Flash Fiction: Shopping with Purpose

No matter what you do, your glasses are always dirty. They smudge up quickly, even in the best of intentions, as you are careful. This is what you found out when you put on your mask for the first time and hundreds of times after that. It wasn’t like you had a choice. You didn’t want to a be sheep as the other side called you relentlessly, but you had to do it or else you wouldn’t be let into the store. Your stomach needed to eat even though it could’ve used a good week of cleansing. You thought about starving yourself but understood most people would think it stupid. They know how much you love food especially food that tastes good. Besides this was nothing to be proud of especially for someone as fat as you. Off you went with a cart you cleaned with a sanitizing wipe. As you shopped for food you didn’t need and some of it you couldn’t afford, you thought about the news discussing all the pandemic babies. You can’t understand why people wanted to procreate during this mess, but then again, life is better when you live behind shades where you can’t see the dirt underneath fingernails. Someone behind you is clearing his or her throat. You dare not look because it makes you cringe because you know it’s not someone who wants to be your friend. A part of you wants a friend, maybe even needs a friend. Why? Do you need a mask-less person to talk to because you are lonely? Your mind wanders and you focus on how annoying it is to listen to someone who mumbles where you can’t make out anything he is saying. When the conversation is done, the only word you say under your breath is “bombastic” because the person speaking sounded like an inflated balloon with too much helium.

More You Know: Top 20 Disasters by Cost and Fatalities

List of the top 20 disasters by cost in billions based on 2021 inflation (source: Wikipedia)

  1. 1986 Chernobyl with radioactive contamination in Soviet Union cost 774 billion
  2. 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami with radioactive contamination in Japan cost 423 billion
  3. 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake in Japan cost 344 billion
  4. 2021 North American winter storm in U.S., Mexico, Canada cost 196 billion
  5. 2001 U.S. terrorist attack cost 32 to 199 billion
  6. 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China cost 179 billion
  7. 2005 Hurricane Katrina in U.S. cost 167 billion
  8. 2017 Hurricane Harvey in U.S. cost 133 billion
  9. 2010 Deepwater Horizon with oil contamination cost 72 to 120 billion
  10. 1988 and 1989 North American drought in U.S and Canada cost 115 billion
  11. 2017 Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Dominica, Guadeloupe cost 97 billion
  12. 1994 Northridge earthquake in U.S. cost 88 billion
  13. 2019 and 2020 Bushfire in Australia cost 71 billion
  14. 2012 Hurricane Sandy in Haiti, U.S., Cuba cost 78 billion
  15. 2019 and 2020 bushfire in Australia cost 71 billion
  16. 2017 Hurricane Irma in U.S., Sint Maarten, Saint Martin cost 69 billion
  17. 2021 Hurricane Ida in U.S., Cuba cost 65 billion
  18. 2012 and 2013 North American drought in U.S and Canada cost 56 to 64 billion
  19. 2011 Flood in Thailand cost 53 billion
  20. 1992 Hurricane Andrew in U.S. cost 51 billion

List of top 20 natural disasters by fatalities (source: Wikipedia and Inspirich)

  1. 1931 China floods killed around 1 to 4 million
  2. 1887 Yellow River flood killed around 2 million
  3. 1556 Shaanxi Province in China earthquake killed around 830,000
  4. 1976 Tangshan China earthquake killed around 242,000 to 655,000
  5. 1970 Bhola East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) cyclone killed around 450,000 to 500,000
  6. 365 Crete earthquake and tsunami in Greece killed 300,000 to 500,000
  7. 2010 Haiti earthquake killed around 160,000 to 316,000
  8. 526 Antioch Byzantine Empire (now Turkey and Syria) earthquake killed around 250,00 to 300,000
  9. 1881 Haiphong Typhoon in Philippines and Vietnam killed 30,000 to 300,000
  10. 1839 Andhra Pradesh India cyclone killed around 300,000
  11. 1737 Calcutta Cyclone in India killed around 300,000
  12. 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand killed around 275,000 to 280,000
  13. 1920 Haiyuan China earthquake killed around 273,400
  14. 1138 Aleppo Earthquake in Syria killed around 230,000
  15. 1975 Typhoon Nina in Taiwan and China killed around 229,000
  16. 1935 Yangtze River Flood killed around 145,000
  17. 1991 Bangladesh Cyclone killed around 138,866
  18. 1553 St. Felix’s Flood in Netherlands killed 100,000
  19. 1815 Mount Tambora volcanic eruption in Indonesia killed 92,000
  20. 2003 North European heat wave killed around 70,000

