Only 36 hours late this time. (July Favorites!)

My friends, I am so sorry. This post was supposed to go up last night, and it would have gone up had I not fallen asleep at the keyboard. Yes. That actually happened. I startled myself awake and went to get ready for bed. My job is physical and awesome and I’m still full of energy when I get home, but when night falls, I’m tired! This is great for me, but last night it wasn’t great for writing.

So here I am today, the latest I’ve ever been with a post. July favorites! I’m just going to get right into it. There’s some good stuff here.

Enjoy!

 

1). Snowpiercer (Netflix)

I’m solidly of the opinion that filmmaker Bong Joon Ho can do no wrong. I loved Okja and Parasite, so I wasn’t surprised that I finished Snowpiercer feeling just as impressed. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller had long been on my list, and it was worth the wait. The superb cast includes Tilda Swinton, who also starred in Okja… she can do no wrong, either, as far as I’m concerned… but the acting is outstanding all around in Snowpiecer. There’s also the direction and cinematography to admire in this well-written, thought-provoking film. I loved it.

 

 

 

2). Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (Netflix)

 

 

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a horror-comedy movie that we’ve consistently overlooked on Netflix. Beyond that, even, we’ve started and stopped it (within mere minutes) on several occasions. It wasn’t until a co-worker who went to film school highly recommended it to me that I decided to give it a serious try, and I’m so glad that I did! This “horror” film is good, campy fun. Callaghan enjoyed it, too.

 

3). Noroi: The Curse (Shudder – a Shudder Exclusive)

 

 

A Shudder Exclusive, Noroi: The Curse is a J-horror film in a hybrid genre of mockumentary/found footage. Filmmaker Koji Shiraishi’s work here is effectively creepy. It’s a slow burn with small instances and details sticking with you along the way, each one increasingly important as the story progresses with its developing mysteries. By the time the film built up to its dreadful conclusion, my nerves were frayed. If you’re a fan of Japanese horror, you’ll probably appreciate this excellent film.

 

4). Ju-On: Origins (Netflix)

 

 

July was a good month for J-horror! Netflix’s Ju-On: Origins as yet another offering in the world of The Grudge actually does justice to the story’s growing canon of films. It was delightfully surprising to me. There were moments of pure horror, unexpected instances of graphic violence, a satisfying amount of decent gore, and a couple of images that translated to pure nightmare fuel. This one did it for me, friends. I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for J-horror, or any kind of horror, for that matter.

 

5). Grand Sumo Tournament – July 2020 basho (NHK)

July’s Grand Sumo tournament actually took place! The May 2020 tournament had been cancelled due to the pandemic, and we weren’t sure whether the July tournament would be a go. We didn’t know until the 11th hour. It happened, and for us, it exceeded all expectations.

First of all, the wrestlers returned to the dohyo in top form after their long rest, as we knew they would. Most of them are perpetually injured, as they’re given no opportunity to rest between tournaments.

Secondly, for the first time in maybe two years, this tournament featured Terunofuji, the wrestler that locked me into the sumo obsession in the first place. He was my original favorite. We saw him win the top-division championship in the May 2015 basho, but by the beginning of the following year, he’d dropped down into the lower divisions due to injuries and other health issues.

Not only did Terunofuji return to the top division in July, but he won the championship. Talk about a comeback! It was incredible. It was like he never left. He won the championship, dropped down into the Sumo dungeon, clawed his way back up, and won the championship again. Who does that?! Terunofuji does, that’s who.

Also to be celebrated was the fact that Tochinoshin, my favorite wrestler – co-favorite with Terunofuji – finally finished a tournament with ten wins (out of 15). It was the first time in over a year that he turned out a winning record, much less a double-digit one! He’d been badly injured with no chance of recovery within the strict regimen of the Before Time. The pandemic allowed him to rest.

My favorites, these two. Terunofuji (of Mongolia) and Tochinoshin (of Georgia):

 

Terunofuji (left) and Tochinoshin about to fight at the July 2020 Grand Sumo Tournament

 

6). Red Dog (Amazon Prime)

 

 

This family film was a total surprise of a watch, and one that I greatly enjoyed. I’d never heard of Red Dog before. I loved everything about this film… and yes, I got a little teary eyed at the end. Animals stir up all of the emotions in me. I didn’t cry the way I do at the end of Where the Red Fern Grows, but it still brought out the tears. I also enjoyed the story just for the story; I realized that I don’t know much about Australia, and it was cool to learn a bit of this particular region’s local history. What a legend, Red Dog! It’s fantastic. I loved this film. Go watch it! Amazon Prime!

 

7). Shameless (Netflix)

 

 

I finally started watching Shameless, my friends. I know.

