These are exciting times. (Mental health updates post!)

Since the weekend, I’ve been so stoked about rearranging the desk part of my office that I’ve forgotten to write. Then over the last two days I’ve been engaged in catch-up work on personal bookkeeping and accounting, and I’ve been so excited to be doing that that I kept forgetting to write even more. As I may have mentioned, I’ve been wrangling with depression to a slightly higher degree than usual these last few weeks, so being productive in creating new spaces and organizing numbers and files felt like a party.

One interesting thing I discovered about myself during this last little slump (which I’m sure was triggered by not having worked out in a while due to wound-healing) is that I get super sensitive to color when I’m in that mental state. I realized this the morning I put on one of my favorite t-shirts and immediately took it off because I wasn’t feeling it, or, rather, the wrongness of the color for that moment felt like a physical aggravation. It was definitely the color. I felt that if I had a super soft, thin, plain black t-shirt for every day of the week, I’d always be comfortable. (I have just one.) The other shirt I have that always feels right is this equally soft, thin shirt that I’m wearing at the moment:

 

Perfect.

 

The picture on the back is Donald Duck’s back, in case you were wondering.

Speaking of t-shirts, one of you requested to see my top 10 favorites. I would’ve taken those pics for today’s post, but I was too busy whooping it up rearranging furniture and organizing invoices and looking at my budget and accounts and shifting things around and whatnot. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take pics of my favorite shirts so I can post them on Thursday!

Anyway, I’m feeling better now that I’ve been back at the gym consistently since two weeks ago Saturday, re-filling my empty feel-good fuel tank. Working out is straight-up medicine, guys. If you think you’re already in a good place, you’ll be surprised to find that there’s an even better place to be when you get your body moving. I’m always surprised by it, anyway, even though I know it.

 

 

Why I’m not an elegant lady.

I took a selfie late this morning thinking of you who request them. Then I considered what I could write to go with the pic, if anything specific. (Otherwise, I had several unrelated post ideas in mind.) Moving in and out of sites throughout the afternoon, I landed on a video recommended for me on YouTube… and I laughed. I watched the video and laughed even more. The video goes perfectly with my selfie!

YouTube recommended that I watch “10 Things Elegant Ladies NEVER Wear!”

 

Because you asked

 

Haha! Thank you, YouTube, but I’m beyond help.

Things I wear that will preclude my ownership of an Elegant Lady card:

  • Gym clothes outside of the gym.
  • T-shirts.
  • Ripped jeans.
  • “90’s fashion.”
  • Cartoon or animal prints. (Not even a feminine haute couture frock with a butterfly embellishment is suitable for “high society.”)
  • Wrinkled/creased clothing.
  • Bags with wear and tear. (That Chanel bag with the hint of a scuff underneath? Trash.)

Those are seven of the ten rules that I violate. The three NO-NO’S that do not apply to me: crop tops, bandage dresses, and jean shorts.

From what I can gather, the person presenting this video has the best intentions: she wants to help you land on the arm of a billionaire. (What the discriminating billionaire may do on the side, however, probably wears every single item on the NO-NO list.) Her whole deal seems to be about affluent lifestyles and admission to the ranks of high society, billionaire husband included.

To each their own, I say. If Elegant Lady attire is you, then rock it! No judgement here. I just thought it was hilarious that “10 Things Elegant Ladies NEVER Wear!” popped up on my “recommended” list as I was thinking of what subject could apply to my selfie.

And of course I’m signing off with this helpful video. From Sumo to Elegant Lady, I’ve got your viewing needs covered this week! My work here is done.

 

 

Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

Gym updates (+ a little Sumo talk)!

I went to Body Pump on Saturday, and I went again yesterday, and the wound on the back of my ankle hasn’t bled again, so I seem to be back for real this time. I have to call that door accident “the dumbest thing to ever keep me out of the gym.” I outdumbed myself with that one. I mean, I can’t say that I ran into a door. I have to say that a door ran into me, and that I provoked it.

