Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Home Anniversary 5: In Praise of the Schwinn Airdyne

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.
  • You are right smack dab in the way in the living room.  This means I can't possibly avert my eyes and pretend I can't see you.  You are between me and all the comfortable lazing surfaces, challenging me.
  • You do not make my knees hurt.  This means I can't use that as an excuse.
  • You provide me with a cooling breeze that keeps me from getting sweaty and gross as I exercise.  Another excuse off the list.  You also help keep dust from settling on surfaces in your airpath.  Another plus..
  • You come with a magazine rack.  I don't have to hold my book or device (which causes pain and is another excuse you take out).
  • You generate a good amount of white noise.  It's soothing and covers up the sound of slamming doors and the barking of the new neighbor's illegal adorable dog (no pets allowed in our condos).
  • When my arms are not causing agony, I can exercise them, too!  Yay!  And I don't have to flail them around and risk losing my balance like I did on my cheap-o stair-climber of doom.
  • You are a thing that lasts.  You were made to last decades ago and were passed down three successive generations before making your ugly way to me.  You are an heirloom among fitness equipment.  I hope this means you were a good investment, especially at the low price I paid for you.
There are other reasons, but it's time for bed.  In case you weren't sure, I highly recommend a good, used Schwinn Airdyne if you are looking for a way to exercise more regularly.  It helps to put it in your living room, if you can.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Home 4: the entryway

The entryway is not my favorite place in the house.  It's dark and narrow, and the door is blocked from opening all the way, so it's really cramped for guests.  What's good about it is that I put pretty (and machine washable) turquoise rugs in it and that when you open the door, you can see the accent wall, which is painted a color that makes my heart sing.  It's a great first sight after a long day.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

home anniversary part 3: the front door

I have to admit: the front door has seen better days.  Probably about 26 years worth of them.  It is scarred and scuffed and scratched.  It isn't even a real front door (since it leads to an interior), so there's a bad draft in the winter that I will take care of when I get a lovely, new, half-glass door if I'm allowed to by the condo association.  That said, it is definitely sturdier than the last two flimsy apartment entry doors, so that's good.  Also, because it is  my door, I was allowed to actually put double locks in for added security.  My sister and brother-in-law bought me the lovely bronze doorknobs I put on my Christmas list, and some friends in the area were able to help me finally get them installed.  They look very nice.  They do not require horrible wrist contortions (and resulting pain) like the old door did.  Even though there are two locks to unlock, it still takes less time than the old single lock.  Since the light is burned out on our landing (has been since I first visited over a year ago), the dark bronze is almost invisible, like a ninja lurking in the shadows to keep me safe.

Okay, it's nothing like a ninja, but I think it's very nice.

part 1  |  part 2

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Me & Earl & the Dying Girl (bring tissues)

Got off work early and had to choose between seeing Inside Out and Me & Earl & the Dying Girl.  Couldn't get there in time for Inside Out, so Earl it was.  Grabbed a stack of tissues on the way out the door.  Needed them all.  (Are you really surprised, considering the title?)  Wish they had actually been tissues instead of napkins.

I liked this movie a lot.  Probably more like PG-16, but, as an adult, I found it hilarious and, obviously, an excellent tear-duct cleanser. 

Greg's actor may be in his mid-20s, but he does not stand on dignity when depicting the hilarious and painful interactions between a really awkward teenaged boy and his mother.  I was glad that there was really no one else in the theater because I was laughing pretty hard.

Earl stole the show.  He was pitch perfect every time.  Wow.  Almost every line and interaction with others made me snort.  His rapid-fire, spot-on psychoanalysis of Greg while stoned was a gem.

The Dying Girl had one of the harder roles.  Actresses tend to get chosen for being, you know, attractive, and this was not a high-budget film, so there was only so much they could do to make her look sick and ugly, and a lot of scenes involved her being too exhausted from the chemo to really even have many lines.  There were a lot of opportunities for her to simply sit there, looking tragic and helplessly attractive; I think they sidestepped many of those opportunities (partly because Greg's actor is a great face-actor, and his awkwardness and unease and heart-on-sleeve expressions as he wrestled through these emotional minefield kept things more real).

The history teacher was fun.  All the parents were pretty good, too.  Their roles were a bit over-the-top and could easily have been more caricature than anything, but there was enough real and understandable emotion / humanity / character in each of them that they weren't just goofy adults.

And the high school kids.  I swear I went to school with a dead-ringer for that twirpy drug dealer, and the goth/steampunk kid is a hoot, as well.  Makes one glad to not be in high school.

The nature of the narrative was interesting, too.  As the narrator continuously points out, this is not a love story, so all the things that one would expect to happen in this kind of story just don't.  And that leaves lots of room for real life to crowd in.  Friendship, decisions about higher education, struggles with friends and family: these are what the movie is made of because even when someone you love is dying, life does go on.  It's just so much harder for everyone.

Good movie.  Strong in story, character, world, and execution.  And tear-jerking.  Seriously.