smoke, ho hum. The thing that makes Harry Potter is so lovable is it is all about humanity: relationship bonding between friends, family, community, and situation. Lots of human emotion. This was like a bad sci-fi trying to be clever through fantasy with individual players either for or against society lacking connection. Even the protagonists were antagonistic toward each other. Destruction rebuilding effects were cool and the ecological/animal protection themes were excellent although I think they could have added much more emotion through these fantastic beasts. Colin Farrell plays the bad guy and then he changes into Johnny Depp! I wonder how much Depp got paid for his five second cameo? **

Fences is about a former baseball player for the Negro League in the 1950s. Now he's a garbage man supporting his family. Lots of long-winded speeches about life. It was written as a play and it feels like that. Even though the performances were outstanding, especially Denzel Washington, I didn't care for it as a movie. I wanted it to get to the point of the plot but it just rambled on. *

The Founder is about how Ray Kroc (Michael Keeton) built the McDonalds empire. Fascinating. He teamed up with the McDonalds brothers to franchise their fast food restaurant based on speed, quality control and product reputation, signed a contract giving them ultimate control of the product and as he was losing money he found the "back door" and bought all the land out from under them!  They threatened to sue him but realized they already lost and were forced to sell the whole franchise corporation and their namesake to him. Kroc was a great businessman, but the story was pretty sleazy. The imitation milkshakes said it all! Great story. ****

Hell or High Water What a stupid title. I guess it could be worse, but I know it could be better. This movie is about two Texan brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who go on a modern day bank robbing spree. The bank recently foreclosed on their family ranch, wheeling and dealing their mother before she died in the sleaziest way possible after oil was discovered on the property. Jeff Bridges plays the almost-retired Texas Ranger who goes after them. Excellent performances, excellent sets (the dirt and dust of Texas), and excellent thought-provoking story. I enjoyed the intrigue as it wasn't clear why they were robbing banks (sorry for disclosing too much) and I love a corporate greed revenge theme. Great ending. ****

Hey, Hey It's Esther Blueburger is a strange coming-of-age story out of Australia about a weird little girl who goes to a very pompous, mundane private school where no one gets her and everyone teases her. She has no friends, spends her lunches alone in a room, and befriends a duckling from the science department until it ends up dead for a dissecting project.  She does have a brother who is just a bizarre as she is. She meets a girl from the local public school and begins skipping her school so she can go to school with this other girl where she blossoms in the misfit group and proceeds to find notoriety as the school bully. I hate the title. **

Jungle Book (2016) Outstanding. I loved, loved, loved the cartoon version as a kid. This one featured a human boy and a whole lot of digitally enhanced animals, some looked very real except they were talking, some didn't. Great voices by Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken. I was surprised they included the songs although I think it was easier to add the music to the cartoon movie. Beautiful sets. Loved it. Kids would absolutely love it although it does get a little violent and scary. ****

A Monster Calls Good lord, I had no idea what this movie was about. I had just watched The BFG and the previews for this movie looked similar:  kid, companion giant, special effects.  I had no clue. It's was about  kid who is dealing with his mother who is dying from cancer. Yeah, he's also dealing with bullies, an absent father, and a witch of a grandmother, but it was more about the fear, anger, guilt from anger, denial, isolation, and the fantasy world created to avoid the reality.  Spot on. I sobbed. With the exception of the bullies, it was my story, same age and same evil grandmother and absent father. It hit a little too close to home. Outstanding performances, awesome special effects, beautiful settings and scenery.  The watercolor/ink illustrations were beautiful. Great themes. ****

Moonlight is about the evolution of a gay black man from boyhood growing up in the hood with a drug addict for a mother, bullied constantly through school, and coming to terms with who he is as an adult. Very sad on so many levels. Great performances, but it was a little slow. I had no idea what was going on the first half hour. ***

Pelé was the story of the famous soccer player from childhood to the World Cup. Excellent story. Excellent performances. The kids were adorable. ****

A Perfect Day is about a group of humanitarian aid workers during the war in the Balkans in 1995. A man, or as they constantly refer to him "the fat fuck," from one of the villages fell or was thrown down the local well and his dead body has contaminated the water supply. Due to a number of conflicting bureaucratic regulations with various peace agreements, it's forbidden to get him out even though the village desperately needs water, but even if they could they can't find a rope and spend much of the day searching for one while encountered dead cows laying across roads which is known to be a trap for mines. The characters are hilarious (Tim Robbins and Benicio del Toro), but the war themes are heartbreaking. It was good. Loved the dog. Vicious animal on a rope. They decided to slip him some tranquilizers, but in the end, as they say the tranquilizers only made him worse. Then they zoom into the dog. Hilarious shot of the dog. LOL.  ***

Pete's Dragon  I've got a theme going on here - kids with friendly, giant companions. There seem to be a lot of children's films based on books produced just in the last couple years. Every time I come across one I think hasn't this been out for a long time??, but I think I'm just remembering it from my days as a children's librarian.  This movie started out the total opposite of a children's movie: car accident with dead parents, tiny boy alone lost in the woods with wolves chasing him. Jeez. Enough to give kids nightmares. Then the dragon saves him and the dragon is like a big playful kitten that chases its tail, sleeps on its back, jumps, rolls, plays with anything that moves, sneezes, and flies. And very protective. The dragon didn't look as realistic as I would have liked BUT it was lovable and friendly and after the horror that was the beginning of this story, the dragon needed to be like a big, friendly, cuddly, green furry stuffed  animal. Adorable story. Great performances. It's a North American  Jungle Book only without the singing...oh, there is one song, but animals don't sing. Great role for Robert Redford with his animal rights advocacy. *****