I’m going one increment lighter on the back track on account of the quick little “jump” you do to get under the bar for clean and press/power presses. I’m still not doing lunges, because when I tried them on Saturday, I could feel the pulling on the scab. Other than that, everything’s the same in Pump.

As for cardio? Not yet. It’s too early to wear shoes other than high-tops at the gym. (I actually prefer to lift weights in my high-tops because I like the flat soles, so that’s nothing new.)

Speaking of coming back from recovery, September’s Grand Sumo Tournament is less than three weeks away, and Tochinoshin (my favorite Sumo wrestler) has this one opportunity to regain the Ozeki rank he lost to injury in July. He’ll need eight wins to get that rank back this time. He needed ten wins to regain it in May! He got his rank back in May, and he can do it again in September. The thing about Sumo at this level is that you can lose your rank because of injury. Sumo is the only combat sport I can think of that has this feature, which makes for an even more dangerous life for the wrestlers. They already have a shorter life expectancy due to the obesity they need to maintain in this violent sport. What we risk in the name of passion and drive, right?

For anyone interested, here’s a short video showcasing Tochinoshin’s ten wins in May:

 

 

Also speaking of Sumo, we’re looking forward to watching it at 2020’s Summer Olympic Games in Japan! Sumo will be included in the program for the first time, and it’ll be great to see it performed on the largest stage (pun not intended) for the world to appreciate.

 

 

Mr. Nightmare + GYM horrors! (And my Michael Myers horror look.)

I was thinking of doing a gym updates post, but then I came across a video featuring three gym horror stories – creepy horror, not bad-experience horror – and, well, you know me. Gym? Horror? Hello?

Mr. Nightmare is a YouTube channel on which (allegedly) true stories are told, videos that are basically podcasts with visuals. Ranging from mildly disturbing to downright spooky, all of these stories are disquieting in the sense that the events really happened (let’s trust in this) and that they do happen, or at least can happen.

The channel covers a broad range of situations and scenarios. I would say just stay home and lock up, but as we know from Mr. Nightmare’s “home invasion” and “home alone” videos, we wouldn’t be safe at home, either. Plus, we’d starve, because we couldn’t order food for delivery. Who wants their food with a side of terror?

I scanned through the channel’s video titles and deduced that if you don’t want creepy-ass shit to happen to you, here’s how to avoid it:

  • Don’t get a roommate.
  • Don’t stay home alone.
  • Don’t order food for delivery from Postmates, DoorDash, or any food delivery service.
  • Don’t order pizza delivery.
  • Don’t be a pizza delivery driver, or any kind of food delivery driver.
  • Don’t hitchhike.
  • Don’t go to house parties, birthday parties, block parties, or pool parties.
  • Don’t celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the Fourth of July.
  • Don’t house-sit, dog-sit, or baby-sit.
  • Don’t have neighbors.
  • Don’t have or go to sleepovers.
  • Don’t date anyone online, enter chat rooms, check your email, or have anything to do with any social media platform.
  • Don’t enter basements, playgrounds, attics, crawlspaces, movie theaters, or schools.
  • Don’t look in the trash.
  • Don’t play hide-and-seek.
  • Don’t ride the subway.
  • Don’t drive on the highway at night.
  • Don’t go hunting, fishing, hiking, or camping.
  • Don’t go to the mall.
  • Don’t go on spring break.
  • Don’t take vacations, field trips, or any kind of trips.
  • Don’t get caught in thunderstorms, snowstorms, fire drills, or blackouts.
  • Don’t go into the sea.
  • Don’t play Pokémon Go, and don’t play with Ouija boards.
  • Don’t take an Uber.
  • Don’t have an automotive breakdown.
  • Don’t go into the swimming pool.
  • Don’t enter the Deep Web.
  • Don’t watch found footage.
  • Don’t lose your phone or your laptop.
  • Don’t work the night-shift.
  • Don’t go to haunted houses.
  • Don’t run into spiders or clowns.
  • Don’t go to Walmart.
  • Don’t go to the airport.
  • Don’t be a trucker.
  • Don’t go to the beach.
  • Don’t go into the forest.
  • Don’t enter abandoned buildings.
  • Don’t play sports.
  • Don’t join the police force or the boy scouts.
  • Don’t buy anything through Craigslist.
  • DON’T GO TO THE GYM LATE AT NIGHT, AND DON’T WORK IN ONE LATE AT NIGHT, EITHER.

I watched the aforementioned “3 Disturbing True Horror Gym Stories” video yesterday:

 

 

Mr. Nightmare is a binge threat for horror fans, especially. The videos are short. Since they’re like podcast episodes, I like to listen to them while I’m doing mundane tasks around the house… I’ve listened to scary-story podcasts, and Mr. Nightmare’s YouTube channel is better, in my opinion!

Craigslist appears on the channel numerous times – I counted five Craigslist videos, each containing several stories – which brings to mind the lady who dropped by to purchase something (my microwave, if you must know). I think it was last week that I told you how I almost forgot to change out of my Halloween Michael Myers t-shirt before she arrived.

That post prompted a request for a Halloween shirt selfie, and it so happens that I took one the other day! I’d just come in from some wild monsoon winds, so my hair was appropriately insane. I tried to get my expression to look like Michael Myers’. I think I got the mouth part right. Also, can we admire how the knife hilt leads up into my coiling hearts tattoo?

 

 

Michael Myers (Halloween) inspired look

 

The end, my friends. Please to check out Mr. Nightmare on YouTube. You will learn SO much.

 

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 4

Since this blog tends to cycle around various topics, I thought of what I haven’t done in a while. I post a lot of gym updates. I do a lot of general updates. I’ve written a couple of movie reviews lately. I’m overdue for a Geronimo (Sonoran desert tortoise) update, but there’s not much to report right now because I don’t see him often enough in this heat! Geronimo comes out ready to rock during summer storms, but it hasn’t rained much… I read yesterday that the last time we had such a dry summer was in 1988. They’re calling this year’s monsoon season the “Non-soon.”

It’s been a while since I’ve written a mental health update, but I do plan to do one in the near future. We’ve also got writing updates, office updates, pretty much you name it, etcetera, plus random thoughts and story-time posts.

Today, though, I come bearing a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem. The last time I did one was in May.

For this fourth poem in my “Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse” series,  I have a short lyric that’s as wistful and whimsical as the previous poems in this series.

Standard explanation: To create these poems, I skim through the list of Missed Connections entries on Craigslist and pick out the subject lines that intrigue me in some way. Then I arrange them into a shape that makes sense to me. This is actually a great creative writing exercise, I’ve found! I don’t change anything in these lines except for obvious typos (“sic” would disrupt the poem), neither do I alter punctuation or caps.

Standard disclaimer: Credit goes to those strangers who unwittingly dropped wonderful bits of poetry in Missed Connections for me to gather and combine.

Without further ado:

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 4

Long ago and oh so far away
Night Swimming
Floating past on the lazy river
Where the wild things are…

Furniture Guy
Hiking the mountain
Card players
Sitting on bed in the bed of a white truck
dispensary chick
In and out
Plasma worker
Bowling!

just fun
so…

Hey neighbor….

 

 

The Art of Self-Defense: element of surprise. (No-spoiler film review.)

A young man recovering from a brutal street attack happens upon a martial arts dojo and decides to join in order to learn self-defense.

Seems like a premise for a simple, straightforward plot, right?

We’ve been lucky with movies lately, Callaghan and I. As infrequently as we go to the theater, it’s pleasing when two consecutive outings put us in front of brilliant cinema. First we watched Midsommar, and then The Art of Self-Defense.

 

 

When independent film distributor Bleecker Street released The Art of Self-Defense, we didn’t take notice. The movie wasn’t getting a lot of attention, and we weren’t paying a lot of attention. It slipped by us into the theater as quietly as a ninja too broke to buy a ticket.

As it turned out, we almost missed it! The showing we caught at Alamo Drafthouse would be the last of The Art of Self-Defense not only at that theater, but at any in our vicinity.