Journal Entry Type #112: The End is Not Near but Close

I spent my holiday weekend working, celebrating a birthday (not mine), and eating way too much food. Before I could do all of this, I had to call the gas company to make sure the stove I had didn’t blow up my apartment complex and everything in it and pick up my car because it needed repairs again. I find myself in the same situation as in the past: not quite ready to turn my life around and being lazy in many ways to find the motivation to take the steps to change. I keep thinking 2022 will be the year where I will turn a leaf, but with the onset of another strain of COVID, it’s made me cranky. I want to be done and over with this stupid virus as everyone else in the world, but it never will go away if the leaders of all countries don’t deal with reality and work together. I don’t know what it will take for everyone in the world to realize the more you resist getting the vaccine, the more you spread false information about vaccines, the more you continue to connect this pandemic to politics, the longer it will take for everyone in the world to get back to where we were before COVID 19 hit us all in the face. As of right now there are 261.5 million cases worldwide and 5.1 million deaths worldwide. The number of cases should be decreasing and it is in a very few countries (those that are taking great precautions with testing, isolating, and vaccinating), but the reality for most countries including the U.S. is we keep having more cases, more hospitals filling up, and more deaths as well. I’m not a medical expert and yet, I feel smarter than a lot of people living in the U.S. right now. There is no possible way to avoid viruses mutating but a surefire way to let them mutate is to not get vaccinated. I know everyone has his or her right to get vaccinated or not, but there comes a point in time when enough is enough. The U.S. didn’t have to go down this trajectory. We really didn’t have to and here we are again with winter soon approaching with a new strain. Someone looking in on planet Earth must think we are really messed up because in many ways we haven’t done much to show otherwise. Through all the turmoil within and around me, I’m thankful for the people in my life, the possibilities in front of me, the comforts I have within my reach, and even the terrible movies I only half watch. So maybe 2022 will actually be the year I turn a new leaf and as I desire for more money and success every year, I have other things to think about too and that is my physical and mental health. I bought some books a few days ago to help me get into the grind again. I need to do it for myself. I only need the courage to do it. I wanted to live a long life as longevity was important to me. I said often in my 20s and now that I’m older, I lost some of that desire to live a long time. I’ve grown apart from certain ideas, people, and groups since COVID started and realized what I need to work through for myself has to come only by myself. It’s easy to get bogged down into the technical and academic nuisance of trauma, but when push comes to shove, the effects remain. Some people have said things or viewed me as something different than what my perception was of myself. They judged me harshly or labeled me as something negative (mainly in my 20s). I can’t change their minds even though I wish I could go back in time and have this power. I’ve found ways to let it go and move past it. There’s more work to be done and this is why I’m excited to read these new books I got and go back to some old books and pick them up again. This is all I have to say for now which is more than I thought I would write. Now I’m going to eat the rest of my potatoes I probably have to heat up again and watch some TV before I go to bed and yes, exercise later.

Trifecta #73

Trifecta #74

Poem: Like a Roaring Train at Midnight

The night is no longer nice,
Yesterday has passed by,
And summer is too hot
Against your body on cool sheets.
And he understands the desire
Of how much you’ve transformed.
Bright lights have burned out,
Can’t see the curved tracks,
The sea ice disappeared during the melting,
And night revolves in one direction, is cold,
Like the earth wearing a scarf.

Poem: Make Believe Forest

Near the outskirts of the forest, a fox and bear reside.
They have been friends for more than five years.
Their cubs and kits have played with each other.
They are two mamas ready to defend their turf.
One day an owl flew into their domain with a chick barely alive.
She was frantic and moving in circles around the fox and bear.
The bear cocked her head to the side with an expression of surprise.
The fox was calm and moved the chick with her paw.
This featherless oddity got further away from her mama.
What could the owl do but stare in fear?
Either way her baby was in danger left to nature or rolled away.
There was no guarantee the fox wouldn’t eat the baby in one gulp.
The owl hopped after the fox, but the bear stopped her. 
She waited as long as her body allowed her and took flight.
Out of arms reach from the bear, she flew in circles over the forest.
She spotted the fox. It had changed colors and was white.
It could not have been more than three minutes past the introduction.
One would never guess the baby to be alive, but it was moving.
Slowly, at first, and picked up speed until it was running.
Away in excitement or terrifying death, none of the mama’s were sure.
Not the bear with a grin, the fox with a smile, and the owl with a frown.

Poem: The Depths of Life

I remember there was a time I looked forward to the morning sun.
The way the rays made lines through the blinds on the opposite wall.
There’s something powerful about that, the amount of energy.
I know I can’t be like Icarus and get too close to the sun.
Even if I could, I would be wasting my time.
That kind of madness is reserved for those with the letters E, W, and G.
I’m not sure the exact location of hallway around the world.
All I know is I exist as others can see my shadow on the walkway.
It cast a thinness my real body doesn’t have. 
A different kind of life, stylish and confident, beaming high not low.
Like those rays of sun, I can never maintain well, but still try.
I went to bed early last night and fell asleep before the moon appeared.
I know I will be rested tomorrow when I do it again tonight.
Life continues in such a way where I belong in silence.
No one can know the depths of everything within me.

