Journal Entry Type #156: Just in Another Form

I recently turned a year older even though in some respects it feels like a few years older. I went home again, well my second home, and went to my dad’s memorial service. I can’t say enough how good it was to see relatives and people who knew my dad. The service was uplifting and sad at the same time. Besides my brother and one of my mom’s friends, I also spoke at the service. The best part of it was seeing photos of family members and friends in different settings with my dad from when he was a baby to when he was in his golden years. I wondered how I would react when one of my parents died in my earlier years. It didn’t change all that much except I cried more than I thought although not as much as others. While I teared up, I knew my dad was in a better place because it was his time to take on a different form. I rest knowing he will always be around and with me even after my death.

Changing subjects to airplanes and angels. Since Southwest has damaged their reputation, I flew on Delta. I might have found my new airline until Southwest catches up to the others. The free movies and complementary headphones (even though they fell out of my ears way too often). The fact they go around twice basically to offer you something to drink. I’m still annoyed the airlines got rid of peanuts, but I guess too many people had an allergy to them. I also guess offering pretzels, almonds, chips, and granola bars are a step above fatty peanuts. I also got hooked onto ginger ale on a plane. Earlier I was going to list the major angels and the attributes of each of them. Not everyone believes in angels and people have different ideas of what constitutes and angel. On a spiritual level, I consider certain past family members (definitely not all) as angels alongside the archangels. I’m a firm believer in past lives and the influence they can have on someone because I’ve experienced it before and still am in some ways.

Experiencing the death of someone I cared about as an adult is new to me. It’s taken on a different kind of loss as when I lost someone I loved (as much as I could comprehend) as a child. From all of this, I learned we all do our best with what we were given. I’m currently reading a book (as I had to read the first five chapters for work) and need to take it upon myself to read the remaining chapters. This part focuses on ways to improve yourself in your life whether it be your professional or personal life. Since my dad’s death, I’m trying to find the energy reserves within me and the drive to improve the parts of my life that have been lagging. I’m hoping I find a new kind of purpose in life, maybe just a renewed purpose in life. I know he won’t be the last person to die, to make an impact on those he knew, but in this concept called the cycle of life and death, we each own a little bit.

Random Calendar Info #40

If you find yourself around a river filled with piranhas and needing to cross it because there’s no other way, do it at night because they are less active and walk or swim across quickly but quietly. Don’t step into the water with cuts and sores on your body. Don’t go into the water when they are feeding (duh?).

If you find yourself attacked by an alligator, go for the eyes and nose. If you are approached by an alligator, punch it on the snout or behind the ears to make it back off. If you find any part of you inside its mouth, hit it on the snout again and would say as hard as you can. Bottomline, be careful around them because there’s nothing funny about the death roll.

If you find yourself stuck in a cave, try to get as much space around you by scraping the walls and remove any clothing in any way possible. Flatten your body by exhaling and wiggle your body back and forth to get free. Another good thing is to never go splunking alone and let others know where you are going and how long you expect to be gone.

If you find you need to bind an alligator’s jaws shut and can’t hire someone to do it for you, approach it from behind and make your way up to its head. Press down on the snout until the mouth is closed and hold the mouth shut with your hands. Wrap duct tape around the snout six times and hopefully by someone else near you.

If you find yourself with a sprained ankle, elevate it 18 or more inches above the ground. Wrap a bandage or clothing around your ankle in a figure 8 not too tight but tight enough to be secure. Put ice in a plastic bag and wrap it a few times and place it on the sprain. Do not put it directly on the skin, no matter how tempting it might be.

Poem: Simple

I didn’t but say a few simple words.

These were words private to us.

Only our ears would hear them.

Only our ears mattered in the room.

What I had to say didn’t ring true for the others.

The meaning didn’t belong to them.

The meaning could only be felt by a few.

I bent over all the beauty that exists.

There are tons of sounds to hear.

There are millions of elements to taste.

I can’t believe there isn’t an island for those who wait.

I won’t underestimate the comparison of opposites.

These hands hold weight beyond any spoon, cup, or bowl.

I could’ve and should’ve said more.

Random Calendar Info #39

If you get bit by a poisonous snake, which make it good to know what snakes are poisonous and which aren’t (you will have to research this on your own time), make sure you wash it with soap and water, keep the area lower than your heart, wrap above the bite to help slow the venom, and don’t try to suck the venom out.

If you find yourself in cold water, put on your life jacket and float on your back. If you can’t float on your back, then tread water slowly, and if you can’t tread water, try to find something buoyant including your shirt filled with air. Don’t swim because increased activity won’t keep you warm.

If you find yourself outside for a long time in cold weather (not water), the first layer should draw moisture off your skin, the second layer should trap warmth to your body, and the third layer should allow moisture out but not in. For example, long underwear, parka, and jacket.

If you find yourself in a tunnel fire, phone for help, stay in car if you can breathe easily, get out of car if it becomes hard to breathe, and try to exit but do not prop emergency exit doors.

