Norwegian Day Is Not My Favorite Day

**My personal opinion only, and I live and let live*** Today is Norwegian Day, or something like that, and here in Ballard we have some big Norwegian Day parade that has been in existence as far back as I remember (1970s).  I am half Norwegian, so you’d think I’d like this day, but in all honesty I don’t.  When I think of Italians, I think of shouting and hugging and good food and family, when I think of Irish I think pubs and stories and green, but when I think of Norway I remember all the depressed, cranky, sarcastic Norwegians in my childhood and the cranky Norwegians I encountered on my one day trip to Oslo.  Maybe it was the neighborhood, or maybe it was just the Norwegians I knew, but the Norwegian Day Parade does not conjure fond memories for me — I am much more proud of my Scottish and Irish blood (albiet it is a very small percentage of my heritage). 

Norwegian Day Is Not My Favorite Day

Confessions of an “always late” person

I am always late. Usually 10 minutes, almost to the minute.  When something is very very important and a special event (e.g. Interview) I am on time, but otherwise I am late.  I think one of the reasons why is because I am results focused.  That is, when I sit down to do something, I hate leaving it just to move on to an appointment.  For example, if I am composing an email and it is 10:50 and I need to leave for an 11 o’clock meeting, I hate leaving that chore for later, since inevitably more emails pop up and I’m worried about losing my focus and train of thought. So usually I finish the email, then I am late to the meeting and people complain (usually as a passive aggressive tease or behind my back later 🙂 ).  But no one mentions when I am late how I also tend to be a *lot* more productive than 99% of the people.

I don’t like being in a society where we judge literally by the minute versus completing a task.  But it is the way of the world.  So the world will just have to wait for me sometimes :). And I’ll just have to tolerate the criticism.  After all, lets’s be honest, I am 48 and I’ve been like this my whole life – if I haven’t changed by now I’m not going to.

On a side note, I am rarely sick or call in sick or miss things – but I am late to them.    

Confessions of an “always late” person

Loved, loved, loved (!) the movie “Fire at Sea!” Notes:

I love movies (like Moonlight) where the director believes in the intelligence of his/her audience while telling a powerful story and delivering a powerful message.  For me, “Fire at Sea” was that way.  It was a movie that was comfortable delivery subtle comments and with letting a scene slowly unfold, where it is comfortable showing the doctor give an ultrasound for five minutes or just showing four workers stare out at sea.  It is a wonderful, powerful movie and the most beautiful film that way since “The Great Beauty.”  Some observations (with some spoilers):

  • The beginning of the movie we see the boy making a weapon and hunting birds, but at the end of the movie he is merely singing to the bird – shows our ability to change our ways.
  • The doctor makes a comment that it is the responsibility of all of us to help the immigrants (who are dying).
  • The doctor, during the ultrasound, can’t make out the sex of the second child since they are too intertwined.  “But don’t worry, we’ll get it.”  He patiently, patiently seeks the sex.  I see that scene as stating we are all intertwined and too intertwined, and it will take patience and diligence and care and perserverence to resolve our/this problem.  I also see the scene later in the movie where the woman takes a full five minutes to carefully make her bed as again emphasizing that things take time and persistence and patience.
  • The boy is having struggles rowing – his friend throws his a lifeline so he is not crushed by the boats, then rows him to safety.  That is, we all need a helping hand and we need to offer a helping hand.
  • The boy has a lazy eye, so he works to correct his vision from 20/100 to 20/30 by wearing the eye patch. Later, when he is sea sick he is told to to go the sea when there are high waves to get his sea stomach.  That is, we have a problem (the refugee crisis) but we can fix it with work.
  • The woman wishes for a little health that day, like we all want to be healthy and happy (including the refugees).  It’s not too much to ask.

I’d love to watch this movie again – these are just a few observations off the top of my head a day later and I am sure there are more.

It is a tragic tale but one that also offers help and a nudge for us to help.  I wish we in the US were helping more (at a time when Donald Trump wants to do less!) – I am going to write my congress person about that.  Those poor souls – and the scene of the people dead at the bottom of the boat was awful but moving, like watching the Holocaust images in some ways (and to the people who died in such misery, the result is the same).

The movie makes me want to move to Sicily 🙂

Finally, it has been a great year for documentaries.  OJ: Made in America, 13th and I Am Not Your Negro were all wonderful and deserving; my vote for Oscar this year though is this one (“Fire at Sea”).

Loved, loved, loved (!) the movie “Fire at Sea!” Notes:

I love depressing movies with hope

I continue to think on how much I disliked the movie Lion and the character in it.  Why?  Because I like people who perservere, and don’t like being around mopey people.  

Take Casablanca.  Here we have a heartbroken character who continues to suffer, but he suffers in silence while still running a bar. Elsa also is heartbroken, but tries her best to move forward.  The prince, held in a prison camp before escaping and loses his home (and realizes his wife shacked up with another dude when she thought he was dead) but continues to press on.  Resilience!

Or in Manchester by the Sea.  A brother is given 5-10 years to live and is a single dad, but continues on.  Lee suffers a horrible tragedy, but still presses on.  Everyone presses on the best they can.

But in Lion, the main character wallows. He quits his job, and drops his girlfriend and spends his days wallowing in a dark room clicking at a laptop.  Depressing!  I hate that.

I also have found that I don’t like watching the character Jesse in Breaking Bad.  I like that he is nonviolent and actually a pretty good kid, but there are many scenes where he just sits and wallows.  Again, I hate that.  I find myself fast forwarding through his scenes when I rewatch an episode.

So I am realizing I love grim movies where people press on.  I think that comes from my childhood, where I had a mom whose family suffered from debilitating depression, which was difficult to see, but also a dad who refuses to ever look at the dark side, which was a powerful example for me.  I don’t blame depressed people for being depressed or even suffering so much they can’t function – depression is an awful disease that can’t be helped.  But that doesn’t mean I want to watch it on the big screen. 

I love depressing movies with hope

Thoughts on the Movie “Manchester by the Sea”

Wife and I saw a movie last night.  We walked through the melting snow under a chilly but clearing sky to watch a movie down in Ballard as part of our journey to watch all the Oscar nominees before the Oscars.

I loved (!!) “Manchester by the Sea.”  I’m a sucker for serious (sad), slice-of-life films where people are working very hard to try to overcome something in their life. The story was touching, the characters interesting and the performances amazing and it’s not too over the top on anything.  Also, I loved how it somewhat slowly revealed the past pain.  At one point, I was actually thinking it would be my pick for movie of the year.  But ultimately “Moonlight” is still my pick of the year.

What could have been better in Manchester by the Sea (while emphasizing I loved the movie, and in fact wish it were a book so I could read the book 🙂 )?

Depth.  I love films that add depth.  What makes Citizen Kane great is all the depth to it, i.e. the plot devices added in the background, certain pictures hung a certain way, etc.  I love looking for things like that in film, like in Moonlight how after the character said he’d been called “Blue” once as a boy you could see all the blue in the background.  I kept looking for things here, but I didn’t leave certain they actually meant something (other than the obvious, such as Winter and Spring).  For example, the clock states “12:31” – I was thinking perhaps that was foreshadowing that he had 3 kids and now will have 1 (Patrick) again; Patrick crosses the street and there is a “No Parking On This Side” next to the graveyard and was wondering if that meant something like they will pull themselves out of their misery but am not sure that was true; when Lee was bouncing the ball then passed it to Patrick and said “Let it go” but Patrick chased him down with it, I thought that might mean something but am not sure it did.  The only thing I can wonder is that perhaps the movie — which ended at the beginning of Spring — was showing there was hope for their future but I can’t be certain that is true.  Anyway, there might have been things but I didn’t see them, which is a major difference between an enjoyable story/movie and a great one, for me.