It was funny because the day after I watched the pilot, I overheard some people at work talking about it, and I was ready to tune out in case of spoilers. There weren’t any. It was just a funny coincidence that seemed to verify that I am, indeed, the last person on the planet to watch this series. And I get it! I totally get the hype. I’ve always been a fan of William H. Macy’s, anyway; honestly I don’t know why it took me so long to get into this series.

 

8). Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Body Lotion with Songyi Mushroom. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Body Lotion with Songyi Mushroom

 

This lotion’s moisturizing formula is one that really works for me… it feels great on my hands, especially. I don’t have much to say about it other than that, but it’s worth sharing. If you’re looking for a new vegan and cruelty-free body lotion option, you might like this one, too.

 

9). Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-in Treatment. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Shea Moisture Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-in Treatment

 

I wash my hair five nights a week now because of my job, and I have to blow-dry my bangs every time. I use this coconut leave-in treatment as a heat protectant, and I think it works as well as any super expensive salon one could. I’d rather keep things simple and use coconut oil if it works!

 

10). Pacifica Big Waves Soft Hold & Volume Hairspray – Coconut, Sea Salt & Vanilla. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Pacifica Big Waves Soft Hold and Volume Hairspray – Coconut, Sea Salt, and Vanilla

 

Funny story about this hairspray: After using it for over a month, I just realized yesterday that it is also my perfume – the one that several people at work have complimented profusely. And all this time, I’d thought it was my Pacifica Island Vanilla body spray.

Three people at work had remarked on my perfume, asking me what it is that I wear, saying that I smell so good, like “delicious sugar cookies” (one person said gingerbread or sugar cookies). I’ve been telling them that it’s a vanilla body spray, because that’s what I wear for fragrance.

But at home early yesterday morning, I went out to the kitchen and Callaghan said that I smell like sugar cookies. It took me aback. Why is everyone saying that I smell like sugar cookies?! I really, finally had to stop and think about it, because I hadn’t used the body spray yet. I wasn’t wearing any fragrance at all when Callaghan made his remark. If it wasn’t the Pacifica spray, I thought, then what the heck was he and everyone else smelling on me?

Then it hit me: my hairspray. It had to be. It’s coconut, sea salt, and vanilla-scented, and I, too, always think that it smells good when I spray it onto my hair.

An hour later I was at work when yet another co-worker commented on my perfume, saying the same thing that others had said… that whatever I was wearing smelled delicious. I was ready with an answer. Actually, it was a demand. “I think it’s my hairspray,” I said. “Smell my hair.” I wanted confirmation. He leaned over to smell my hair. (Just briefly, and we were wearing masks, as always.) His response: “Yeah, that’s it!”

I asked him whether he could smell it only in the mornings, or for longer than that. He said that I smell delicious like sugar cookies all day, every day.

So there you go, friends. If you’re like me and you’d appreciate having a fragrance that lasts all day, I highly recommend this hairspray. Haha! It’s probably the best perfume I’ve ever worn. Everyone loves it, it doesn’t give me a headache, I use just a little bit (to keep my bobby pins in place) and it lasts all day with wonderful sillage, it’s vegan and cruelty-free, and it’s only $12.00! That might be on the pricey side for a hairspray, but it’s inexpensive for a good perfume. It’s a wonderful hairspray that works wonderfully as a perfume. Totally worth $12.00.

 

The End. Enjoy your weekend, friends!

 

 

 

Sumo Haiku 2: Second (Terunofuji, Kaisei, Daishomaru, Okinoumi)

Whether you’re a faithful reader or just someone who stumbled into this space, welcome to the second day of my Sumo Haiku project!

I’m enjoying this project. I would love for others to see and appreciate the beauty of Sumo as well as that of haiku.

If you haven’t seen it already, click here to read Sumo Haiku Day One with its introductory, explanatory opening text. I’ll go ahead and re-post the disclaimer part here, though:

[DISCLAIMER: In these haiku, you’ll read purely fictitious portrayals of the wrestlers, simple whims of my imagination as I considered each one. I actually know nothing of the inner lives and selves of these guys.]

I’ll introduce each haiku with the name and photo of the wrestler. The haiku about that wrestler will appear beneath his photo.

Enjoy!

 

Sumo Haiku 2: Second (Terunofuji, Kaisei, Daishomaru, Okinoumi)

(by Kristi Garboushian)

Terunofuji:

 

  1. Terunofuji

Ancestral fighter

redolent of sandalwood:

the older brother.

 

Kaisei:

 

2. Kaisei

No expectations.

He doesn’t want to offer

anything that asks.

 

Daishomaru:

 

3. Daishomaru

…adores reading and

inviting consequences

into rooms of art.