If you find a tick on a body, use a tweezers or credit cards to pull the tick away, clean the area about the bite, and put the tick in a container if you want to know if it has a disease. Back in the day, we just killed them and threw them away. By the way, ticks that have been feeding a long time are grey/silver in color on their fat bodies.

If you find yourself in a sword fight, don’t back away or extend your arm. Get in closer and block in the center of your sword. Keep your arms close to your body and push against the other sword when attacked.

Poem by Ellen Brenneman

My Journey’s Just Begun

Don’t think of me as gone away
My journey’s just begun
Life holds so many facets
This earth is but one
Just think of me as resting
From the sorrows and the tears
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days and years
Think of how I must be wishing
That you could know today
How nothing but your sadness
Can really go away
And think of me as living
In the hearts of those I touched
For nothing loved is ever lost
And I know I was loved so much

I was originally going to speak at my dad’s memorial service, but now I think I’ll let others do it. I did want to include this poem somewhere during the service, but again now I’m not so sure. Because of this indecision, I’m going to just put it here in the meantime. I’ve thought about a lot of things and done a few things besides working since I’ve been back in Las Vegas. I have a lot of emotions and thoughts to get out. I’m sure some of it will end up in my journal, in poems, and maybe in short stories. I don’t know. The thing I do know is I’m really feeling the effects of having Sjogren’s more than usual, which means my tiredness. I’m trying to find better things to do with my time than play stupid games on my phone. Sometimes you have to take it easy and take a nap for a few hours, only to get back to life and do things. I admit I need to watch a little less TV and movies and a little more exercising and writing. There are some things I wish I had done while my dad was still alive, but now it sort of gives me a more motivation to do the things I’ve been putting off. Even though going home last weekend was unexpected, my dad’s death gave me more perspective in the process of dying and how fortunate he was to not experience a lengthy death. While there were a few times I was surprised at his reactions, I rest knowing there’s no more pain. I looked up poems about death and the staples of Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe surfaced but so did the poem below that was lighter in theme and energy. There is some amount of darkness in death, but I wanted the opposite this time. There shouldn’t be denial or guilt, but if there is, hopefully there is a way to move through it over time, and this is my way of sharing my feelings. I felt numb and didn’t want to feel anything when I found out my dad wasn’t doing well. I still felt this way when I arrived at the hospital. I hoped he would come through it and start eating again, but when it was clear he wasn’t going to, I wished the process would be quick. When Sunday rolled around, I was regretting I had to leave back for work and couldn’t stay. I am still in the training process of my new job and will be until March and will still be learning even then the new systems. A part of me was relieved when he passed because it wouldn’t put the burden on my brother and mother to take care of him at home. I knew he had been well taken care of and we had done our best to make him comfortable. I know death isn’t new and neither is a parent dying. What is different this time is I have pictures and positive memories of his life and for this I am lucky and grateful.

Journal Entry Type #155: Death Becomes A Part of Life

The start of 2023 didn’t happen the way I wanted it to because I went home unplanned to MN because my dad wasn’t doing so well. I’m glad I went home because the four days I was there, he passed away on my last day. It hasn’t even been a week since he has died, but a part of me feels even more resolve to try a little harder to be a more productive and a better overall person. The last time I dealt with death was a long time ago with my biological mother, but this time it was different. I spent over forty years with my dad and even though we lived in different states, he meant a lot to me and even more near the last five years. When my immediate family and his siblings were at the hospital, it was bittersweet. I enjoyed seeing my aunts and uncles and their friends, but it was under the wrong circumstances. I couldn’t believe how much he had changed. He could no longer speak although he knew we were there. It wasn’t as if he couldn’t see anymore and when he did open his eyes, he looked around the room when possible. He struggled to speak the day before he died, but none of us could understand him. This is not what I want to remember. I was glad he didn’t have to struggle anymore from his Parkinson’s as it had slowed him down the last two years. Without it he probably would’ve lived a few more years but who really knows. I know death is a part of life. No one should want to live forever. I sure don’t because bodies eventually give out. While I wish he was still alive to read my book I haven’t finished, he knew how I felt about him. I made sure he knew before he died, meaning I told him one more time how much he meant to me, and for that I’m grateful. If I hadn’t gone home, I would’ve kicked myself for not doing this years later. About five years ago, my mom asked if I wanted to be there when either one died. I told her I didn’t want to talk it then. None of us thought his death would happen like this. It was so quick and sudden. We didn’t dictate how he would leave. For everything going on in my life right now and slowly trying to get back on track with my personal and professional life, a part of me is looking forward to my future because that is the right thing to do.

(Short) Movie Review: Bullet Train (2022)

Let this be a lesson in the toxicity of anger.

