Watched Vertigo with the family. ย It isn’t my favorite Hitchcock film.

The family ordered pizza and watched Vertigo last night – wonderful time together…  Vertigo is widely considered Hitchcock’s best film, and I try to love it, but I don’t. It’s creepy, but I don’t like the “As you know” dialogue in the beginning, its length, how Stewart forces Judy to wear certain clothes before he knows she’s scammed him and it seems slow for a Hitchcock Film. I love the how green surrounds the characters when they are influenced by the plot, and the reds. I love Ebert’s observation that Hitchcock put himself (Stewart) on the screen for judgement. But I like other Hitchcock movies more.
..  Was curious during movie about 1906 San Francisco earthquake. 3,000 people (out of a population of 400,000) died, over half the city ended up homeless and it hit an estimated 7.8 on the Richter scale (which was created 3 decades later). 

Watched Vertigo with the family. ย It isn’t my favorite Hitchcock film.

Attended Community Lunch fundraising dinner.

Community Lunch serves 50,000 meals per year to anyone. They interviewed some of their regular patrons, but it was so loud under the freeway bridge where they lived that the interviewers had to move the interview to a new location in order to hear. One person became homeless after their husband was murdered. Another was a professional with a college degree. A third hates when people yell “get a job” because he works. A fourth talked about laughing at homeless when he was a teen, never realizing that it would be him some day. They now provide medical and dental care, too. We donated over $500 to the cause although it has been a difficult financial year for us. Next year, we’d like to give $1,000.

Attended Community Lunch fundraising dinner.

Wonderful Christmas week 2016

We started Christmas week by attending the Nutcracker as a family.  It was a surprise since we didn’t think we could afford it this year, but wife M bought discount seats in the upper back and cooked dinner at home (normally we go out to eat).  It was a pleasant evening, all of us dressed up, and we took N, who is living with us t his year.  

Christmas Eve Eve was spent at a party with friends.  The friends are good and social people, so have good and interesting friends, and we enjoyed our time there.  I met Leo, who is from the Phillipines, loves to motorcycle and is planning a trip to Oregon this summer.  I also spent time talking to Steve and family, who we’ve known for a very long time and didn’t know we were both friends with the host. I also spent time speaking with John, who is from Puyallup, works as a consultant and whose family is heading to Bend for a week of skiing.  There was amazing homemade eggnog, whose alchohol was distilled by the person who brought it, people singing carols and lots of chit chat.  One of my favorite things about the hosts is they have many friends, and everyone always asks how we know the hosts.
Christmas Day was pleasant.  We slept in, then had Wife M’s sister and mom over for dinner and a movie (Krampus).  It was a nice evening with delicious food, and I was able to squeeze in a walk just prior to sunset, which may be my favorite time/moment of the year in Seattle, since it is peaceful and I love the way the light hits the surrounding hills.

Christmas Day, N was sick, so stayed home, but the rest of us headed up to MOm and Dads for Christmas brunch and dinner, with my sister and her family.  We had a wonderful day of food, family and interaction.  It was only the second time I’ve seen my nephew and niece J and P, who are now a month old.  I spent much of the day holding, feeding and changing J or P, and it was great to spend some time taking care of them and helping my sister get a break ๐Ÿ™‚  Babies are fun to take care of – they just need lots of love, and changing a diaper or walking them around and patting their back is a piece of cake (the hard part is the late night feedings, which I didnt ahve to do :).  

There was a small threat of snow/rain all weeekend, but overall it was a chilly, dry, cloud weekend.

Today I think is a holiday, since Christmas was on Sunday, but I am heading into the office for a few hours to make a showing, since I am out ext week.  

Wonderful Christmas week 2016

Ooooohhh, this is what all the fuss about Shingles is about

I’ve had Shingles twice before and never knew what the big fuss was about it.  The first was a small patch that itched a lot but otherwise I seemed fine, and the second time was similar but with a little more fatigue/pain, although I am always tired and in pain so a little more of that isn’t a huge deal.  But I’ve come down with Shingles a third time and I am startging to understand the fuss.  I have a series of red patches along my right chest and back (including under the arm) that flat out hurt, like a burn, and I am really sore.  I am not sure if it is related (I am sure it is) but I am itching and tender at invisible places in m body: for example, my right tricep is tender (i.e. hurts to the touch) and itches but nothing is there.  I have a few places like that on m body (left ankle, right shoulder, etc.).  Some of those spots come and go, but others (like the ankle and tricep) are persistent…  I am certain that I still have a fairly mild case, but at least now understand/get why some people are truly miserable with Shingles…

