Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind directed by Michel Gondry

IMDb link

Have you ever wished you could redo an event in your life? I’ve often lamented that I didn’t study more in college. I a lifetime of boneheaded decisions painfully clearly. In high school, I said mean things about my friends when I was feeling insecure; in college, I was more interested in socializing than studying, eating, or sleeping; after college…well, let’s just say I wouldn’t have dated a stalker by choice.

Eternal Sunshine provides me with the “what if” fantasy of erasing those memories from my brain as though they never happened. Joel and Clementine both decide that they hated their relationship so much that it was better off erased. Clem’s erasure is completed with no remarkable effects; however, the technician in charge of Joel’s is more interested in in beer and the opposite sex than in ensuring his job is done well (sounds like me in college). As the memories are pulled from Joel’s head, he relives each of them one last time. Joel begins to wonder why he embarked on this at all. His memories of Clem are often as sad as they are sweet, but he realizes he wants to keep them and starts fighting the erasing machine.

What follows is a captivating view into one director’s idea of how our synapses fire and misfire as they trigger memory. Reality bends and some scenes feel like cartoons or dreams. Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Joel is very good, despite the fact that a few scenes are obviously Carrey as Carrey, mugging more than acting. I even liked Kate Winslet as Clem and thought she somehow looked prettier with crazy red hair than she ever did in her other films.

Spoiler ahead!

In the end, the erasure negatively impacts everyone: those who do it as well as those surrounding the erased.  While the movie had a few times when it swirled around like a madman, it drew the conclusion I always have: my experiences and mistakes, however grave or embarrassing, have made me who I am today.  Maybe the cruelty of other kids- and my resulting lashing out- led to my compassion for people and animals.  Maybe I’m such a diligent employee now to make up for earlier follies.  Maybe if my GPA were 4.0 I would have had a different career path and wouldn’t have met my husband.  Maybe all the desperately wrong people I dated helped me to see what I didn’t want in a spouse…and, regarding my bad relationship behaviors, didn’t want myself to be.

Regret is wasteful, and this film shows how our efforts to deny our selves do not end up bettering us.  I didn’t expect to like this movie but I find myself wanting to see it again to reexplore each layer of plot and theme.

[rate 3.5]

Stay Back 500 Feet or Else

I drove to the North side Monday for my doctor’s appointments, so I had some time to be irritated by the vehicles on the road. Am I the only one who hates these things? Those stickers say “STAY BACK 500 FEET” and “NOT LIABLE FOR DAMAGE.”

Ok, first of all, 500 feet at 10 mph is not the same as at 60 mph. If I even tried to stay back that far on city streets, someone would rear-end me out of crazy, annoyed spite. Second, what if the truck is going 60 mph on the highway? The debris shower doesn’t stay neatly in one lane. Must all three lanes stay back 500 feet? And what if the oafish truck is crawling along under the speed limit? Is anyone allowed to pass?

And while I’m at it, how can they say they aren’t liable for damage? At least the black truck had netting over the gravel, but many trucks don’t, and they spit gravel, dirt, rocks, twigs all over the road and in a shower over vehicles with the slightest wind. May I put a sticker on my car that says “not responsible for speeding, I had too much coffee and have a lead foot?” or “not liable for crashing into your car, I have road rage issues?” I must also note that these silly stickers cannot even be read unless one is within 100 feet of these noise-and-air-pollution-belching trucks.

If I leave debris at the side of the road and someone else has to deal with it, I have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines. These trucks litter all kinds of junk all over the road. I’m guessing these inconsiderate companies are forking over tons of extra cash for all of the punctured tires and the state-financed road cleanup crews. HA HA HA

Finally, I think I’ll buy thousands of these and stick it on everyone’s car, then have everyone go five mph right in front of one of these blasted trucks. Let the gridlock commence!

30 to Go

The pounds aren’t melting off like they once did, but I’m still losing weight. My doctor was pleased to see my progress. Now that I’m starting to eat more foods, I have to be careful to add good stuff before bad. For instance, some potato chips, left over from watching football Sunday, are staring at me seductively from across the room.

My most recently added food was bananas. Next is another fruit or a vegetable. NOT delicious salty-finger-licking-good fatty fried goods. *sigh*

Ainsley Update- Weight Check :(

Well, things had really improved last week, and I was hopeful.  After nine days of zero weight gain, Ainsley gained weight beautifully- eight whole ounces in a week (5-7 is ideal)- and her digestion appeared better.  However, I could tell that her digestive issues were worse this week.  My fears were confirmed when she was weighed today- she’s gained zero ounces since the last visit.

Nerdy Weight Spreadsheet for AEBAuthor’s aside: enjoy that I’ve done what I must do with all data- I made the obligatory nerdy spreadsheet.  Note that she’s sadly behind her ideal weight gain curve, which I have set at the lowest acceptable part of the range.