-Ladybug-

Bullet Train is exactly the movie you should watch if you want to see great casting and acting, laughing when you shouldn’t (in reality it would be a serious time), and a good story up until the very end. I read some of the criticisms of this movie. I didn’t agree with most of the critics because if you pick apart something so much that nothing is left, then you’re missing the point. I understand there’s a need to be as objective as you can be when a critic and they serve a purpose in any artistic form, but there’s a downside to it as well (as I noted above). There was also criticism of the casting choices, but from a purely entertainment standpoint, I thought it lent well to the story. I enjoyed watching the varied five assassins trying to find out why they were together on a bullet train and all the fighting action among them until they had no choice to make allies. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Joey King, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz, Logan Lerman, Masi Oka, and Karen Fukuhara. Bullet Train is 2 hours 7 minutes and rated R.

I give Bullet Train FOUR FINGERS at 90%.

(Short) Movie Review: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

I’ll pay you $1 billion to tell me which one of them tried to kill me.

-mILES bRON-

Glass Onion was the perfect follow up to the first one with Daniel Craig as detective, Benoit Blanc. While the first movie dealt with a patriarch, Harlan Thrombey, and his family, the second movie dealt with Benoit Blanc finding himself being invited to an island with a group of people he knows nothing about except they have Miles Bron in common. Miles Bron, played by Edward Norton, is a billionaire who needs to find meaning in his life. He pretty much has done it all and needs some excitement in his life as he has been cooped up from the pandemic. When a movie imitates real life (sort of). What begins as an innocent get together turns into a weekend of criminal activity through destruction and murder. The cast besides Daniel Craig and Edward Norton includes Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, and Dave Bautista. The promise of this movie is the eclectic group of characters in one place and there were some surprises up to the very end. It’s what made it comedic and mysterious. Glass Onion is definitely a dramedy (drama and comedy) and is two hours and 19 minutes long. It is rated PG-13. It deserves a wider audience than it currently has. This is a must-see movie.

I rate Glass Onion FOUR FINGERS and ONE THUMB at 100%.

Last 12 Movies I’ve Watched

It’s taken me a long time to watch all these movies and I have watched even more but it wasn’t worth mentioning them. These were the best ones I could recommend for reasons of pure entertainment or pure artistry or pure realism. Treat some as completely stupid and goofy. Treat others as serious in nature. Treat others as simplistic. I obviously have a range of genre interests. My top three were Hustlers, The Skin I Live In, and Money Monster.

This is the last tear you will shed in weakness. It will be given back when most you need it.

-Heimir the Fool-

The Northman (2022) is about a boy that grows into a man to honor his father who died when he was young and to rescue his mother who was kidnapped against her will.

The Good Nurse (2022) is about a nurse who was charged with killing many of his patients and his co-worker who helped the police find enough evidence to convict him.

Hustlers (2020) is about a group of women who drug men in order to take their money to live a lavish lifestyle.

Never apologize for an effective kill circle.

-Grug-

Barbarian (2022) is about a woman who finds herself trapped inside a rental home and uncovering the truth of past people who disappeared.

The Croods: A New Age (2022) is about a jungle family needing to uproot their lives in search of food and meet another family that lives differently from them.

The Skin I Live In (2011) is about a doctor and his patient who have a mysterious relationship and how their story evolved to the present time.

Look, I’m obsolete. I’m a dinosaur. Not in a scary way, in an extinct way.

-chudnofsky-

The Green Hornet (2011) is about a spoiled, rich brat who finds purpose after his father dies.

The Three Musketeers (2011) is about a boy wanting to fight alongside the Three Musketeers and travels across the country in search of them.

Year One (2009) is about two cave men type that leave their clan to prove themselves and end up in more civilized surroundings and temptations.

You are all gonna have the greatest story to tell at dinner tonight!

-Danny Sharp-

Ambulance (2022) is about two brothers who are bonded not by blood but love for each other and how they risk everything in the end.

Money Monster (2016) is about a TV host who finds himself in trouble with a stranger who trusted his financial advice while on live TV.

The Maze Runner (2014) is about a group of boys who are placed in a maze and have no idea why they are there except they have to work together if there is any hope to escape.

(Short) Movie Review: Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2022)

It seems most adaptations from books written in the late 1800s and early 1900s deal with a love triangle with all their secrets, passions, and contradictions. What these stories have that many new romance books don’t have is subtly. D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover has all the nuance a story should have. As with other love stories, this one had a somewhat predictable conclusion and nudity, to capture the audience whether through words or images. I haven’t seen any other movie adaptation than this one so I can’t compare and contrast. I can’t even compare and contrast it to the book because I haven’t read the book (shame, I know). What kept my interest for me was the acting of Emma Corrin as Lady Chatterley and Jack O’Connell as Oliver Mellors. Their chemistry on the screen felt realistic as we all know some actors and actresses fall very flat in love stories. The actor, Matthew Duckett, who played Sir Clifford Chatterley did a great job being an obstacle on the path of Lady Chatterley despite being married. The scenes between them were just as powerful as in Clifford gave his wife freedom to do what she wanted but there were limits. When these limits were discovered, the relationship between them radically changes. There’s a slow progression I hinted at before, so you don’t feel as if the director quickly zipped through the ups and downs of a hidden relationships. Of course, the camera shots of the English countryside were beautiful.

I rate Lady Chatterley’s Lover FOUR FINGERS at 90%.

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