Cinematography.  La La Land absolutely pops off the screen, and Manchester was in a beautiful setting and spent time showing us the shots, but the visuals didn’t pop like Moonlight or La La Land.

Anyway, my two cents.  But I loved that film!!!!



Thoughts on the Movie “Manchester by the Sea”

Feeling soooo grateful for 48 years and counting

I was teased a lot as a kid.  

I was short, very skinny and extremely hyper (when Oprah ran a special on Attention Deficit Disorder, several friends called to say I had ADHD 🙂 ).  

But something happened late in my teen years.  I grew overnight to 5’11”, put on 30 pounds of muscle so I was trim instead of skinny, and calmed down.  I started dressing more stylishly.  Even my facial features changed (Wife M looks at pictures of me and says she can’t believe it is the same person).  Personality wise,  I become less impetuous, and my tolerance of others improved.  Suddenly, some of the girls who had teased me as a kid were asking me out in college, and I was approached by strangers. All that has no meaning now, except it is much better memories than the ones I had where I was teased, and it has given me a lot of confidence in myself as I age.  In the early years, I oversteered – I became a little cocky.  But after a few years that too calmed down into quiet confidence, and then I met my future Wife M.  

But my point is this —  if life had been taken away at 10, 15 or even 20 or 25, I’d never had a chance to change, to evolve, not only looks wise but personality wise (I am a much wiser person I think then even in my 20s).  My life would have been — and =eople would remember me as — a small, opinionated, high-strung, homely kid with glasses.

It is such a gift to be given a long life, to change and evolve, to grow as a person.  Not everyone gets that chance. So I am very grateful. And how many kids or young adults have died who didn’t get a chance to evolve.  Which is one of the many reasons I love the idea of forgiveness and thinking the best of young people, and why our incarceration and imprisonment of so many young men and women is devestating, and one of many reasons of why wars are so tragic.

Feeling soooo grateful for 48 years and counting

Did not like the movie “Lion”

Saw Lion at Sundance Theater with Wife M.  

The theater was *packed*, with all showings sold out and loooonnnnnggggg lines at the cocktail bar.  But it also added to some of the fun, and we met a nice woman a little older than me while we waited, and talked about our favorite movies of the year (all agreed that it is Moonlight, so far) and the shock of Trump’s decision to ban muslims from the country (another woman turned around and said she couldn’t believe that this is the modern US doing this).  Our new friend made the comment how awful it must be for Trump’s wife to have sex with him, how she must just closer her eyes and remind herself that it (sex) will soon be over and she now has all that money 🙂

The movie Lion was disappointing. It started out with a great premise — here was a poor family in India whose young son steps on a train that takes him 1000 miles away – it is something I can picture happening and what is worse picture the horror of everyone involved.  

But sooooo much of the movie is formulaic and predictable.  And half the movie is the man wallowing and clicking on the computer while his codependent girlfriend tries to keep him grounded.  At least 10 minutes of the film is watching the boy speed on the train (we got it after a minute) and another 15 minutes is shown with the man clicking on the computer in misery, as though watching a man search Google Earth really can be all that interesting.  Finally, the symphony music plays the entire film without a break.

What is disappointing is the movie could have been so much more.  As Wife M said, what if it were told from the mom’s point of view?  She is poor and loves her family, and one day her two boys don’t return home from searching for food – every parent’s worst fear.  Then she gets word that one of the boys was found dead (the worst!!) and the other has not been found (torture).  So she spends the next 20 years praying every week, riding the rails whenever she can to search for her son.  In the meantime, because she has two less mouths to feed, she can now afford to send her two surviving children to school for better lives (what a bittersweet moment the graduation must have been).  Then, after all realistic hope has been lost for 20 years, her boy arrives again as a grown man.  Goosebumps!  And could have been an inspiring movie for those poor paretns of missing children.

I get why people cried in the film – it is a tear jerker when the mom and boy are reunited to symphony music in the background — but the movie pales in comparison to Moonlight and was not a great investment of 75 bucks for movies, parking, etc.

Did not like the movie “Lion”