The visit today was for a feeding study, and it revealed what I’d already suspected: she’s a lazy eater.  Early on, she was having problems with coughing, and that led her to slow down her eating.  Her suck reflex never really developed.

The good news is that we can correct it.  The bad news is that she’s a bit older and it’ll be hard for her to unlearn her bad habit.  The worse news is that this new routine will require even more time and effort on my part.  At least I’m no longer at my wit’s end and feeling like I’m failing, on the verge of tears all the time.

The excellent news is that the nurse commended me on all of my efforts so far (SCWOB diet, nursing techniques, feeding schedules, et cetera) and said that if I hadn’t been doing all of the things I’ve done, Ainsley would almost surely be losing weight.  It really made me feel good to have someone give me a verbal pat on the back.

Oh, and it appears that my diet was not at fault, so I can slowly add new foods.  I added oatmeal- made with water and sugar only- and it was sadly the most delicious taste I’ve had in a long time.  A cool side effect of the blandness: my sense of smell is acutely heightened, and I was already very good at smelling things.  Maybe because I don’t exude garlic odor, I can smell it more?  And the same for other foods?  My sister was drinking wine yesterday and I could identify the grape from a yard away from her glass.  It’s kind of fun…unless someone has garlic breath.  Ew.

3:10 to Yuma directed by James Mangold

3:10 to YumaIMDb link

Strike one: Russel Crowe’s in it.  Strike two: I dislike Westerns, even everyone’s favorite, Unforgiven.  I used to hate Westerns (and still kind of do) because of the fact that women are almost never portrayed in strong roles.  I was irritated by the fact that every woman was a meek wife, a waitress/server type, or a whore.  I’ve made my peace with the fact that this genre is not going to change and that it is about male bonding and man versus man/himself.

Being that this movie was already made once, I expected no different; it was true to genre.  However, it was one of the better films I’ve seen this year.  The pacing was spot-on: like a good symphony, it had balanced highs and lows instead of simple, full-on adrenaline.  Dan Evans is a rancher who is struggling to make payments on his property.  He has only been consistent at failure and is keenly aware of that fact.  He backs away from his first confrontation with Ben Wade; however, as the film progresses, their relationship is that of equals.  In fact, I would assert that Ben Wade feels that Evans is the better man, as evidenced in the film’s last scenes.  The dialogue is complex without being stuffy.  I would say the costuming is excellent, except the oddly fitted white leather jacket and fancy studded chaps on Charlie Prince.  It was a strange touch that I feel will date the movie if watched in 20 years.

Critics had panned the ending as odd or wrong or, as Roeper said, “weird.”  But I thought the ending perfectly befit the themes carried throughout.  It showed the kind of man that Evans was and the kind of man that Wade respected (even if his show of respect was “weird”).  I can’t say much more without spoiling.

I even (begrudgingly) admit that Russel Crowe was excellent.

If all you want is an action movie, 3:10 delivers; if you want to explore complex themes, this is still the movie for you.

[rate 4.5]

The Madcap Adventures of Nick-N-Ainsley

I feel like a sitcom.  Attention: scatology to follow.  Please do not read if it grosses you out like it does me.

Due to Ainsley’s dietary/GI issues, I had to collect a- shall we just say- sample from her diaper.  It had to be tested within one hour.  It’s not like she can tell me when she’s about to make a sample, so I have to hang around and wait.  The lab tech suggested I line her diaper in cellophane.  No thank you.

So I collect the sample (ew), redress and pack up the kid (mad about this upheaval of her usual daily routine), throw on some decent clothes (still nothing that fits but one pair of pants), and rush to the hospital lab.  This is not an easy task!  Then traffic was slow, a road was closed, and I had to navigate through a neighborhood to make it to the hospital where I’ve never been.  There is NO parking nearby so I have to hike, carrying a baby, a long distance.  The sky sends forth some sprinkles of rain just to keep me moving fast enough.  I’m stopped by some very sweet, well-intentioned hospital welcome crew (like Wal-Mart greeters but nuns) who want to touch the baby and make her smile.  Time is ticking by, so I rudely say I have to run (rude to nuns= going a hot place after death??).  I find the lab, hand over the order, give them the sample, and let them know I called the lab and they said they didn’t need much.  I was feeling very accomplished for making it there.

After a few minutes, they come back with two more biohazard collection cups.  Apparently this test has to be run in triplicate (have they not heard of the Barr Decision?).  I have to do this little madcap stunt two more times this week.  Arg.

Meanwhile, her issues are not improving, despite my sadly bland diet and my nursing technique changes.  I’m exhausted even though I’m sleeping at night and I can’t stop worrying.  She was gaining weight OK then suddenly didn’t gain any weight last week, a very bad sign that things are worse.  I know, I know, worrying helps no one.  But I’m new at this and I would cut off my left arm (I write and draw left-handed) if it only meant she would be healthy.

Well, tonight is Heroes.  I’m going to hang out with some friends and try to remember that Ainsley’s going to be OK.