Snowden Is he a traitor or a patriot? This is the story of Edward Snowden, his background, his government experience and pretty much his disgust with the sleazy way the American intelligence operates.  Clearly he's a patriot. ****

Time Out of Mind is about a homeless man (Richard Gere) as he exists in the city, negotiates the bureaucracy of shelters, keeps safe on the streets, sells his clothes for alcohol, and deals with his demons. Most of the framing is filmed through windows, from the building out to the street or vice versa, however, what was exceptionally striking was the soundtrack. Lots of noise. There is never silence and usually three to four different sounds intermixed on top of each other - people yelling, people talking, pigeon wings flapping, traffic, sirens, coughing, singing, tapping, horns honking, music, utensils clanging, laundromat dryers banging, new voices screaming, different voices laughing, both the inside building and outside street noise simultaneously.  And it's all amplified over the dialogue between the main characters. Really ingenious. Then Ben Vereen shows up half way through playing another homeless man who talks loudly non-stop and follows Gere around. All this clatter was incredibly irritating to me as someone with a hearing sensitivity, but added so much to the experience of being homeless and mentally ill "lost" in a large city. There was an unsafe element to the noise and I just wanted peace. STOP THE FUCKING NOISE!  At one point near the end of the movie Gere's character explains to someone when his life fell apart, he couldn't stop the noise in his head. Ah ha! It was very depressing and a little slow, but I think even the speed of the movie was purposeful as well. Really brilliant filmmaking which is why it gets such a high rating. ****

EMFs and Cell Tower Locations

There is a website called Antenna Search that will locate cell towers and antennas within four miles of your home. I know we have towers because I can see them on the far hill. I didn't know we had NINE!?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"How I Spent My Summer [Vacation]"

A more appropriate title would be "How I Spent My Summer" as vacations are few and far between.

I've been working on painting one side of my house all summer. Every couple of years I paint only one side to keep it maintained and to avoid total exhaustion. This is the west side and although not the southern exposure side, it gets afternoon sun and wind from the ocean. It's the weather side, the bad side. It takes a beating in the winter. You can see from the photo above how the heat of the afternoon sun hits my house as all that white primer is where I scraped loose paint right down to the wood.

Besides scrapping loose paint, this project has also involved washing it with soap and a brush, bleaching it (twice) with my new garden sprayer and rinsing, repairing loose shingles, caulking and then going over sections I didn't think were clean enough with a rag only because I'm paranoid of peeling. It's exhausting, but I'm doing it slowly. I can justify all this extra exertion in my life by saying it's saving me a lot of money by doing it myself. This also affords me the luxury of not having to hire a sleazy construction worker who will charge me max and do a lousy, half-ass job. So many of them know less than I do about proper painting procedures I don't see the point in wasting money. And that means I get to do the work. Blah. But I know it'll get done to the best of my ability. Home ownership is not as fun as it sounds.

Of course, all this work is toxic. Primer is incredibly stinky and bleach just nasty. Exterior paint is deadly with all the chemicals that make it weather resistant and strong. There is no way to get around that unless one uses bare wood shingles but even those need to be treated with chemicals far more toxic than paint. I wear goggles, a mask, gloves, and a jumpsuit for protection. It seems to work to stay safe, but uncomfortable in the heat. I only work in the mornings before the sun is shining on this side of the house.

A problem I'm having is the ladder. I bought this ladder a couple years ago at a garage sale with the sole purpose of getting this painting project done. It scares me to death and I don't have a problem with heights. It just feels dangerous. Extended out too much and it is very bouncy and feels unstable especially when trying to balance myself along with a paint can and paint brush (or sprayer or cleaning brush).

Tomorrow I paint. I have considered hiring a teenager to paint the apex at the top just because it's too high, but then what happens if his balance isn't any better than mine and he falls and dies!? I'll decide tomorrow if it's worth it. I may have to leave the top unpainted!

I canceled the teenager. He falls and dies his parents would sue me to satisfy their grief. I decided I can do this. Don't be scared. Then I tried extending my ladder to the top and it just doesn't reach! Oh well. So I extended it to the max and tied bungie cords around the parts to make me feel more secure while it bounced. One of those bungie cords escaped my grip and smacked me in the mouth giving me a big, fat lip...the only injury.

The finished product:

So lovely. It makes all that toxic work worthwhile. Notice how dull and greenish the old color was in the first photos? So bright and cheerful now. This house has always been two-toned but I think the paint dulls greenish OR maybe the former owners ran out of paint and bought more that didn't match? It's a mystery. The old color is more green-blue located in high spots and on the back side and the rest is a blue-green which is what I've been matching. Did you notice where the very top apex is not painted? Yeah, me neither. I don't care. HA!

See the drips on the lower photo? Yeah, me neither. I picked a section that had few drips. Damn drips were out of control!

Hooray for self-reliance!

Hmmm...summer is only half over. Maybe I'll paint another side?

Ah ha! So I'm feeling energetic and decide to do another section. I had to remove the mailbox and a downspout and it's clear there was a green-blue paint on top of a beige paint with the blue-green on top of it all. The mystery is solved!

Under the downspout and mailbox.

Back of the house...very greenish.

This blue finally matches the blue in my crazy porch.

I do kind of like the greenish-blue, but the bluish-green is really pretty. The color of my van is in between the two -  maybe more blue than green also. Doesn't matter. I love the blue!

I'm definitely getting a good painting fix.

The things I do for fun....

By the time I finished the front (third side), my fingers, wrists, hands, and arms were in so much pain I couldn't go on any longer. The last side will have to wait until next summer.