I visited the doctor on Friday (they squeezed me in since I was still in the 72 hour critical window for treatment), and I am on antiviral medicine which doesn’t seem to be helping but then again who is to say if it is or not (i.e. maybe it would be worse without the medicine).  She also asked about my stress; honestly, I am in a very stressful part of my life (stress being relative). I have chronic health issues, am spending a lot of time in doctors offices while working full time with fatigue, we are having financial stress since Wife M is in school full-time and my earnings have been cut in half since my diagnosis in 2011, and my current employer is having serious financial difficulty which means I am likely back on the job trail again and explaining why I am on my fifth job in 5 years.  Sigh. ๐Ÿ™‚  The best way to cure the stress will be to get a stable job and to stabilize our financial situation (which will be much better next year when wife M has graduated).  I am not bitter about anything – there is just a lot of stress I am trying to manage.  ๐Ÿ™‚

The last two times I had Shingles were in 1990 during college finals, and three years ago when I joined a high-stress company as a manager (I literally was thrown into the fire day 1 for a chaotic company).

Ooooohhh, this is what all the fuss about Shingles is about

Walked 2 miles during lunch

I was walking over 10 miles a day on our vacation in Europe, which makes the 5 miles I am walking this week seem paltry. So walked for 30 minutes during my lunch. It feels so good to take a moderate walk. It is bright and sunny today, and the temperature is 72 but it feels 80.

As I walked I thought about my week in the hospital in 2012, when I was too restless (or worried) to read, and didn’t feel like watching TV so all I did was walk the halls. The first trips were brutal (my lungs were recuperating from surgery) but I got stronger every day. When all else fails, I always feel better when I walk.

Walked 2 miles during lunch

Happiness is taking 10-minutes to give someone deserved kudos

On our vacation, we had five people who really went the extra mile to help us.  One person, in particular, took an extra 5-10 minutes to find something for us that two other of her peers said they couldn’t find (with barely an effort).  So I took 10-minutes this morning to send a note to their employers this morning to call out their service.  Why?  It is a way to thank that person, it reinforces the attitude that is is important to care about other people’s concerns, and it hopefully encourages their companies to encourage their employees to care (note: it is a two way street – employers have to treat their employees with respect and also reward them in ways that impact the pocketbook).

Of course, what very well may happen is the employer will get these notes and start enforcing habits that don’t necessarily encourage better behavior but actually soliciting more comment cards ๐Ÿ™‚  But, I have to hope for the best.  

Happiness is taking 10-minutes to give someone deserved kudos

Watched the movie A Most Violent Year

I watched A Most Violent Year with wife M a year or two ago and liked it – and completely forgot about it.  On the flight back, when I am trying to stay awake the full time to readjust back to Seattle time, I am watching it again…

The movie opens in a gritty New York early 1980s setting.  We watch a dapper business man put down his entire life savings to secure an option on a property. Shortly after signing the contract, he is called to the hospital where a driver who works for the man was beaten and robbed of his oil truck.  The truck is recovered but there are no leads.  THe man’s wife suggests her father has power, but the man does not want to involve the father – he wants to do it on his own.  The man’s partner (or lawyer) goes to an auditor/investigator to ask for help – but the man can’t/won’t help, and informs the business man that they will be filing criminal charges against him as part of their investigation into corruption in the industry.  We now can see the man’s business may be at risk at a time when he has gambled everything yet has only 30 days to make the gamble to pay off.  He asks his wife where they are exposed, and she tells him cryptically they follow every industry standard practice.  

He is approached at the barber by a competitor, who drops comments about his trucks at a big important park – a jab.  Our character is clearly as cool as cucumbers – polished and smooth…  We see a moving truck pull into a house, and learn the family (including two young daughters) have moved into a new house.  That night, the dog wines. and encounters an intruder.  I am liking this movie — it is pulling back the full story slowly, unveiling a dark something underneath….

We now see him training two new young sales boys.  He walks them through the process – we are learning that this is truly a cutthroat competitive industry; we also learn that our business man is a skilled salesman.  He visits his driver, who is nervous about returning to driving.  Cut to his house, where his daughter has found a gun — the man tells his daughter he’ll take care of it (“oh, you better, you’re not going to like it once I get involved”).  Albert Brooks’s character shows up and tells him the news from the DA is not good – serious charges coming — and we learn her father originally owned this business and he is supposed to meet with the bankers and to be honest.