More You Know: Engineering Disasters

Engineering disasters takes place all over the world. Infrastructure such as bridges, aeronautics such space shuttles, and vessels such as ships have all had moments of glory and failure. Whether it be the fault of the operator or a combination with the design, these are some of the worst disasters in the history of the world. The two sources are Engineering Clicks and Interesting Engineering from the internet.
·         Hindenburg disaster was an airship that caught fire and killed 35 people in 1937.
·         Quebec Bridge in Canada collapsing in 1907 that killed 75 workers and in 1916 that killed 12 people.
·         Titanic ship that hit an iceberg and sank in 1912 that killed about 1,500 people.
·         Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion in Russia caught fire in 1986 that resulted in between 9,000 to 16,000 people dying.
·         Charles De Gaulle airport terminal 2E collapsed in 2004 and killed four people.
·         St. Francis Dam failure in 1928 killed 431 people in Los Angeles, Calfornia.
·         SS Sultana steamboat’s boilers burst into flames in 1865 that killed around 1,238 people.
·         Air France Concorde airplane that crashed in 2000 and killed 113 people in Paris.
·         Gretna Green Rail disaster in 1915 that killed over 200 people in Scotland.
·         Hyatt Regency Hotel when two floors collapsed that killed 114 people in 1981 in Kansas City.
·         Banqiao Dam failure in 1975 where 62 dams collapsing killed between 85,000 to 240,000 people in China.
·         American Airlines flight in 1979 that killed everyone on board because one of the engines separated from the wing.
·         Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri in 1981 that killed 114 people on a walkway.
·         Vasa warship in 1628 that killed 30 people onboard shortly after taking off in Stockholm, Sweden.
·         Boston Molasses Flood in 1919 that killed 21 people when a storage tank burst and flooded the streets.
·         Deepwater Horizon killed 11 people when an offshore drilling rig exploded in 2010.
·         Challenger space shuttle exploded shortly after takeoff in 1986 that killed all 7 crew members.
·         Great Flood of 1889 when a dam broke in Johnstown, Pennsylvania killed more than 2,200 people.
·         The Bhopal disaster in 1984 when toxic gas was released from a pesticide plant that killed around 11,000 people.

Movie Review: The French Dispatch (2021)

Maybe with good luck we’ll find what eluded us in the places we once called home.

-Roebuck Wright-

There are not major spoilers in this review!!!

A Nod to the Newspaper

The French Dispatch is the tenth movie directed by Wes Anderson where he pretty much had control over everything about the production. As with any Wes Anderson film, it’s full of semi-plots weaved into a bigger plot that usually revolves around a patriarch in a family or boss at a business that is at odds with his children or underlings. Yet, he has just enough compassion where he isn’t a 100% jerk. While it was filmed in 2018 and 2019, the movie was delayed in its release due to COVID. Anderson breaks the movie down into sizable bites to swallow where he crafts them into manageable stories, so the viewer doesn’t get overwhelmed or that’s my belief anyway. It shouldn’t be a surprise for those who’ve seen other Anderson movies that Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Liev Schreiber, Edward Norton, and more starred in this movie. This dramedy is rated R and is one hour and 43 minutes long.

The Breakdown of The French Dispatch

The French Dispatch is about Arthur Howitzer Jr. and how his writers and staff deal and react to his last request in his will. The movie begins with the introduction of the office where all the major players meet to discuss their stories throughout the movie and what they need to edit to make Howitzer happy. We next move onto the task of them finding what to publish for the next issue. Each of the writers have their own tastes and styles from comparisons of past and present-day Ennui-sur-Blasé, concentration of the tortured artist and his muse, young revolutionaries who have a fondness for chess, and kidnapping that involves a ransom. The final say is always Howitzer and even in his absence, his writers and staff find themselves lost without him.

Watch the Trailer

Overall View of The French Dispatch

The best part of this movie was the great ensemble of cast. I have to hand it to everything that happened behind the scenes. The production design is one of the best for a realistic fictional city in France. The dialogue is so good that I call it wicked sick. The opening shot was superb. I expected nothing less. Benicio del Toro killed it in this movie. His scenes with his muse called Simone, played by Léa Seydoux, were some of my favorite interactions. The whole movie was great from start to finish although a few scenes I wondered about their necessity. I wanted something more to chew on while I waited for the next scene although this is pretty minor in the whole scheme of things. I recommend The French Dispatch who is yearning to watch a stylized movie and laugh during the scenes where the facial reactions are on point by the cast. Also, it’s not a bad way to spend your time watching actors and actresses you recognize but don’t know their names. His next movie is called Asteroid City. I can’t wait.

The French Dispatch gets FOUR FINGERS and ONE THUMB of 94%

%d bloggers like this: