Monday, May 15, 2006

Book, Film, Martini, Parasite

It's been a week since I posted, so I'm trying to remember interesting things to talk about. Sorry it's such a long post!

I got a lot of writing done last week, but yesterday I only wrote 500 words, so I have a lot still to do today.

Books read:
In Her Shoes.
A book recommended to me as an example of good chick-lit. Since I am ridiculously sappy, it made me laugh a little, and cry a lot. Pretty good. The beginning was a slow and trite, but it picked up and the middle third was great. I haven't seen the movie, but from what I've heard they changed a lot in the adaptation.

Celebrity (almost) Sightings:
I saw photographers grouped outside a store trying to photograph Courtney Love. Did not see Courtney Love. (Did not make any effort to either.) I think I saw Goldie Hawn at the Sav-on (drugstore) at noon. I dunno.
Anywhere else, I might say, "I saw someone who looked a lot like Goldie Hawn at the drugstore", but in L.A., it's likely to be the real thing.

So last week I went to a bar called Lola's in West Hollywood. It was packed to the gills, and it was a bit surreal. All week long, I was around a maximum of three people (b/f, housemate, housemate's b/f) and then we go to a bar packed with people. Young twenties, early forties, people playing pool, everybody out to have a good time. Some people recklessly cruising around. I wondered, where are all these people during the week? Where do they all come from to converge on a bar like Lola's on a Thursday evening? In L.A. you see so few pedestrians, that when you're suddenly confronted by a crowd in a bar, it's jarring.

I had the Ronnie's Kamikaze martini. I picked it in a hurry, 'cause the bartender was waiting, and it contained Cointreau. It was delicious, but I hadn't eaten much, and on the way home, I was the most inebriated I have ever been in my life. On one martini! Luckily, only my honey was around to see it and I was in a city where no one would recognize me!

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

A meditation on humanity, modernity, bureaucracy, dignity.
I was warned that it was going to be "two and a half hours of an old man dying".
Which it was. Difficult to recommend, yet I'm grateful I saw it. If I hadn't been sitting in a theatre, I never would've sat through it all.
So, if you're going to see it, see it in a theatre, 'cause you might not have the patience to sit through it at home.

The first 45 minutes or so, I was thinking, "hmmm, I could be somewhere else", but about mid-way through I was hooked. In Romania, an old man whose sister doesn't want to talk to him, and whose daughter lives in Canada, feels ill and calls for an ambulance. He's poor, has a reputation for drinking, and no one takes him very seriously. Not the ambulance service, not his neighbors. The only person who shows real concern about his condition is the paramedic who finally shows up.

It bizarrely and sadly reminded me of the Canadian health care system. Don't misunderstand me, I'm for public health care. And yes, in Toronto, you get an ambulance right away if you phone for one, but the rest was chillingly familiar. The over-worked emergency staff, the potential for misdiagnosis, the shuffling around of patients from one hospital that has no beds to another that has no beds, etc.

And it was refreshingly realistic in portraying doctors as arrogant asses with little-to-no bedside manner and no respect for nurses. (Intelligent, pragmatic asses, to be fair.) Again, I emphasize that the medical attention I've received in T.O. has been mainly good/great, but doctors are people, not angels. And as my b/f said, we are so used to seeing them protrayed on television as altruistic heroes.

Also, the reality that old people with no family to accomany them get the least respect and the least attention from the medical community was heartbreakingly realistic. Medical staff seem to think that if there is no family around to make a scene, and if the patient has lived most of his/her natural life, then they are less accountable for the patient's health.

It was a very moving, very cynical, and unfortunately realistic film.

Other Stuff
I've got my pictures up, but I don't know how to post them yet. So once I figure that out, I'll post.

Also, from someone else's blog, I learned about this gross and fascinating little fish parasite.

And that's all the news that's fit to print today. More soon...


Anonymous said...

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JuliaMazal said...

thanks for stopping by!

JuliaMazal said...

crap - i just responded to spam! GRRRR.

Pride - and vanity - goeth before a fall, huh?