I didn’t know anything about this film beforehand. Sitting down unaware that I was in for a black comedy – a favorite genre of mine – proved to be a fascinating experience in and of itself, a treat of a discovery. The film’s comedic elements appear at the beginning (Rex Kwan Do, anyone?), while the dark aspect stalks through at its own, measured pace: it develops incisively and in tandem with the protagonist’s own development as a karate student.

More than comedy with a dark underbelly, The Art of Self-Defense stands as a feat of comedy and horror merging agreeably while maintaining their respective identities. It’s a film with a lot of personality considering its small cast of characters, a black comedy whose darkness takes on a voice and insistence of its own, as if to challenge the humor. First I was amused, then successively perplexed, frustrated, and appalled… and in the end, I was rewarded. I found the ending of this film to be immensely satisfying. A rarity!

(You might be wondering how I didn’t know that The Art of Self-Defense is a black comedy when the words are printed right there on the film poster. This is where I admit that the poster only caught my attention because it features people wearing karate uniforms. I didn’t read the quoted text.)

The Art of Self-Defense stars Jesse Eisenberg  (Zombieland) as its protagonist, and it was written and directed by relative newcomer Riley Stearns. Beyond a sharply penned black comedy piece, Mr. Stearns wrote a straight-up satire on toxic masculinity, the concept of which slaps you in the face over and again as the story progresses, as a good satire should. If you’re unfamiliar with toxic masculinity before seeing this film, I can guarantee that you’ll have an idea of it after seeing it. The Art of Self-Defense is a smart, successful film; it’s jarring in its boldness, which is the paramount feature of exploitation cinema.

My only regret in seeing The Art of Self-Defense is that I got to it so late in its run-time. I wish I’d seen this film early enough to recommend as a theater viewing! You may find it lingering in theaters here and there. No matter – it’ll be just as clever and fun on a smaller screen.

 

 

You can’t kill the Boogeyman. (Horrors!)

Horror 1: We watched Train to Busan (original title Busanhaeng) on Netflix on Saturday night. Of all the zombie movies I’ve seen, Train to Busan is the only one that actually made me nervous about leaving the house. I was impressed. Zombies are not my favorite horror sub-genre, but Train to Busan is easily one of the best films I’ve seen this year, out of any genre.

Horror 2: Our internet’s been inconsistently slow and prone to disconnecting, as it is every year in August/September. We have a theory that this is due to university students flooding our section of Tempe by the hundreds, if not thousands, stressing our area bandwidth as they settle in for the new academic year. Things always go back to normal around mid-September. It’s not a big deal.

Horror 3: I returned to Body Pump on Saturday and carefully favored my left leg, doing easy squats, passing on lunges, and trying to avoid going up on my toes (difficult to avoid while doing high pulls and clean and presses)… but I still managed to make the wound on my ankle bleed again after it hadn’t bled for days. I learned. I’m staying out of the gym for another week. The dumbbells have migrated back into the house for a home upper-body workout. I’ll head back to Body Pump this Saturday!

Horror 4: I didn’t think I’d be seeing anyone yesterday when I plucked my Halloween horror movie t-shirt out of the closet, but then I got the idea to post an item on Craigslist. Within hours of bowing to this whim, I had a buyer who said she was coming over right away! I headed back to my closet to change.

It occurred to me that she might not appreciate meeting a seller who opens the door wearing a black t-shirt with a shadowy, masked face floating above two pale knives fading ominously into the dark. I quickly changed into my happy brick-red and yellow Lion King shirt with young Simba and his meerkat and warthog friends traipsing above the carefree “Hakuna Matata” line. I figured the buyer would be more comfortable entering the home of a person wearing a sunny Disney animal shirt than a black horror movie t-shirt with murderous Michael Myers in his white mask with his big pointy knives. Am I considerate or what? Come into my lair and buy my stuff. Nah.

Here, I’ve got a pic of Yours Truly in said Lion King shirt. This is from a few weeks ago. I wasn’t going to post it here (it’s on instagram), but while 1). we’re on the subject, 2). I have standing requests for selfies, and 3). I don’t have another pic for this post…

 

(Went to see The Lion King on July 22)

 

Incidentally, Halloween (1978) is my all-time favorite horror movie. I love that t-shirt!