 

Okinoumi:

 

4. Okinoumi

He looks in their eyes

like he’s gazing at his death.

He rarely wears gold.

 

 

All kinds of action! (March Favorites!)

A lot (a lot a lot) happened in March. It was busy. It was painful in more ways than one. We lost our Cita, and I’ve been dealing with a medical situation that actually had me incapacitated at one point… both of which occurred in the midst of some home improvement projects we’d scheduled. It was a lot all at once, but we got through it. There were some stellar moments in there, as well, make no mistake! I’m not complaining. I’m grateful to say that I’ve been blissfully pain-free for the last week, I’m back at the gym, and my writing’s going well, albeit slowly.

So in March, the little things that provided pleasant distraction amounted to a whole lot of junk food for the brain. We seem to have something of a Marvel and Shakespearean theme going on in this post, and I also included trailers, which I don’t usually do in “monthly favorites.” Let’s get started!

 

1). Logan (film)

 

 

This well-crafted film features Wolverine at his most human – human in ways that invoke a sort of empathy I wouldn’t expect to feel for a comic book superhero. Apart from a few choice scenes, Hugh Jackman’s character wouldn’t rouse suspicion that he even is a superhero, if you weren’t familiar with his storyline from the previous X-men/Wolverine installments. You might be a bit confused, but I doubt you’d be thinking superhero. This human feature of the superhero protagonist sets Logan apart from other superhero movies and allows it to engage a broader audience than the strict superhero fandom. (Are you counting the number of times I’ve written “superhero” in this paragraph?)

 

 

2). John Wick 2 (film)

 

 

John Wick 2 was the other franchise installment we saw in March. The thing about Keanu Reeves is that his action flicks tend to be slick and over-the-top stylish, with plenty of theatrical embellishment to backdrop the inevitable violence. No one, in my opinion, centerpieces such projects better than Reeves. They seem to be made for him. There’s something Shakespearean about Reeves’ acting that doesn’t always do it for me, but I like the way it works in such films. John Wick 2 offers elaborate, suave eye candy for the eye that appreciates action movies. You don’t need to see the first John Wick in order to escape into John Wick 2. That’s always a plus.

 

 

3). Fortitude (T.V. series)

 

 

Fortitude is a dramatic mystery/horror series saturated with spooky intensity coming largely from its excellent pacing and the stark clarity and loveliness of its cinematography. For one thing, it’s set on the north pole, essentially, in a small Arctic town; you immediately wonder why would anyone want to live here? The sheer intelligence of this series makes it chilling. Pardon the pun.

 

 

4). Legion (T.V. series)

 

 

We started watching Legion, another Marvel-associated production on this list, and now we’re a few episodes behind as we only have so much time and other series have taken priority in the plethora of shows we’re currently watching (i.e., we discovered and got sucked into Fortitude). But we’ll catch up. Honestly, Legion’s acid trippiness kind of wore us down and we needed a break, but I wouldn’t say don’t watch this. I would say, give it a try if you like your T.V. to scramble your brain at the end of a long day.

 

 

5). The Americans (T.V. series)

 

 

It’s the return of The Americans! I just love this series about Cold War-era Russian spies. The plot, as they say, thickens.

 

6). Empire (T.V. series)

 

 

Empire also returned in March, and it’s better than ever, in my opinion. Cookie out-Cookies herself, Lucious continues to surprise without surprising (a paradox that makes his character particularly interesting to me), and the whole shebang continues to invoke Shakespeare. Where the poster says “King Lucious,” I still read “King Lear.” The series actually harkens back to Shakespearean tragicomedy at some turns, as well. Long live Empire!

 

7). Sumo: Grand Sumo Highlights (March 2017 Basho)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The March 2017 Basho (Grand Sumo Tournament) captivated us, too. Seriously, we needed all of this diversion, anyway, but we’re completely entranced with Sumo. We’ve become familiar with the Rikishi (fighters), so it’s fun to note who’s fighting who and cheer on our favorites in the matches. Somewhere in the middle of this spring tournament, I became a particular fan of Terunofuji’s; he’s now tied with Kisenosato as my favorite of favorites.

 

8). Strawberries.

 

Fresh strawberries

 

Because it’s strawberry season, and the strawberries are currently fabulous, we’ve been enjoying fresh strawberries for dessert every night. Strawberries have a fleeting season, so they’re a special treat when they’re this good!

 

9). Trader Joe’s meatless meatballs.

 

Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs

 

Honestly, I’ve been doing well in going lighter on processed foods lately. The fact that Trader Joe’s has these delicious meatless meatballs that find their way into our freezer doesn’t take away from that. Really.

That’s all I’ve got for March!

La Fin.