He meets with the union rep, who wants to arm the drivers.  We learn from this brief conversation that times are more dangerous, and that the businessman started out as a driver.  The businessman goes to meet with a mentor about the gun, and the mentor advises him to live in a fortress but he refuses.  We learn that the mentor wanted to be ethical, but once he got in he saw why things were the way they were…  Another truck is broken into.  Albert Brook advises him to arm his men, because the drivers will walk otherwise.  We learn that they are really weak and exposed, that he needs to clsoe on his property.  Albert Brooks asks him why he wants all this so badly.  I am starting to wonder – is Albert Brooks crooked?  Is he behind some of the thefts and bad luck that is befalling our protagonist?

He meets with the bankers, and is honest.  They ask why the property is important – “access to the river so more access to providers, storage capacity so he can buy when prices are lower, and because he feels it is a risk worth taking to grow.”  They hit a deer, she tells him to put it out of its mystery, he hesitates so she kills it (she is ruthless ๐Ÿ™‚ but will he have the stomach for what/who they are facing?)… They are hosting their daughter’s birthday, and the police arrive with warrants.  She stalls the police, and they hide the files.  She says, “My husband is not my father.”  We know by now her father was a local hood who grew this business.  

The assaulted driver nervously returns to work, the young salesman goes on his first call – he encourages both. THe salesman is assaulted, and the driver is robbed but pulls out a gun, the police arrive and they all flee.  He meets with the investigator, who tells the businessman the shooting is bad for him (businessman: “I’ll find him”).  

His bankers shows up to tell him they can’t loan him the money: we continue to see that the man is a determined and honorable man in a brutal industry. He approaches the driver’s girlfriend about turning himself in, but the driver ends up running again.  (In the car, Albert Brooks states he’d be handling this differently – a sign that he is ruthless?).  Cut to the Business man meeting a competitor’s granddaughter about a 1.5M loan (for many years, he has tried to buy the company) – he is offered 500K in unfavorable terms, which he accepts; the investigator offers him a settlement offer because he made the effort to bring in the driver, but the lawyer looks distraught.

The business man asks for more time, and he is given 3 days.  Is this hope, or delaying the inevitable?   He meets with the competitors in a council meeting, and he says “stop” robbing him.  He is told that no one in the group is robbing his trucks – he states he has lost 110K gallons, and no one can store that quantity so “stop.”  Cut to the wife running numbers – she has audited through 1975 and not as bad as they thought.  “Are you going to go see your little brother and Peter (mentor/competitor)?”  She reassures him that it’s all worth it.

His brother is a high school kid – he asks for a signature on a second mortgage on their co-owned apartment building.  He is driving and a truck is robbed; predictably, the truck passes and he follows (truck runs stop signs, etc.). The truck turns over, the driver runs (now his jogging we’ve seen pays off), he beats the man and puts a gun to his head, but he can’t shoot and he lets him go, but in a moment of gratitude the man tells him who bought the oil (barf!).  Turns out it is the man who’d he’d bumped into at the barber shop – the man agrees to pay 213K.  He returns to his mentor/competitor (or is it a competitor?), he asks him for a 600K loan – he will think about it but it is obvious Peter is part of a syndicate and is dangerous to owe money to.

His wife gives him a bank account number with a “lot” of money; he demands to know where it comes from, and she has been skimming for years.  He denies it.  She yells at him that it is not his good work but her/ruthlessness.  He calms down: “I’ll use the money,” and the deal is done.  He is wearing a dark suit when he signs the deal.  To Albert Brooks, “Did you know about the money?”  Yes.  

The Driver appears with a gun.  He is desperate.  “I Have nothing, and somehow you have everything you wanted.”  He kills himself, and the bullet creates an oil leak.  (The death of his hard working innocence).  He meets the investigator to arrange a deal — the investigator agrees, but mentions he’d like support on his political ambitions.  He agrees.  He has realized that the result is set, it is the path that is most right – and wheeling and dealing is part of it.

I like this movie.  It is flawed – it is too easy and convenient of an ending.  But it is interesting and entertaning along the way. 

Watched the movie A Most Violent Year